Table saws are the most popular power saw that woodworkers use, mainly due to their powerful operation and convenience. They feature a circular blade fixed beneath a table’s surface, with a small part that protrudes above the surface. It’s used by guiding a piece of wood towards it, and you can adjust the cutting angle and depth easily.
Table saws are also one of the most versatile types of power saws out there, but most people are unaware of all the ways they can use them for their carpentry or DIY projects. If you find out all of the methods and tips, you won’t need any other power saw for your work.
With that said, let’s look at the different ways a table saw can be used.
Different Ways to Use a Table Saw
Commonly, you can use a table saw on different types of wood pieces, and you can use them for different cuts. This is a major reason why table saws are considered one of the most versatile power saws out there.
Let’s have a look at the various ways to use a table saw.
1. Rip Cuts
A rip cut, or ripping cut, is a type of cut that involves cutting a piece of wood to width, i.e., parallel to its grain. The sharp blade and powerful motor of a table saw make it easy for woodworkers to apply rip cuts to wood to make it smaller. It also allows them to adjust the width of the cut and use a rip fence for more precision and accuracy.
2. Cross Cuts
Another application for table saws is to cross-cut the wood, which means cutting it to length. Since the blade is fixed on a table saw, it allows for more control and cross-cutting precision. You can simply slide the piece of wood along the table to achieve the desired length. Although you can use a miter saw for this purpose, table saws offer more precision for cross-cuts.
3. Bevel Cuts
Most table saws also allow you to alter the blade’s cutting angle, making it suitable for bevel cuts. Such table saws have an adjustment wheel underneath the table, which allows you to modify the blade’s direction and height for applying bevel cuts properly. The angle ranges between 0 and 50 degrees and offers greater accuracy.
A rabbet cut refers to cutting wood in a way that creates grooves into the edge of a piece of wood. They’re used to join two pieces of wood together, such as for drawer installation or attaching the back to a cupboard. To use a table saw for this purpose, you should hold the wood in place with clamps.
When using the table saw for rabbet cuts, you can cut corners in a formation that makes it possible to fit perfectly with the corner of the second piece. Although it’s a little complicated, you can do it properly with a little practice.
5. Marry Two Table Saws
This may seem like a strange idea, but you can actually join two table saws together. With just a little effort, you can bolt them together and double the convenience and utility, thus making them suitable for larger and more advanced woodworking projects.
To join the two table saws, you can add a layer of plywood to each table’s back rail, join them together, and use another synthetic wood material to cover these layers. In just a few steps, you can secure them both and create a longer worktable.
The biggest benefit of joining two table saws is that you have an extra table saw as backup, in case one of them breaks down and has to be sent for repairs. Moreover, this also makes it easy for you to cut longer pieces of wood without much effort.
6. Table Saws for Metal
If your carpentry projects also require you to work with metal objects, you can also cut them easily with a table saw. Although its basic function is to cut various wood types, you can also use it for metal. One of the first things you need for this purpose is to replace the blade with one that’s specially hardened for metallic objects.
Metals are classified into ferrous and non-ferrous metals. The former is generally harder than the latter, so if you’re dealing with these metals, make sure to have a proper blade that can cut through metal with precision. You can easily cut through steel, aluminum, copper, and various metals with ease.
Make sure that you also know the correct adjustments and blade height for cutting through various metals so that you can make a clean and precise cut.
7. Cutting Pipe with Table Saws
Another use for table saws is to cut pipes. Be it metal or PVC pipes, you can use table saws to cut through them accurately. You don’t need any extra tools or equipment to work with PVC pipes. For this purpose, you’ll need to have a laminate or plywood blade that can easily cut through pipes properly.
Be careful while cutting pipes with table saws, as they can get destroyed if you improperly use a metal blade for this purpose.
8. Woodworking Table Saws
Table saws are the most popular choice for woodworking projects because they provide you with more accuracy, precision, and cutting power. Plus, they can also cut through large pieces of wood quicker and better than other power saws.
As mentioned above, table saws can also help greatly with various types of cuts on pieces of wood, such as rip cuts, cross cuts, rabbet cuts, grooves, and many others. You can use them on a wide array of projects, whether you’re building a coffee table or constructing an entire closet. Using this powerful tool can really enhance your craftsmanship.
9. Cutting Plastic with Table Saws
There are various types of power saws to cut through wood, but cutting plastic is a whole different ball game. This is mainly because plastic is less durable and can also get melted during the cutting process if there is high heat. Plus, plastic can also get easily scratched and damaged. However, you can use table saws to cut through acrylic or polycarbonate plastic materials.
Table saws are suitable to cut through both thin and thick sheets of plastic, provided that you use the right type of blades that are specially purposed for cutting plastic. The blade should have evenly spaced teeth that are placed close together. Make sure that the blade doesn’t generate too much heat, or it may melt or spoil the plastic.
10. Table Saws for DIY Projects
Table saws are also a useful and valuable tool for DIY projects. Although you can make do with a manual saw, it won’t provide you with the ease of use and precision that will come from a table saw. Plus, if you’re new to cutting wood for DIY projects, you can easily learn and master the use of table saws without any extra effort or learning.
There are hundreds of different table saw models to choose from; each with different power outputs, features, cost, and also skill set required. If you’re a novice, you can make do with a beginner-level table saw. You can also choose a mini or portable table saw if you think you don’t need a full-sized one.
11. Table Saws for Industrial Manufacturing
In industrial settings, table saws can be used for a wide array of projects and purposes, as they’re suitable for cutting various types of materials, such as wood, metal, plastic, PVC, and many others. This makes them a versatile and handy tool to have in the workshop.
If you know how to use table saws for different types of cuts and grooves, you won’t have to use any other type of power saw, no matter how big or small the project may be.
How to Use a Table Saw Safely for Any Project
Table saws have a wide range of benefits and applications, but caution must be taken whenever you’re using them in your workshop. They’re known to be quite dangerous and cause many fatal accidents or injuries.
Therefore, you need to follow certain guidelines and safety tips to avoid any mishaps while using a table saw. Let’s have a look at them.
- Keep the work area or table clear of any raw materials or other objects before you turn on the table saw.
- Maintain a clear space of 2 feet around the table so that you have enough space to move around safely.
- When applying special types of cuts, make sure to use the supporting accessories to ensure precision and maintain safety.
- Turn off the table saw when not in use, and unplug it every time you leave the workshop.
- Make sure your table saw has suitable safety features and that they’re all in working condition to avoid any accidents.
These are all of the various ways in which you can use a table saw for your carpentry, DIY, and other types of projects. No matter what you do, make sure to follow the safety protocols and also ensure the use of safety gear, such as safety goggles, masks, face shields, etc.
We hope this article helps you understand the uses of table saws and compels you to consider buying one for your workshop. Not only will it add precision and finesse to your work, but it also will help you save time.
Nick Klamecki is a certified Fire and Workplace Safety expert with 15 years experience in product research and testing. He has a degree in Economics from U.C. Davis, is an active outdoorsman and spent years ensuring the safety of special needs children. Nick researches and tests workplace, industrial and safety products and provides advice on their safe use.