How to Cut Metal With a Table Saw (A Step-by-Step Guide)

When you have a garage filled with tools and find yourself looking to cut something quickly, you may be tempted to use the closest tool. Many wood workshops have one or more table saws used, while many do not have the right tools to make precision cuts in sheets or pieces of metal. 

To cut metal with a table saw, you will need to fit a blade to the machine with tungsten carbide tips or made to cut metals. Setting the blade to the right speed, secure the metal to the fence, and then start cutting it by moving it slowly across the blade using a push block. 

The exact method to cut metals on a table saw requires that you have everything set up in the right way. Many people use their table saws to quickly cut through softer pieces of metals that should be cut, without having to use a special tool or often to purchase the tools that would be needed. 

can table saw cut metal

What Kind Of Saw Blade Do You Use To Cut Metal?

There are special saw blades for table saws capable of cutting through metal; most often, these are called aluminum cutting blades. However, there is no specific type that I can recommend as most hardware stores have a line of blades that are exclusive to them. 

Most often, the saw blade used to cut through metal is easily recognizable, the blade is significantly thinner than blades used for wood, and the teeth are much closer. This allows the blade to cut through the metal much easier and does not leave enough space for the metal to catch the blade. 

When cutting metal, the blade needs to move fast enough to cut through the metal instead of chipping at the metal, like it would with wood. Often, the blades used for metals will be much sharper than the blades used to cut through wood. 

What Kinds Of Metals Can You Cut With A Table Saw?

Now that we know what blade to fit your table saw, we need to look at what kinds of metals can be cut with the table saw. People often assume that because you have the right blade, you can easily cut through any piece that you may want to, but this is not true.

While the table saw can be used to cut through a piece of metal, only certain types of metal can be cut. With many larger pieces or harder pieces of metals not being safe to cut on a table saw, the machine is not capable of doing what is needed. 

  • Brass: Brass is one of the softest metals you may want to cut and can easily be cut using your table saw and the right blade. Just be careful as the metal is known to be sticky and may be caught by the blade and flung across your workshop. 
  • Aluminum: Most blades that you can use for your table saw to cut metals will be geared towards aluminum. Usually, the only kind of metal that is recommended being cut on a table saw; the metal can be chipped away instead of being cut much the same way that wood is cut. 
  • Soft Metals: Apart from brass and aluminum, some softer metals can be cut using your table saw without buying a tool specifically to do so. However, we always recommend only cutting the softer metals, ensuring that your blade does not get caught or becomes blunt too fast. 

What Are The Steps To Cutting Metal With A Table Saw?

Now that we know what tools you will need and what kinds of metals you can cut on your table saw, we need to look at the steps to cutting metal on your table saw. In total, cutting metals on your table saw is not the most technical thing you will do.

However, if you do not cut correctly, you can end up with a piece of metal flying through the air fast enough to seriously hurt someone. I recommend that people use the right steps to cut metals on their table saw. 

  1. Install Right Blade: If you have the right blade, the first step will be to install the right blade on your table saw, taking the chance also completely to clean the table saw. 
  2. Adjust Cutting Speed: While you will need to have a blade that turns fast, the speed of the table saw cannot be too fast. If the machine is turning too fast, the blade may shatter while it is cutting; the blade will have the required speeds on the side. 
  3. Adjust Fence: The fence will be what helps you not only guide the piece you are cutting but will often help you provide the right amount of downwards pressure. Many people use small clamps hooked onto the fence to help push the metal down. 
  4. Adjust Blade Height: The blade needs to be slightly higher than the piece you are cutting to ensure it is cut properly. If the blade is below the piece being cut, it will catch the piece, and if it is too high, too much contact will be made. 
  5. Start Cutting, Move Slowly: You will need to move extremely slowly when cutting the metal, being sure to guide the piece across the blade. 
  6. Use A Push Block Or Push Stick: I always recommend using a push block or push stick, but with metal, it is vital. There will be many more dangers when cutting metals than there are normally when cutting wood that does not leave hot and sharp shavings. 
  7. Be Ready For Kickbacks: Metal cutting on a table saw is one of the things that you can cut, which will cause an immense amount of kickbacks. You need to be ready to handle these, ensuring that the piece continues to move forwards after each one.
  8. Shut Off Machine And File Edges: Once the entire piece has been cut, you must shut off the machine and file down the edges that you have cut. Metal leaves razor-sharp edges when you cut it, which means you need to thoroughly debur it to leave smooth edges. 

Conclusion

When cutting metal on your table saw, you need to ensure that you have the right blade and support the metal throughout the entire cut. You can easily cut through most softer metals without having to resort to buying a special tool.

Whatever you do, please never try to cut any pieces of hardened metals on your table saw! 

James Thomas

James Thomas

Tool Enthusiast

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James Thomas

Hi, I’m James. I created The Tool Square to help as many understand and know how to use Table Saws, and many other tool-related products. About Me.

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