Can You Do Woodworking Without A Table Saw? (Alternatives)

Last Updated on February 14, 2022 by Barry Gray

Woodworking is done from beginner level all the way to professional level. One of the most common questions asked in woodworking circles is: Can you do woodworking without a table saw? It is a question that I also asked before, and I am excited to share my experience with you.

Working with wood is not exclusive to a table saw. It has been done without table saws for some time, in fact. A spinning blade was first used in 1777, but it took time to catch on. Woodworking is done with hand saws or other power saws like a miter saw, a jigsaw, or a circular saw. 

Even though table saws save the woodworker a lot of time, it is possible to get the task done without a table saw. I found a lot of helpful information and tips while seeking the answer to the question of doing woodwork without a table saw. 

Woodworking Without A Table Saw

Using Resources Other Than A Table Saw To Do Woodwork

The purpose of this section in the post is to explore other ways to get woodwork done without using a table saw. Here are some other helpful options:

Handsaw With A Miter Box

Handsaw With A Miter Box

A Handsaw and a miter box are good alternatives for cutting any wood that will fit into the miter box. It works well because you can easily make 90-degree and 45-degree cuts. It takes a little extra time, but at least it builds some muscle as well. You can use a handsaw without a miter box, but that takes a bit of precision.

To make sure that larger pieces of wood are cut straight by hand, you need to secure the wood piece to a bench properly. A cutting line needs to be marked out using a measuring tape, a straight edge, and a pencil. The cutting line should be open at the top and the bottom so that the saw can slide through. Some woodworkers fabricate props to facilitate this part to prevent wood breakage.

If there is enough space and access to more wood clamps, it is even possible to secure the straight edge on the cut line and use it as a guide for the handsaw.

Electrical Miter Saw

Electrical Miter Saw

Electrical miter saws are designed to do angled cuts on wood. They have angled pre-set markings for adjustment so that you can make 90-degree or 45-degree cuts with ease. Some miter saws even have the functionality to cut bigger pieces of wood. Miter saws are a bit restricted when it comes to cutting large sections of plywood.

Miter saws are not designed to do the work of a table saw and should not be modified to fit bigger sheets. A Miter saw cuts from the top, whereas a table saw cuts from the bottom. For bigger sheets of wood, it will be better to use a circular saw.

Circular Saw

circular saw on the table

Circular saws are designed to do cuts very similar to a table saw but just in a mobile version. This saw will be able to do most of the tasks done with a table saw, effectively replacing it. Professionals use long pieces of timber to guide the saw in getting straight cuts. It helps to do the cuts in sections, especially if it is long cuts.

Because of the mobility of a circular saw, you can use it to cut pretty much any angle; the problem is to keep it in line as far as possible to get a straight and consistent cut. Many experts will secure a guide on the workpiece to make sure that the cut is done the right way. Circular saws should only be used for the intended purpose.

A Jig Saw


Jigsaws are excellent for fine and precision work; a jigsaw is mainly used to cut out forms and do fine cuts. It is not advisable to do long cuts with a jigsaw because the blade is very thin and bendable. Cutting tools like jigsaws are all designed for specific purposes in mind, and it is essential to use the tool for that purpose.

Jigsaws are special tiny saws because their blades move up and down instead of in a circular motion; this makes a jigsaw perfect for cutting wood into shapes, which is something that a table saw can not even do.

Tips To Do Woodworking Without A Table Saw

The other types of cutting tools discussed in the previous section must be used in specific ways to compensate for the lack of a table saw. Here are a few helpful tips:

  • Hand saws are perfect to use for shorter cuts; remember to use a straight edge as a guide to get the cut as straight and accurate as possible. For the longer cuts, use a circular saw instead.
  • Using the hand saw with a miter box will give perfect angled cuts. Sharp saws work best for this and will save a lot of frustration.
  • A circular saw will be the best saw to cut large sheets into sections that can be further processed into great pieces of wood masterpieces.
  • After the sheets are cut into manageable pieces using the circular saw, they can now be cut to angled sizes as required using the miter saw.
  • The jigsaw will now be the perfect tool to get the work done for fine and precision cuts.

After all the cuts are done to wood, other tools like planers, sanders, and files are used to complete the woodworking projects.


You can tackle woodworking without a table saw, as long as the other saws are used according to the manufacturers’ recommendations.

I am much more confident now to do woodworking without a table saw, my woodworking skills have improved a lot since I invested in a miter saw, and I follow the tips that I received from the experts. I hope this post will help others as well.

Photo of author

Barry Gray

Hi, I’m Barry. I’ve loved woodworking and bringing things back to life for more years than I care to remember. I hope my passion for tools comes across loud and clear in everything you read here on The Tool Square.

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