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Edith Hart Table Saw August 28th, 2018 - 15:14:43
A table saw is the most common piece of large woodworking equipment found in shops around the world. Table saw are very versatile, and if you can only have one piece of woodworking equipment, a rigid table saw is probably the best one to choose. These more portable types of table saws offer versatility and ease of use with the convenience of portability.
The smallest motor I would even consider for a 10-inch saw would be 3 horsepower. For a 12" to 14" saw it would be 5HP and for a 14" to 16" saw, I'd like 7.5 HP. You will also need to consider if the saw motor is single or three phase. Three phase motors use electricity a bit more efficiently. If you don't have three phase power at your location, however, you will either have to buy single phase or purchase and install a phase converter large enough for your saw motor. Most saw motors use 230 or 460 VAC power, so make sure you have available in your shop the voltage your saw will require. Three phase motors can run on 208 to 220 volts or higher, depending on the motor.
There are many things you will want to consider before purchasing a new table saw for your shop. There are three main types of table saws: (1) the lightweight, inexpensive and portable contractor's saw, (2) the cabinet saw, so-named because it has an enclosed cabinet as opposed to open base and (3) the new breed of so-called "Hybrid" table saws which fill the price gap between contractor's saws and cabinet saws. This discussion will be only concern cabinet saws because, in my experience, nothing less will do for a shop that produces fine woodworking. Smaller saws lack both the accuracy and capacity of cabinet saws.
Beginning at the bottom, the table saw base houses the working parts of the saw, including the trunnions, the arbor assembly, the sector gears, and sometimes the motor. On some saws, the base is a "cabinet" type, meaning that a fully enclosed base extends all the way to the floor. Other saws have an open base, meaning that the base consists of a metal box that surrounds the internal working parts of the saw on four sides, but not the bottom. Open base saws have legs that extend downward from the bottom of the base to the floor.
The quality of the table saw surface (or "bed") is extremely important to the overall performance of the machine. The table surface needs to be reliably flat and rigid to properly support the workpiece during a cut. As one of the most massive parts of the saw, the table surface also plays a major role in absorbing vibration. Because of the need for mass, rigidity and flatness, cast iron is the material of choice for the top of a table saw. On a quality saw, the table is made using a hefty quantity of cast iron and state-of-the-art foundry methods. The end result of the casting process is then precision ground to flatness in the .0005'' tolerance range.
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