How to Use a Table Saw Safely and Correctly

How to use a Table Saw Are you looking forward to learning how to use your table saw safely, efficiently, and in a satisfying way?

Please follow these simple and easy to master info and techniques to work with this popular and powerful tool arsenal effectively. Surely, anyone ambitious about woodworking will eventually realize the need for a table saw to their powerful woodwork gears.

Are you aware that the table saw is typically named after the table supporting material being cut, making it an excellent wood cutting tool, particularly for repetitive and precise cuts?

The good news is that if you are considering buying the best table saw or you have already bought your table saw for your home workshop, below are tips on how to safely and correctly use your table saw.

Fundamentals of a typical table saw.

The cost of a typical table saw will range from $400 for regular models to over $700 for commercial contractor-quality version. Each table saw has a specified range of blade size it can accommodate, with size 10’ being the most popular blade size for it is ideal for common woodworking tasks and carpentry work. Other common table saw sizes include the size 8” table saws, ideal for small work, and size 12 suitable for making deeper cuts, particularly on thicker material.

Note that a typical table saw comprises of several parts, namely;

How to Use a Table Saw

The tabletop.

A typical tabletop has the least measurement of 3’X3, which is probably larger than 4’X6’), among other extensions for various brands. The table is made from cast aluminum and cast iron that rests on a metal cabinet. Due to their weight, most table saws are meant for a stationary working place. However, some portable versions with foldable legs hence easier movement, are available.

Adjustable blade

An adjustable blade that you can easily lower or raise vial a blade-height crank.

Rip Fence

A rip fence, a typical guide bar sited along the saw blade.

Miter Gauge

A miter gauge for assisting the user when making crosscuts.

Blade Guards

A Blade guards enclose the blade during the cutting process as a measure of protection if your fingers near the blade.

Push Sticks

Push sticks is for allowing the user to feed wood into the saw without necessarily getting your fingers too close to the rotating blade.

Additional accessories

Other additional accessories include the table extensions, rollers, clamps, and vacuum attachments.

Safety concerns to observe before using your table saw.

Remember, several experience tables saw users have serious injuries due to ignoring some safety concerns about their table saw. For instance, it is common for the material being cut can easily get kicked back, thus throwing them at extremely high velocity, which can be fatal if it hits someone or violently jerking it to pull your fingers toward the rotating blade. To mitigate such kickback risks, then;

  • Do not switch on your table saw while the material being cut is touching or near the blade
  • Ensure to use a rip fence anytime you are making the rip cuts
  • Ensure to use a miter gauge when making crosscuts rather than the rip fence.
  • Let the material being cut remain flat on the table during the cut.

Besides, follow the manufacturer’s safety provisions that come with your new table saw since this will help you understand how to prevent kickbacks. Ensure you are in full protection gear such as ear protection gear and goggles while running your gadget.

How to Use a Table Saw Effectively

How to make the various table saw cuts.

With the right combination of accessories such as stops, jigs, and clamps, you can make cuts such as compound angles, dado cuts, and rabbet joints. However, most woodworkers rely on their table saw for two main cut types, namely, Crosscutting and Ripping. While ripping involves cutting materials to a particular width, Crosscutting involves cutting material to a particular length.

How to rip cut.

Are you aware that ripping is the easiest cut you can make with your table saw? This is particularly due to the saw’s rip fence that you can easily adjust to your choice widths. Besides, it serves as a guide for the material you are cutting.

First step.

Fit the appropriate rip blade into the blade arbor located at the top of the table, and this should be after unplugging your table saw from the main power source. Remember, the type of material you’ll be cutting dictates the type of blade to use. Make the blade height adjustments such that the top blade doesn’t rise with more than ¼ of the thickness of the material you’ll be cutting. For instance, if you are looking forward to ripping a relatively long wood piece from a ½ inch plywood, adjust the blade such that it isn’t more than ¾ higher above the tabletop. This is achieved by using the arbor nut wrench. Most tables saw comes with a nut wrench for loosening the arbor nuts that hold your table saw blade firmly in place. Remember to position the rib blade while its teeth face the front side of the table saw since a typical saw blade spins top downward or simply towards you. This means that sharp blades teeth must face the front of your table saw but not vice-versa. Ensure to tighten the arbor nuts for safety purposes fully.

Second step.

Ensure to place the rip fence by letting loose the locking level positioned at the front of the fence, which otherwise locks the fence on that position. Carefully slide the rip fence such that its inner edges equal your desired cut width. You can as well use the ruler availed on the front of your table saw, although you shouldn’t depend on this ruler fully when measuring your cuts. Instead, use the precision tape to measure the distance from the rip fence’s closed edge to the saw blade teeth. Note that saw blade teeth rotate in an alternating motion such that some teeth rotate toward the right while others toward the left. The advantage of measuring the closet edge is that you will be able to accurately determine the amount of wood that the blade cuts away (the kerf).

Third step.

Plugin your table saw and carefully place the wood you will be putting on the table. Ensure to alight it perfectly with the rip fence but not touching the blade until you switch on your machine. Besides, let the blade rotation reach its full speed since this prevents unwanted kickbacks.

Fourth step.

Slowly guide the wood being cut and ensure to keep it firmly along the rip fence using both of your hands. Besides, control the material by keeping it at a level position along the tabletop and tightly alighted to the fence. However, when ripping some large and thick boards, both hands must use both hands to guide the material as you start cutting and one hand as the cutting nears completion. A table extension is particularly important if the material is long enough and extends past the tabletop. You can alternatively use helper supporters but never work at the behind of the table saw since this can cause the material to lift off the blade, increasing chances of kickback.

Fifth step.

Using a push stick can help your fingers keep away from the rotating blade when the cutting is nearing completion. A push stick is a special type of stick designed to guide the material being cut, particularly when making narrow rips that would otherwise endanger your fingers when cutting a few inches.

Table saw

How to make crosscuts.

Here, it is essential to remember that a rip fence shouldn’t be used when making crosscuts on your table saw. Although the rip fence stabilizes long lengths, most crosscuts involve making cuts on fairly narrow material, such as cutting a wood piece into half or chopping off the unwanted board end. Since there isn’t enough material to perfectly fit the rip fences lengthwise, any attempt to use the rip fence escalates chances of kickbacks.

A miter gauge includes a guide fence for stabilizing the material and a bar that sips into the deep groove on the tables’ surface. Once you fit the bar on the groove, the entire miter gauge will slide from the anterior to the rear of your table saw, which can help control the cutting. Besides, it includes a protractor shaped guide that you can easily adjust by loosening its knob and then choosing the right angle for your cuts before retightening the knob.

First step.

Unplug your table saw from the power source and insert the correct cross blade into your table saw arbor, similar to that on “how to rip.”

Second step.

On the miter gauge, adjust the protractor guide to cut either the mitered (angled) or straight crosscuts.

Third step.

Alight and place your material along the anterior edge of your miter gauge. You can use clamps to secure the material when necessary.

Fourth Step.

Plugin your table saw and switch it one but do not let the wood touch the blade until the blade attains its full spinning speed.

Fifth step.

Carefully and firmly slide the full miter gauge and the material to be cut forward but slowly through the rotating blade.

Sixth step.

Switch off the table saw before you retrieve the cut off parts near the blade.


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