Edith Hart Table Saw August 28th, 2018 - 15:03:42
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.
Most table saws - other than small bench top models - are equipped with induction type motors in the 1 - 5 HP range. On larger saws, you'll most often find a "totally enclosed, fan cooled" (TEFC) induction motor. A TEFC motor is designed for continuous duty and is sealed against dust and other contaminants - a significant advantage in a woodshop.
Saws specifically designed for hobbyists and home use are usually outfitted with motors under 3 HP and can be operated on standard 110 volt residential circuitry. In general, motors in this class are powerful enough for routine cutting of sheet goods and hardwoods up to 1'' thick. Professional-class saws, on the other hand, have motors in the 3- 5 HP range and require a 220 volt power supply. Motors in this category are designed to stand up to hours of continuous duty, and have enough power to cut thick, heavy hardwood stock without bogging down.
The motor, trunnions, arbor assembly, and gearing make up the essential mechanical components of the saw. These quality and robustness of these components varies considerably and can greatly impact the durability of the saw, its capacity for cutting heavy stock and its ability to stay in adjustment and hold settings.
Some saws shield the blade in a casing underneath the saw table and suck the dust out directly from there. Others slant the floor of the saw cabinet towards a dust collection port. Many just allow the sawdust to accumulate on the floor under the saw until you clean it out. You will always have some cleaning of the interior to do. Perhaps you won't wait until the sawdust has totally encased the trunnion gears packing itself up to the bottom of the table top. You will need to connect the saw to a dust collector through its dust port. The suction of the dust collector should be about 350 CFM for a 10" saw and more for a larger saw.
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