When doing that heavy duty cutting for a major home improvement project DIYers want the best table saws they can get. Using a table saw correctly and to the best advantage requires making the right choice when you’re buying your table saw. This HIR review offers some key tips to help you make the best choice.
Choosing a Table Saw Review
Here are some the key features to look for in a table saw, as well as some helpful techniques that you should know.
Blade: The key feature of course is the one that does the work for which you bought the saw to beginw with – you want to have the blade right. The standard 10-inch carbide-tipped blade can crosscut a 4×4. However, you can improve that performance with a 40-tooth combination blade. There are also specialty blades to cut particleboard and other materials.
Anti-kickback pawls: These are sharp-toothed arms built in to prevent the cut material from pulling backward under the motion of the rotating blade. You’ll get a superior performance out of them if they’re sharpened. Try using a smooth-cut file to get this effect.
Splitter: This is a feature located directly behind the blade; it keeps the blade from binding into the wood, which can happen if the saw kerf starts to close up. It should be properly mounted on the motor assembly. When properly mounted, it rises and falls along with the saw blade. Some splitters also adjust to match the width of the kerf.
Rip fence: This feature controls the width of the rip. When choosing your table saw, shop for one with a a fence that grabs onto and rides on front and back rails and that can be adjusted for parallel.
Table size: The blade may be the key to what you can do, but the table is the key to how much of it you can do and how fast. In that way, it’s equally important for work efficiency. Something to look for is an optional right-side extension. This feature increases capacity for reaching a 4×8 sheet’s center. Also, look for a rear bar; it supports the wood as it exits. It’s a good idea, though, to still rig up outfeed support (a stand, sawhorses, or a table). Keep it a ¼ inch lower than the saw.
Table insert (also called the throat plate): This is the plate that fits around the blade. It is important that it is level with the table surface and fits closely around the blade. If your saw fails to meet these criteria, small pieces will drop through, creating both inconvenience and safety hazards. Getting the fit right may require the plate to be shimmed.
The right height: For safety and effectiveness screw down the saw solidly, through the holes provided. A wood table with wide-spaced legs, tall enough to put the worktop at 36 inches, would be the ideal choice. A higher surface will be too tall for best comfort and safety, unless of course you are exceptioanlly tall.
On/Off switch: This is something easily overlooked, but you shouldn’t. The on/off switch should be at the front of the machine, providing easy access to swat or knee into the “off” position without fumbling. This is an essential if often overlooked safety feature. Also, look for a saw with a plastic safety key or a way to padlock the switch shut when not in use.
Collapsible stand: If your saw comes with one of these, great, just don’t use it. Forget the convenience, it’s not going to be as stable and secure as being screwed to a sturdy wooden bench. See above.
Elevation wheel: This feature will control your blade height and depth of cut.
Blade tilt handle: This feature allows you to angle the blade for bevel cuts up to 45 degrees left. Make sure it has an adjusting screw or bolt so you can set the 90- and 45-degree stop points precisely.
Total weight: It’s a trade off thing; you have to consider your own needs and priorities. Basically, the heavier saw will be more stable and provide better security, while the lighter saw will be more portable and perhaps provide more diverse utility.
Miter gauge: This is a removable fixture you’ll want for square and mitered crosscuts. Be sure that it fits snugly and moves freely in the saw’s table slots. You want one that calibrates at 45 and 90 degrees.
Blade guard: Just because it’s obvious is no reason not to pay it proper attention. Protecting the user from the spinning blade, this is an essential feature of the saw and it must never be removed. Be sure to choose one that rises up parallel to the table; it stays on top of the cut-piece.
Exhaust duct: Finally, a table saw can make one heck of a mess. Make sure you choose one with a debris exhaust duct on back of the saw. Better still is one that will fit wet/dry vac. Failing that feature, you can use a trash bin under the duct to catch the debris.
Hope this table saw review helps you find the best table saws and gives you some good tips on using a table saw efficiently and safely.