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      Micro-Mark Discount code for IGMA   01/29/2017

      Great News for miniature artists!!!! In support of IGMA and the world of fine miniatures,  Micro-Mark the small tool specialists, have offered IGMA a 10% discount on all their purchases.  Buyer gets 10% off all purchases and in support of the Guild Micro-Mark will donate 5% of your purchased price to IGMA Be sure to enter Promo code IGMASAVE16 www.micromark.com Can be used on sale merchandise, but cannot be combined with another offer.  For example if an item is in the close-out section on the Micromark website, the discount will apply. If they discount some items in an email (a special promotion) the 10% will not be able to be combined with that offer.  Time to go shopping!!!      

Table Saw Options
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WeekendMiniaturist    218
WeekendMiniaturist

www.byrnesmodelmachines.com

 

Does anyone own any equipment made by Jim Brynes?  Since Karin mentioned Byrnes I looked it up.  My complaints about my preac and micro-mark saws are that the tables are too small.  So depending on the width of the lumber, you have to think about which saw to use.  I have never heard of byrnes model machines, so what other table saw options am I missing? 

 

I like both of these saws, I thought when I purchased my preac that I would sell my micro mark., but I discovered that I had to keep my micro mark saw because of the tilting arbor and the ease of adjusting the height of the saw blade.  The preac is infinitely more accurate for small cuts.

 

I would rate the fence on the micro mark as adequate.  Lumber is quite plentiful here, but when you get that really great piece of wood;  you don't want to "kill" that board with the most perfect grain because of the inaccurate cutting; so I like my preac in this respect.

 

Tamra

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Guy Gadois    75
Guy Gadois

The Byrnes table saw does not have a tilting arbor hence it is somewhat awkward to use. Over-priced as well. I have a Proxxon 4" saw which is similar to MicroMarks version. It is sufficiently accurate for my needs. I also have a Bosch 10" table saw which is only marginally larger than the Proxxon but will accommodate larger stock. I highly recommend It, it is a well-made tool.

 

Guy

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karincorbin    32
karincorbin

Jim Byrne's saw might be overpriced for your budget but that is an entirely different thing than it actually being an over priced item.

 

The cost of machining is what is driving the cost. Tight tolerance production parts are not inexpensive to make. The Byrnes saw is not a plastic mass manufactured item with rather large manufacturing tolerances. He makes them himself (other than a few high quality parts) and they are made on equipment that is calibrated to very precise tolerances. Every part he makes is also checked for quality control of the tolerance he himself decided upon. His tools are artisan made for artisan standards of work. He is one of us, he is a ship modeler as well as being a professional machinist. He designed the tools himself so he could get the precision he wanted to have. The Preac saws were also made in much the same way, in a machine shop to precise tolerances and in small quantity batches.

 

I have a Proxxon saw that I purchased used from someone because they could never get it to cut right. The reason it could not cut right is the blade was not parallel to the miter slot or to the front and back edges of the saw table and it also created a situation of kickback so that he was having to force the wood though to rip cut. Obviously a very bad situation.  There is no way to adjust that alignment of trunnion to the table on those saws if they come out of the factory out of tolerance. There is no slot in the trunnion mounts that allow for adjustment. You either get a good one or you end up having to return the saw.

 

I took the saw apart and enlarged one of the holes on the trunnion mount which allowed me to properly align the saw so that the blade was parallel to the table.  Obviously you would never want to do that to a saw that was still under warranty. As I wrote a blog posting about that fix I do hear from other people who have had that problem with the Proxxon saws. The Proxxon saws and the Microlux saws are made by the same factory in Japan. They are the same saw with a few variations for the two customers. I know that for a fact as I discussed it with the Micromark service department representatives.

 

Micromark does have a new version of the tilt arbor saw that came out in this last year with a digital readout fence and a higher torque motor. I can't review it as I don't own one. The fence is hopefully an improvement as the fence system and how it locks into position on both the Proxxon saw and previous Microlux saw are in my opinion of very poor quality.  Can you get good results from those saw? Yes but you have to work for it unlike the Jim Byrnes saw which is going to always give you precise cuts without having to work for it.

