How To Use a Table Saw

How To Use a Table SawIt’s always a good idea to have someone who knows how to use a table saw handy to help you when you first start. If you don’t have this luxury, then we’ve written a guide to help you learn how to use your new table saw safely and effectively. It’s not hard to do, but table saws can be dangerous if you don’t know what you’re doing. It’s important to know the parts of the saw, how they work, safety procedures, techniques for cutting and proper maintenance of your table saw. We cover all of this to help you learn how to use your table saw in the right way.

Step 1: Read the Manual

Before you plug your saw in to see how it works, read the manual that came along with it. This will give you important information on each part of the saw, where it is, what it’s called and how it works. If your saw did not come with a manual, we encourage you to get online and look up the manual there. Most manufacturers provide this information online.

Step 2: Become Familiar With all of the Parts

The Table is the main part of the saw that holds the blade and gives you a working surface for holding the wood in place. The fence is the long guide that is placed parallel to the blade. It keeps the work at a constant distance from the blade when you’re using it.

The Fence Dog is the level that locks the fence in place. When you want to move the fence you lift the hand of the Fence Dog. To lock the fence in place, simply press it down.

The Blade is the part that cuts the wood. There are a few different types of table saw blades but most are standard. Next is the Blade Insert is an insert that fills the hole that is there for swapping out the blades. There is usually a 1/8th-inch gap on both sides of the blade. You can also use an insert that is called a zero clearance insert. You use this when you need to cut really thin strips to keep the from falling into the gap that is created with a standard insert. If you’re using a Dado blade you’ll need to use an extra wide gapped insert.

The Blade Height Adjustment wheel is the wheel that adjusts the height of your blade. The Blade Angle Adjustment Lever changes the angle of the blade in relation to the table. Finally, the Power Button turns the machine on and it turns the machine off.

Safety Precautions

Safety is the first concern when learning to use a table saw. Accidents can happen quickly and easily. The blade can cut off fingers and worse. In addition, cutting wood causes wood chips and sawdust to be thrown around the work area. It’s important that you respect the dangers of this machine. Take appropriate safety measures to protect yourself from injury and never act carelessly when using the saw. Always pay attention to what you are doing and never leave the saw unattended when you’re using it around others including children.

Safety Gear

The noise can be loud enough to damage your hearing so it’s recommended that you wear earphones to lessen the noise that gets through. You should also wear sturdy safety goggles to protect your eyes from flying debris and sawdust. When working with wood it’s easy to get slivers so you should also wear well-fitting strong gloves to protect your fingers and hands.

Types of Cuts You Will Make

There are three types of cuts that you can make with a table saw. These are cross cut, ripping cut and dado cut.

  • Crosscut
  • Ripping cut
  • Dado-cut

Crosscut: This type of cut is a cut that is across the grain of the wood, generally. It can also be a cut across a narrower part of the board as well. You make a cross cut by using the miter gauge or the sled.

Ripping cut: A ripping cut down down the entire length of the board you are working with. You use the fence set to guide you in making this cut so you get the width that is needed.

Dado-cut: This kind of cut is like a trench and it is wide. It’s often used for joining. You can make a dado cut by using the miter gauge or fence with the regular blade. If you want to make it easier you can simply by a dado blade that will give you faster and more accurate results.

Set the Blade Height

The first thing that you need to do before you get started is to adjust the height of the blade. The most commonly used practice is to set the blade at 1/8th of an inch above the top of the material that you plan to cut. If you’re concerned about tear out at the bottom of the board, you can set the blade height further up, but be warned that it’s more dangerous this way because more of the blade is exposed.

When Making The Cuts

Make sure that your boards are marked so you’ll know where you need to cut. Use the fence guide to keep the board moving in the right positioning. Watch out for kickbacks when working with wood because these abrupt and jarring movements can lead to serious injury. Keep all chunks of wood and excess debris swept away from your work area. Only clear debris when the machine is shut off for your safety.

Table Saw Maintenance

There isn’t a lot that you need to do to keep your table saw maintained. The main things to keep in mind are to keep the debris swept off of the machine. Check your blades regularly to ensure that there are no chips or excessive wear on the teeth. Vacuum or sweep dust away and make sure that the sawdust bin is emptied. Check the drive belt that is located in the rear for wear and replaces any components that are worn to keep the saw in the safest and best operating condition.

The Steps in Order For Using a Table Saw

Now that you know the basics for using a table saw you are ready to begin.

Step 1:

Inspect the saw to make sure the blade is secured in place. Check to make sure that the correct size insert for the type of cuts you will make is in place. Make sure there is no debris and that the blade and work area is clear

Step 2:

Put on your safety equipment including goggles, gloves, and earphones.

Step 3:

Plug in the saw and turn it on

Step 4:

Adjust the blade height so it is just above the material you will cut by 1/8 inch.

Step 5:

Place the material against the fence guard gauge to keep the wood straight. Adjust the guard to hold the wood in the proper position so you get a straight and even cut.

Step 6:

Push the material against the blade and make your cut. Keep a firm hold on the material and be on the lookout for push back. If the material is thick, take extra care to feed it through at a slow and steady pace so you don’t cause the blade to bind. Keep your fingers at a safe distance from the blade.

Step 7:

After you’ve made the cuts needed, make sure to keep the area near the blade and insert clear of sawdust and wood chunks. Turn the machine off and unplug it first, then sweep or vacuum the area so the table saw is ready to use for the next project.

Final Verdict

Using a table saw is not difficult once you get the hang of it. It is, however, dangerous. You should not be afraid of using a table saw but you should respect the machine and be aware of the dangers of operation. Always pay attention to what you’re doing and take the proper safety precautions. Be aware of the things that can happen so you can avoid having the happen to you. A table saw can be used to perform a variety of woodcutting tasks and it can be a fun and amazing machine to use for home projects and more.

About the author

Daniel Sturm

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