Jessie Hughes Table Saw August 28th, 2018 - 11:30:12
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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