Common Questions About Table Saws

Last modified on June 2, 2022
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Here are some common questions about table saws answered

What Is a Zero Clearance Table Saw Insert Used For?

A zero clearance insert (ZCI) is one of the most helpful table saw attachments available. Inserts with zero clearance increase cut quality while also making your saw safer to use. This great even if are a beginner. Check out our selection of best starter table saws.

A zero clearance insert is one that perfectly fits the blade width. One can be made by raising the blade gently through an uncut insert.

It covers the gap left by the metal insert that comes with the saw, preventing objects from falling through the hole and, more significantly, reducing chip-out by guaranteeing that the piece is supported, preventing chips from being pushed away from the board. However, it isn’t flawless, so if you care, put in your sacrifice piece.

In general, the less free area beneath your workpiece, the more control you have while cutting.

Benefits of Using a Zero Clearance Insert

To keep tiny bits of wood from dropping through the crack. This reduces the risk of table saw kickback, which can cause serious injury. It also keeps wood from slipping into the crack and clogging the saw blade. If a piece of wood falls in, it may become lodged in the saw blade, causing it to stop spinning. This puts a lot of loads on the table saw motor, which might cause it to burn out.

To act as a backing to prevent chip-out on the cut’s backside. Because the workpiece is supported on all sides, ZCI’s decrease tear out and chipout. As the blade moves through the workpiece, the support prevents wood fibers from being pushed away from the workpiece. The less free area beneath your workpiece, the more control you have over the cut and the cut quality.

Improved sawdust collecting. There is almost no way for sawdust to return to the table saw when using a ZCI. The sawdust is almost entirely guided down the dust chute, resulting in less mess and more straightforward cleanup.

Is Zero Clearance Insert Better than The Throat Plate?

There isn’t a single situation when a ZCI wouldn’t be preferable. However, the presence of ZCIs does not imply that the throat plate is ineffective. Making and storing ZCIs for each saw blade and bevel angle is a pain. The typical throat plate is therefore convenient for non-critical cuts or cuts with unusual bevel angles.

The throat plate is intended to allow the saw blade to pass through the complete range of bevel angles on the table saw. It has more clearance around the saw blade, allowing for additional angle adjustments.

Conventional throat plates are more practical to use if you’re making a lot of one-off cuts with varied bevel angles and cuts.

Limitations of Zero Clearance Inserts

Because a ZCI is customized to a particular saw, blade type, and bevel angle, it is only used for cuts that meet those requirements. A ZCI can’t be used on any other cuts once it’s been produced for a straight-on 90° cut. You can’t utilize your 90° ZCI if you need to create a 45° bevel cut.

Because each zero clearance insert is only appropriate for one bevel angle, you’ll need a lot of these to cover the most frequent bevel angles. And if you’re using dado blades on your table saw, it’ll be even more so. Check out our selection of table saws with dado blades.

Also, because of the lack of clearance on these inserts, they will wear out with time. Over time, the saw blade gap will enlarge, requiring a new one.

Zero Clearance Insert with A Riving Knife

There is no hole for the riving knife when you build your own ZCI. When you wish to utilize your ZCI with the extra safety of a riving knife, this presents an issue. The most specific device for avoiding kickback is a riving knife. You can’t merely cut a hole for the riving knife at the rear of the insert. The ZCI would be nearly reduced in half if you did that, jeopardizing its structural stability.

Cutting a slit for the riving knife while maintaining the ZCI’s integrity is the answer. Using a drop router to create the slot where the riving knife lifts with the blade is the easiest technique to cut the gap. Mark the length of the riving knife and cut the aperture with the drop router

The riving knife opening can alternatively be cut with a bandsaw or a jigsaw. However, you’ll wind up cutting the insert practically in half with any of those saws. To fix this, glue a strip of wood to the back of the insert to seal the gap.

Getting an aftermarket ZCI might make things simpler because the groove for the riving knife opening is already cut.

Aftermarket Zero Clearance Inserts

Zero clearance inserts are available from a variety of manufacturers for most table saw models. They’ve been pre-cut for a saw blade as well as a riving knife. It’s simple to get a ZCIs for your table saw if you know the model and the blade or dado you’ll be using.

How to Make a DIY Zero Clearance Insert

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Can You Cut a 4×4 with a Table Saw?

So, can you cut a 4×4 with a table saw? Yes, you can cut a 4×4 with a table saw if you have a 12″ table saw. But if you have an 8-¼-inch or 10″ table saw, you have to run it twice to get a clean cut.

Do you know the actual size of 4×4 lumber? When it comes to thickness, hardwood lumber in North America is typically marketed in “quarter” sizes; 4×4 corresponds to 3 1/2 × 3 1/2 inches or 89 × 89 mm.

A table saw’s capacity is usually around 1/3 the blade’s diameter. It’s hard to offer a single figure since there are different types of table saws with blades as small as 6′′ and as large as 12′′ or more.

Depending on the saw plate thickness, 10-inch saw blades can cut up to 3 inches thick in one pass. These are portable table saws used by both beginners and professionals alike. The thickness of a 4×4 is 3 1/2 inches. As a result, you must make one cut and then turn it over to make the second cut.

The accuracy of your work will be determined by your work holding technique. Stop blocks are quite common. However, safety comes first. Kickback may be increased by using a long 4×4 that is larger than the table. Use auxiliary supports as necessary.

How to Crosscut a 4×4 on a Table Saw

The miter gauge may be used to cut a 4×4 across the grain. If you have a 10-inch table saw, you will need to make two passes to cut all the way through.

