Carla Cain Table Saw August 28th, 2018 - 10:30:45
If you're in the market for a table saw, you'll have a number of options and features to consider. To make the best decision, a basic understanding of the "inner workings" of this woodshop standard is essential. Below, I'll describe the primary table saw components, what makes them important, and what to look for when it comes time to buy.
Many table saws can be purchased with optional extension wings. Table extension wings bolt on to the right and left sides of the table and increase the surface area of the saw to help support wide stock and sheet materials. On a heavy duty stationary saw, the extensions are usually cast iron, while on smaller saws, they may be made of lighter stamped steel or the lighter "webbed" style of cast iron.
The ideal solution is to have enough shop space so that you will never have to move your saw around at all. In this situation, you can construct an outfeed table to support large work pieces and long lumber as they leave the back edge of the table saw table. Ideally, depending on space available, you should build this outfeed table so that it extends eight feet or more in back of the blade. You can use the space underneath the table for lumber storage and/or drawer space. The table can also serve as a work bench for the construction of large cabinets and tables. You can use it for pipe clamp glue-ups and spray painting layout, as well.
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 and accuracy of fence systems, however, varies greatly across the spectrum. The quality of a table saw's fence system is an extremely important consideration: A poorly designed or inaccurate fence greatly diminishes the quality and accuracy of the cut, and can be a source of significant frustration. For saws in the price range of most hobbyists, the famous Biesemeyer T-square fence design sets the standard. Fortunately, many smaller, more affordable saws come standard with a reasonably accurate system patterned after the tried and true Biesemeyer design.
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