Luz Franks Table Saw August 07th, 2018 - 10:59:11
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.
A table saw is one of the most popular pieces of machinery used for woodworking. It consists of a circular saw powered by an electric motor that is mounted onto a table. In order to cut, material is pushed through the saw on the top of the table. It is used mostly for large wood projects such as fences, tables, book shelves, etc. When selecting a table saw it is important to know the different types and the pros and cons of each. The following are the four basic types of table saws and what they have to offer.
At least one, but preferably two or more access doors should be provided leading into the cabinet of the table saw. The one you will use most often will be for cleaning out the interior of sawdust. Another should give easy access to the motor, trunnion and belts for adjustment and repair. Many saws provide a removable access panel instead of a second door. That's fine for occasional motor, arbor, belt and trunnion access but you will want the sawdust door to open and close easily.
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 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.