Electricity-free table saw

Well, I’m convinced. This quiet and electricity-free table saw, the Jointmaker Pro R2 by Bridge City Tool Works has a small bead of drool forming on my lip, not even halfway through the demo video. [via Core77]

50 thoughts on “Electricity-free table saw

  1. mike says:

    I was all impressed and ready to buy one until I saw the price tag. $1200 means you really need to have a need for this, rather than me who would just love to use it for the random odd job and one-off.

    1. DU says:

      Seems like a pretty easy re-make. It’s such a simple concept, I’m really surprised that cabinetmakers didn’t invent this over a hundred years ago. Mount the blade, move the work. Of course!

      1. Kurt says:

        I’m really close to finishing plans on making one myself. The last hurdle has been finding suitable bevel gears that don’t break the bank.

        I’m looking for some premade ones (rather than special ordering them made to spec) that are sub $5 each if possible.

  2. CircuitGizmos says:

    The Make staff should consider authoring an effort to make an open-source version of this tool.

    Have people suggest ways to make various sections of this, and have the Make interns test out ideas and post plans.

    I think a carriage made from drawer slides (center slides) would be a good way to move the top assembly.

    1. Electricity-free table saw Becky Stern says:

      cool idea!!

      1. CircuitGizmos says:

        A) Thank you!

        B) Hurry up. Are you done yet? Are you done yet?


        I would think that a simpler version as an option would work well. Height-adjustable blade (pull saw) without angle adjust would be beneficial to many, and would be a good first step. This could be good for cutting wood, or plastics. A more advanced “Part 2” would modify the first version with bevel cutting capability.

  3. toolboy says:

    Sorry, guess I like waking up the family with big whirring table saw sounds…

  4. jimofoz says:

    The nylon bevel gears and the flat chunks of aluminum don’t generate much confidence for me – especially at $1200. I’d be inclined to buy at $120.

  5. toolboy says:

    Let me ask this another way… what is the difference between this and a good miter saw (except $$). Good as in guides and rails, not the cheesy plastic things.

  6. cyenobite2 says:

    I don’t see any sort of safety measure on this, and around 1:12 when his fingers are just above the angled saw edge – I cringe! I know, every tool is dangerous to some degree, this one just seems unsafe to me.

  7. grouchosuave says:

    “Table saw”? Oooh ahhh – let’s checkitout… WTF?!!
    This is a nicey-nice miter box with the exception being that the blade stays stationary and you move the “box”.

    And at $1200?!?! This is some bulls**t for the Sharper Image, not MAKE magazine.

  8. Rick says:

    you don’t need to use them – Lift the saw with a wedge and a long threaded rod available at hardware stores. A gentle slope on the wedge and a bit of candle wax to lubricate it should work.

    I don’t find any problems using a saw the traditional way – certainly not $1200 worth any way. I note the compound bevels look like they are in balsa wood or Jelutong (easy to cut.

    I guess a remake depends on what they have protected rights on. It could be neat for model making.

    1. Simon says:

      My first thought was this is a model making saw!

  9. jeff-o says:

    Sounds… complicated. I bet it cuts easily because they include fine quality blades. Still, this is ripe for a re-MAKE on a shoestring budget!

  10. ThreeBean says:

    The thing about this saw is it’s incredibly thin kerf.

    Yes it is expensive, but have you looked at bridge city’s other tools. They are ALL pricey!

  11. Alastair says:

    Is it just me, or did cranking up the blade for each cut look like its going to destroy your wrists?

    How about placing a switch on the back swing of the frame, which turns a stepper motor some number of steps to raise the blade?

    Its no longer ‘electricity free’, but I think your wrists will prefer it that way.

  12. kiffer says:

    Very cool idea. I wonder if it would be easiest to replicate by using an old powered table saw and removing the motor and blade assembly. You would also have to modify some other parts, such as the tabletop to some degree, but it seems like a mostly pre made solution, and I am sure that there are old table saws out there with expensive or hard to find motors that are broken. Anyway, great post and idea. Shame its so expensive.