 

When I was doing some production work with the Microlux saw I dropped it into a larger table top and mounted a micro adjustable Incra fence to that table top instead of messing with the substandard quality fence that came with the Microlux saw. I liked having a more generous sized table top for dollhouse building.  Incra's new model the 17" LS17 fence will do the job nicely. You can add your own wood fence to it or purchase their aluminum fence.  http://www.incra.com/product_rtf_lspositioner_only.htm

 

I do appreciate having a tilt arbor saw and I will keep my Proxxon and Microlux saws.Yes I have both as I could not pass up that flawed Proxxon tilt arbor that was only $35.00! Having burned out one Microlux saw I feel the need to have a backup for it. But I also have a Jim Byrnes that I bought when he first started making them and a few years back I came across a Preac. I have larger table saws to use as well.

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Bill Hudson    723
Bill Hudson

Having a nice saw like Barnes is "nice"if it is in your budget but it does not make a person any better as an artist.  For many years I used my 10" Craftsman table saw to cut some of the finest miniature pieces of wood.  With a proper insert and fine blade very fine cuts are possible even on a ten inch blade..  I don't buy poo-hooing Micro Lux etc. just to push Barnes.  Some very fine miniatures have been made using the tiny little Micro Lux fixed blade saw and the tilt blade saw, the old Dremel saw and several other little saws, some pretty scary because the table is not much larger than the blade diameter.  A good artist works with the tools she/he has at hand.

 

A ten inch table saw is too bulky to take into a small shop so I first bought the Micro Lux mini table saw.  The miter and rip fence left much to desire but the saw was handy in the little shop for minor cuts.  Later got a Dremel 4" a saw and liked it a bunch.  A few adjustments and it did very nice work but fell apart too often requiring down time to repair and adjust. I put out the money for a Preac and am sorry I wasted the money. My Micro Lux tilting arbor saw is my last small saw purchase and I have been very happy with it except for the miter.  I like the rip fence because I can do some fine adjustments to it with clamp screws on both ends  but it is not tall enough to allow any clamping to it.  For some reason my saw came with two fences packed with it. I am thinking of screwing a taller face to one.

 

 

You are the first person that I have heard of burning out a Micro Lux.  That doesn't mean it does not happen, that is possible with almost any power  tool.  I have pushed mine to near it's maximum ripping half inch rosewood and ebony but it is still going. Using a sharp and proper blade for each procedure is important. If you try to rip with a dull or fine blade you risk burning out the saw and or ruining the blade from over heating it. Also taking the time,once in a while,to open up the saw and clean the sawdust from around the motor helps a lot.  If you take care of your equipment it ail do you service.

 

Not having a tilting blade is a real handicap for me although I rarely use it.  I feel using a block or slant table addition to rip an angle is dangerous and not really accurate.  My first table saw was an old tilt table 8" craftsman with s fixed blade (could not be raised or lowered). Every time I had to rip a forty five degree angle It freaked me out. The rip fence is on the upside of the slope and it is near impossible holding the material uptight against the fence.  I am not speaking against Barnes tilt attachment as I do not know any thing about it .  Perhaps it has a way  of holding the work safely and accurately. In no way am I trying to down play the quality of the Barnes. From the one I saw (didn't use) it is a very fine saw.  Use what you can afford.

 

Edit:  Some questions about the Barnes.  It looks like the blade guard arm might interfere with the tilt table on wider cuts.

It does not appear that you can use the taper rip accessory with the extended rip fence.

Maybe I'm wrong, I am only judging by the pictures on the Barnes site. Neither one of these accessories would be important to me any way.  It would not interfere with me buying the Barnes If I could afford it.

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Bill Hudson    723
Bill Hudson

PS.  Price comparison Barnes vs Micro Lux - Proxxon saws.

