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Table saw vs. Straight line rip saw12/31
Question: Should I replace one of my two table saws with a straight line rip saw?
Background: I run a two-man (looking for a third person now) cabinet shop focusing on kitchen and bath cabinetry. We use almost exclusively hardwoods for our face frames, doors, mouldings, and drawer boxes. Our 5hp Delta cabinet saw (with powerfeed) is set up for ripping hardwood while our 3hp table saw is used for cutting plywood. (Iíve got my eye on a sliding TS but that is another conversation for another day...)
Discussion: Should we switch the 5hp delta TS with powerfeed to a straight line rip saw? Can we use the SLR for ripping all hardwood stock, even to near-final widths? Would we have to use the other TS for both hardwood and plywood or would the SLR eliminate the need for a TS for ripping hardwood to final dimension...?
Thanks in advance!
How many lineal feet do you process on average? The straight line ripsaw will run a lot of material to glue line capable with a good saw and good blades. A regular table saw has more a utility purpose that can do a lot of stuff but not ripping to the same level. We would sometimes plane material to width by gang stacking, results vary depending on the operator. Material can vary in width off the SLR depending on any tension in the board. Now I'm not knocking what this saw could do for you, I took a cabinet shop out of the past and improved production by quite a bit by speeding up just dealing with the solid wood. I used a powermatic SLR for about 14 years with very few issues. I just upgraded to a gang rip in a different venue. With the SLR I could straight line and rip to width about 600 BF an hour with one operator, with 2 people increase that to around 800 plus. Any other questions I can answer?
If you are gluing up panels for doors it will help speed things up quit.
what we've done is found a local supplier that provides our "cabinet facing" at a good price. so, i buy packs of narrow, consistent stock, .925" thick, straight lined and good to go for doors and face frames. i pay ~$.08 a linear foot. at that price, it doesn't make sense for us to own a SLR.
now, if you want to really improve your productivity as a small cabinet shop, consider stopping using the table saw for your carcass work, and get a CNC. i'd put the money there and find a good supplier for your straight lined lumber.
I rip large quantities of lumber inconsistently... Generally Iíve got only two bigger jobs going at once and it is just myself and another worker so there are days where neither of us touch lumber. A lot days are spent on the other processes in cabinetmaking. I like the thought of a beefy machine for ripping but maybe I donít do it enough to justify the expense... I wonder if concentrating cash on a slider would make more sense right now... Hmmmm.
I like the idea of subbing it out, my new endeavour is just that. Concentrating on custom trim, flooring and wood processing. No cabinets or furniture at all. Not sure where you are but maybe someone like me is close to you. Makes it a win win, you save the money you would have put out for a decent ripsaw and put that either in a slider or a basic CNC. If your handy and also have electrical knowledge you can buy a used CNC. That's how I managed to amass the larger items in my shop, bought at auctions and fixed them up. Pennies on the dollar.
our CNC was ~$60k. yeah, you can buy a german-made Biesse for 120k+, but fundamentally, our USA-made ShopSabre does the same thing, and uses standard components that we can replace. and it's a beast, we can run it all day, it doesn't complain. if you run a cabinet shop and you're cutting plywood on a table saw, i'd strongly consider finding a way to find $60k and get a CNC, it's a complete game-changer.
I agree with David. When I got the slider it was great, But when I got our Shop Sabre it changed everything for the better. It is not as scary as I thought it would be. Paired with mozaik it was really pretty easy, I was afraid it would take more computer smarts but it doesn't have to.
I would get a good, mid-level panel saw to process all your plywood. I'd also add a used, refurbished ripsaw for solids and roughing plywood. Keep one tablesaw, no feeder, for variety work.
Two man shop making cabinets with no panel saw? This is 2020, my friend - time to get with the times. All things I heard before buying my first panel saw.
Buy and plan for the future you cannot see or know, not today, or even tomorrow. When I started, my accountant wanted me to plan for 5 years down the road. I could only guess, so on paper, I went from a one man shop to a five man shop with a molder, wide belt, etc.
The reality? I got there in 3-1/2 years, with no struggle, surprising myself more than anything. Molder, wide belt, shapers, planers, etc all upgraded and paid for.
Anyway, thanks for all of your input.
we have a 35' x 60' shop, and in it we have a 10'+ martin slider, and a ShopSabre IS408 CNC. the slider takes up far more space than the CNC, when you consider that it needs to... uh... slide.
that said, you do need room of either side of the CNC to load sheets, and ideally room off the other to unload parts. we have it set away from the wall ~8'. we also have a good tilting plywood cart for transport, and a few good parts carts for sorting and stacking labeled parts as they come off the CNC. the system works well for us. i just cut the parts for a high-end kitchen, and i cut 24 sheets by myself in ~6 hours. those parts assemble like lego, and are ready for all hardware - the end result is far superior to what i could do on the martin.
on power, unfortunately i was unable to run 3ph to the shop from the pole, so we run a digital phase converter (phase perfect), i think it can provide 250 amps or so. it easily handles our large dust collector, the CNC vac pump, and really anything else in the shop that's running simultaneously, without issue. the two biggest draws on the PP are when the wide belt starts up, and when the shaper turns off (there's a powered brake that seems to draw a lot of amperage). we've never exceeded the PP capacity, and it's never given us a moment of heartache.
with regards to the learning curve on the CNC, i would say that you do need basic proficiency of software, computers, file management, and then the willingness and aptitude to learn the design and control software. it's not complex stuff by any means, but if you have no interest in it, it'll be challenging. SS offers classes, i believe, and if you find a nearby guy with a CNC, you might get an hour or so to get up to speed. i am pretty confident that if you had basic computer knowledge (what's a file, directory, how to move files around, etc.) i could teach you the fundamentals of the CNC in two hours.
