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kebwi 09-06-2009 10:56 PM

Embarassingly simple wood-working question
Simple and stupid question: for cutting up 2x4s, 2x6s, and 2x8s to make a foundation frame and the support frame and legs for the hearth frame would you recommend a hand held circular saw on saw horses or a table saw...or some third alternative I haven't thought of?

I had been leaning toward a really simple, small, 7" table saw...but now I'm thinking, why? Isn't a handheld just as good for such a job?

Follow up, I will also need to cut plywood or particleboard for the hearth slab. Would a table or a circular saw be better suited to that?

Thanks, please forgive my virtually off-topic question.


Modthyrth 09-06-2009 11:37 PM

Re: Embarassingly simple wood-working question
Hmm, if I remember, I think we just used our miter saw to cut all our framing pieces. If I didn't have one of those, I think I'd use the hand held circular saw and sawhorses over the table saw, but I guess any would work.

For the hearth slab, I used a concrete board product that was easy to cut with a score/snap technique. It won't degrade, so you can leave it in there forever. I thought it sounded easier than fussing with precise plywood cuts and removing the plywood after the hearth slab was solid.

If I were to make a plywood hearth form base, I'd probably go with the handheld, but that's just me. I'm not a big fan of the table saw. At least our puny cheap one. My dad's massive Grizzly has a big enough table to support much larger pieces of wood and seems (oddly enough) less scary than our tiny one.

For what it's worth, I think this question is entirely on-topic. :-)

Himzo 09-06-2009 11:51 PM

Re: Embarassingly simple wood-working question
A table saw is only really good for ripping down the length of the wood. If I read your question correctly then you are trying to cut the 2x4 etc to length, i.e. cross cutting. In which case unless you have access to a powered mitre saw then I would go with the hand held circular saw.

As for the ply, again go with the hand held circular saw. Clamp a piece of timber on the ply as a straight edge where you can run the bottom plate against. i.e. measure the distance from the edge of the blade to the outside edge of the bottom plate on your saw. clamp the straight edge this distance away from where you want the cut to be, then all you have to do is make sure youre straight edge doesn't move and you should have a nice neat straight cut.

The other option with ply, get the place where you buy it from to cut it to the size you want. They usually have a panel saw and normally don't charge for doing so. (depends on where you get it done, there may be a nominal charge)


dmun 09-07-2009 06:42 AM

Re: Embarassingly simple wood-working question
A hand held circular saw is best for plywood, but it's a little bit of a nuisance to make exact right angle cuts, that are good enough to align square. It's perhaps my least favorite wood saw: I saw someone get hurt badly using one years ago...

Miter saws have gotten cheap enough to make it worthwhile to have one just for cross cuts. They have almost completely replaced the radial arm saw in the workshop.

As a side note: you're building forms with the wood, right? You're not trying to support your oven on a wood frame?

kebwi 09-07-2009 07:47 AM

Re: Embarassingly simple wood-working question
@dmun: Yeah :-) just the forms for the foundation pour and the hearth pour. Lots of 2x4s, 2x6s, 2x8s, plywood, particleboard...although I'm tantalized by the concrete board. I've heard of it, I need to look it up.

fxpose 09-07-2009 10:12 AM

Re: Embarassingly simple wood-working question
A jig/saber saw is good to have for making round/curved cuts for arches, etc...

christo 09-07-2009 02:05 PM

Re: Embarassingly simple wood-working question
I agree. If I had only one saw for all purposes, it would be my sabre saw. It will cut as straight as you can - but takes longer. I think I could have cut all needed forms and arch support jigs with this one saw.

For my oven and patio, I think I used about every tool I have to cut wood. Radial arm saw (uneasy feeling everytime I use it), table saw, chop saw (love it for fast accurate angles), Circular saw, sabre saw, hand saw.

For the hardiplank trim at the top of the oven, I rigged up a fence to my harbor frieght tile saw and ripped them to width under water spray.


drogers 09-07-2009 02:40 PM

Re: Embarassingly simple wood-working question
A good hand saw is very handy when you have a small project. It saves dragging electric cords. I have numerous power tools, but I frequently opt for hand tools in these situations.

charlesaf3 09-10-2009 08:30 PM

Re: Embarassingly simple wood-working question
you need a miter saw, often called a chop saw.

Chop saws cut boards to length
Table saws make boards skinnier
Hand held circular saws - ie skilsaws - can do anything, but it will be sloppy in the hands of someone without expertise.
a sabre or jigsaw is good for cutting curves. For cutting things to length or width it will frustrate the heck out of you. Probably the least useful saw for most people.

You can make any saw do anything, but life is easier if you use a tool for what its designed for.

DrakeRemoray 09-11-2009 08:26 AM

Re: Embarassingly simple wood-working question
I have a bunch of these tools (including a 1954 shopsmtih, which is a table saw, drill press, and lathe combo). But my Bosch Jigsaw is an amazing tool, it can rip or crosscut and stays very straight! I tend to pull it out much more than my circular saw.


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