Needs: Maximum Dimensions

When a workshop is being designed, one of the first questions that has to be asked (and answered) is, What type of raw material is being used? While there are a lot of general workshops that can handle an assortment of raw materials, one material may distinguish it above all else. Currently, my workshop is oriented to woodworking, with an emphasis on hardwoods and furniture. Hardwood is harder and slower to cut than softwoods. So, whenever I have evaluated woodworking tools, it is to ensure that they can work with hardwoods. In many cases, it means having more electric power. For example, while many table saws and chop saws can operate using 1 200 Watts, I have selected machines that have 2 000 Watts.

The second question that has to be asked has to do with maximum dimensions. Many woodworking machines are designed for use on construction sites. In Scandinavia (not to mention USA and Canada) this means that they will be used with softwoods. The maximum sized board that has to be handled is typically 4 800 mm long, with a width of 300 mm and a thickness of 50 mm. Of course they also have to be able to handle a wide variety of sheet goods. these will typically have dimensions of 1 220 mm in width, by up to 3 000 mm in length. Thicknesses over 30 mm are extremely rare.

A furniture oriented workshop has to focus on other dimensions than those found on construction sites, although sheet goods are similar to those described above. With respect to lumber, there can be a need to work with thicker materials. At the Unit One workshop, the maximum design thickness is 75 mm. The maximum width is 300 mm and the maximum length is 2 400 mm. It should also be mentioned that boards up to 6 000 mm can be “chopped” into shorter lengths without problems. Beyond this, some doors may have to be opened. It is also possible to handle widths up to 600 mm. First position a board accurately at the chop saw using end stops. Make the first cut, flip the material, reposition, then make the second cut.

All of the woodworking equipment has been purchased with these dimensions in mind. This, in part, is why it has been so difficult to buy a chop saw, a sliding compound mitre saw, that can handle materials 300 mm in width, and 75 mm in thickness. Many chop saws are not suitable. It should also be noted, that I wanted to keep the commonality of blade size with the table saw. This meant 254mm x 30 mm. For several weeks I have tried to purchase a Scheppach HM 100 LXU. While the Scheppach is slightly over-dimensioned in terms of cutting width, it only just meets the workshop standard in terms of cutting depth. The reverse is true of the Ryobi EMS 254 L. With the workshop standard firmly in mind, I was able to substitute the Ryobi machine for the Scheppach without technical difficulty. Living with Ryobi green (or is it yellow?) instead of Scheppach blue may be another matter.

Ryobi EMS 254 L 1
Ryobi EMS 254 L, a sliding compound mitre saw. (Photo: Ryobi)
Ryobi EMS 254 L 2
Ryobi EMS 254 L in staged use. (Photo: Ryobi)

Sliding Compound Mitre Saw: Ryobi EMS 254 L vs Scheppach HM 100 LXU

Cross cuts at 90° 90 x 300 mm  vs 78 x 340 mm
Compound cut 45°/45° 58 x 200 mm  vs 42 x 240 mm
Bevel cut 45° 58 x 300 mm  vs 42 x 340 mm
Mitre cut 45° 90 x 200 mm  vs 78 x 240 mm
Speed 4500 /min  vs 5000 /min
Power 2000 Watts (the same for both)
Weight 16 kg vs 15.7 kg (about the same)
Blade size 254 x 30 mm (the same for both)

With table saws, the critical dimension is depth of cut. The Scheppach HS 105 table saw is adequately powered (2 000 Watts) and is able to cut material up to 80 mm in thickness. With planers, it is the width of material that is critical. The Meec 250-025 planer is also adequately powered (2 000 Watts) and is able to plane materials up to 330 mm wide. Combination jointer planers are often sold. The jointer on top is unnecessarily wide, while the thickness planer underneath is too narrow. My jointer needs will be met with a self-built spindle moulder capable of using a router bit 80 mm in height. This exceeds the workshop thickness standard.

One exception to the material rules of 75 x 300 x 2 400 mm maximum dimensions, has to do with lathes. Here, the maximum size is 300 mm in diameter, with a length of 1 000 mm. No lathe has been purchased yet, and this purchase will probably be delayed by up to four years because these will mainly be used in the production of dining room chairs.

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