Monday 9 July 2018
At first sight you might not expect a contractor saw like the Scheppach TKU4000 to have much to offer to the furniture maker. After all, this is a lightweight machine with an open steel frame and steel table. It looks very different from the cast-iron giants usually associated with our kind of work, but the sturdy construction persuaded me to give it a try.
My main concern was the galvanised steel tabletop. I was worried it might buckle in use.
The top is moderately flat with the saw stood on a level floor. Obviously it is not as dead and vibration free as iron would be, but the steel is thick and double folded at the edges to stiffen it. There is also a folded steel sub-frame beneath the middle of the table from which the motor assembly hangs.
Overall this makes the tabletop quite rigid, and I could feel no movement in it. If you need the benefit of a large saw that is light enough to move easily, this type of table construction fits the bill.
The main components are folded from laser-cut steel sheet which is powder coated then oven baked to a resin finish.
At 60kg this machine is light enough for anyone to wheel around a workshop floor with the help of a pair of handles folding up in front of the frame. Half the weight is then carried by a pair of wheels slightly raised behind the back feet. I could not find any way of fine-adjusting the legs for floor flatness so you might need to use packers beneath the feet if your floor is not completely level.
The splay of the legs provides stiffness to the frame and an increased base for stability.
The blade is enclosed in a hinged steel box which acts as a safety guard and for dust collection. Blade guard box and motor are all tilted by a hand-wheel beneath the right-hand side of the table up to 45 degrees to the right. There is also a small reverse travel of up to -2 degrees which may help if the preset vertical adjustment drifts.
Once set the angle is locked by a pair of screw clamps on two quadrant plates, one at the front and one at the rear. This arrangement braces the blade assembly beneath the table.
The height control hand-wheel at the front of the blade guard box raises and lowers the arbor on a pair of parallel rails, giving a blade height up to 102mm.
Dust collection via a 100mm hose from the box with a 50mm branch to the upper crown guard is effective with dry hardwood, although there seem to be numerous nooks and crannies that might cake up with moist or resinous woods. However, access for blade changing, cleaning or maintenance is easy via a drop-down door.
Power and speed
There is an indirect drive between motor and blade arbor via a belt and pulleys. These are sized to spin the blade at 4000rpm, giving it a cutting speed of 66m per second.
The standard 2.2kW 230V single-phase induction motor with electronic braking provides an output power of 1.6hp. A 110V version is also available to order.
Start and stop buttons are on a no-volt release switch immediately beneath the table front.
The sliding crosscut carriage is an option, but it is one I would expect most users to opt for as it greatly improves functionality. Dual steel rails for the optional sliding table carriage are like those on the bigger installed machines made by Scheppach.
The width in front of the saw blade is 315mm. Crosscutting 50mm beech was quick and clean with the blade running at a fixed speed of 4000rpm. The maximum depth of cut is 102mm vertically or 70mm at 45 degrees. There should be plenty of power for cutting this thickness. However, you would need to be careful not to put too much weight on the carriage.
The TKU coped well with ripping boards up to 580mm wide on the standard table or up to 1050mm wide with an optional extension table on the right-hand side.
The rip fence is basic but functional, clamped in place against a folded steel rail in front of the table. The rip fence can be dropped in height to clear the blade when it is lowered to 45 degrees. An optional panel-cutting attachment with adjustable legs supports a larger and sturdier fence on an outrigger for rip-cutting boards up to 950mm wide.