Cristina Joseph Table Saw August 28th, 2018 - 17:50:59
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.
The trunnion is the mechanism inside the cabinet which is responsible for both raising and lowering the blade and tilting the blade for bevel cuts. It is controlled from the outside of the saw by two separate wheels or cranks: one for raising and lowering the blade (usually found on the front of the cabinet) and the other for tilting the blade (either left or right, depending on the saw) which is usually, but not always, located on the side of the cabinet.
The fence must be aligned so that the front of the blade and the rear of the blade are exactly the same distance from the fence at all settings. Once you have ascertained that the blade and fence are parallel to each other, you must cut some test boards to accurately set the fence to the scale. Set the fence to exactly 2" on the measuring scale. Rip a test board and measure it. Adjust the fence to the scale by moving the viewer's hairline left or right. Rip more boards until you have exact accuracy. The viewer through which you see the tape should be strong in magnification.
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.
I'd like to take a minute to talk about the features that you should be looking for and what these features will mean to you after you unpack and set up your new table saw. These features include: motor horsepower, blade size, trunnion construction, tabletop flatness, tabletop size, arbor size and arbor bearings, sawdust extraction, ease of operation including raising, lowering and tilting the blade, tilt of the blade (left or right), the necessity of a magnetic switch and the importance of its location, ease of access to the interior of the cabinet, accuracy and ease of operation of the fence, the amount of rip space to the right and the left of the blade, safety features and table saw mobility around the shop. In addition to the table saw itself, you may want to construct an outfeed table around the back of the saw, if space permits. We'll talk about that, as well.
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