  13. aaron says:

    saw this in the demo video for the kerfmaker – another nicely machined bridge city tool that seems way overpriced and is actually really easily to make on your own.

    as far as the durability of the parts – aluminum and nylon – i think i have confidence in them. the way it’s set up with a Japanese pull saw blade (do they have rip and crosscut blades?) with a super thin kerf makes me think that there arent a lot of stresses being built up on the various machine parts. this keeps things in alignment as well as smaller and lighter.

    however, i agree with all who say that this is ripe for remaking. all you really need is a a couple sliding tables around a saw vise. rigging it up like a router table would probably work really well, and some t-track would make all those angles possible. hmmm….

  14. DanYHKim says:

    The saw being used is a variant of the Japanese Dozuki, a pull-stroke saw that has rip and crosscut teeth cut on either side. Flip the saw over, and you have the other set of teeth.

    Don’t see that the Kerfmaker is designed to do this, though. It looks like you’d have to re-clamp the blade instead.

    Japanese saws are also sold under the name “Razorsaw”, I think. These have a flexible, thin blade with impulse-hardened teeth. They can’t be sharpened, but must be replaced. The crosscut teeth have, I think, three bevels cut into them, making them a pain to sharpen in a traditional saw blade. The teeth have almost no “set”, and the automatic tensioning from the pull stroke allows for a very thin kerf. Some blades of this style have no set at all, making them good for flush-cutting.

    I don’t think those single-stroke cuts are realistic for conventional softwood, and will certainly not work for hardwood. They are probably doing a demo using Balsa, as was mentioned in an earlier comment.

    That being said, it’s still a nice set-up, if the blade-height advance can be made to work through a foot pedal. Alternatively, blade pressure might be set using a spring mechanism. Since the blade is set at an angle, it would engage the workpiece gently at first, then more aggressively as the piece is moved over it, with a limit on pressure governed by spring tension.

    I’ll have to view the video a few more times to get some design ideas.

    1. John Economaki says:

      Hi Folks;

      As a charter subscriber to Make, it is a thrill to see our work being discussed on this forum. (Disclaimer; I am the inventor of the saw in this thread.)

      Couple of points; This saw will cut up to 1-3/4″ in depth and up to 6 inches in width. And for the record, we have never tried to cut balsa wood although I am sure it will cut fine.

      We have cut rosewoods and all the standard hardwoods found in the U.S. As the density of the wood increases, the depth of cut decreases (meaning more passes).

      This is a serious tool with unbelievable accuracy and has been out for over a year now. Version two will feature a recirculating ball bearing linear table system.

      Lastly, we are in prototype phase for a single table version that will retail for around $795.

      For those of you who wish to make your own, please keep in mind that the saw is cutting from the bottom up and you have to address the negative feed issue. I can tell you that we have found no western style saw that will work in this frame–the teeth are too coarse.

      Anyway, we appreciate the enthusiasm and feel free to check out the JMP forum on our site, http://www.bridgecitytools.com.

      Also, we just released a video today showing the prototype of the new ball bearing version on my blog; http://www.bridgecitytools.com/blog/ for those that are interested.


      John Economaki
      Bridge City Tool Works

      1. DanYHKim says:


        Thank you for your very kind comment to this thread. This video prompted me to take a look at the Bridge City Tool Works site, and now I have to cover my keyboard with plastic to keep the drool off.

        Very beautiful tools.

  15. Anonymous says:

    That is Oak and Maple, not balsa. The Japanese saws I’ve used can cut like that in a pull so this doesn’t surprise me.
    It does look straight forward as a build. $1200 seems silly.

  16. Johnnygoodsaw says:

    Nice saw but extremely overpriced. For that price I would expect CNC control. Plastic bevel gears, and other plastic parts are a cost-cutting measure that reduces the saw to $250 range.
    Though it did get me thinking of a few things to improve on it.
    I’ll bet in 6 months time there will be a few imitators of with some interesting new features and a better quality setup.

  17. detectorlam says:

    I love your information suggestion.

    Thank you for your sharing

    Nice saw but extremely overpriced. For that price I would expect CNC control. Plastic bevel gears, and other plastic parts are a cost-cutting measure that reduces the saw to $250 range.

    Homemade Solar Energy

  18. egg balls says:

    Need something like this for sheet work and ripping.

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Becky Stern is a Content Creator at Autodesk/Instructables, and part time faculty at New York’s School of Visual Arts Products of Design grad program. Making and sharing are her two biggest passions, and she's created hundreds of free online DIY tutorials and videos, mostly about technology and its intersection with crafts. Find her @bekathwia on YouTube/Twitter/Instagram.

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