Johanna Soto Table Saw August 22nd, 2018 - 23:51:03
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.
Motor horsepower and blade size are closely related. The larger the blade, the more horsepower you will need to cut, at full blade height, through a piece of wood. Too much power is never a problem. Too little power can cause the saw to bind, slow down and even stop in the middle of a cut. This is not good, nor is it safe.
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.
If you consider that a sheet of plywood measures 48" in width, I would think that you might want to opt for a 50-inch rip as opposed to the slightly less expensive 30" rip capacity. You might want to rip off only one inch from that sheet of plywood and, while doing that, you will want the plywood to be fully supported. You might want to crosscut a sheet of plywood into two 48" pieces. You also should consider the rip space to the left of the blade: The wider, the better. Sometimes, you might want to accomplish tasks that require the fence to be put over to the left side of the blade.
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.