IMHO, it's worth the learning curve. i love my martin slider, and still use it for a lot of tasks, but compared to cutting plywood on the CNC, it's not even close.
good luck with whatever you do!
I have the CNC (shop sabre) about 12'' away from the wall and sheets piled on the other side. We made a part cart out of some Baker scaffold that straddles the sheet pile total footprint 15'x15'. As always more space would be great but it works.
steve makes a great point - Mozaik is a subscription model, so it's really inexpensive to try out. it's a good idea to get your head around Mozaik first, at least at a high level, and if you like that way of working, consider a CNC to do the manufacturing.
We got rid of our linebore when we got the cnc, and the dado saw doesn't get used much, but is still set up. That's about it.
There's still plenty of things that get cut on the cnc, because it's either too slow, or the accuracy isn't needed. Things like cabinet backs, ľ" door panels, and drawer bottoms. Some of those things can be gang cut too.
You can't compete with a cnc cutting parts manually if your parts require much machining.
I wouldn't want to go without an SLR anymore. Having a powerfeed on a tablesaw is way better than pushing stuff through by hand, but it's slow and you can't make use of the straight line ability. You save some money doing it yourself, and in my experience a good portion of the boards need that edge recut anyways. Even a junior rip saw like we've got pulls boards through at 60 ft/min. A bigger saw should be able to handle 4/4 at 100 ft/min.
Plenty of things that DON'T get cut on the cnc.
I wish we could edit posts.
using an slr is night-and-day different than ripping on a cabinet saw (and even one with a power feeder). it is much more like a planner - load a board, machine grabs it, and you just have to catch it out the other end. i'd think you could easily save 50% time vs. ripping like you are now, and much safer since your hands aren't near the blade.
and i've got one for sale if you are interested. 230v 3p diehl. everything works and it is way less than a cnc.
For what its worth we buy our lumber straight lined and surfaced We use three sizes of door stile and three sizes of face frame regularly. We have fixed our straight line saw fence to the widest size of all those pieces Then we have "drop in spacers" that go can be placed next to fence When lumber comes in we use a homemade "scale board that can be held across a board to see the best yield each board can make. This scale has saw kerf included . For instance one mark on the board may give me two 3 1/8" rips and one 2 1/8" rip another mark may give me three 2 1/8" rips so on and so on. There are many marks on this scale board. The operater justs hold scale over the board to see what size of rips it will yield best . My suppliers have expensive computerized ripping equipment machines and they always promise high percentage yields if I pay them to rip for me I can beat their yield considerably, even enough to pay my labor and realize a profit.. Whats amazing is that they will send a print out listing yeild along with their rips, but scratch there head when I simply measure the cube of ripped lumber and compare it to amount of lumber billed for( before ripping) and show them they dint achieve the yield the computer print out says they did.
Before we had an SLR my partner and I would have contests at the jointer/table saw.
We DID have a power feed on the saw, and it would be cranked at the max 82 Feet Per Minute setting.
On typical jobs where we are ripping 2-4 pieces from one board, it was pretty equal overall. But we were both real go-getters - the TS had boards back-to-back at the 82 FPM and the jointer was humming, taking off up to 3/8" at a pass if that's what it took.
But an SLR totally changes the game! You can take off 3/4" or even more, in one pass! Our first SLR was a "twin rip". It was SLR in function, in that it pulled the board straight through with no fence, but it also had a second blade, that was adjustable by a hand crank, from (I don't recall the minimum - call it 1") up to 8". So the FIRST pass through got you one piece ripped to width, the second pass got you TWO pieces, straight AND ripped to width.
It was almost as revolutionary as the 4-sided moulder compared to a shaper.
Our current gang rip is an entry level Raimann that has an arbor with quick-adjust blade spacing. All you have to do is loosen the tension that holds the blades in place, move them to where you want them (we use wood spacer for quick and accurate sizes) and lock in place hydraulically with the turn of a knob. The arbor is about 13" and we have (6) sets of blade/collars. Depending on the job, we generally run 4-5 blades, which produces 3-4 pieces per board.
The moulder is great, but I think our gang rip may (generally) save us more labor compared to "traditional" equipment. If not, it's close.
To address your original question. Yes, get a SLR. You will be amazed at what it can do as compared to a table saw. I rip everything on mine (two man shop) The safety factor is much greater than hand feeding a TS, even with a feeder.