Table Saw Tips

Get Better Performance From Your Saw:

Okay you made the decision to purchase a new table saw. Before you do anything else, before you make one cut, make sure that you do a proper setup of the saw. For tips on this see our article on Table Saw Setup. You won’t be sorry.

Buy The Best Blade You Can Afford:

This is an easy one. Purchase a quality, carbide tipped blade or blades. Always, always, always use a very sharp blades. They will cut through even the hardest stock like butter. If you can only afford one blade, then purchase a combination blade. This blade will crosscut (cut against the grain) and rip (cut with the grain), equally well.

I have a personal preference for blades manufacturered by Forrest Saw Blades. They are well made and reasonably priced and last a very long time between sharpening.

Rip Fence:

Most quality table saws now come with a Biesemeyer Fence. If your table saw does not have one, get one – period. They are that good.

The adjustment is quick, easy and very accurate. Once setup properly, you need not measure your cut as the sliding scale on the fence is extremely accurate. Also when you flip the single level down, the fence in locked rock solid and the alignment is ‘right-on’.

Miter Gage:

A lot of the miter gages supplied standard with table saws are almost worthless. They are hard to accurately adjust, bind in the miter gage slot and provide poor support for cross-cutting.

I tossed mine in lieu of the miter gage made by Incra – the Incra Miter 1000/HD. This miter gage has a lot of very nice features and you’ll wonder how you got along without one after you use it.

It provides great cross-cutting support, locks in a single degree angles and is silky smooth in operation.

Sacrificial Fence:

Using a sacrificial fence is an easy way to save the face of your expensive rip fence. There are times when the blade needs to be set right nest to the fence and without a sacrificial fence you will scar and eventually ruin your good rip fence.

I use a 4/4 piece of hardwood and I have placed threaded inserts in the rip fence itself. This way I can easily remove the fence when needed and I can also replace a sacrificial fence that gets all scared up.

Push Sticks:

One thing you don’t want to do is get your fingers anywhere near the saw blade. One little slip or a distraction and the blade doesn’t know if it is sawing through wood or a finger.

When you make your own, you can easily fashion them to suit particular needs and you have a lot more versitility.

Table Saw Tips – Feather Boards:

Feather boards are equally important to push sticks. The feathering board is a scrap piece of wood with a serrated end that is locked into the miter gage slot and applies gentle pressure against wood stock as it is being ripped.

If you prefer to purchase a pre-made adjustable Feather Board, here is a great one made by Rockler that I use in addition to my custom made ones.

Safety Comes First:

Just about every table saw comes with safety gear installed on the saw to prevent kickbacks and it is a really good idea to keep that equipment in place. Also, be sure to wear good Eye Protection. I have saved loosing an eye may times by having a splinter or even larger piece of wood hit the lens of my safety glasses.

Another good tip is when you are ripping wood, stand off to the side of the wood path. Do not stand directly behind the wood, you will not get out of the way nearly quick enough. This is a standard rule, even when you have all the anti-kickback measures installed on the saw.

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