Edith Hart Table Saw August 28th, 2018 - 13:11:08
Most table saws use the miter gauge and miter slot system to allow for crosscutting. A miter gauge consists of a cast metal protractor head attached to a length of metal bar. The bar rides in corresponding "miter slot" in the table saw's surface. Protractor on the "no frills" miter gauges that come with most table saws can be set to crosscut stock at any angle between 90 and 30 degrees and, if well made, do a serviceable job with most "routine" crosscutting.
Many table saws can be purchased with optional extension wings. Table extension wings bolt on to the right and left sides of the table and increase the surface area of the saw to help support wide stock and sheet materials. On a heavy duty stationary saw, the extensions are usually cast iron, while on smaller saws, they may be made of lighter stamped steel or the lighter "webbed" style of cast iron.
Cabinet table saws have the circular saw attached to a table with a cabinet. It is the largest and the heaviest of the table saws and therefore is not moved around like the other table saws. The cabinet table saw is more durable and has less vibration which makes for a smoother cut. However, the cabinet saw is more expensive than the other types of saws and usually requires the installation of a heavy circuit. The cabinet saw also has a height and tilt adjustment feature and has better dust collection than the other models.
Most table saw trunnions are made to tilt either left or right (but not both) to a maximum of 45 degrees from vertical. If you have a choice, and you usually do, never buy a right-tilt saw for the following reason. A right-tilt saw tilts the blade towards the fence and can pinch a work piece into the fence, causing a jam or, worse, a kickback just as the cut is finishing. Further, on a right-tilt saw, the blade is tilting towards the fence and could cut into and ruin it if the fence were to be inadvertently moved too close to the spinning blade. A left-tilt saw tilts away from the fence and instead of pinching the work piece, allows it to rise vertically slightly, if need be.
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.
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