Last Updated on May 2, 2023 by Barry Gray
A table saw, also called a sawbench or bench saw, is a standard woodworking tool containing a circular saw blade set on an arbor. The Circular blade saw is powered by an electric motor. The cutting blade extends through the tabletop, supporting the material, commonly sheet wood.
The most common table saw uses include ripping, crosscutting, kerfing, cutting rabbets and grooves, bevel cuts, and cutting joints. Table saws are one of the top used and essential tools in a woodworker’s workshop. A table saw can cut anything from hardwood, softwood, metal, and plastic.
The article below will discuss the six common uses for a table saw. We will also discuss the different saw blades for other materials and cuts and some safety tips to consider when operating your table saw.
What Are 6 Most Common Table Saw Uses?
The table saw has earned the top spot in woodshops worldwide because of its ability to swiftly, safely, and efficiently make critical cuts. Let’s take a closer look at the table saw uses before moving on to the different types of blades you can use.
1. Making Rip Cuts In Wood
Rough-cutting larger boards and lumber into smaller pieces that are easier to work with is best done on the table saw. Ripping, or cutting wood to the desired width, is typically done with the grain running parallel.
To avoid twisting the board and jamming your saw, you should always push the wood against the rip fence (never freehand) while pushing it through the blade.
2. Crosscutting Against The Wood Grain
Crosscutting is the opposite of ripping, used to cut wood to length. This type of work gets done using a sliding crosscut table guide, which got named after the fact that you will be cutting across the grain of the wood.
If your project requires an angled or miter cut, you’ll need to use your table saw’s adjustable miter gauge. Adjust it to the desired angle, double-check using an angle meter, and feed the workpiece through the blade while holding it against the guide fence. A miter saw is usually better at doing crosscuts.
3. Kerfing Cuts To Make A Tight Angle
The process for creating curves in wood. Evenly spaced saw cuts on either side of the wood that almost sever a strip give the wood enough flexibility to make a tight bend. This method of removing parts of a board, known as kerfing, can provide even thick hardwoods with a curve. The tighter the angle needed, the closer the kerf cut spacing required.
4. Cutting Rabbets And Grooves For Wood Joints
A table saw makes regular joint cuts easier and more accurate. Consider both cuts to be a long and thin channel cut into your board; rabbets are cut from the board’s far edge, while grooves get made closer to the middle.
These cuts are also more dangerous because it requires removing the blade guard and the riving knife to produce these exact cuts. When cutting rabbets and grooves, use extreme caution and ensure your workspace is free of distractions and clutter.
5. Angled Bevel Wood Cuts
The table saws can adjust the angle of the blade, allowing for bevel cuts, tilting the saw blade to the desired angle, and using an angle measure to double-check its correctness is crucial for perfect bevels. Turn on your saw, and you’ll be able to feed the wood making rips or crosscuts at the desired angle.
6. Cutting Various Wood Joints
Aside from rabbets and grooves, your table saw can also make a variety of other joint cuts. As previously stated, this may require removing the blade guard and the riving knife.
Tips When Using A Table Saw
When using a table saw, you should keep some precautions in mind.
1. Wear Safety Equipment While Using a Table Saw
Woodworkers should always use safety glasses, dust masks, and hearing protection. Consider wearing proper shop clothes when using a table saw. When operating a table saw, loose-fitting clothing, neckties, and jewelry are all hazards.
2. Use A Push Stick On A Table Saw
Consider using a push stick when cutting sheet wood or any other lumber, and the stock is closer than six inches from the blade. That will prevent the woodworker’s fingers or limbs from coming into contact with the blade. Push sticks can be made in the shop or purchased from any reputable woodworking retailer.
3. Never Reach Over A Moving Blade On A Table Saw
While the blade is still in motion, the operator should never reach for a wood piece or tool or make any adjustments. Before reaching or making any changes, wait until the blade has come to a complete halt. Every year split-second miscalculations or lapse in concentration causes many accidents in the woodshop.
Different Types Of Table Saw Blades
Like many other rotary cutting power tools in the woodshop, the table saw sports a range of cutting blades for all the different materials you might want to cut off. Here are a few standard blades you might encounter and use:
- Rip Blades: The design feature of a rip blade is to make rough cuts in wood either with or against the grain. These blades usually have fewer teeth, making it faster to cut through wood, but the downside is that the cuts are not clean when ripping wood.
- Crosscut Blades: Crosscut blades feature more teeth than rip blades to cut across the grain of the wood without destroying it. Although using a miter saw would be a better option to make crosscuts, using a table saw for this purpose is not uncommon.
- Combination Blades: Combination blades are the preferred choice for home woodshops since they can cut both with and across the wood grain. While they don’t work nearly as well as a specialist rip or crosscut blade, you don’t have to change blades for different applications saving a lot of time.
- Dado Blades: Professional woodworkers advise using a dado saw blade to make various joinery cuts for your woodworking projects, creating rabbet joints, tongue-and-groove joints, and many other types.
- Carbine-Tipped Blades: Carbide-tipped blades combine the performance of specialist blades with the versatility of combination blades, making them a desirable (although pricey) alternative for both amateur and commercial woodshops.
In conclusion, we talked about the six most common uses for a table saw: Ripping, Crosscutting, Bevel cuts, Cutting rabbets-and-grooves, Cutting joints, and Kerfing. The benefits of a table saw are only limited by user experience and imagination. We also covered a few different cutting blades to use on a table saw and some safety tips to consider.
The thing to take away from this article is that a table saw is the most desired and used power tool in a woodshop. Its importance is evident because it is usually the centerpiece of the woodworker’s layout.