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    Q: Dodging the Lally columns...

    Hi, folks. I need a bit of advice and sanity-check here. I'm in the process of setting up a workshop in my basement. Let me describe what I've got (we can't post pictures, can we?), and then tell you what the problem is. Thanks in advance for your patience!

    THE SPACE (hopefully in enough detail that you can create your own sketch):

    The available space isn't bad -- about 18.5' square, ignoring things like plumbing -- but has a set of three 4"-thick lally columns right down the centerline. Starting from the East wall, the first  column is 81" from the wall; space between it and the next is 67", and space between that and the third is 65" -- with about 4" between that last column and the wall which separates the workshop from the rest of the basement.

    The bulkhead door is at the south end of the East wall; there's a hopper window in the north corner. Two more hopper windows are more-or-less centered on the North and South walls. And, currently, a large (8' wide) opening at the north end of the west wall into the rest of the basement; I'm pondering how best to close that off for dust control.


    I'd like a decent table saw and space to use it effectively. (Currently what I've got is an ancient Craftsman bench saw that I'm almost afraid to use -- it apparently predates blade guards and since it has a metal throat plate I don't see a way to set it up for zero-clearance except by using a cut-off sled.)

    But given the lally columns, I'm really not sure I see a good place or orientation for a table saw that would give me useful clearance on all sides. The best idea I've got would be to put the table saw on wheels and rotate/move it so the blade could be positioned and rotated in just half the basement so I'd always be cutting in the long direction -- and then there's the question of whether any other tools or tables could live on that side without intruding on that necessary space (unless I put them ALL on wheels...)

    I don't think reinforcing the main beam and getting rid of the lally columns is an option.


    How much space _do_ I need around a table saw, and what's the best solution for this situation? Or should I plan on using a guided circ saw (panel saw, track saw, ...) for breaking down sheet goods (not necessarily a bad idea anyway, when working one-man), and reserve the table saw for precision tasks? Or should I give up on the versitility of the table saw entirely?

    This may also affect just how serious a table saw I buy, If I'm only using it on smaller things, a decent contractor's saw might be quite sufficient... but while I'm a beginner, I'm also a believer in "buy good tools and you only have to buy them once."

    I'm hoping that one of you has gone through a similar constrained/obstructed space exercise and has found a good solution. Your input would be MUCH more than welcome. Thanks again!

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