 

If you are looking to buy a new miniature table saw and tilting arbor (blade) is not an issue, I would highly recommend going for the Barnes. Using Micro-Mark catalog prices compared to Barnes there is only $101 difference in price.  Using internet price for Proxxon vs Barnes there is only $49 difference in price. Where the price takes a jump for the Barnes is when you add the tilt table accessory.  If the Barnes had been available way back when I purchased the Micro Lux-Proxxon saw I would probably chosen t go with the Banes.  

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Wm. R. Robertson    527
Wm. R. Robertson

I built my own back in the 80's and it still works better than all these but the blade I keep in it is not good for ripping. So I also have a Proxxon which is OK but I'm not a big fan of plastic tools. One day I'll buy a Byrnes as that doesn't look expensive for the quality.

Seeing the mention of big table saws, I have had all mentioned, started of with the 8" Sears with tilting table, I know how Bill felt when taking a miter cut. I also have the 10" Bosch which I use for on site work the few times I do that. But my main saw is a 12" Inca, these are a Swiss made table saw from back in the 80's...... Super smooth... And nice for miniatures is the European design, the blade is in the middle of the table, not 2/3rds to the back like American saws. For miniatures this means less bending over, a very nice feature the older you get.

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WeekendMiniaturist    218
WeekendMiniaturist

Thanks Karin for the fence option for my micro-mark.  I will investigate.  I only know one other person who has used a micro-lux table saw to it's demise, and he was cutting out kits for NAME day events, so I do know it is possible. 

 

Bill H, that is a good reminder to clean out my saw.  I just took the vacuum to my preac, but haven't vacuumed my micro mark for a while!

 

If anyone who is considering a table saw purchase for scale modeling and you want to read a previously published comparison of current table saws , I just found this review online.  (Hopefully I typed this properly.)

 

http:/www.toolerant.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/03/micro-table-saw-table1.jpg

 

I wish I would have known about the Brynes saw when I purchased my preac.  I think this thread will be useful for other scale modelers.  I did know about the jarmac brand saw, as my former local miniature store owner had one, but I had assumed they were not available anymore as I cannot recall seeing them in the last printed version of my miniatures catalog, and they were not advertised in the mini magazines to my recollection. 

 

If memory is serving me, it seems that Pete & Pam Boorum had the preac at their show table, so I was aware of the preac's existence.  I convinced myself that I needed a preac after attending GS, and just about missed that boat as they were discontinued within a couple of years after I purchased mine. I don't even think I would want the tilt-table part of the Byrnes...just the larger table and the better fence, but still convinced I have to keep the micro lux for its tilting arbor and ease of adjusting the height of the blade.

 

I'm not fond of my plastic case of my micro-lux, but I do like that I can easily move my table saw around my house as I please! 

 

Spring is here according to the calendar, although we were lucky to have a 3-4" accumulation of snow yesterday, I'm itching to get back to the workbench and creating some sawdust.  Must spend some time with my lathe!

 

Tamra

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jackofalltrades    21
jackofalltrades

Having worn out a microlux saw cutting model kit parts I bought a Byrnes saw.  My biggest gripe with the microlux saw is that it couldn't be tuned/aligned properly and I had parts break.  

 

I've used the Byrnes saw for a few years now including cutting lots of strips and parts for model kits from wood, brass, and plastic.   For me it is the only saw I know of suitable for high end model/miniature work.   I have a 10" Powermatic saw that I use from time to time for model work but when it comes to small work the Byrnes wins out in the end.

 

Some of the big plusses with the Byrnes saw are quality materials, precision workmanship,  simplicity of design, and some nice accessories.    I bought the fence extension and the micrometer stop which I use a lot.   Today I wouldn't get the micrometer stop but would spend some $ on a digital readout for the fence.

 

The one big minus for the Byrnes is lack of tilting arbor but Jim makes some sort of tilting table if that is important to you.   The motor is a bit wimpy but  so far I haven't had problems with mine.

 

Add a home made tennon  cutting fixture and a cut off sled and you have a good start on wood working in miniature.

