Penny Browning Table Saw July 30th, 2018 - 10:06:27
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.
Another important safety device is the magnetic switch. This device protects you after an electrical power failure. If the power fails and you have a regular switch, the saw will come back on when the power comes back on. If you were to be near the blade at the time, this could be disastrous. A magnetic switch will not allow the saw to start again until you press the button. The location of the switch is also important. It should be right out front where it can be quickly accessed by a hand, foot or knee in the event of an emergency. The off button should be wide, red in color and should extend outside of the switch box like a mushroom for fast access.
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.
The trunnion determines the accuracy of your cuts so you want to be sure that it is well built and accurately machined. The saw blade must always be exactly where you need it to be. Furthermore, the trunnion must be easy to operate. It should not require Superman to raise or tilt the blade. As time goes on, you may find that it is harder to turn the wheels or cranks that operate the trunnion. This is usually because of sawdust contamination of the gears and/or lack of lubrication. Some better saws have ways of eliminating sawdust from the cabinet into an external dust port before it can get into the gears. Other saws come with self-cleaning gear teeth.
The saw should come with a Biesemeyer or similar type fence included in the purchase price. This type of fence locks and aligns itself to a rectangular tube attached to the front of the saw table when you press down on a handle. Fence accuracy and ease of operation will be important every time you touch your table saw and so a cheap fence is no bargain. The fence will probably read measurements along a stick-on measuring tape on the top of the front fence rail tube. You will need to carefully adjust the fence for accuracy. Instructions of how to do this should come with the set-up instructions for the saw.