The table saw is considered to be the workhorse of the woodshop. It is more than just a mounted circular blade on a large table, it is the core of the woodshop. A table saw is something that can do most of your woodworking jobs in a fast and efficient manner. Making crosscuts, miters and tenons are much easier when you have a table saw around.
The table saw might be a very useful tool but it is also statistically one of the most dangerous machines in the woodshop.
That’s why you often see people being killed by table saws in the movies. It’s kind of a cliché, but there’s some truth to it. It’s basically a mounted saw on a large table; safety features or not, one misstep and you’re visiting the hospital.
So before proceeding on what a table saw is used for, we should probably prioritize our safety first by knowing some safety precautions.
Follow these safety tips when using your table saw to prevent injuries:
- Wear safety glasses, face shield or goggles at all times. If something gets in your eyes, it could cause an injury to your eye, in the worst-case scenario; otherwise, it could impair your vision so you’d be more likely to have an accident
- Wear non-slip footwear. This might seem obvious but a lot of table saw accidents could be avoided if people did not slip while operating it
- Pay 100% attention on the table saw. Don’t carry a conversation or daydream while using the table saw
- Avoid wearing long sleeves, jewelry, ties or any dangling or loose-fitting accessories while operating the table saw. They may get caught up in the blade while you are working
- Do not position your body in line with the blade. Asides from the obvious effect of being cut in half, this is to prevent flying woodchips, dust and other material from injuring you as well
- Only let go of your work when the blade has completely stopped. If you weaken your grip even for a moment, then your hand might slip towards the saw blade
- Always disconnect the power before changing the blades
- Do not use wet wood; use dry and seasoned wood. Cutting wet wood is inefficient and it has a tendency to warp as you cut it. This also might cause the blade to kick back
- Always use sharp blades. Sharp saw blades are easier to control which greatly reduces the chance of accidents
- And lastly, NEVER, EVER wear gloves when using your table saw. A lot of beginners make this mistake and they have paid the price for it. Why? Gloves will not protect your hand from getting cut; in fact it might make things worse for you. Gloves may get caught up in the saw blade and drag you towards it; instead of losing only one finger, you might lose four of them all at ounce.
The tips above may seem scary but we are not dissuading you from using a table saw, we just want you to know of the risks before you even consider using one.
Table Saw Uses
A lot of woodworkers can’t imagine doing their jobs without a table saw. As we have said before, the table saw is the workhorse of the woodshop. Table saws can do almost anything, provided that you’ve equipped with the proper accessories. So, knowing when to use the proper saw blade is important when it comes to making your woodworking project.
We’ve compiled a list of different types of table saw blades and their uses down below.
Saw Blade Types
They are efficient for cuts along the direction of the wood grain. They are often used in cutting long and thick wood.
These blades are able to create precise cuts across the wood grain and are useful in making small but efficient cuts.
These types of blades work extremely well for ripping, crosscutting and mitering.
Hollow ground blades
These are blades that make clean cuts on materials like acrylic.
Blades with carbide tips
These blades have a tough finish on the cutting tips. This gives them a longer cutting life.
There is a lot to cover when it comes to table saws, their design, parts, uses, how to use them and of course, the different safety procedures as well. Condensing all of them in a single article is simply not possible.
Table saws aren’t mere power tools that help you with woodworking; they are an essential part of the woodshop. They have a variety of uses but are mostly used in handling difficult and time-consuming tasks.
So, to answer the question, a table saw can do almost any woodwork activity. The only thing that they can’t do is delicate work that requires skilled hands. Woodcarving and engraving are examples of work which a table saw cannot do.