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#138881 - 07/07/08 03:32 PM Nice New Woodworking Tool
KenK Offline
"Be Prepared"
Pooh-Bah

Registered: 06/26/04
Posts: 2005
Loc: NE Illinois
This post isn't survival related at all, but I wanted to let my friends here know about a slick tool I came across.

Here is the company that makes it:

http://www.eurekazone.com/

Here is a review I had read:

http://www.onlinetoolreviews.com/reviews/ezsmart.htm

About a month ago I was looking into investing in a decent new table saw (I have a cheap benchtop saw) when I stumbled across a wood-cutting system called "EZ Smart Guide". It got rave reviews on several web sites so I decided to try it out. I bought the 100" guide and a pre-setup circular saw (it was a re-manufactured saw at a pretty decent price).

First, let me say that I HATE cutting plywood!! I've tried circular saws alone and with clamp-on metal guides, table saws, radial saws, and even - and most often - hand sawing. I've avoided it as much as possible - even paying Home Depot to do as many preliminary cuts as possible.

The EZ Smart Guide system is a wide aluminum guide - at first glance not too unique. What makes it VERY unique is that the system has you attach a special plastic plate on the bottom of the circular saw you use with it. This plate rides on top of the guide.

To make things easier/better, the guide has a plastic insert on the edges along its length. When used for the first time with a particular saw & blade, you cut the plastic insert so that it shows EXACTLY where the blade will run. This insert, along with another on the bottom of the saw plate, also dramatically prevents chip-out from the saw blade, giving amazingly clean cuts.

The other really nice part of the sysytem is the simple-looking, but very effective clamps. They are easy to use and work well. One of the secrets of the system is the "dovetail" shaped pair of tracks in the bottom of the guide. The shape ensures that clamps and other devices align exactly the same every time.

I spent yesterday cutting a whole bunch of plywood (making patrol boxes for my son's troop) yesterday, and it worked like a dream. The other dad helping me was very impressed with it.

My wife gave me a sliding miter saw last Christmas. I figure between that and the EZ Smart Guide I am all set - though I'll still use my small table saw for dado cuts. Eventually I may learn how to use the EZ Smart router attachment for that too - eventually.

Anyway, I'd never heard of it and thought some of you might be interested.

Just to be clear, I have NO financial connection with this product - or any woodworking related stuff.

Ken K.

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#138884 - 07/07/08 03:39 PM Re: Nice New Woodworking Tool [Re: KenK]
Nishnabotna Offline
Icon of Sin
Addict

Registered: 12/31/07
Posts: 512
Loc: Nebraska
I just got real good at following that snap line.

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#138929 - 07/08/08 12:00 AM Re: Nice New Woodworking Tool [Re: KenK]
OldBaldGuy Offline
Geezer

Registered: 09/30/01
Posts: 5695
Loc: Former AFB in CA, recouping fr...
I used to have a guide I made out of a couple of pieces of plywood that you clamped onto the ply you wanted to cut. The edge of my guide was exactly where the blade would go, so you knew exactly where the cut would be made. Kinda big and heavy (I had two, one to cut four ft, the other eight ft), but they worked...
_________________________
OBG

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#138947 - 07/08/08 03:36 AM Re: Nice New Woodworking Tool [Re: OldBaldGuy]
Art_in_FL Offline
Pooh-Bah

Registered: 09/01/07
Posts: 2432
Nice.

Professional carpenters can make incredibly straight and accurate cuts following a chalk line by eye. I'm getting better, perhaps my sensuous nature, but my cuts always look, more or less, like a snake. I use a cut guide for anything but wood butcher cuts.

Either the straight edge of a piece of lumber. Or a DIY cut guide. Last I made was a very straight piece of 1 by 3 I glued and tacked to a piece of quarter-inch plywood. I then cut the plywood to the final size by running my saw down each sides. The result is a reliable cut guide custom made for that particular saw.

Not quite as slick as your guide with its sled. But workable, cheap and something I can make on my own on a job.

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#138966 - 07/08/08 01:07 PM Re: Nice New Woodworking Tool [Re: Art_in_FL]
OldBaldGuy Offline
Geezer

Registered: 09/30/01
Posts: 5695
Loc: Former AFB in CA, recouping fr...
"...I made was a very straight piece of 1 by 3 I glued and tacked to a piece of quarter-inch plywood. I then cut the plywood to the final size by running my saw down each sides..."

That's basically what mine was, but I made mine out of 3/4" plywood. To make it work slicker (no pun intended), I used some paste wood polish on the surfaces the saw body moves against, that really made a difference...
_________________________
OBG

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#138971 - 07/08/08 01:30 PM Re: Nice New Woodworking Tool [Re: OldBaldGuy]
Stokie Offline
Member

Registered: 02/05/04
Posts: 175
Loc: Paris, France
I followed the example setout in the link below, using some scrap timber I had lying round the shop, works well for me and simple jobs that need doing.

http://www.woodworkersjournal.com/resource/PortablePowerTools/StraightCuts/index.html

Hope it helps.


Edited by Stokie (07/08/08 01:30 PM)

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#138974 - 07/08/08 01:35 PM Re: Nice New Woodworking Tool [Re: OldBaldGuy]
KenK Offline
"Be Prepared"
Pooh-Bah

Registered: 06/26/04
Posts: 2005
Loc: NE Illinois
Yeah, one of my unsuccessful attempts was the home-made guide you are mentioning. Even that didn't work for me. My theory was that my saw's blade is not perfectly parallel to the edge of the factory base, so it was sort of "ruddering" off away from the guide.

The EZ Smart base has screws whose purpose is to be able to adjust the setup so the blade is perfectly parallel.

You folks who can freehand a circular saw have my ULTIMATE respect. I LOOOOOVE watching professionals working when I hire them for stuff around my little ranchette. I try not to be too obnoxious, but I am always amazed at their skill.

The system is kind of expensive, but so far its the best (only?) way I've been able to successfully cut plywood. I figured I'm saving the money for a better table saw and using this instead. At least that's how I sold it to my wonderful and understanding (sort of) wife.

Ken

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#138978 - 07/08/08 01:52 PM Re: Nice New Woodworking Tool [Re: KenK]
OldBaldGuy Offline
Geezer

Registered: 09/30/01
Posts: 5695
Loc: Former AFB in CA, recouping fr...
"...a better table saw..."

A good table saw is a great tool, but it is hard, if not impossible, to cut a whole sheet of plywood on one, 'specially by yourself. So a good circular saw guide is still necessary. Just don't tell your wife that before you get the table saw. And then, a table saw can't cut curves, so you need a bandsaw. Hard to cut long pieces of wood, so you need a radial arm saw. Then you need a larger shop. You can probably see where this is goin'...
_________________________
OBG

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#138984 - 07/08/08 02:10 PM Re: Nice New Woodworking Tool [Re: OldBaldGuy]
Stokie Offline
Member

Registered: 02/05/04
Posts: 175
Loc: Paris, France
OldBaldGuy, all too true.

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