Georgina Shaffer Table Saw August 10th, 2018 - 16:27:42
The table saw is the heart of your shop. You will use it more than any other machine and its accuracy and capacity will determine the quality and size of what you will be able to produce. This is akin to picking someone to marry: Ideally, it's for life and you will have to live with your decision for a long time to come. Therefore, rushing into purchasing the first table saw you see, without doing your homework, is like a quickie Las Vegas marriage, always a gamble.
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.
The rip fence guides the wood as it is being ripped (cut along its length) and can be positioned to any width of cut within the saw's range. The fence rides on fence rails attached to the front and rear edge of the table. Ideally, the system keeps the fence perfectly parallel to the plane of the blade, regardless of where the fence is positioned.
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.
Needless to say, the table must be exactly the same height as the top of the table saw table and you may need to extend the slots for the miter gauge into the beginning of the top of the outfeed table. If your saw extension table extends 50 inches or so to the right of the blade, so should your outfeed table and it should extend along the entire back edge of the table saw to the left of the blade. The saw should ideally be oriented so that you can bring long lumber through the shop door and directly onto the saw table without having to turn a corner.