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Georgina Shaffer Table Saw July 30th, 2018 - 17:36:36
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.
There are many things you will want to consider before purchasing a new table saw for your shop. There are three main types of table saws: (1) the lightweight, inexpensive and portable contractor's saw, (2) the cabinet saw, so-named because it has an enclosed cabinet as opposed to open base and (3) the new breed of so-called "Hybrid" table saws which fill the price gap between contractor's saws and cabinet saws. This discussion will be only concern cabinet saws because, in my experience, nothing less will do for a shop that produces fine woodworking. Smaller saws lack both the accuracy and capacity of cabinet saws.
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.
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.
The motor, trunnions, arbor assembly, and gearing make up the essential mechanical components of the saw. These quality and robustness of these components varies considerably and can greatly impact the durability of the saw, its capacity for cutting heavy stock and its ability to stay in adjustment and hold settings.
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