 

Jim Byrnes makes a great product!

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karincorbin    32
karincorbin

At least there are other options for making beveled edges besides a table saw such as router bits and shooting boards.

 

Since much of furniture building requires a perfect square cut it is really nice to not have to calibrate a table saw for accurate blade tilt.

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ElgaKoster    528
ElgaKoster

I have been reading this thread with interest, the only table saw available easily in South Africa is the Proxxon, it is the first small power tool that I bought. Since I work a lot in Mopane I had to learn how to work with it without over taxing the motor, in the beginning in my ignorance I came close to doing just that. With no other saw except my bandsaw I have to take good care of it. I generally rip woods like mopane and blackwood with the bandsaw just slighty bigger than the final size I want, then cross cut to the right lenght on the table saw and then rip to the final size. I like the slitting blades and find the bigger kerfs best for the hardwoods, I find the hard woods actually push the thinner kerfed blades away the longer the cut is resulting in an out of square piece of wood.

I just had to learn how to overcome the small imperfections of some of my tools, by the time I add on import duties and international shipping a tool like the Byrnes saw just becomes way too expensive.

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Bill Hudson    723
Bill Hudson

Elga do you have the smaller fixed blade saw that uses slitting blades  or the larger tilt table saw? 

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ElgaKoster    528
ElgaKoster

I have the larger one and use the slitting blades that MicroMark sells, importing anything right now though is a big problem, our post office striked last year for 2 months, the backlog still haven't been cleared, some people have been waiting since August for their parcels, I am teaching in Sweden later this year and am planning to send anything I need to my brother in Norway to pick up there, the joys of living in Africa....

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jaka44    7
jaka44

I'm anxiously awaiting my Byrnes saw.  I hope it lives up to its reputation.  After reading reviews about the other mini saws out there, it's crystal clear that the Byrnes saw is the way to go.  I find it amazing that the reviews of the saw has been damn near unanimous.  

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WeekendMiniaturist    218
WeekendMiniaturist

jaka, it has been weeks since you placed your order... are you happy with the Byrnes saw?  :D

 

 

Tamra

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jaka44    7
jaka44

Hi Tamra.  I haven't tested it out that much.  It's so pretty that I'm afraid to rough it up any more than I have to.  So far I've only made a mat to go in a picture frame.  Other people here would definitely be able to give you a more in depth review.  It's definitely a heavy duty machine and extremely quiet.  I have seen other Byrnes saw's that are custom ordered to have a larger table surface.  So if you are willing to shell out the extra cash, it might be worth looking into since you want a larger surface.  The standard table surface of the saw is 12" x 10".  

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MeezerMama    37
MeezerMama

Tamra,

 

Two thoughts.   You can probably improve on your Microlux saw if you're so inclined.  If you have the older MicroLux saw (i.e., the one without the new digital readout), you can buy an accessory called an "AccuRiser" from MicroMark for about $70.  It's not going to be perfectly accurate, but it's a huge improvement over the standard fences.  Also, you might consider cleaning your saw blades.  Oven cleaner is great for this.  You will be surprised at how much sap, pitch, etc. accumulates on the blades without being particularly visible.

 

    Chris

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MissyBoling    77
MissyBoling

My first saw was the tiny micromark fixed blade saw which I still use if I don't need a lot of accuracy or strength. Then I got a preac which is an excellent saw, but subsequently got the microlux for the tilting arbor. I also have a Byrnes saw which is my favorite. I not only use it for miniatures, but I also used it to cut all the engineered hardwood that I laid in the living area, front hall and master bedroom of my full size house. If I could choose only one, it would be the Byrnes. I also have the Byrnes thickness sander. His tools are definitely high quality.

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WeekendMiniaturist    218
WeekendMiniaturist

Wow, Missy I can't imagine using a Byrnes table saw for laying engineered flooring.  I don't know about engineered flooring, but laminate was not friendly to our saw blades...We used full-size miter and band saw when we were laying life size floors.

