Table Saw Tilts, Cutting Board Wood Choice and More

Our last issue of the eZine coincidentally mailed on Election Day in the U.S. Rob’s advice, no matter the outcome? Get thee to the shop. At least one reader agreed with our politics. – Editor

“Finally, a political statement that actually makes sense. I’m going to the shop and make that tenon fit. Sawdust is the result of having fun!” – Jim Severson

Left- vs. Right-Tilt Table Saws

We also had a discussion in that eZine’s Q&A section about left versus right … tilt on table saws. – Editor

“Regarding Tim and Chris’s discussion of right- v. left- tilt table saws. I understand their reasons for preferring left-tilt saws, but for me, there is one overriding reason for using a right-tilt saw which they did not mention in their discussion. Not all of my saw blades are the same thickness, and this is the case with all woodworkers that I know. My rip blade is a ‘full-kerf’ blade with a thickness of 0.125″. My crosscut blades are ‘thin-kerf’ with blade thicknesses that are generally between 0.092″ and 0.096”. With a right-tilt blade, the right side of the blade is always in the same place regardless of the thickness of the blade, and the scale on my fence rail is always dead-on accurate regardless of what blade I am using. With a left-tilt blade, the right side of the blade changes positions when the thickness of the blade is changed. As a result, on a left-tilt saw, you have to readjust the scale on the fence rail each time you change blades for the scale to be accurate. Otherwise, the scale would be off between 0.029″ and 0.033″ and would be useless as a measuring tool. The majority of cuts I make on my table saw are 90 degree cuts, and I change blades far more often than I make bevel cuts on the table saw. The majority of my bevel cuts are crosscuts where I’m using a miter gauge or a crosscut sled and the rip fence is removed from the saw, making the right-tilt v. left-tilt debate somewhat moot.

“On the few occasions I need to make a bevel cut that is a rip cut on my right-tilt saw, I often have enough room to move the fence to the left side of the blade, which results in the blade tilting away from the fence just like a left-tilt saw. If I am making a rip bevel cut and the piece is too wide to put the fence on the left side of my blade, I leave the fence on the right side to make the cut. With a wide piece between the blade and the rip fence, I feel relatively safe making the bevel cut with the fence on the right side of my blade. I suppose it does come down to personal preference in a lot of ways. I have never been convinced that the perceived advantage in making bevel cuts on a left-tilt saw was worth having to constantly readjust the scale on my fence rail or render it useless. Until someone convinces me otherwise, my personal preference is to stay with my right-tilt Delta Unisaw and the dead-on accurate scale that I don’t have to adjust when I change blades.” – Mike Logan

Cutting Board Wood Choices

We also received feedback from last issue’s eZine regarding the discussion of appropriate wood choices for cutting boards. – Editor

“One of your readers asked about wood for a cutting board. I tend to check with the recipient now. I milled up some 1/4″ walnut boards for a friend that wanted them for a scroll saw project. His son helped carry them into the house. When he came back out for the second load, his lower arms had broken out in a rash where the boards contacted them as he carried them. Needless to say, the boards were returned to me. My friend’s son accidentally came into contact with some walnut a couple years after that, with the same results. To the best of our knowledge, this is the only wood he has any reaction to, but I would hate to see the results if he ate food prepared on a walnut cutting board.” – Rick Gibson

“In reference to woods to use or not use for any item to be used with or around food: Living in Arizona, I consistently use mesquite wood. It is available locally and from Mexico. It is also abundant in Texas, parts of California and New Mexico. The wood is one of the most table woods on the planet, and there is no toxicity with foods. I have researched extensively and am very pleased with the wood. Not only is is it very stable, it is also closed grain, fairly hard and can be run through commercial dishwashers with no discernible problems. The wood is sustainable, and I get mine from tree services, friends and specialized lumberyards. As with any wood being used around food, one must be careful what kind of oils or sealers are used. I have made cutting boards, salad bowls, goblets and chopsticks, just to name a few kinds of items. I don’t care what kind of wood I’m working with, I always wear appropriate dust masks and eye protection.” – Robert Finley

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