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"Most wood workers buy table saws as their first major wood working tool"

The versatility makes this a smart choice since you can cross-cut, rip, miter and make a number of types of joinery like tenons, dados and rabbets.


Choosing a Table Saw

First of all, get a table saw that is going to be adequate for the intended use. If you are only looking for a saw that will rip short 2 foot long stock you certainly don't want to buy a $1200 saw designed for a cabinet maker.

Overall the saw should be sturdy and made from metal, plastic table saw aren't worth the money. The saw needs be heavy enough to resist the forces that are applied to it when pushing stock through the blade. The size of the motor is also important since it is what drives the blade. The larger the blade diameter the more power it takes to turn so consider this when choosing a table saw.

Standard table saws have a 10" diameter blade with at least a 2-1/2 HP motor. Having a 220v power source is preferred for powering a larger motor like this but isn't required. However if you are cutting a lot of hardwood a 110v service might now have enough "juice" to perform properly.

Enhancing your Table Saw

The versatility of the table saw can be greatly increased by adding

Table Saw
General 10" Table Saw

accessories to it. Adding an out feed table will allow you to safely cut full sheets of plywood and rip long pieces of lumber. This is really important for safety especially when working alone. Without an out feed table there is nothing to support the wood after it is cut and extra downward force is required to keep the piece of wood flat on the table.

A side extension table works much the same as an out feed table except it is located to the right of the operator. This table allow your table saw to cut wider stock by providing support and a guide for the rip fence. With a side extension table a table saw can cut much greater widths then the stock was would allow.

Miter gauges are a must with any table saw. A miter gauge rides in the slots (miter slots) on the saw table and are necessary for performing crosscuts. Any Cross cutting angle can be cut since a miter gauge is adjustable. Cross cutting tables can be used when cutting larger panels. Both of these accessories work free of the standard rip fence and support the piece of wood at 90 degrees to the blade rather than parallel as with the rip fence. The are many table saws jigs available to improve the capabilities of your saw.

Table Saw Blades

Table Saw Safety Tips

  1. Keep blades sharp. This results in saw using less power to make a cut. This reduces heat and wearing of the blades and burning of the wood.

  2. Always keep at least one hand on the piece of wood at all times. Use a push stick to push it through the blade.

  3. Make sure the wood is always against the rip fence or miter gauge.

  4. Use the safety equipment that comes with your table saw. These accessories are designed to help you operate you saw safer.

  5. Always unplug your table saw before changing a blade.

This list is by no means complete. For a complete guide to operating your table saw read your owners manual.

A table saw will only cut a true and as accurate as the blade that is performing the cut. If you use a cheap blade there is a greater chance that the blade will "chatter" and leave a poor quality cut. Blades are truly designed for specific purposes and should be used accordingly.

There are a number of shapes, tooth count and tooth spacing that perform quite differently from each other. For most cutting a standard combination blade will work well. One with a thin kerf is preferred since it removes less wood and therefore doesn't need to work as hard.

Carbide has become a standard alloy for most cutting surfaces and saw blades aren't any different. A saw blade with a carbide tipped teeth will hold an edge better and perform better for longer.

Dado blades have become quite popular in the past decade and for good reason. They are made of several different components and will cut a clean flat bottomed groove in the center of a piece of stock or along the edge as a rabbet joint.

Better quality dado blades are made up by finer tooth blades that cuts the side of the dado with a series of chipper blades that cleans out the material in the center of the dado. More chipper blades can be added to make a wider dado. Shims are added between the chipper blades to fine tune the width of the dado.

A table saw is one of the standard tools needed for most wood workers. With the versatility and adaptability of this tool far more can be done with this single wood working tool then any other.


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