 

Chris, since I know the limitations of my microlux,  mfg before DRO, I do test cuts and measure before cutting that fine piece of wood.  No harm done, just measure twice, cut once.

 

The 12" x 10" surface sounds large for the Byrnes table saw in comparison to the preac and microlux. 

 

I saw one in person recently, and it is sweet...

 

I have a skil full size worksite portable saw, and I do like this fence... I'm greatful for all the options for tools that we have here in the US.  So many tools and so little time. 

 

But I look forward to all of your continued reviews about the Byrnes saw... 

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WeekendMiniaturist    218
WeekendMiniaturist

jaka44, your comments about the Byrnes saw being pretty makes me smile.  I like shiny pretty tools... yep, I do have a problem with "shiny".  I was just looking at turn of the century watchmakers lathes; they are probably not functional for today's miniaturist, but they are pretty.

 

I went back to look at your intro... were you planning to make frames with it?

 

The world has infinite possibility with a table saw...so do post your questions - perhaps we can fire up this forum with some new discussion.

 

Tamra

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jaka44    7
jaka44

Tamra, Yes, I would like to make frames.  I had to cut down the painting I posted here so that it would fit in the JH frame.  To me, that takes away from the work.   

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WeekendMiniaturist    218
WeekendMiniaturist

Hello jaka44....Sue Veeder posted some questions about pictures frames... Have you seen it in the forum?  Go to Furniture & Woodworking, then find the thread for jigs and picture frames.

 

Perhaps we should keep this portion of the discussion on that "thread"?

 

Tell the group what you are having problems with and I'm sure you will get a lot of options from different forum participants, and surely something will work for you.

 

Oh, I would not want to cut down a picture so it would fit in to a frame!  You can do this!

 

Tamra

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WeekendMiniaturist    218
WeekendMiniaturist

Regarding this topic of treasured table saws... if you want a Preac, there is one listed on eBay now for buy it now $225 + shipping.  I'm not sure of the retail price, as I generally have purchased most of my equipment in the secondary market, this seems reasonable to me, and I don't see them up for auction frequently, although I admittedly haven't been watching.

www.ebay.com

Item # 253031790258

Preac Miniature Model Builder Hobbyist Table Saw JE1H021N

Condition looks ok, so caution is encouraged, and ask questions before you buy!    If you want pristine equipment, perhaps you wait for the next one... my estimate is that this is about 50% of what I paid for mine in the secondary market.

Search completed items for past sold amounts.

(This is not my auction, and I do not know the seller.)

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karincorbin    32
karincorbin
On 3/25/2015 at 0:04 PM, jackofalltrades said:

Having worn out a microlux saw cutting model kit parts I bought a Byrnes saw.  My biggest gripe with the microlux saw is that it couldn't be tuned/aligned properly and I had parts break.  

 

I know I am replying to an older post from 2015. But while rereading this thread I noticed the issues above. This can indeed be an issue with the tilt arbor Microlux saw and also with the tilt arbor Proxxon saw.  Both of those saws are made in the same factory in Japan and built using most of the same parts. A few years back I purchased a used Proxxon saw from craigslist and it had cutting problems. So I got out my measuring tools and discovered that the saw blade was not parallel to the miter slots in the table top which of course also meant parallel issues to the fence. As I quickly discovered there was not way to adjust the alignment of the arbor mounts that hold the blade in position.  Of course I could not return a used table saw so I started taking things apart and made it adjustable ;)  

While I was doing that I took the time to document the process and post it on my blog. So even if you have one of these defective tilt arbor saws that came out of the factory being misaligned and it is sitting on a shelf in your workshop, don't despair, there is still some hope for it. Link to the fix:

https://karincorbin.blogspot.com/2009/07/proxxon-table-saw-adjustment.html

 

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MeezerMama    37
MeezerMama

I just checked mine.   Dang it.   That explains a lot.  But your blog is wonderful and very helpful.  I can see I am going to have my work cut out for me.  

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