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John Frye Table Saw August 28th, 2018 - 10:45:30
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.
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.
There are four main classes of table saws: contractor saws, benchtop table saws, cabinet saws and hybrid saws. When deciding between portable and floor standing table saws, the main thing you're trying to do is balance durability with portability. Since most portable types of equipment do not have the same durability features, they typically do not last as long as their less portable counterparts.
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 is a rule that says, "Never stand directly behind a horse or a table saw." Sooner or later every table saw operator will do something stupid that causes a kickback. If the operator makes it a practice to avoid standing where the kickback will occur behind the blade, he or she will probably avoid the severe injury that can be inflicted by a flying piece of wood striking the face, neck, chest or arms of the woodworker.
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