The table saw has been around for centuries and is still widely used today. It’s a very versatile piece of equipment that can be used in many different ways. This blog post will go into detail about what you should know when buying a table saw for your own workshop.
What is a table saw
A table saw is a table-like saw which occupies the middle, table section. The table is used to support the materials to be cut while they are moved past a circular blade also known as a disc or saw blade. There are different table saws depending on their power source and construction.
A table saw consists of an articulated arm that supports the saw at one end. The table is often flat in the middle and raised to varying degrees at the outer edges in a form that can be called a skirt. Additionally, there are typically one or more wooden holders for supporting shorter workpieces to the table while being cut.
Why do you need a table saw?
Table saws are mainly used for cutting wood, but can also be used to cut other materials including soft metals and plastic. This table saw guide will take a detailed look at table saws and what they’re useful for.
A table saw is the perfect tool for cutting chopping boards into even smaller pieces. It’s a precise way of doing so and table saws can be adjusted to cut through very thick wood easily.
Cutting long boards down to size
Some table saws have huge table sizes which are great for cutting down large boards into shorter ones that are more manageable. There are table saw models that have an adjustable table height too, making it really easy to cut different thicknesses of material.
Wood table saws are perfect for making wood joints, cuts that can’t be made with other tools. It’s a very sturdy piece of equipment that will provide you with accurate cuts every time which makes them popular in many workshops.
For cutting curves
Curves are easy to cut on table saws and it’s a perfect tool for making picture frames that require accurate angles. It allows you to create curves in many different materials such as wood, metal and plastic. Table saws also make the process easy without too much time consuming sanding afterwards.
Cutting large pieces
If you need to cut down larger pieces of wood then table saws are perfect. They can make cuts through vastly different materials, including metal which is what makes them so popular in workshops. They’re incredibly sturdy too and provide clean cut results every time.
Cutting through sheet material
A table saw is the best tool for cutting sheet material to size quickly without too much preparation required beforehand or post cutting. It’s perfect for those who need to cut down a lot of different materials and saves you time and effort overall.
Cleaning up cuts
A table saw can clean up any cuts and leave them nice and smooth, making it easy to sand afterwards should you need to. They’re great for getting the job done quickly, making table saws popular with many woodworkers.
What table saw is best for you?
The table in table saws can come in different sizes, shapes and designs so it’s important to think about what material you’ll be cutting most before buying one. The power source also needs to be considered because it determines the table saws portability and power, which both impact on what table saw is best for you.
Portable table saws
Portable table saws are perfect for those who need to cut down small pieces of material on the go. They’re also great for anyone that doesn’t have a workshop because they don’t require so much set up. However, table saws with larger table surfaces are more suited for this purpose because portable table saws can struggle cutting through long pieces of wood.
Non-portable, powerful table saws
Fixed table saws are great for larger table surfaces and they’re more powerful than portable table saws, but they don’t have the portability that makes them ideal for cutting down smaller pieces of material on site for example. However, fixed table saws can be a good option in a workshop setting because they provide a large table surface area and more power.
Types of table saws
There are different types of table saws: cabinet table saws, benchtop, jobsite, compact, contractor, hybrid, mini and micro and sliding.
So table saw guides should discuss this in more depth, including the pros and cons of using each type of table saw because certain materials need to be cut on specific table saws.
Cabinet table saws
They’re sturdy and provide more stability that bench table saws which makes them better for cutting larger pieces through many different materials.
Benchtop table saws
Benchtop table saws are smaller, with a surface area of between 15 and 24 inches. They’re more lightweight than other table saw types which makes them ideal for those wanting to cut down smaller pieces on site or in their workshop. However, they don’t provide as much stability as cabinet table saws which can be a problem when cutting through different materials.
Jobsite table saws
Jobsite table saws are slightly larger than benchtop models which makes them more steady. Their table surface area is between 15 and 30 inches, which is great for cutting down both bigger and smaller pieces of material depending on what’s being cut.
Compact table saws
Compact table saws are much larger than portable saws , but still lighter in weight which makes them perfect table saws for cutting down larger pieces of material that are lightweight. Their table surface areas are around 30 to 42 inches, with some being slightly smaller or larger depending on the table saws design.
Contractor table saws
Contractor table saws are ideal for those looking for a medium sized table saw. Their table surface areas are between 30 and 42 inches with some tables having slightly larger or smaller dimensions depending on the design of the contractor table saw.
Hybrid table saws
Hybrid table saws are fairly new table saw types that combine the portability of a bench top with the power of a contractor saw. They’re lightweight for their size and offer high levels of power which makes them great for larger workshop settings, but not ideal for those looking to cut down smaller pieces on site because they’re much larger.
Mini table saws and micro table saws
Mini table saws are ideal for those looking to cut smaller pieces of material at a workshop setting, but they’re not as powerful as bench top or contractor types which can make them difficult for cutting through different materials – something a table saw buying guide should discuss.
Sliding table saws
Sliding table saws are similar to cabinet types as they’re larger and more powerful, but they’re also heavier because of their sliding table surface that moves the material through the blade. They provide much more stability than other table saw types which makes them ideal for cutting through large pieces of material because they tend to be much heavier.
Table saw safety tips and precautions
Safety precautions are important when using a table saw. Therefore, make sure:
- That you have a designated area to cut materials where there is no clutter or obstacles.
- Keep one hand on the handle at all times and keep your fingers away from the blade.
- Ensure the blade is lower than the top of the wood before starting to cut.
- Place a fence or straight edge next to the blade before cutting
- Make sure you always unplug your power cord when putting together, cleaning, adjusting and storing your table saw.
- Turn off the table saws power before plugging or unplugging the cord.
- When blade guard is down, never reach under it for any reason.
- Ensure there are no children, animals or other distractions in your workshop when using a table saw.
- Read the table saws manual and
- Ensure you wear safety glasses and sturdy shoes. You should also wear gloves.
– Dust bags or attachments
– Feeder/riving knife (debris shield) attachments
– Rip fences are ideal for cutting straight lines
– Miter gauge can help you make precise cuts at different angles (45, 90 and 135 degrees)
– Table saws should be connected to a dust collector or vacuum system for optimal performance.
– An anti backlash device should be connected to the blade arbor when using a table saw.
– Table saws should be securely attached to the floor or workbench for added stability and safety.
When deciding on the best table saw type, there are many things to consider such as price, size of the saw and what type of table saw is best suited for the type of work you’ll be doing. There are different types of table saws with a range of features that can make them ideal for certain settings or materials, but not so great in others. We hope this buying guide has helped you make an informed decision about which type of table saw will suit your needs. If there is anything we can do to help, please feel free to contact us!