Some DIYers might be fine having something like a compact circular saw be their only tool for cutting material, but if you’re serious about woodworking, you are eventually going to want to get a table saw. A table saw is good for making precise long cuts, and they can do a number of jobs that are either much more difficult or altogether impossible with your circular saw.
If you are new to using a table saw, it’s important to familiarize yourself with the tool before getting started. You are going to want to learn how to use a table saw safely, which means you’ll need to take the time to follow all of the best practices for table saw safety. Beyond that, you should try to learn the best techniques for making the most common cuts.
In this post, you will learn about some of the basics of how to operate a table saw. You’ll learn about the different table saw parts, what an appropriate blade height is when using a table saw, how to make fence adjustments, and how to use a table saw for different cuts. After that, we are going to take a look at the Rockwell Bladerunner, which could be a good alternative to tools like the Jobsite Table Saw.
Knowing the Table Saw Parts is Key to Using a Table Saw Safely
If you are going to learn how to use a table saw, the first thing you need to do is familiarize yourself with some of the parts.
- The table: Most table saws will have a table of at least 3’ x 3’. They are mostly considered stationary tools that stay in one place, but you can find portable models, like the Rockwell table saw, that have smaller tables and folding legs.
- Blades: A table saw will also have circular saw blades for cutting. However, there are different types of table saw blades, so when learning how to operate a table saw, you need to make sure to select the right one for the type of cut you are making.
- Blade guard: The blade is also covered by a blade guard. This is there to provide some protection in the event that your fingers get too close to the blade.
- Height adjustment wheel: The height adjustment wheel is used to move the blade up and down. This controls the depth of the cut when using a table saw.
- Angle adjustment wheel: This wheel can be used to angle the cutting blade.
- Rip fence: The rip fence is a guide bar that is positioned parallel to the blade. Its purpose is to guide the workpiece as you make rip cuts.
- Miter gauge: Most table saws will come with a miter gauge to assist with making cross-cuts.
- Push sticks: Some table saws also come with push sticks. When operating a table saw, the push sticks allow the user to feed material into the saw without having to get their fingers close to the spinning blade. This is one of the most important parts to using a table saw safely.
Whether you are ripping or making a cross-cut, you do not want to have too much of the blade exposed from the top side of the workpiece. A good rule of thumb for using a table saw is to set the blade height to about 1/8”-1/4” beyond the thickness of the material.
When it comes to how to use a table saw safely, it is worth noting that you should always disconnect the power supply when adjusting or changing the blade in your table saw.
The rip fence is there to keep the material steady as you make long rip-cuts. By moving the rip fence closer or farther from the blade, you can adjust the width of the cut you are making. To adjust the fence, release the lever that locks it in place. Once the lever is released, you can then move it to the desired position and lock it back in place using the lever.
How to Change the Blade on Your Circular Saw Table
Before you start working on the blade, it is important to make sure the table saw is disconnected from the power supply. This is another important part of understanding how to operate a table saw safely.
- Once the power is disconnected, remove the blade plate from the table saw.
- With the blade plate removed, use the height adjustment wheel to move the blade as far up as it will go.
- Using the wrenches that came with the table saw, loosen the arbor nut that secures the blade. With the nut and washer removed, you can now remove the blade that is on the machine.
- After removing the old blade, seat the new blade in the machine.
- Place the washer and nut over the new blade and use your wrench to tighten it in place.
- With the new blade in place, you can then reinstall the blade plate on your table saw.
Using a Table Saw to Make Cuts
A table saw is great for making the joinery cuts like dadoes, but when learning how to operate a table saw, you are going to start with cross-cuts and rips-cuts. Regardless of the type of cut you are making, always turn the saw off before retrieving the cut pieces from the table.
With your blade adjusted and the fence in the correct position, place the wood against the fence. Remember to keep the wood flat against the table while trying not to apply too much pressure against the rip fence.
With the wood in position, you can now turn the saw on. Move the wood slowly toward the blade and gently push it through until the cut is complete. To avoid your hands getting too close to the blade, you can use the push sticks if you are making a narrow cut.
When making cross-cuts using a table saw, it is imperative that you do not use the rip fence to guide your workpiece. Set your miter gauge to the correct position depending on whether you are making an angled or straight cut. With the miter gauge set, place the wood against the front edge of the gauge.
With your workpiece and the miter gauge in place, you can now turn the saw on. Gently slide the miter gauge with the workpiece toward and through the blade to complete the cut.
The Rockwell Bladerunner
If you do not need one of the traditional circular saw tables, you may consider a tool such as the Bladerunner X2 Portable Tabletop Saw. With a versatile design, it lacks the power and speed of a stationary table saw, but works well for making rip-cuts and cross-cuts with thinner materials.
Rather than using the circular spinning blades of a traditional circular table saw, the Rockwell Bladerunner X2 portable tabletop saw uses T-shank jigsaw blades. It comes with a rip fence for accurate rip-cuts, and the design allows you to do more than just make straight cuts. The Bladerunner X2 is also capable of scrolling, while the portable design makes it ideal for work away from the house.
Knowing how to use a table saw safely is a critical part of using it like the professionals do. Whether you’re working with the Rockwell bladerunner or are simply interested in learning more about how to operate a table saw, this guide will help.
If you’re looking for a reliable table saw, check out the Rockwell Bladerunner X2 Portable Tabletop Saw from Rockwell.