No doubt, a table saw is a must-have wood-cutting tool most especially when you have a large wood workshop. Its versatility and impressive features make it a first choice cutting equipment amongst woodworkers. However, we have found out that owning a table saw is not just enough. Mastering useful techniques to make you derive maximum utility from it without compromising safety is essential. We have tailored the content of this article to provide you with top tips to improve your skill in table saw handling while propelling you to the next level in your craft.
Figure 1: Carpenter operating table.
Table of Contents
1.Choose your blade and mount on the table saw
In the quest to becoming pro, useful hacks for choosing the best blade for your job is vital. Once you select your preferred blade, mounting it on the table, saw arbor follows. If you desire to get a blade that would work hard just as you do, then you should consider the following factors enumerated below before getting that blade
• The direction of cut, i.e., a rip cut or a cross-cut
Finding the direction of cut is majorly due to the nature of chips that each of this cut produces. The rip cut is one that is parallel to the wood grain produces long continuous chips while the cross-cut, which is usually perpendicular to the wood grain, produces infinitely small and short chips, more like sawdust.
• Number of teeth
One thing you should bear in mind in selecting your saw blade is that the number of teeth determines how excellent your cut will be. Blades with higher tooth per inch produces finer cuts with little or no chips, and this is desirable for any job. We recommend nothing less than a 40-tooth blade for rip cuts. 60 tooth and 80-tooth are suitable for sheet and melamine cutting in either direction of cut.
• Tooth Geometry
Typical tooth geometry such as the ATB (Alternate tooth blade) and TCG (Triple chip grind blade) are perfect for ripping and cross-cutting. Standard positive hook angle should range from 10 degrees to 20 degrees for this tooth geometry.
If you feel it is too much of a stress to get specific saw blades for your different cuts, then you can purchase a combination blade to serve for all-purpose.
Figure 1: Rip-cutting a wood on a table saw.
2.Applying special cutting techniques
If you need to make cuts such as taper, dado or rabbet cut. You need to equip yourself with the know-how on achieving such cuts without error. In doing this, you might need to engage some extra component to your table saw. Let’s take a look at how to make the unique cuts stated above:
It is also called angled cuts and below are the steps to cutting a taper:
a.Layout the portion to cut on the workpiece using a pencil. The left side is the finished part, while the right side is the discard part.
b.Temporarily screw a larger board than the workpiece as a guide along the discarded end of the workpiece.
c.Set the fastened piece against the fence according to its width and make your cut.
d.The finished part should drop off on the table while the discard remains attached to the larger guide board.
A dado cut is such that it allows another wood fit into the workpiece. It is straightforward to create a dado cut. A standard blade is okay for this cut. Here are the simple steps to follow to create one:
a.Set the table saw blade to a height that will correspond to the depth of the dado.
b.Mark-out the width and height of the intended dado cut on the workpiece
c.Start making a series of cuts until you get the desired result.
This cut is made at the edge of the workpiece to allow another wood flush into the corner. Also known as a rabbet joint with two varieties, namely the edge rabbets and end rabbets. A set of dado blade is suitable for this job.
a.Setup the dado blade on the arbo
b.r, using scrap wood, adjust fence until you achieve your desired width of the dado
c.Once the width is gotten, introduce your workpiece and cut.
A miter is a cut made at 45 degrees to the edge of a wood. It is especially necessary when trying to create a piece with squared corners, e.g., a picture frame. For this purpose, we advise the use of a miter gauge alongside an extended fence longer than the workpiece is advisable.
Figure 2: A dado cut made on a workpiece.
3. Add special features to enhance clean and special cuts
Now that you know different cuts, it’s quintessential to know the tool and technique needed to make such cuts quickly. There are various guides here and there to help aid your cuts and prevent any form of error. Below are some useful tips on how to further improve the accuracy and precision of your cut.
• Use of long fence for longboards
Most times, keeping a longboard firmly against a short fence while cutting is no doubt a difficult task. Hence, the need to introduce a longer strip of wood to the existing fence to make sure that from end to end, the workpiece adequately guided. You can always attach the long strip of wood to the fence using a clamp.
Failure to introduce the long fence will leave you with a ruined cut or burn marks along the cutting edge.
• Use push sticks
We need not emphasize the need to firmly hold down your workpiece as it advances into the table saw. In an attempt to avoid injury to hands, you tend to take your hand off the workpiece once it begins to come close to the blade. Push sticks are most important for exerting downward pressure when your workpiece is short and heavy. It is mostly useful when your hand is likely to be within a foot to the table saw blade.
Manufacturers add two style push sticks (a narrow one and a wide one) as an accessory to the table saw. Push sticks are long for comfortable grip by the hand, notched and carved for easy grip to push the workpiece through the blade. With the help of push sticks, you get nothing but a beautiful and straight cut.
• Add simple outfeed table/ extension table
Ripping longboards can be tough, especially if you work alone on your table saw. An extra table st be added to support the other end of the longboard. This outfeed table is pivotal to the success of your task and built with clamps, plywood, and two 2×4s. Both 2×4 are clamped on the table in your desired configuration such that the plywood flushes with the table surface. The longboard can now slide on this temporary support for cutting.
• Use feather-board
When it becomes uneasy to keep a board aligned to the fence for a straight cut, having a feather-board can save the day. Feather-boards are often referred to as a third finger owing to its shape. This device holds wood tightly to the saw fence for secure ripping. The “fingers” are a series of flexible wood that holds in place your board to avoid kickbacks. To make your feather-boards, get a 2-feet length of knot-free 1×4, Mark-out 45 degrees at one end to cut a series of 4 fingers for every 1/8 to 1/4 inch.
Figure 3: Picture showing a push stick.
4.Replacing the blade
Removing a blunt blade is not a conventional act; it requires some set of sequential steps to get it right. Above all, the saw’s switch must be off, and the cord removed from the outlet. After that the following steps are taken to remove and replace your blade as follows:
a.Remove the blade guard
b.Loosen two fixing screws under the plate.
c.With a special wrench, remove locknut to disengage saw from the arbor.
d.Replace with a new blade accordingly.
e.Go over the steps, from a to d above.
f.Just perform the reverse steps to secure the blade.
g.Once again, confirm the alignment and fitness of the new blade on the arbor.
Figure 4: A newly replaced table saw a cross-cuts blade.
5.Necessary practices to ensure safety.
Table saws can pose significant dangers if not handled with care, mainly due to the exposed blade. In your best interest, you should do well to adhere to the following precautionary measures to avoid accidents of any form:
• Use of personal protective equipment
• Pay attention to cables.
• keeping work area clean of debri
• Do not put on the table saw blade when in contact with the workpiece to avoid kickbacks
• Ensure all safety devices are working correctly.
• Be concentrated at all times.
Figure 5: Men carefully handling the table saw during cutting.
Once you begin to put into practice the techniques and tips as mentioned above, and then you would gradually see yourself transform into a table saw expert. To further aid your understanding and give you a more practical approach, you should take a quick look at this video. At NCCuttingtools, we are here to offer you the best product and service your money can buy without compromising quality in any way.