A table saw is one of the most important power tools for a woodworker or for a DIY worker. You can call it as the workhorse of your workshop. If someone has DIY as a hobby then sooner or later he or she will definitely need table saws on a good budget for their work. So, they must have to learn about table saw usage. And if you are a professional woodworker then a table saw is just as much necessary for you as sunlight is necessary for plants. But, I would remind you that as important it is, a table saw is also known as the most dangerous, ruthless and unforgiving tool you will ever work with. Lots of woodworkers have lost their fingers or cut themselves or committed some kind of accidents once or more in their lifetime when working with a table saw.
A table saw can be used for making various kinds of cuts. Such as- cross cuts, rip cuts and most importantly dado cuts. Table saws are the best and easiest tool for making dado cuts.
The smoothness and roughness of the cuts you will be making with the table saw will depend on the positioning of the height of the blade. We will learn about these things in the later parts of this article. Before that, we will learn about the most essential table saw tips step by step which we MUST know before using a table saw.
Here are 6 Steps of Table Saw Usage…
These 6 steps are very effective for achieving the right ideas about a table saw with a comprehensive guide to table saw.
Step-1 #Safety About The Table Saw Usage
We all know that the power tools are all very dangerous. And among them, the table saw is the most dangerous of all. Many people have lost their fingers or hurt their eye or got seriously wounded some other body parts while operating a table saw. While it is one of the most versatile of all other power tools, it will also give you a very hard time when you are using it. No matter how much experienced you are in woodworking in using this saw, you MUST maintain extreme cautiousness and use the table saw with safety.
After all these warnings I do not think I have to tell you about wearing safety equipment. The things you need for protection are eye protection, ear protection, a mask for protecting your nose and your internal organs. It is also wise not to wear too loose clothing or pieces of jewelry which are extended from your body.
As I have told you before, the table saw usage could be one of the most dangerous power tools or you can call it as the most dangerous power tool of all. You cannot bring your hands anywhere near the blades when you are working with it or when the blade is spinning. Keep your hands at least 6 inches away from the blade always. When you are working on a small or thin piece of wood or making a narrow cut, there are some tools specially made for pushing the workpiece as an alternative of your hands. They are called push sticks and push shoes.
You can use any one of them for pushing the wood piece forward for cutting instead of your hands. But it is said that a push shoe is much easier and comfortable to use rather than a push stick. It is not mandatory for you to use push shoe instead of a push stick. But it is mandatory for you to use any one of them instead of your hands when you are involved in table saw usage.
A very major problem about table saw usage is a kickback. The blade of the table saw spins forward downwards. So sometimes the blade bites into the wood while spinning at a great speed. Due to this kickbacks are produced. This is why you cannot use boards which are wet. They are the most prone subject for the kickback. The same warning is applicable for warped or twisted boards. They also kickback when you cut them with a table saw.
When the blade bites the workpiece at a great speed, it produces violent vibrations. Sometimes it throws the wood towards the operator at a very high speed. For this reason, you cannot, you must not stand right in front of the blade while cutting. And you also have to make sure that nobody else gets anywhere near the path of the front side of the blade. The projectile will have great velocity, and if it hits you, any kind of major injury may occur. Always stand somewhere or anywhere beside the saw except for standing right in front of it.
There is another problem of binding of wood in some cases of the table saw usage. It is not a major problem. And it has an easy solution. We will discuss it later. But there are some things you should also know before you start cutting. You should never start the saw when it is touching the cutting material. The above-mentioned problems appear because of this. Then, you should not use the rip fence of your saw for cutting both rip cuts and cross cuts. It is clear from the name itself. You should use rip fence for rip cuts. And for cross cuts, you will need an additional miter gauge.
Step-2 #Varieties of The Table Saw
Benchtop saw: A benchtop table saw is also called portable saw because of its ability to be moved or carried easily. It is smaller than other table saws. You cannot use for heavy works as its size is small and its table too. It is hard to make a straight cut and crosscut on a large workpiece with benchtop saws. And you also have to add a stand for it. It does not come with any stand or legs. Another important thing to tell you about benchtop table saw usage is that it vibrates a lot. But if you are a new learner, it is the best tool for learning how to use a table saw. Besides, it is cheapest and you can carry it anywhere you want.
Contractor saw: Contractor saw is larger, has more powerful motor and some of them come with wheels. So you can easily move it here and there inside your workshop. This saw can be used for much heavier use than a benchtop saw. It is not so expensive and you can use it for almost all kinds of works.
Cabinet saw: It is the most powerful type of saw. You can use this saw for all types of heavy duty works. Its vibration is less and durability is more. They are designed for professional use. You can cut large, long or any type of wood with this saw.
