One of the essential power tools in the field of carpentry are saws. Suitable for cutting and polishing not only wood, but also other soft materials such as plastic or metal sheets of aluminum or brass, the saws They offer a wide selection of models that cover all the needs of the professional or the hobbyist.
Thus, for example, among portable models we can have saws circular, saber, jigsaw and miter saws, among others. On the other hand, the family is further expanded if we consider the models of semi-portable saws Y stationary saws, which make up another large group of machines widely used in workshops and industries From the wood.
It is precisely within these last two categories that the group constituted by the table saws, which we will deal with in this article.
What is a table saw?
This useful tool, whose first prototypes were developed more than two centuries ago, consists essentially of a circular cutting disc protruding from the center of a horizontal table that is part of the machine. Hence its basic name «Table saw», because in effect it incorporates a table. The saw it is in a fixed position and the operator pushes the workpieces through the disc to make cuts much faster and more accurately than manual circular saws. These cuts can be:
- Straight in the direction of the wood grain
- Cross through the grain of the wood
- Miter and bevel, i.e. at an angle
Many times, the table circular saw it’s the first machine that a carpenter acquires and quickly becomes the center of activity in a woodworking shop, as different pieces return again and again to the table saw for squaring, shaping, grooving, mitering and splicing.
How many types of table saw are there?
It is very helpful to emphasize the various types of table saw that we can find in the market, especially since there is a great discrepancy in the denomination of many of them, which causes confusion in the inexperienced user.
To this end, we are going to highlight two important points.
In the first place, many refer interchangeably to the table saws and the circular saws as if they were synonymous, which is partly true and partly not. The table saws are a specific type of circular saw, and to clear doubts we can consult this review. What the circular saws presented in that article is that the cutting tool in all of them is a toothed disk, called a circular saw blade, because indeed, in addition to serving for a circular saw, it is itself a circle. This differentiates it from cutting tool from a band saw, from a Jig Saw or a saber saw, for example, neither of which is a disk or circle.
Second, it is very common, even among manufacturers, to associate a table saw exclusively with a semi-portable model.
Actually, table saws They are divided into several types and, as we have just indicated, include semi-portable and stationary models. It is possible that the confusion comes because all these saws incorporate a table (folding or not) in their design and do not necessarily imply that they must be mounted on a table or workbench to function.
To this end, we can summarize the different types of circular table saws in the following graph.
Once the clarifications have been made, now we are going to deepen some details and for this we will take as an example the machines semi-portable, especially the compact saws from the previous infographic, which, because they are mid-range in their category, are the most suitable for the hobbyist or the small workshop. Although the compact saws do not have wheels, they are also easy to disassemble, transport and assemble in other places if the need demands it.
Let’s see then what are the main components of the compact saw that we met in the video, which are similar to those of other models of table circular saws.
- Table for the saw
- Saw blade guard
- Dust extraction hose
- Stop for parallel cuts
- Folding table extension
- Miter gauge
- Eccentric lever
- Adjustment and clamping handle
- Crank for adjusting the height of the cutting blade
- On / off switch
- Push rod or ‘pusher’
- Base legs
- Cutting blade
Accessories of a table circular saw
Some of the components in the figure above are accessories with which it is very important to have to make good use of the machine. For both beginners and experts, knowing the accessories and their function will guarantee us not only quality cuts, but also safe working conditions.
Let’s know the main accessories of a table circular saw grouping them according to their function.
a) Basic accessories
We are going to detail three, without which it would be impossible to work with our saw.
Circular saw blade or disc
In fact, the most significant piece of all table saw It is the blade or cutting disc. There are various types of blades that are used for various functions and the differentiating factor is the number of teeth and their shape. Therefore, the material that we are going to cut and the type of cut that we want to make are essential to choose the correct blade, and for this we can consult this article.
Sheets of saw that can be used for specific cuts, but if we are beginners we can buy versatile discs, capable of making all the cuts. For quality and safety issues at work, we must always make sure to use new or perfectly sharpened blades.
Stop for parallel cuts
To make the basic cuts we need a stop to serve as a guide. For example, if we are going to cut in the direction of the grain of the wood, the stop for parallel cuts is the required instrument that will act as a vertical plane guide to make precise cuts.
Since parallel cutting is part of most cutting operations that use the table saws From recognized brands, this stop is an essential accessory, as it will give us a clear guide for the piece of work through the cutting blade.
Cross Cut Stop or Miter Gauge
As in the previous case, this is another essential accessory if we want to make angular and transverse cuts to the grain of the wood. It is important that the miter gauge is provided with sturdy stops, angles that are easy to read, that it fits easily into the miter grooves, and that it can slide from side to side without losing firmness and robustness.
Although it can be purchased separately, many manufacturers incorporate a miter gauge into their table circular saws.
b) Safety accessories
The table saws They are one of the machines more dangerous, because they can cause serious injury to the operator and therefore extreme precautions should be taken when working with them. The accessories shown in the figure below will help us to work more safely.
1. Push rod
As its name implies, this piece allows us to push material through the cutting blade without directly exposing our hand. It is an essential safety accessory when working with narrow slats less than 120 mm wide. It is important to consider different types of pushers that we can use for various cutting tasks, since the main thing is that we always have a great control of the material that we work to avoid accidents.
2. Push block
If we have to cut material less than 30 mm wide, then instead of using a push rod it is much more practical and safe to do it with a push block, an instrument generally not provided with the machine and similar in appearance to a bricklayer float or trowel. The difference with the rods is that it is flat and has a solid surface with a horizontal grip provided by a handle. When we have to make grooves in the workpiece, the push block is more suitable, since it provides us with additional grip for the wider materials.
3. Bra comb
This optional instrument firmly holds the workpiece against parallel or cross stops, preventing rebound of the workpiece as it slides alongside the saw, and with it the risk of damage or accidents. It has slanted teeth that follow the step of the piece and is versatile enough to be used in almost any table saw.
4. Insert for cutting blade
This small piece of wood or metal is a “mouth” that surrounds the cutting blade. Generally, those that come from the factory leave a lot of space around the blade and this is the reason why they will soon need to be replaced with an insert without play or without play. This means that they will form a very small gap, which in addition to providing greater protection to the user will prevent chips from falling into the internal parts of the saw.
5. Blade guard
Although it is a vital safety accessory, many professional carpenters avoid the use of a blade guard under the guise that it obstructs vision. To this end, many manufacturers of table saws They have improved their protectors by replacing them with non-obstructive and / or transparent designs. Once again, the important thing is safety and by using the blade protector we will not only be safer, but we will also achieve quality cuts.
Now that we know the basic information about table circular saws, it is clear that when it is time to choose one of these machines That meets our needs is the subject of a series of considerations. We look at those details in this article.
Function and applications of a table circular saw