Choosing a Table Saw & Avoiding Mistakes

If you’re really interested in making things out of wood, a table saw is arguably the most important and versatile tool that you can own. 

When you need to do quick rip cuts, a table saw is your go-to tool. But which one do you really need? It can be quite confusing. 

But don’t worry! Follow our instructions, and you’ll get the best one for you.

First Two Considerations

Obviously, the primary considerations you should have before selecting a table saw are two things: your budget & your needs.

It’s up to you to decide your budget. So we’re leaving it for you alone. Here we’re talking about the other thing in detail.

Types of Saws

Table saw woodworking is a kind of art and needs a lot of technical and subjective knowledge before you proceed. 

There are two types of table saws: stationary models and job site models. 

Stationary Table Saw

Stationary table saws are designed for ripping large pieces of wood, including breaking down sheet plywood with high-performance motors and premium parts to offer the greatest cut capacity, stability, and support. If you have a workshop and need a table saw that can stand up to frequent and demanding use, a stationary table saw is ideal.

Jobsite Table Saw

Jobsite table saws come in two models: compact or contracted. Compact models are lightweight and generally don’t include a stand or wheelbase and are great for renovations or on-the-go jobs. They are made to be transported easily and carried around at the job site.

The contractor saw is a step up from the portable table saw. It gives you a larger range of cutting capacity or features and often has a collapsible, scissored, or wheeled stand that’s attached to the saw.

There is, however, a new model, which we can call a hybrid. Recently, they are gaining a lot of popularity. It’s like a step up from a contractor saw but just a little bit of a step down from a cabinet style saw.

The Fencing

Make sure to check the fencing system. You need one that gives you a reliable parallel alignment with the blade when you lock the RIP fence in position. This is the best way to get accurate ripping and clean cuts.

Features that You Need

Finally, choose a saw that has the features that matter to you. Obviously, the more features you’ll look for in your saw, the costlier it’s going to be.

Cut Capacity

Look at the rip or cut capacity that the saw offers to both the left and right sides of the blade. If you’re doing basic work, such as trimming the deck and fence board, a rip capacity of 20 inches or lower is sufficient. However, if you’re venturing into more varied work, such as custom carpentry, you’ll need more options. Look for a saw of a minimum of 24 inches to the right of the blade.

The Top

It’s where you work, and you must be very careful to consider how it is. When you have a cast iron top, for example, it adds stability to the table, and there’s less vibration.

Soft Start

A soft start feature will manage the intensity of the motor starter, offering you more refined performance and minimizing the chance of tripping the circuit breaker.

Constant Speed Control

Constant speed control lets you maintain your speed under an unexpected low like a knot in the wood. This reduces the chance of kickback and helps ensure you don’t get a burn in the material.

Bevel Angle Range

Check the bevel angle range on your saw. Generally, you’ll see a range of about -2O to 45O, which is sufficient for most jobs. If you want added versatility, look for a saw with a bevel range that exceeds past 45O.

A saw with a dado capacity allows you to add a dado blade for different kinds of woodworking, such as cabinetry. With some models, you can go up as wide as a half-inch. Some other models allow you to go up as wide as ¾ of an inch.

Multiple Uses

If you have a saw that offers a 10-inch blade, you could use it between your table saw and your miter saw. Your sheet stock blade for your table saw can also be used as a crosscut blade on a miter saw.

Dust Collection

Look for a good dust collection feature that helps keep your workspace clean and safe. Some models can be attached to a wet/dry pack. Dust collection reduces the amount of dust and particles that accumulate inside the machine, helping to prolong the machine’s life. Some of them offer you a port that you can plug a hose in and run the vacuum operation.

The Guard and other safety features

It’s very easy to take off and put back on when you need to. There can be a riving knife also. Riving knives travel up and down with the blade. This means that the blade is always equidistant from the knife regardless of what the height of the blade is.

Look before you start

Make certain that you have your blade adjusted just above the stock that you are cutting.

Another thing you need to be careful of is the speed that you’re feeding the wood through the blade. You don’t want to go too slow because this could leave burn marks on the side. If you go too fast, you’re going to get tears in the woods. Keep on practicing to apply smooth, steady, and consistent flow of the piece you’re cutting.

Finally, Follow the Safety Rules

Now that you know what you’re looking for in a table saw, remember that safety is an essential consideration during use. Read the instruction manual before operating.

You always want to keep all the five fingers on both of your hands. So, don’t allow your hand to get within four inches of the blade. Make sure to use the blade guard and kickback paws that come with your table saw.

Always wear proper safety gear.

You’ve got this!