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Table Saws – a Toolstop Buying Guide

Table Saws – a Toolstop Buying Guide

Posted by Toolstop Colin on 16th Dec 2013

Why Own a Table, Bench or Site Saw?

Table, bench and site saws will allow you to perform crosscut, rip, mitre, and bevel cuts safely and with ease. A big advantage of using this type of saw over a mitre or circular saw for these cuts is that saw is stationary, allowing you to easily see the cut as you make it, keeping you safe into the bargain, especially important when performing big cuts in big workpieces.

The saw will be mounted on your workbench or on saw or leg stand.

How many of you find yourself working in a relatively small area on the job site?

If that’s the case for you, and you need to cut wood, then choosing a table or site saw that allows you to work in fairly confined spaces is important. This Toolstop guide will take you through what you should be looking for when buying a table or site saw.

Your demands for a such a saw will be high but will need to factor the ability to work in a small space. What should you be looking for?

Blade Size

table saw guide WHY DOES BLADE SIZE MATTER
A blade size of around 10″ or around 254mm is important. This will give you decent cutting capacities but will also allow you to swap blades with your 10″ mitre saw (click here for the Toolstop mitre saw buying guide).

Expandable Sides

A great feature of a good table or site saw is the ability to extend the sides out allowing you to cut larger workpieces, even if you’re in a small work area (or as space allows).

The larger the table is the more work support surface you have, so the bigger you can get the better.

Riving Knife

A riving knife is an important kick-back safety feature. Look out for the ability to remove or adjust it to allow you to make concealed cuts. That being said, it’s fitted on the saw for a reason, namely your safety.

Blade Adjustment

table saw guide WHY DOES BLADE ADJUSTMENT MATTER
Easy blade adjustment is important and should typically be found at the front of the saw, usually in the form of a wheel that you turn or move to adjust the height of the blade for thicker workpieces, or the angle of the blade for bevel cuts.

Side Fence

table saw guide WHY DOES HAVING A SIDE FENCE MATTER
The rip fence should securely and safely grip the front and back of the table parallel to the blade. Some rip fences can be adjusted up or down depending the work piece you’re cutting and the type of cut you’re making.

Mitre Gauge

This will allow you to make mitre cuts, but the gauge should fit safely and securely into the table itself at the angle you desire.

Blade Guard and Dust Extraction

table saw guide WHY DOES HAVING DUST EXTRACTION MATTERIt goes without saying that the blade on a table or site saw is going to be spinning at high speeds, so your protection from it is paramount.

Therefore the guard should sit parallel to the table, moving up on top of your workpiece while you cut.

A push stick will typically be supplied with your saw.

And as you’re probably working in a confined area, dust extraction is paramount. Look for a system that will allow you to connect the saw to a dust extractor; this is a health and safety requirement.

Check out the manufacturer’s technology in terms of the extractor port and exhaust pipe.

What Toolstop Recommends – See All the Table Saws Here

Click the link above to visit the category page for table saws. Here you’ll be able to make an informed choice based on price and specification.

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UPDATE:

Ed Redfern has added the following thoughts to this article (click here to read his entire piece):

When you check a saw over, check the play on the bed, spindle play to the blade (some are belt transfer drive and some are direct drive) check play on the mitre fence.

If there’s wobble on the mitre fence, don’t touch it because this causes more problems with material cutting than anything else.

Your saw will be used for rough and fine cutting, so it’s important to look at your saw’s performance and blades you’ll be working with. I recommend a minimum 3 blades for your saw and this depends on the size of your saw and cutting capacities.

You’ll need a ripping blade which is a coarse tooth (lower quantity tooth set), a general purpose crosscut / rip blade something like a 48 tooth or higher depending on blade diameter, also a fine or super fine for cross cutting or fine board cutting to minimise tear-out on the cut.

Dust extraction to any table saw is essential and a requirement of Health and safety regulations to any working environment.

So, when cutting, your best configuration to a saw is over and under extraction mounts, so you extract from under the blade and from above the blade at the guard source.

At the end of the day, it’s up to you as a contractor, joiner, etc as to what your saw needs to do and what you expect of it, where your saw’s going, etc.

Remember, cheap isn’t best.

Buy the best saw system you can afford, after all, it’s one of the primary investments you’ll ever make. Don’t forget, your saw can do many things for you, just utilise it to it’s requirements and your requirements.

You can add your voice to the discuss, simply leave a comment in the box below.

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