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Deck Designer/Builder
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Discussion Starter #1
To start, I realize that this may seem like a bit of a basic question but I'm looking for a little advice here.

Here's my dilema/questions... I have a good portable table saw (Hitachi) but I am having problems with it tripping breakers at customer sites quite often. It's always when it's on a 15A circuit (the saw is 13A). The majority of the time when it trips breakers is seems like it is because the saw bogs down in the middle of a piece of wood. It's almost like if the blade binds a bit, the breaker gets tripped. It has done it with 2X PT and cedar or 5/4 PT and cedar. Of course, wetter wood doesn't help the situation.

My questions are:

1. Shoud I be cutting the wood with the grain up or down? Or does it even matter?

2. Was is the best height to set the blade at to help prevent the above situation - should it be just above the top of the wood, or an inch or so above the top of the wood, or as high as possible?

Thanks in advance for any and all suggestions.
 

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Carpenter/fencing
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some people expect too much from these portable saws to begin with,i own two portable and a shop saw,one of the biggest set backs is not alot of power to begin with,the blades should be appropriate for what its cutting and sharpend often,the extension cords should be proper size,just because there might be a new blade on it don't mean you can shove the piece in as fast as you can ,the saw still has its limits,i've worked with tables saws all my life and i've come to accept the fact the'll never be as good as a nice shop saw.i always look around for at least a 20 amp ct ,i use 12 gauge exstension cords,and my blades are always sharp,the fence being out of sqaure is also a big problem on portables,(and a cause for binding)they get banged around and knocked out of wack,the first thing i do before i turn it on is check for sqaure,my ridged saw has a very good fence and rarely its out but i still check. wood up or down ,does not mater unless its cupped :Thumbs: ,blade height slightly above the material about 1/2' or so
 

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Sound like good points mentioned above, - - also, the 'push' of the wood may be deflecting your shaft enough to 'mis-align' the blade with the fence.

Blade being set any higher than about 1/4" over the wood causes additional heat, and therefore 'wobble'.

Use a blade guard to keep the kerf open so 'internal stresses' don't bind the wood to the blade.
 

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The Deck Guy
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Make sure your blades are sharp. I find that deck building materials tend to be hard on blades in everything.

I have a Dewalt 744 and the only time I've tripped a breaker was ripping a WET 4x4 ACQ.

Push really slow and let the blade keep its speed up. Listen to it...
 

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Deck Designer/Builder
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Discussion Starter #6
Thanks for all the tips. I'll start having the blade lower to see if that helps.
 

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All of the above are good tips. Most of all buy the best blades that you can afford, not the B&D 3 pak for $24.99 and let the tool do the work.
 

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DecksEtc said:
The majority of the time when it trips breakers is seems like it is because the saw bogs down in the middle of a piece of wood. It's almost like if the blade binds a bit, the breaker gets tripped.
From that description it sounds like the problem you are having is really just coming from how you are cutting wood. Binding in the middle of the cut says that you don't have the wood supported correctly for the cut.

Blades and correctly sized extension cords are a given, but they aren't going to solve the problem you are having. All you need is either an extra set of hands or some roller stands.
 

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My portable saw trips a breaker about once a month, and I can predict when it's going to happen by the sound of the cut. If I listen to the cut and feed slower when I hear it bogging, it never will trip the breaker. I also use a 3-way plug with a built-in breaker so that I don't trip the homeowner's breaker or blow their fuse (a big pain in the neck to replace, but fuses still are common in Boston). So, I agree with the above, sharp blade and *listen* to the saw. When an electric motor is forcibly bogged down, it can draw far more current than its rating. If it's still tripping all the time, then maybe it's a bad saw.

Anyway, I definitely recommend a power strip with a 15-amp breaker of its own, to save a little of your sanity.

Another possibility - do you have other loads on the circuit, for example some 1000 watts of job lighting or something? That could be the culprit too, and it could be stealing some power from your saw, helping it to bog down too. Check your jobsite electrical plan.

Last thing to consider - maybe you're getting the blade pinched in reaction wood, wood that has latent stresses that come out when it's cut. One way to help that, though it's not the cure-all, is to use a half-fence. Your fence should have screw-holes for this purpose. I put a very straight piece of maple on my fence cutting side, that goes from the feeding side to the half-way point of the blade. You can see this in some guidebooks for tablesaws. It will help if you're getting some tensions coming from reaction wood bending into the fence down-cut, so it won't push the cutting wood into the blade's cheek. (It also helps me because now my fence is 6" tall, not a cheap 2" tall, so I can cut in certain ways with better stability.)
 

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Deck Designer/Builder
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Discussion Starter #10
Again guys, thanks for all the tips and suggestions. I already have most of the above suggestions in place - 12 gauge cord, separate/dedicated circuit for the saw, good blade ($100 Freud), roller stand. I'm going to look into getting a better fence if one is available. The only other thing is my technique I guess. I have been working on listening to the saw, just have to get it down pat.

Thanks again!
 

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One thing that helps is to use thin kerf blades. I've used the Freud blades and have one in use. Rotate your blades regularly. After they come back from sharpening, clean them really good with solvent. Too much pitch will bog the blades down and actually cause them to burn the wood.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
I just wanted to say thanks for all the help/tips.

I did have many of the suggestions already in place but I did add "setting the blade 1/4" above the wood" and slowed down my infeed speed. I'm working on a "slow and steady wins the race" methodology.

So far so good, 2 days on site and no tripped breaker yet.
 

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does anyone here use blade "wax" for lack of a better word. Comes in stick form??? seen it but haven't used it yet. any thoughts??
 

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mighty anvil said:
I recommend a good quality carbide-tiped blade set just barely above the work on a 20 amp circuit.
Good advice, mighty anvil, - - and Welcome to the forum!! :Thumbs:
 

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Deck Designer/Builder
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Discussion Starter #16 (Edited)
mighty anvil said:
I recommend a good quality carbide-tiped blade set just barely above the work on a 20 amp circuit.
I've been setting the blade just above the work with much better results. I ripped over 400' of 2x and 5/4 cedar today for custom lattice work and not one tripped breaker.

By the way, using a 20A breaker isn't always available - actually, hardly ever available. That's one of the main reasons I hardly ever use my air compressor on a site and have switched to as many battery powered tools as possible.
 

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There are many factors that could be causing your dilema.but we won`t get into them all. first off all the brand even the cost of the saw has nothing to do with it. One of the poster`s said its hard to find a 20 amp. outlet, he is right. If thats the case use a use a 12 ga cord as short as possible. turn of air compresssor, make sure other tool are not running, the harder the wood the slower the rip. Always rip lumber with the cup facing up. lumber won`t try to rock and bind between the blade and the fence. another tip, move the back edgeof the rip fence out slightly more then the front. One thing to remember. The table saw is one ot the most danger machines a carpenter ca use. every one takes them for granted, because there so comanly used.:thumbsup:
 

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Sounds to me like your fence isn't parallel with your blade. I know that's one of the biggest reasons why I bought a Dewalt table saw, never have to worry about it happening ever again.
 
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