We just bought a used Pansan sliding table saw (panel saw). I like the sliding fence system but donít like the fixed fence system to the right cause it slides on a pole, etc. Iím thinking of installing a Biesemeyer fence that I have to this saw. Has anyone ever done this before? Iím pretty sure it could work. One thing I noticed on all types of panel saws is that the fence is longer in rip length than regular table saw fences. Whatís the reason for this?
From contributor C:
I have an older Felder combo shaper saw. The fence isnít very good so I installed a Biesemeyer. I drilled and tapped holes for rail and it works like a charm. Due to the fence's "T" shape at the base it doesn't allow for cutting closer than about 3" to the blade so I made a box that fits over the fence that goes to zero or past the saw blade.
I know Beismier is considered king in smaller American shops, but try your euro fence for a month. Don't forget to slide it back past the front of the blade when using the slider. The fence will spend 90% of it time in that position, something Beismeir cannot do.
When I first got my saw, the no indicator thing bugged me for a little bit, but you get used to it really fast and it isnít an issue at all. There are thousands of these saws in use without an indicator. If it was a problem, Iím sure they would have put indicators on them by now.
You really need the ability to unlock the fence and slide it back so the back edge of the fence is behind the blade. You are asking for an accident due to binding if you donít do this. I think once you start using the new fence, you will actually prefer it over the Bessey.
With the footprint of a panel saw such that it is, your normal ripping position is compromised. It is uncomfortable, and unsafe to rip from where you have to stand on that saw. With the exception of very narrow parts, you'll be able to rip everything to the left of the blade on the slider. There are parallel fence setups you can buy or make to enable the narrow rips too. I like to have both saws. I do my solid stock ripping on the PM, and nearly everything else on the slider. Give it a little time, try to get some pointers from guys used to running one-and you'll never go back.
2. Orient the first trim cut so that the last trim cut leaves you ready for the first strip cut. Meaning that if the first actual cut is a rip start with the head dust cut, that way the last dust cut will leave your panel in the rip position. Start with a long edge if a head cut is first.
3. Use the cross cut fence as much as possible. The goes back to the strip/part sorting I refered to earlier. If you have "largest first" selected it usually is easier to do this.
4. Unload the parts on the back side of the saw pushing off the slide.
5. Rip all strips first pushing them off to the far side of the table. (Again this is easier is the big rips are done first.) Then pull the strips onto the slider and make second and third phase cuts.
6. Get into the habit of setting the cross-cut stops while the slide is all the way forward. This way when you return the slide you can cut straight away without stopping a second time. (you always have to stop at the end of a cut to unload a part, might as well get it all done then).
7. Banana cuts are a reality that must be dealt with. If you are making faceframe cabinets it is not an issue, but for Melamine frameless planning the stress relief cuts is a issue.
8. Do not push the stock into the blade. Hold it down to the table and walk it through. Once the slide is moving there is no way to hold the piece tight to the fence (unless it is a narrow strip). This means you have to really change how you handle the piece. You literally have to use your body weight to clamp the piece to the slide. This requires an upright position with hands close to your waist. Then you "walk the cut". On wide cuts you actually have to lift up with the left hand and push down with the right to keep the panel flat.
9. Use the table lock. This is one of the most important parts of the saw. When shopping for a new saw the first thing I do is slam the table into the lock a few times to see if it can handle the abuse.
10. No running starts into the blade. There should only be three to five inches from the part and the scoring blade while in the locked position. Do not try to build up speed before the cut starts. Increase the feed speed slightly towards the end of the cut then allow the momentum to finish the last 3 inches of the cut. This prevents the "broken corner" problem on the off-cut.
11. Every pattern is different. Some or all of these hints will not apply to every scenario. Each cutting pattern will have a different "best way" to attack it. I know some of these things probably do not make sense now but later they will so save this post and read it in a few months. I have only been using a slider for eight months and still figure out new things every day.
These saws are unbelievably efficient and fast once the operator is in sync with the process. We process 50 sheets in an eight hour shift with one man on the saw (this includes backs, drawers, doors which are generally easier than case parts). Not many CNC machines are that fast