To begin, elevate your blade as high as it will go. It should be a little more than 3 inches. Make a standard crosscut, and then flip your 4×4 over. Reduce the height of your blade so that it can cut through the remaining material, but not too high for safety reasons. You may use a router with a flush bit to make your cut flawless if you leave a little excess material after your second cut.

Quick Tip: Leave a little extra material on the desired piece to ensure the 4×4 will be crosscut at the right length. This makes the wood simpler to work with and allows you to gradually remove more material in a few more passes, resulting in a flawless cut.

How to Cut a 4×4 Lengthwise (Rip-Cut) on a Table Saw

Table saws have the amazing way to rip-cut a 4×4 like a fence post, something no other power tool can achieve.

Ripping a 4×4 on a 10-inch table saw works similarly to a crosscut. Because you know your fence won’t move, you’ll only need to make two passes with the wood this time, and the cut will be identical to the first. There will be no clean-up passes required, which is usually beneficial.

Just adjust the fence’s distance and lock it in place to prevent it from moving. Then lift the blade halfway up the cut, but not all the way. This allows you to cut less material on the initial pass, which speeds up the process.

Furthermore, avoiding having the blade cut the maximum amount of material at once helps to keep your table saw’s motor from being clogged and lowers the risk of the blade burning the wood.

Make sure your finger isn’t pushing where the saw blade will come out as you drive your 4×4 along the fence. It is strongly advised to use a push stick.

Cutting Thicker than A 4×4 with a Table Saw

if you have a 10″ table saw which can only go three inches deep, then flipping the workpiece over and cutting both sides that can often end up in an uneven face

  • First, clamp the workpiece to the miter fence; that way, it stays nice and solid.
  • Get the blade up as deep.
  • Make a full pass.
  • Now for the next step down, just over what’s left to cut.
  • line this with the blade.
  • Make another full pass, and there you have it.
  • Use a router with a flush bit to make your cut, even if there are little extra materials.

So, there are two variables to consider while cutting a 44 using a table saw. The table saw’s geometry is the first consideration. The diameter of the blade, the arbor size and washer that clamp the blade to the arbor, and the amount of travel incorporated into the blade lifting mechanism are all important considerations.

By rotating the workpiece end over end and running it through a second time, you may double the depth of the cut. If you need to rip lumber that is above 6″ thick, you might consider utilizing a band saw. Band saws are better designed to cut through thick logs.

Why My Table Saw Burning Wood? how To Fix It?

Table saws are great tools for cutting lumber quickly and effectively, but they aren’t perfect. When using a table saw, the burn patterns on the wood are a common issue. A table saw can burn wood if it is not properly set up, if the blade is dull, or if the stock is pushed through too slowly.

The burns you get when using a table saw can be an early indicator of some serious problems down the road. When a table saw blade is burning, decide if you need to change your blade or not. 

Top 8 Reasons for a Table Saw Burning Wood

A table saw can cause wood to burn in a variety of ways, including if the blade is dull, you’re using the wrong blade, you’re putting the stock through the saw too slowly, you have misaligned components, you’re not driving the stock through quickly enough, and so on.

1. Incorrect Blade for the Job

The shape of the teeth on the blade as well as the spacing between them have an effect on how the saw works. A saw with more teeth will produce a better finish than one with fewer teeth. Burning marks will be caused if it is used for the wrong task. The burn marks appear because the metal of the blade stays in contact with the wood for a longer period of time.

2. Out of Alignment

Burn marks can be created on one side of the cut wood from alignment issues. Also serious safety hazards can be caused by alignment issues and the likelihood of kickback can increase.

3. A Dull/Dirty Saw Blade

Saw blades become coated in pitch and resin over time. burn marks can be caused by this build-up. If you have trouble with burn marks, it may be that the blade is dirty. It’s possible to clean the blade with special solutions.

The blade of the table saw could be dull if it burns wood after being clean. The cut is slower due to dull blades. Even if you clean the blade, the table saw could be too close to the blade. The feed rate is slower if the blade is further away. The cutting speed will slow down if wood pitch resins build up behind the teeth.

4. Feed Rate Too Slow

Table saws can usually accept a high feed rate, so new to woodworking may not know that. You are likely to get burned if you stop and start adjusting your hold or just moving the wood very slowly. There is no particular rate at which wood should be fed to the table saw. It depends on the type of wood you are cutting, the blade you are using, and the saw you use. You can develop a feel for how fast to feed the wood with practice.

5. Blade Warped

It’s a good idea to replace your saw blade if it’s warped. Heating of the blade over time can cause it to warp, so if you have been having burn problems for awhile, you might be aggravating the problem.

6. Height of The Blade

Your blade needs to be at the right height in order for saw teeth to cut the wood properly. The higher the teeth hit the wood, the more efficiency you’ll have in your cutting. Raising the blade height could stop the burning.

7. Some Woods Prone to Burning

Not that you should blame the wood, but it’s true, some woods like cherry and mahogany are more prone to burning than others.

8. Saw Blade Not Parallel to Fence

If the blade’s not perfectly parallel to the fence, it’ll cause burns, especially on one side of the wood. It’s fairly simple to fix though.

How to Fix the Burn Marks?

Sanding, using a wood plan, or using a flat scraper can be used to fix a burn mark. Some times you have to cut off the burned part as they are not fixable even with sanding. But usually It’s easy to fix a burn mark on a table saw, but fixing your table saw is even more important.