Categories
tools

How to Choose a Table Saw For Woodworking

The table saw is the heart and soul of every woodworking shop, so you want to buy the best tool you can comfortably afford. Take the time to learn which features you really want and the saw that best fits your budget and your needs. This tool is one that you will use on virtually every woodworking project, and a prudent purchase will provide a lifetime of good service.

The table-saw is designed to cut in straight lines. Whether you intend to cut with or against the grain or on any angle, you want the table saw to create a straight line. There are some factors that conspire against you, and your ability to fix them will depend on your willingness to make the necessary adjustments. Refer to the tips section below for advice.

Configurations

Stationary Table Saws are usually setup in one location as a permanent fixture and generally have more power than portable saws. The added power enables the saw to run knives and cutters designed to mill and remove large amounts of stock. Stationary saws usually accept more accessories than portable saws. Stationary saws also suffer from fewer blade alignment issues than portable table saws.

Portable Table Saws make long, straight rip cuts (with the wood grain) and repeated crosscuts (across the wood grain) much more quickly and accurately than ordinary circular saws. Portable table saws perform many of the functions of larger stationary table saws but have a definite advantage in their mobility. High mobility makes them the perfect choice for framing and deck building. They’re also a good choice for small shops with limited space.

Miscellaneous Features

Extension Tables mount to the side of the table saw and provide a larger and more stable work surface when cutting wide stock. These extend to the sides of the blade/saw.

Out Feed Extensions give extra support during long rip cuts. These extend behind the saw/blade.

Accessory Tables increase the versatility of your table saw and can turn your table saw into a router table, shaper, or even a scroll saw.

Sliding Miter Tables slide in the miter slot, square with the blade and provide very accurate miter cuts.

Dado Heads cut wide, straight slots in a single pass. Dados are especially useful in joinery and shelving applications.

Mobile Bases give stationary saw mobility. Most mobile bases have casters that lock to keep the saw stationary when it is in use. Mobile bases are good options for small shops or shops in shared spaces so you can roll the saw out of the way when not in use.

Choosing Table Saw Blades

Sizes

Eight-Inch Table Saws are a good choice for crafts and other applications associated with thinner stock.

Ten-Inch Table Saws provide the extra cutting depth needed for angled cuts in thicker stock.

Types

Steel Blades are inexpensive and work well for cutting softwood. Steel blades dull quickly in hardwood.

High-Speed Steel Blades are harder than steel blades and stay sharp longer.

Carbide-Tipped Blades are more expensive than other blades, but they stay sharp much longer than steel or high-speed steel.