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Left vs right tilt on table saw - any advantage?

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  • Left vs right tilt on table saw - any advantage?

    I have seen some saws with left tilt and some with right tilt (bt3000) and is there any real advantage of one over the other? To me I would just put the rip fence or the miter gage to whichever side worked safely for me.
    ?

  • #2
    The theory is that you never want to "trap" a cutoff between the blade and the table. I don't see a reason for a preference, although many people have strong feelings about it. In any case it means you are working on different sides for different functions. Whatever you get will need to fit you. I went from right tilt, to left, and now right again. Don't care. I *think* I have a slight preference toward right tilt.

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    • #3
      Most people are right handed and right handed experienced woodworkers prefer the default setting of the rip fence to be on the right side, therefore left tilt blade for safety sake.

      To me it is an aggravation to pull the fence off and re-set it on the other side, even if it only takes less than a minute. I prefer the fence to stay on the right side but can't leave it there on right tilt rips.

      Trapping an angle rip is NOT an option of choice to me.
      Hank Lee

      Experience is what you get when you don't get what you wanted!

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      • #4
        I'm left handed yet prefer the left tilt table saw. With a left tilt saw, the fence is always to the right of the blade, so you don't need to move the fence to the other side to prevent trapping a bevel cut, and I think that's really the only advantage. It would be easy enough to simply teach yourself to always use the fence on the left side of the blade with a right tilt saw. It's really just a personal preference

        With the Incra TS/LS fence, the fence can't be moved to the left of the blade easily. When I had my BT3000 and on my ShopSmith (not that I use the SS tablesaw function often), the fence is on whatever side it needs to be to make sure the cut is safe. Moving the fence from one side to the other has never been an issue for me.
        Chr's
        __________
        An ethical man knows the right thing to do.
        A moral man does it.

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        • #5
          I'll trap a cut every day if it's safe to do so. There are a lot of variables and one can't treat them all the same. But it also only takes about three seconds to move the fence to the left, less if the blade is still down. Yet...I don't. I didn't even bother with markings on that side. Most of the bevel cuts I do which are unsafe to trap are also the type that I want to do with the Incra sled that goes on the left. So for my style/needs, the right tilt and left sled work perfectly.

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          • #6
            I worked one summer with a finish carpenter (he built cabinets in-place on site with a Craftsman contractor saw) and he told me repeatedly that it was a poor worker that blamed his tools. He could cope cut moldings by eye with just a hand saw. Back when I bought my BT3K, there was a "conventional wisdom" that left tilt was better because of the bevel rip entrapment issue and all of the commercially available jigs were designed for left tilt saws. Since almost no commercially available jigs fit the BT3K, we all just designed our own and the problem was moot. I used to go round and round with my one Brother-In-Law about this. The argument died out when he eventually learned my BT3K could out cut his 3 hp PM66.
            Jim Frye
            The Nut in the Cellar.

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            • #7
              Iím right handed and am not comfortable at all with the rip fence on the left side of the blade. (Comfortable shouldnít be a description when using a table saw). Iíve had occasion to need to use the fence to the left of the blade because my PM 64 has much more table on the right side of the blade, but not enough room for the rip fence. It handled the cut fine but I felt really awkward. This made me decide to invest in a track saw.
              capncarl

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              • #8
                Just did a trapped cut of 1/2" MDF today. No big deal. But I did manage to have something weird happen during a flat cut, and still not sure how. After being fully cut, the small piece got on top of the saw blade and it cut a gouge in it. Nothing dangerous, no big deal, just annoying and stupid. At least it was just for the back of a blade holder and doesn't need to be pretty. I'll keep it on there as a reminder to not be stupid.

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by capncarl View Post
                  Iím right handed and am not comfortable at all with the rip fence on the left side of the blade. (Comfortable shouldnít be a description when using a table saw). Iíve had occasion to need to use the fence to the left of the blade because my PM 64 has much more table on the right side of the blade, but not enough room for the rip fence. It handled the cut fine but I felt really awkward. This made me decide to invest in a track saw.
                  capncarl
                  It's funny, no, more like weird, how individual personalities dictate preferences. I bought a track saw about 4 years ago and thought I would really like it, but I only use it for cutting down large sheets of plywood, either in half or on the 8ft length. Otherwise it is the table saw.

                  Back to the tilt. It doesn't bother me too much which side the tilt is on, I will to not trap the cut regardless. I know that I could probably get by with feather boards in a trap situation, but I won't take the chance.
                  Hank Lee

                  Experience is what you get when you don't get what you wanted!

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                  • #10
                    Iíve had a couple of scary kickbacks using my left tilt saw with a sled set up for holding pieces on the left side of the blade. Something went badly wrong and the blade consumed a chunk of the part and a portion of the sled. I have a very high respect for how dangerous the tablesaw can be without ever loosing a digit!

                    Not intentionally derailing the thread but..... I also thought that the track saw might replace the table saw but it hasnít. Outfeed tables seem to be a magnet for clutter, even more so than work benches. There seems to always something piled on the outfeed table that has to be moved before I can use the tablesaw or set up the track saw. I really considered purchasing a Festool Multi Function Table, robbing all of its guides and saw holding components and incorporating them into my outfeed table just to make the outfeed less prone to catching clutter.
                    capncarl

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by leehljp View Post
                      I know that I could probably get by with feather boards in a trap situation, but I won't take the chance.
                      Speaking of how we all think differently...I can't even picture how you use the featherboard for that. I simply look at the chances of danger. Large piece? Not gonna go flying no matter what. Small pieces just might. Also the state of the saw; I'm very obsessive about alignment and nothing is even 1/128th off on it. And the wood... I would never do a cut like that with say, Wenge that does crazy stuff. But MDF? It's so friendly. Hard maple too, no problem. Bubinga? Did it, but didn't like it, and it did some burning.

                      Carl, I know what you mean about the outfeed clutter. I have my assembly/work bench arranged as the outfeed. So it's always a hassle to clear it. I think I just found my solution. I put a shelf up just to the side where I'm putting my "in progress" supplies and tools. That also became the new clamp rack. And then put a small, easily moved little work table behind it where I can put more of the in-progress supplies. So far it's been great.

                      This came out a little blurry, but the TS and outfeed/table are in the center, and the new shelf/rack to the right. Don't have the little movable table in this photo, but I just roll it up towards the table as needed.
                      Click image for larger version

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                      • #12
                        The only difference in a trapped cut and a conventional cut with the blade on 90 is the wood on a trapped cut has one direction to be thrown and conventional cut has two! Lots have been written about rip fence angle in relation to the blade. I recall a preference for the rip fence to angle slightly away from the blade. This reduces the risk of trapping the work between the blade and the rip fence.

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