How To Set Up A Table Saw ?
It’s always exciting to get a new piece of equipment and surely we can’t wait to use them for our projects. But, hold your horses as woodworking tools no matter how much your manufacturer tells you that it’s ready right on the get-go still needs some scrutiny upon arrival.
Especially with a table saw. Making sure to set up your table saw properly before using them ensures not only the accuracy of your future projects but at the same time, ensures safety for anyone involved.
Don’t worry though as we got you covered. We will teach you how to set up a table saw and more in this article. Read on!
What is a table saw?
Woodworkers can work on a lot of their projects personal and professional ones alike by the use of a handheld saw but if they need more precise and broader cuts then a table saw should be a great option.
A table saw is a woodworker’s delight and so we must know how to use them properly and that all starts with setting them up the right way.
A table saw in its very definition is a circular saw that’s mounted under a table. A part of the blade then protrudes above that said table for it to be exposed and utilized for cutting wood.
Table saws are capable of delivering smooth and straighter cuts to larger pieces of wood. This is also one of the most versatile power tools that you can have in your shed.
The cuts are adjustable and offer consistency to your work. That’s why this powerful tool is super-essential for the serious woodworker.
How to set up a table saw
In essence, there are 3 important parts involved in setting up your table saw. These are integral parts that will make sure that your cuts will be accurate and safe.
We’re talking about the blade, the riving knife, and the fence.
As portable as these table saws can come you’re going to have to ensure that you find the right spot for it in your workshop. Also, make sure that the table is in a place where it is stable enough and in a place where you’ll have some allowance to work on properly and freely.
After securing your saw you can now remove the throat plate if yours came with one and then we can install the blade. You need to ensure that the blade is at the right height and alignment. Although, an already aligned blade is not uncommon as well.
But if you want to align the blade yourself then an aligning jig would be a desirable tool to utilize. The blade should be square to the table, you need to raise the blade to its highest height and then tilt it to 90 degrees.
You can then use a 90 degree square to ensure that the blade is at the right angle. A mitre square should also come in handy if you want to switch up your blade’s angle to say 45 degrees for other types of cuts.
You need to make sure that the nuts holding the blade in place are properly setup as well as the arbor lock to keep it from spinning.
The Riving Knife
The next thing that you need to do is to install the riving knife. For those who are not familiar, the riving knife is the piece of safety equipment you install in your table saw to prevent kickbacks.
In essence, a riving knife prevents your wood from closing up as you push it through your circular saw. So it’s very important to install it properly as well.
Just make sure that you install the riving knife properly behind the blade. A rule of thumb is that it should be about 8mm away from the curvature of the blade. One effective way to make sure that your riving knife is at the right amount of distance with your blade is through a pencil technique.
What is this pencil technique you may ask? It’s actually very simple. Most pencils are about 8mm thick so just insert it in between your blade and riving knife to ensure that you have the right distance.
All right, some table saw will have a splitter or another anti-kickback device with them but others won’t. You can install it after if you’d like. An anti-kickback can just be installed atop your riving knife and you may install an additional blade guard after.
After all of that, if your unit comes with a throat plate then this is where you install it.
Moving on to our last important component, the fence. The fence or the rip fence is the guide bar parallel to your saw blade. Installing it the right way is just as important as installing your blade.
You need to make sure that the fence is square to the table and parallel to your blade. The latter being very important for they are always working in conjunction with each other.
Making sure that there is no pinch point at the back of your blade is paramount. After this, you’re ready to rip!
And oh, if your table saw came with a sliding table then you can install it right after. Depending on its size, you may need some help.
How to use a table saw properly ?
There are 3 primary types of cuts that you can do with your table saw. The cross cut, the ripping cut, and the dado cut. You’ll most like do a lot of rip cuts as opposed to the other two.
Depending on your project, a table saw is one versatile power tool and great to have at your disposal.
- Don’t start your table saw if your material (the thing you’re about to cut) is touching the blade.
- The rip fence is there for rip cuts, use it!
- For cross cuts, always use the mitre gauge as the rip fence won’t offer much support.
- Always, keep the material you are about to cut flat on the table.
There are a lot of articles or instructional videos online to learn how to perform a cut properly. Please ensure to checkout some of them if you’re a complete novice about this or at least talk to someone who knows the drill.
This ain’t just a matter of doing it right but also ensuring your safety.
Moving forward, now that you know how to set up your table saw, you must know how to change the blade and maintain your power tool.
There you have it, all the basic yet very important tips and tricks that you need to know about your table saw. We must know how to set up a table saw properly so we can enjoy using it more rather than messing up any future projects plus you get to ensure that everyone that’s going to utilize it are safe.
It’s also important to protect your investment no matter what tool we are talking about for they don’t come cheap. Knowing how to maintain them goes a long way.
So follow our advice, reread if you’d like, and enjoy those DIY projects.