Buying the Right Table Saw for Yourself
If you are someone who takes carpentry as a hobby, a table saw is definitely an essential item for your garage. It is, without a doubt, the singular most important item for a woodworker.
A lot of your creations depend on the table saw and it is prudent to invest in a good table saw that meets your needs.
Compromising on the table saw would mean compromising your entire woodworking.
Buying a table saw can be a bit overwhelming for people, specifically amateurs.
There are so many things to be kept in mind and so many others to check when you are out the table saw shopping.
The most important thing to know is what kind of table saw you need.
The kinds of Table Saws
Subjectively speaking, table saws are essential of two types, portable and stationary.
But if you delve deeper, a lot more classifications emerge.
The Benchtop is among the most commonly used table saws.
This easy-to-use and lightweight saw is driven by a single-blade motor and is perfect for beginners, amateurs, and hobbyists.
The benchtop is a portable saw and does not come with any support stand because it is used on your workbench.
As its name suggests, it is used at job sites by professionals. This large portable saw comes with a stand on which it is mounted.
This particular type of saw is specifically made for construction sites, as it is larger than the benchtop and is also much more rugged and can face a lot more wear and tear, but at the same time, it is incredibly light for enhanced mobility.
The Compact saw sits between the benchtop and the Jobsite in terms of size.
It is bigger than the benchtop and smaller than the Jobsite and also comes with smaller table sizes.
However, it is powered by toothed belts for increased power.
This particular design of the table saw is probably the best one can get.
Used by proper professionals and skilled enthusiasts, the cabinets are super heavy and built out of steel, and cast iron.
This reduces vibration to a minimum while increasing accuracy.
These saws last for generations and are rather hard on the pocket.
The Hybrid, as the name suggests, is a hybrid between the old Contractor saws and the newer, more expensive Cabinet saws.
Most of these saws have an enclosed design like the cabinet, while others have an open-leg design.
While these were the types of table saws available in the market, buying the right table saw for yourself involves a deeper analysis.
There are a few table saws basics that every carpeting enthusiast needs to know, namely the Blade, the rip fence, the drive configuration, and the miter gauge.
- The Blade
Needless to say, the blade is the most important part of the table saw. Without the blade, there is no table saw.
There are many ways to classify blades, based on the number of teeth, the kerf size, speed, material, diameter, and a few others.
The usual blade is made of carbon, carbide, or diamond-tipped teeth and is 10 inches in diameter, and provides a 3 and a half-inch cut capacity at 90 degrees.
- Rip Fence
The rip fence is essentially a guiding line that runs parallel to the cutting plane of the blade.
A proper rip fence is extremely important since it is supposed to lock the material in place and be absolutely straight to ensure a smooth and clean cut.
Most table saws have the T-square rip fence which is usually accurate enough for amateur users.
However, in high-end professional models, the rip fence is not included, letting the user adjust and customize their own setup, including the rip capacity.
The rip capacity is an important piece of specification when it comes to the fence.
Jobsite saws usually need a rip capacity of 24 inches, simply because that would be half the width of the sheet metal.
- Drive Configuration
The motor is another rather important part of a saw.
Table saws come with two types of motors, the direct drive, and the belt drive.
The direct-drive motor is a very powerful universal motor usually found in portable saws and directly drives the blade.
It usually operates on 120-volt circuits and produces around 2 horsepower.
The Direct-Drive saws are more than enough for enthusiasts and amateurs.
However, if you are a professional, you will want to check out the belt drive saws.
These are more powerful and are usually fitted to stationary saws.
The blade of the saw is powered by an induction motor with a belt to send the power to the blade.
Belt drive motors are usually more powerful, producing anything between 3 and 7.5 horsepower, but operate on 240-volt circuits.
These motors are also quieter and more durable than direct-drive motors.
- Miter Gauge
The miter gauge is a device that guides the material at the correct angles to make precise cuts.
It has a locking mechanism that moves from 45 degrees to -45 degrees and slots into the position you want.
Adjusting the miter gauge properly is key to getting the exact kind of cut that you want.
The miter and the blade tilt angles are the two angles that can be adjusted on the miter gauge.
Apart from the four major components mentioned above, there are certainly other parts that are to be checked before buying a table saw.
These parts include the amps, the storage areas, the arbors, the tilt and elevated wheels, and the throat plate.
These are important parts that will decide whether your investment is worthwhile or not.
There is really no specific formula to figure out which table is the most suited to you and your needs.
However, there are certain basic points that are mentioned above, which should be kept in mind.
These points will help you decide exactly what you want and then check the models you shortlist, to make sure those are in perfect condition and offer the features you need.
Also see: Best Miter Saws
Also see: Miter Saw Vs Table Saw