Table saws are the centerpiece of a carpenter’s workshop because it allows a woodworker to perform a variety of cuts. The core purpose of a table saw is to cut composite or natural wood into different sizes.
The most significant advantage of using a table saw is that it can cut through wood precisely while keeping the user safe from any work hazard.
There are 7 primary uses of a table saw that we will explore. Let’s dive into some detail and learn about the primary uses of table saws.
- 1 Cross-Cutting
- 2 Making Bevel Cuts
- 3 Ripping The Wood
- 4 Performing Miter Cuts
- 5 Making Rabbets and Groove Cuts
- 6 Making Joints
- 7 Kerf Cuts
- 8 Choosing Blades
- 9 Safety Precautions
- 10 Additional Safety Precautions
- 11 Final Thoughts
A cross-cut is a technique used for cutting wood across the grain. Typically, the wood’s grain runs end to end across the length of the wood. The user cuts across the width in cross-cutting, splitting the wood fibers.
The result of a cross-cut depends on three crucial features: Blade height, blade angle, and the miter gauge accuracy.
Let’s say you need to make a miter cut or an angled crosscut. It’s crucial to adjust the blade angle, the blade height, and the angle of the miter gauge.
The blade height should be enough that the blade protrudes through the wood not more than 1/8th of an inch.
A blade higher than that can compromise workplace safety. The height of the blade always needs to be adjusted according to the wood’s thickness.
A crosscut blade is always a preference for cross-cutting projects. Its blade can tilt up to a 45-degree angle. Double-check the blade’s angle, as a slight tilt as it can sometimes be tough to adjust the angle.
The miter gauge plays its part in cross-cutting by keeping the wood firmly attached to the worktable and keeping the blade perpendicular. It’s a bit tricky to adjust the miter gauge angle, and it takes practice to change it correctly.
Making Bevel Cuts
When making a bevel cut, the blade is tilted at the required angle away from the blade guard. A level gauge is typically preferred to adjust the blade’s angle. You might need to adjust the blade higher as changing the angle reduces its height.
The blade guard on the table saw can limit the thickness of the wood being cut. To make bevel cuts on thick wood, you might need to remove the guard so the wood can slide easily.
After removing the guard, make sure to be extra cautious to avoid any uneventful experience.
Most modern table saws allow swapping in different blades, but earlier models had a dedicated blade.
Ripping The Wood
Another important use of table saws is ripping the wood along its length. A rip fence is attached to the tabletop along its length to precisely cut timber.
The rip fence can be adjusted according to the desired width. Besides adjusting the width, a rip fence can be tilted away from the blade to easily make an angled cut. A rip blade is a preferred choice for rip cutting.
When making an accurate rip cut, adjust the blade’s height and angle according to the wood thickness to achieve the desired results. Ensuring the fence’s accuracy and the correct angle of the rip blades is pivotal when making ripped cuts.
If you are unfamiliar with adjusting the fence accuracy, consult the user manual provided with your table saw for detailed instructions.
As a general rule of thumb, the fence should be perpendicular to the tabletop unless you are making an angled cut. When you’re all set, just slide the plank on the tabletop with the edge resting against the fence, allowing you to make accurate and precise cuts.
Performing Miter Cuts
Similar to a miter saw you can use a table saw to make miter cuts. The mechanism of performing miter cuts is identical to cross-cutting wood. The only difference is the angle of the miter gauge. You need to adjust the angle before cutting.
After you’re done calibrating, just insert the gauge in the miter gauge slot to make the cutcutThe aftermarket. Aftermarket miter gauge is also available if your handlesmiter gauge handle breaks or becomes difficult to operate over time.
Making Rabbets and Groove Cuts
If you want to make rabbets or a groove cut, table saws are a perfect choice. These grooves are made into the board or wood without cutting it into two halves. Rabbets are typically made at the edges, whereas groove cuts are made further into the piece.
When making a groove or a rabbet, the riving knife and the blade guard must be removed to expose the saw blade. A riving knife keeps the wood from jamming during the cutting process. Exercising care is crucial as the saw blade is exposed.
To make grooves and rabbets, adjust the blade height and use the miter gauge or a push stick to push the wood across the table. Safety is crucial whether you are using sliding table saws or benchtop saws.
Modern table saws can make a variety of different joints. Most table saws can make dado cuts, tenons, dovetails, and several types of joints. Similar to making grooves, the table saw’s rip fence needs to be removed.
As the blade cover is removed, practice safety protocols to avoid injuries.
Before making a dado cut or a dovetail, check whether your table saw supports dado blades as a longer drive shaft is necessary to mount the dado blade in place. When pushing wood to make a dado cut, use a push stick and feed the wood slowly for the best results.
These cuts are performed in the same manner as making grooves. While grooves are made at a specific area, kerf cuts go along the width of the workpiece. Think of kerf as grooves along the width of the wood with small spaces in between. These cuts are intricate and allow the wood to curve.
Some table saw models allow swapping blades, whereas other models stick to only one type of blade. Fortunately, newer models come equipped with combination blades that can efficiently perform rip and cross cuts.
Besides choosing the right kind of saw blade, you can also use various accessories like the crosscut sled, table extension, or a sub fence for optimum results.
Using Push Sticks
Make sure to maintain distance from the spinning blade and use push sticks or blocks to push the wood on the sliding table. Remember to turn off the table first before removing the cut wood.
Using a Blade Arbor
Many table saws come equipped with blade arbors or guards that conceal the blade within and prevent injuries. Third-party blade guards can also be purchased if you have an earlier model.
To prevent kickback, having this safety feature is crucial. These kickback pawls keep the wood firmly on the tabletop and prevent it from being lifted. A riving knife performs the same function, but the added security is always better.
Wear Safety Gear
Always wear safety glasses, avoid wearing loose clothing, and ensure adequate ear protection, as the process can become noisy. Whether you are doing DIY projects using portable saws or operating contractor saws, having sufficient eye and ear protection is imperative.
Another safety precaution is to wait for the saw blade to stop spinning. While many table saw blades rotate slowly and steadily, they still take time to halt. Therefore, be patient when working with a table saw.
Follow User Manual
Whether it’s benchtop saws, cabinet saws, or over a decade-old model, always follow the user manual before starting your work. Adjustments like blade tilts without understanding the mechanism will never yield satisfactory outcomes.
Additional Safety Precautions
- Always push the wood against the direction of the rotating blade.
- When changing blades, immediately turn off the table saw.
- Avoid wearing jewelry, and make sure your hair is tied up – as long hair can get caught in the saw blade.
- Make sure your workpieces are in the proper place and firmly secured when cutting. If you fail to secure it, you will never get the desired results.
- Even when the table is not in use, never reach out to the blade to remove any dust or wood offcuts. Always use safety gloves so you don’t suffer injuries.
- Keep your surroundings clean and tidy. Furthermore, declutter your workplace and never put excessive stuff on the table saw, mainly when operating it.
Following safety precautions is necessary to get the most out of your work. Using table saws needs practice, patience, and the will to follow protocol.
Following these steps makes it easier to operate the table saw with efficiency and precision. We hope the presented information covers the questions you had in mind and increases your love for its utility.