Cristina Joseph Table Saw August 28th, 2018 - 18:45:40
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.
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.
One drawback of lighter-weight table extensions is that they have less mass, and the overall mass of the saw is what soaks up the vibration crated by the motor and other moving parts. The added mass of heavy cast iron extension wings decreases vibration, which in turn helps the saw stay in calibration, and also helps it stay planted firmly on the shop floor. On less expensive saws, extensions made of stamped metal, or ones that aren't precision ground, can also compromise the overall flatness of the table surface.
One of the more useful add-ons for just about any table saw is either an upgraded system offered by the manufacturer, or an aftermarket miter gauge or crosscutting sled. These tools provide, in various combinations, repeatable incremental angle positioning, longer fences, stop blocks and other advanced features that can come in handy in projects that call for precision crosscutting.
The bench top model is preferred for those who are looking for a table saw that is portable and less expensive; however, remember that you always get what you pay for. The bench top saw has the least amount of capability out of any of the table saws. With the decreased size and weight of the saw, it is less durable and there are greater restrictions of the size of projects one can do.
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