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Your Table Saw: A Quick Guide to Choosing and Using a Table Saw

Young Wood Worker In Joinery

A table saw.

If you’re serious about woodworking, remodeling, or home repair, this is one power tool you can’t do without.

The right table saw can make any project faster and easier.

So how do you choose a table saw that’s right for you? And, once you have the right table saw, how do you use it safely?

Read on to find out.


Things to Consider When Choosing a Table Saw

Mobility. Do you need a table saw that you can move from your workshop, to a jobsite, and back again? If so, mobility should be your main consideration when choosing a table saw.

  • Portable table saws are easy to move and transport. In fact, one person should be able to move a portable table saw around a workshop or jobsite with ease.
  • Contractor’s table saws are bigger, and can handle larger stock, than portable table saws. But it would be hard for one person to move a contractor’s table saw on their own.
  • Cabinet table saws are powerful. They’re also heavy. Moving one of these table saws takes so much effort and manpower that it’s usually best to leave them where they are.


Size. When considering a table saw, always keep these two questions in mind:

  1. When you put this model in your workspace along with the rest of your tools and equipment, will you have enough room to work and move around comfortably?
  2. If you intend to stash your table saw away when it’s not in use, will this model fit into the storage space you have in mind?


Power. How much power you need in a table saw will depend on the types of jobs you’ll use it for.

  • Many table saws, especially portable saws, have a 1.5 to 2-horsepower motor, and can be plugged into a standard, 120-volt household circuit. Typically, these saws are powerful enough to cut hardwoods that are around two inches thick.
  • More powerful, 3 to 5-horsepower table saws can handle tougher jobs, like cutting hardwoods that are three inches thick or more. But these saws often require at least 240 volts of power to run, and not all garages or workshops are wired to provide that kind of power.


How to Use a Table Saw Safely

Table saws are powerful tools. In fact, they are so powerful makes that taking the right safety measures when using one is a must.

Here are some tips that will help you use your table saw safely.

  • When cutting narrow stock, use a push stick to keep your fingers far away from the blade.
  • When using any power tool, protect yourself from eye and hearing damage by wearing safety glasses and ear protection.
  • Never use a table saw while wearing loose clothing, dangling accessories, or long sleeves.
  • Before using your table saw, make sure the safety features (like the anti-kickback pawls and saw blade guard) are properly adjusted and in good working order.
  • Having a piece of wood kick back into your body is never fun. To avoid such mishaps, never stand directly in front of a table saw blade.

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