Hendrick Saw lays claim to developing the first panel saw in the late 1940’s, when Bob Hendrick adapted a radial arm saw in order to increase the production of his small woodworking business, Sea Craft. Prior to Hendrick’s panel saw, the most common method of sizing large sheets was manually pushing them through stationary blade table saws – a practice that would be deemed dangerous by today’s standards. It was also non-productive.
By stretching out an ordinary radial arm saw and adding a post at the other end, Hendrick created a tool that could cut wood panels more efficiently and in greater volume. The vertical design also saves floor space in panel processing. The name “panel saw” has since become the generic name for machines that process large sheets by holding them stationary while traversing a saw blade through the material.
As news of Hendrick’s development spread, he had to close Sea Craft to work full time from his backyard, shipping saws to large and small cabinet, furniture, architectural woodworking, MDF and plywood firms. These days Hendrick has expanded, adding beam saws and CNC machines.
Among the more recent offerings is the VSS 20.40 scoring vertical panel saw, which allows both cross- and rip-cutting while the material lays at rest. With standard true scoring and a one-piece welded steel frame, it is capable of precision chip-free cutting, says Hendrick. It offers a 2Ë cut capacity with integrated dust collection.
Hendrick also offers a series of vertical beam saws, including the Pro V and the HP3 computerized models. These heavy-duty, fully automatic machines “are similar to a horizontal beam saw stood vertically to save floor space,” says Hendrick. Automatic cutting means the operator need not move with the saw carriage. A pneumatic pressure beam eliminates a need for operator-inserted kerf wedges to prevent blade binding during rip cuts.
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