Step-3 #Body Parts
A table saw is made up of different parts. Here, the most important of them are briefed.
Table: It is obvious that the table saw will come with a table. The large, flat surface in which the blade is situated and on which you will work is the table of your saw.
Fence: It is also called the rip fence. It is the long extended guide parallel to the blade. It used as a guide for making rip cuts.
Blade: We all know what a blade is. It is circular, teethed, spinning thing which makes the cut.
Insert: The hole, through which the blade inserted, has some open areas around the blade. To fill up that area, an insert is used.
Blade Height Adjustment Wheel: Using this wheel you will adjust the height of your blade as necessary.
Blade guard: Some very brave people remove the blade guard of a table saw. As I have warned you before, the table saw is the fearsome tool of all. So do not challenge your life against it. You will never win. If you have removed the guard, reinstall it quickly. If you have it in place, please, use it. Always lower the guard when you are cutting. The guard will protect you if the saw starts kicking back or starts throwing debris. It is the last protection of your fingers from the blade.
Step-4 #Blade Height
Blade height is an important cutting factor of the table saw usage. The smoothness of your cut depends on the blade height. You can set the height in two ways.
- Set the height slightly above the workpiece: Place it in such a way that only the teeth are visible above the cutting material.
- Set the height way above the workpiece: This can cut back the wearing out on the edge of the workpiece, but it is more dangerous. If you slip you’ll have way more blade exposed and do way more harm. If you follow smart procedure this will still be safe. But the first way is better.
Step-5 #Changing Blades And Inserts
To change or remove blades, you have to remove the insert first. To do so, raise it up using the hole or press it down at the back so the front will rise. Then you can remove it. Now, to change the blade, after removing the insert, raise its height. Loose the arbor nut of the blade with a wrench. Remove the nut and the blade will come out. Now to attach blade, put the blade in place and nut it tightly with your hand. This tightly does not mean very tight. Nut it slightly tight. Because, the saw is designed such a way that the blade will tighten automatically the first time you will turn the saw on.
Step-6 #Types of Cuts Made by A Table Saw
A table saw can cut in two forms:
- Rip cut
It is the easiest type of cut you can make with a table saw. The rip fence of the saw makes ripping cut very easy for you. At first, place the rip fence in the required place. Lock it down so that it does not move around while cutting. Perform the necessary measurements for cutting and then mark the cut line. Then position the workpiece on the table aligning with the fence. Just place it there. Do not touch the blade before it is started or spinning at full speed. If touch it, get ready to see the terror of the table saw.
After positioning the workpiece, your next job is to adjust the blade height. Then, start the saw. Let the blade reach at full speed before you start cutting. When the blade is at full speed, you can start cutting. Guide the board through the blade slowly. Do not rush the workpiece or else the saw will kickback or bind. Use both of your hands in pushing the board. When the board comes almost to the end, shift to one hand. This is the time to use the push stick or the push horse. When your hand comes too close to the blade, use your push stick/shoe instead of your hand to guide the wood board. Always keep the board tight to the rip fence.
Now, for the binding problem, there is a splitter behind your saw blade. This splitter is there for keeping both parts of wood apart. So, you do not have to worry much about binding. But if you have removed it from the saw, you MUST put it back. Without it, making rip cuts will be very hard as a long piece of wood will bind after cutting.
Making cross-cut with a table saw is a bit troublesome than rip cuts. The fence with the saw is not of any use in crosscut. You need a miter gauge as guise instead of the fence. And be careful, DO NOT use the fence and the miter gauge as guides together. It will cause the wood to bind or will kickback.
Again, about the miter guide, you cannot completely depend on the markings of on it. You have to buy a drafting triangle. The main trick to make a perfect crosscut is to square up the miter gauge to the saw blade. And to do so, you will need the triangle. Loose the handle of the miter gauge and place the triangle along the blade. Adjust the gauge till either side of your drafting triangle runs at a 90-degree angle against the blade and also the miter gauge. Once it’s excellent, retighten the handle on the gauge to carry it in situ.
Use your hand to drag the miter gauge handle and set the gauge to the rear of the saw. With your other hand, hold your board against the edge of the miter gauge. Keep your fingers off at least six inches far from the saw blade.
Now, push the board towards the blade to make the cut. Other rules for making a typical cut apply from here. Push slowly. Do not force it into the blade. If you force, the saw will react also.
After finishing the cut, turn the saw off and pull back the board.
In case any accident occurs, use the emergency button to turn the saw off. You should also know that if you use a sharp blade and flat board, you can prevent the wood from splintering and chipping. The table saw usage is very easy if you know how to use it or extremely hard if you do not know how to use it. The user just has to be wise, expert and a bit careful when using a table saw.