A table saw is a powerful tool that can make repeated precise cuts and can work with all kinds of materials. It’s a must for every serious woodworker to learn how to use a table saw. If you’re eyeing a new table saw or you want to learn the basics, consider the following guide on what to do and what not to do with a table saw.
Do’s of using a table saw
- Do learn table saw basic operation.
The most common table saw blade size is 10 inches. This blade is perfect for almost all woodworking and carpentry tasks. Some table saws have 8-inch blades which are used for small tasks while huge table saws with 12-inch blades are for cutting large pieces of lumber and other thick material.
Operating a table saw is easy as long as you understand the different table saw parts and the different parts and accessories. Table saws may be available from different manufacturers and brands but they are all operated the same way.
- Do learn about table saw parts and accessories.
You must learn about the different table saw parts and accessories and how to use and assemble them for your needs.
- Table top – a 3 x 3 or a 4 x 6 table top is common. These tables come with extensions to allow you to cut larger and wider materials. Most of these tables are made from cast aluminum or steel and sits on a metal stand or a heavy cabinet.
- Table saws are known for being stationary tools however, there are portable saws equipped with collapsible legs so it’s easy to move anywhere.
- Table saw blade – the blade is the rotating cutting component of a table saw. The typical wheel has jagged, crooked blades that can easily slice through any thick material. Saw blades are raised to allow you to load the material you wish to use and lowered to cut the material. You use a blade height lever or crank to raise or lower a saw blade.
- Rip fence – the rip fence is the term for a bar that’s installed parallel to the blade. This guides the material so you can cut these at the right size or length.
- Miter gauge – when you need to make crosscuts, you need a miter gauge to ensure that you’re creating perfect cuts each time.
- Blade guards – this component covers the blade while it’s cutting. A blade guard protects your hands and fingers as you move the material closer to the saw blade.
- Push sticks – it’s dangerous to move your fingers closer to the blade so you need push sticks to do this safely.
- Additional accessories like rollers, table extensions, and vacuum attachments – there are different brands of table saws and these may have more accessories like table extensions, clamps, rollers, and attachments to connect to a shop vac.
- Do understand table saw safety
Table saws are powerful and dangerous if you don’t practice safety measures. If you overlook safety and you are not aware of the proper handling of material as you use the saw, the piece you’re cutting may be forced back and thrown at very high speeds. If you are unable to control the table saw, the material can jerk intensely and pull your fingers and hands to the blade. To avoid these, remember the following:
- Do not power on the saw if the material you want to cut is still in contact with the table.
- Use the provided rip fence if you’re creating rip cuts. Do not DIY this technique.
- Use the provided miter gauge if you’re creating crosscuts. Do not use the rip fence as this does not provide good support.
- To avoid jerking and any unnecessary movements, place the material you wish to cut flat on the table top.
- Always wear protective clothing and accessories like work gloves, goggles, aprons, earplugs, and mask.
- When changing or aligning the blade, make sure that the saw is always unplugged from the power outlet.
- Always follow safety recommendations from the manufacturer and never remove the saw’s safety guards.
- Keep your table saw well maintained to ensure proper operation and safety.
Don’ts of using a table saw
- Don’t use a table saw without wearing protective gear.
You must always wear your protective gear and accessories when working with a table saw. If you manage a shop that uses table saws, remind your workers to wear protective gear always.
- Don’t use a table saw on an uneven surface.
Working on an uneven surface can affect the saw’s balance and cutting performance. Place the table saw and saw cabinet on an even surface. Adjust the legs to ensure that the ground is even and it’s safe to operate the saw.
- Don’t let an inexperienced person use a table saw.
Do not allow a child or a minor to operate a table saw. Never allow an inexperienced operator to use the saw. It’s best to support your basic knowledge of using a table saw with professional training. If your business requires the use of a table saw, make sure that your worker has received correct training on power saw operation.
- Do not substitute or use parts of other table saws
Refer only to the manufacturer’s instructions on how to use a table saw and if there are substitutes from other brands. There are generic table saw blades available but make sure that these are the same size or better yet, compatible with the saw you’re using before you purchase.
- Don’t operate a table saw when you’re intoxicated or under medication.
Never attempt to operate any power tool when you’re intoxicated or have taken medications that can impair your judgment. Always keep safe.
Learning how to use a table saw is critical in any woodworking project. There are so many great projects you can work on using a table saw but make sure to follow safety measures and use only recommended parts and accessories.
What can you say about our list of the dos and don’ts of using a table saw? Comment your suggestions below. If you like this article, share it with anyone who would like to learn how to use a table saw.