This is another tale of ” If I had only known about this “…….., then life would have been much easier for me and my aching back. Over the past year I’ve spent many afternoons building new kitchen cabinets for our home in New Jersey. The carcasses were all made of 3/4″ oak plywood. The faces and any exposed ends were made of solid 4/4 oak. Cutting the oak was not a real problem, but cutting the plywood always turned out to be a real chore.
If you haven’t worked with full size sheets of plywood, let me give you a couple of details. It’s heavy, bulky and presents some very interesting issues when it comes to cutting it in the home shop. When I wanted to rip a sheet of plywood, I would have to setup several roller stands, normally two on the infeed side of the saw and two on the outfeed side. Then I would have to hoist the sheet of plywood up and unto the saw balancing the front edge on the tablesaw, and the rear of the plywood on the roller stands. Hopefully, not knocking over the roller stands while doing this. Then a somewhat not too delicate dance would begin, me moving the plywood toward the blade, while watching to make sure that the wood remained tight along the rip fence, at the same time making watching the wood as it passed over the roller stands, which means that I now not only have to watch the wood and the fence, I have to now support the weight of the plywood since it is no longer supported by the roller stands. What a hassle. This not only can produce some less then accurate cuts, but it can become a safety issue. If the wood moves away from the blade, it can become caught with the blade, which will try to lift it up and send it back toward you. And then we face the same types of issues on the outfeed side of the tablesaw. Here we have to be aware of where the roller stands are, and pray that we don’t knock them over. If we do, then we are supporting the entire weight of the plywood with our hands, not a pretty sight.
So that’s the problem, and yesterday I learned of a solution. Lee Jesberger, a South Jersey Woodworker, who does absolutely beautiful work in his small cabinet shop, has invented what he calls the Ezee-Feed system. I had an opportunity to visit Lee in his shop and have him demonstrate his Ezee-Feed system for me. Lee’s Ezee-Feed system resembles a roller style conveyer system seen in industry. The Ezee-Feed system provides complete support for your wood, unlike the roller stands. And since the Ezee-Feed is attached to your saw, you can’t knock it over. Unlike a lot of roller systems I have seen, this one can easily be removed, when it is not needed. There is a track, which is part of the system, that allows quick installation and removal. The track also allows you to position the Ezee-Feed anywhere along the front of the saw. The track does not interfere with the movement of the rip fence.
But instead of sleeve rollers, Lee has installed ball bearing rollers, which allows for greater freedom to move the wood in any direction. See the picture to the left. There is an optional Outfeed system that incorporates the same ball bearing rollers.
One of the neat features that Lee has added to the system is a single sleeve roller to the left side of the infeed portion of the system. As Lee demonstrated, this was added to help get your heavy sheets of plywood up and unto the Ezee-Feed rollers. I tried it and it actually made it much easier.
The Ezee-Feed is offered in two versions, one for the professional shop and the other for the home woodworker. The difference is the thickness and size of the steel channels used to fabricate the unit.
Lee told me that one of the projects he had built required that he rip 94 sheets of 3/4″ plywood. After struggling with the first couple of sheets, he knew there had to be a better way, and so the Ezee-Feed was born. While I don’t cut as many sheets as Lee, I understand the frustration of using roller stands and agree that there has to be a better way. And I think that the Ezee-Feed system is the answer. A great product of one Woodworker to the rest of us. Thanks Lee.
For more information about the Ezee-Feed system, take a look at Lee’s site at www.Ezee-Feed.com.