What Is a Table Saw Used For? -Table Saw Uses

Last modified on September 17, 2022
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a man cutting wood in a table saw

At first, the term “table saw” can be somewhat misleading in a general context, particularly if you’re only familiar with saws like a band saw that sometimes uses flat surface around the blade.

A table saw generally uses more of a table-like design and in most simple of the form consists of a circular saw mounted under a table top with a part of the blade exposed that is capable of cutting. You can read who invented the table saw here.

The table saw is an essential piece of machinery for every woodworking workshop. It would probably be the most expensive tool that a woodworker will purchase.  The table saw is an ideal tool to conduct the routine cutting processes efficiently and quickly.  This article will show you what a table saw is used for, what can you do with a table saw, what cuts you can make, parts of a table saw with operating safety guides.

Parts of A Table Saw

Splitter or Riving Knife

A table saw should be equipped with a splitter or riving knife. This is designed to keep the board from coming back together after it passes the blade which could cause the material to kick back at the operator. Riving knives are generally able to remain in place except when plunge cutting or using a dado blade.

Anti-Kickback Fingers

Splitters are often equipped with anti-kickback fingers to further minimize this danger. Anti-Kickback fingers are metal hands with jaws that catch the working piece as it kicks back to the user. Some operations, such as when rabbiting or cutting grooves, require that the splinter be removed.

Miter Grooves

The surface of the table saw has two parallel grooves milled into it that can accept a miter gauge. These grooves can also be used for feather boards, or to accommodate a tenoning jig as shown here. The miter grooves accept a miter gauge. A miter gauge is a guide that you can adjust to pass the working piece past the blade to make cuts at various angles.

Table Saw Blades

Blades are essential part of a table saw. Selecting the proper blade for ripping will result in a better finish and less load on the saw’s motor. Rip blades have fewer teeth and usually a flat top grind. Crosscut blades have more teeth and the teeth have alternating bevels. Triple chip blades are designed to minimize tear out when cutting composite products and plastics. Combination type blades are designed to be used for either ripping or cross cutting.

Rip Fence

Cabinet table saws are typically equipped with a single lever clamping T-style rip fence which slides along the front rail. A table saw’s rip fence is a bar that acts as a reference for a work piece as it goes past the blade.

Blade Guard

All saws will come with a guard. Blade guard is a shield that prevents the user from dust and debris, kickback, and unintended blade contact. There are also a variety of after-market guards available. Some offer dust collection parts to help with dust extraction when cutting. Some guard slides into an overhead arm and is suspended over the blade. Some attaches to the saw and is equipped with a splitter and anti-kickback fingers. Another after-market blade guard is available which cantilevers over the blade.

Throat Plates

Throat plates are designed to reduce the openings surrounding the blade so stock does not get trapped while cutting. Different sized throat plates will be needed for dadoing operations. Zero clearance throat plates should be used when ripping narrow stock to prevent the stock from falling into the opening which could cause a dangerous condition.

What Can You Do with A Table Saw?

Table saws may be used for a range of things more so if you have other saws on hand, such as a handsaw or a miter saw because they are designed to produce long cuts.

For example, if the miter saw is designed to make crosscuts, you would want to use a rip-cutting blade on your table saw. Ripping blades are usually used for long, straight cuts into wood.

Gummier, denser fabrics, such as plywood, sheet metal, and particle board, are also good choices for your table saw. Trickier wood can be sliced using a dedicated blade on the table saw.

While wood is by far the most commonly cut material, modern table saws are built to cut through wood, plastic, pexiglass and aluminum. It will cut soft and hard wood within seconds, depending on its diameter, amount of teeth and amount of blade spins.

Table saws are ideal for cutting deep, smooth, and steady cuts in a fraction of the time it takes for handheld saws. These can be used to cut down a variety of wood from sheet boards to logs of 2×2 to their desired sizes and shapes.

The table saw is, without a doubt, the most useful instrument in a woodworker’s workshop. It can be used to rip and crosscut sheets, cut panels to the perfect scale and even carve patterns onto the edges of wood stock.

With the help of a miter jig, it can also be used to cut at a 45 ° angle. However, if you want to do it quicker and better, you can use a miter saw, which is specially made for the task.

What Cuts Can You Make with A Table Saw?

A table saw is used to make a variety of accurate and specific cuts like:

Rip Cut – These Cuts Divides a Piece of Wood Along Its Grain

  1. Make sure that the rip fence is correctly aligned with the blade before doing any cuts. Measure the distance between the rip fence and one tooth on the blade at one end of the rip fence, then move the tooth toward the other side of the table and repeat the test. If the numbers are the same, the rip fence is precisely balanced.
  2. Using the crank, raise the height of the saw blade to just barely above the thickness of the wood being sliced.
  3. When doing a rip cut, keep an eye on the rip fence on the side rather than the blade to ensure a clear cut.

Cross Cut – Cuts Made Perpendicular to The Grain of The Wood.

  1. While making cross cuts, avoid using the rip fence. It is possible for kickback to occur, and if it does, the hand is likely to be dragged over the blade, depending on how you position the board for cross cuts.
  2. For make a cross cut, put the cross-cutting guide in the table saw’s groove and use it as a guide.
  3. Attach a piece of wood to the rip fence and adjust the gap between scrap and the blade to the required amount. This way you can make multiple cross cuts the same length.

Dado Cut- Adding a Flat-Bottom Channel or A Groove Across the Grain of Wood Allowing for Seamless Box Joints.

  1. Install a dado blade and choose a table insert which matches the width of the groove being cut.
  2. Adjust the rip fence to the proper distance from the blade.
  3. Make your dado with first pass. Push sticks are used to guide the board into the table saw.
  4. Push the rip fence about 1/4 inch away from the first cut. Pass the table saw through a second time.
  5. Continue until the dado has reached the target diameter.

Table Saw Safety

  • Wear protective goggles, hearing aids, and a dust cover. When working your table saw, avoid wearing rings, other jewels, or loose clothes.
  • Never lean over the blade of the saw to cut or hold a work piece.
  • Do not cut a piece of wood without a diagram on a table-saw.
  • Never run it when high on drugs or alcohol, particularly if the substances you’re taking have an impact on your cognitive ability.
  • When cutting, stand on one side of the saw blade; do not encourage anyone to stand directly in front of the saw blade when it is running.
  • When you rip wood on your saw, always use a push stick. This tool keeps the fingertips from the blade and stops the wood from kicking.
  • Make use of the blade guard included with the saw.
  • When used incorrectly, Table saws can be deadly. Working with a table saw involves patience and dedication in order to ensure that the wood is safely cut without damage.


A table saw is a versatile tool that can be found in a good workshop. It can easily make a multitude of cuts, allowing it the ability to tackle a wide range of projects. Knowing how and what is a table saw used for will assist you in completing a variety of DIY woodworking tasks.

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