I decided it was time to fit some wooden sacrificial lips to the table edges so as to make the machine useable. This feature - the table lips - is actually one of my favorite aspects to the saw. I haven't seen other saws of this type (say from Northfield, Oliver, Tannewitz...) that have the provision for replaceable table lips. In the world of modern sliding saws with aluminum tables, only Martin makes a machine with replaceable table lips.
The wooden lips allow for zero clearance cutting to be established (an advantage over any aluminum table sliding saw), and can be readily renewed when desired. The left side, the sliding table side, takes a single long strip of wood, while the right side, the main table, takes three pieces. One could fit a single insert to the right side, however having three separate pieces means that only the middle one needs to be replaced, as that is the one getting chewed up by different blades, blade tilts, and use of a dado head. I decided to stick with the three-piece system on the main table side as it made the most sense. It wasn't of course the quickest thing to throw on in there.
First I made the sliding table's lip, using some QS Honduran mahogany:
Another view - the lower exposed edge is beveled at 45˚:
A better view of the edge:
Then I fitted the two smaller right side lips, like bookends, leaving a job of fitting the middle lip as closely as I could for last - using the table saw for this task:
As you can see, I am reusing the chewed up BSW 1/4"-20 fasteners with slotted heads, however I am in the process of ordering some fresh replacements with Allen heads, so this is a temporary situation.
With the table lips all in place the blade could be raised up, cutting entirely the right side as the left side lip had already been trimmed by the saw edge earlier:
At last I am able to cross-cut and not worry about the off-cut getting kicked by the blade and launched, and the wooden infill reduces the wind off of the blade by 95%:
I felt the table saw was cutting quite squarely, though a 5-cut test will be done later to get things really square.
Here's one of the table lip butt joints which came right off of the sliding saw:
It's a promising start. I'm short one fastener, as you can see.
I also had a go at ripping, and that went well.
At this point, all is operational with the saw, including dust collection. I managed to get the play out of the sliding table by tightening some of the middle gib adjusters. That was a relief.
However, now that the wooden lips are in place I discovered something. The sliding table is slightly bowed up along its length. At first I thought maybe the rebates for the table lips were not cut totally flat, as there were height discrepancies where the table lips from each side met. The main table was checked with my 48" Starrett straightedge, and looked good for flatness. Not so with the sliding table.
Since the top of the sliding table is bowed up, that also means that the under side of the same table, where the linear rods are carried by the table casting, is also bowed up... which means the rods are captured in a holder which itself is not in a dead straight line, and this of course will make the sliding action less than optimal.
I can see that at some point the sliding table is going to have to come off and take a trip down to a machine shop which can grind and scrape the table top, rebate, and underside back to flatness and parallelism. And maybe the support member under the sliding table, a chunky and crudely-cast slab of cast iron, would be worth doing as well. Once those are back to good n' straight, I can set the sliding table up with some new bearings, and get it dialed in, then shim the main table as necessary to get it co-planar. Based on previous experiences with getting tables decked flat as machine shops, I can expect this might cost in the $750~1000 range.
For the time being though, I'm going to use the saw and it should work well enough. I think in time I can get it dialed in much more closely, but it will have to wait until some more involved rebuild can take place, probably until next year.
As for the Zimmermann milling machine, it has cleared customs and is now in Boston. I can't go and pick it up though because the machine seller forgot to send the Bills of Lading to me and those are needed before the machine can be released. I wasn't aware of this at all until today. The seller then decided to just pop the the Bills of Lading in the mail to me today, sans tracking number or anything like that. That means at least a week's wait for that mail, which means I will get charged storage by the port of Boston, and that will likely amount to a few hundred dollars by the time the machine can be released. All this will happen, due to nothing I had any part in, but I DO get to pay for the mistakes and omissions of people involved in the shipping and paperwork side of things. The seller could probably care less since he was paid for the machine already; ditto for the shipping company. I'm a little frustrated at this point and can do nothing but wait and gnash my teeth, shake my tiny fist, etc.. Hopefully the mail from Germany won't get lost on the way. Another case where I have a hassle with freight and am largely powerless to effect outcomes. Again and again the same bullshit - or new forms of bullshit. It seems to be a source of endless creativity. I've seen it all now. I've come to expect a screw up with shipping now and have developed a simple formula:
Freight = hassles + unexpected extra costs
All for today, thanks for dropping by the Carpentry Way.