The circular table saw is one of the tools main of any carpentry workshop or even among hobbyists who like to work with wood. It is a versatile power tool, allowing you to cut material up to 3 inches thick in a single pass, either perpendicular (cross cut) or parallel (rip cut) to the grain. It is also very useful for making angled or miter cuts, grooves and joints.
With the great diversity of circular table saws that manufacturers offer today, the potential user can be overwhelmed when deciding on a particular model, and since it is about machines expensive, a wrong choice can be extremely frustrating.
Therefore, in this article we will provide an orientation guide based on a series of questions that it will be very advantageous to ask ourselves before seriously considering the purchase.
1. What type of circular table saw is right for me and what level of precision can I expect?
This is a question as basic as it is paramount. If we are professional carpenters looking for a table saw For intensive use in our workshop, it is obvious that we must aim for a stationary model, capable of handling all kinds of woods of the most varied sizes and of making a multiplicity of cuts with maximum precision. Clearly this will involve a generous outlay of money, but in the long run the investment will be more than compensated thanks to the remarkable benefits of these machines.
If, on the other hand, we are beginner carpenters, or amateurs who will carry out habitual wood work, then it is advisable to review the semi-portable models, and of these, particularly the circular bench saws waves compact. The former must be mounted on a bench or work table and do not make precision cuts, but are simpler and cheaper. For its part, the precision of the compact saws It improves a lot, in addition to being more complete and incorporating a table, which makes them ideal if we do not have a workbench.
Finally, if we work in a garage where later we need a place, for example, to store our car, and / or we must mobilize frequently to carry out our work, a portable circular saw with wheels will be the solution. This model also produces precise cuts and incorporates a table, which can be easily folded and even transported comfortably thanks to its practical wheels at one end.
Once we are clear about the type of table circular saw to choose, we can go to the details. It is very important to establish what work we are going to do with the saw, since the least we are going to wish one day is that we have our new acquisition ready to work and we realize that it is not suitable to carry out this or that task. This merits the following fundamental question divided, in turn, into several parts.
2. What are my operational requirements?
Here we have to ask ourselves questions directly related to the material that we are going to work with and the type of task to be carried out. For example:
to) What thickness will I cut most often?
Knowing this information in advance will help us determine the thickness capacity of the saw we may need, taking into account that the most common thicknesses of sawn wood include the following measures: 4/4 ″ (25.4 mm), 5/4 ″ (31.75 mm), 6/4 ″ (38.1 mm), 8/4 ″ (50.8 mm), 10/4 ″ (63.5 mm) and 12/4 ″ (76.2 mm).
b) Will I have to cut entire panels of plywood?
This will help us determine the table size of the saw, as well as the stop for parallel cuts. The most common measurement of plywood boards is 4 x 8 feet or 1.22 x 2.44 meters.
c) How often will I use the saw and what type of wood (hard or soft) will I mainly cut?
This will help determine the power, in horsepower or watts, of the table saw that suits us.
d) Will I handle thick parts and / or make bevel cuts?
In this case we will have to look for a circular saw that allows the cut-off wheel adjustment, both in height and inclination. Usually this function is at the front of the machine like a crank that can be moved along a graduated scale, as shown in this figure.
Allows you to adjust the height of the cutting wheel for thicker workpieces, or the angle of the wheel for bevel cuts, usually at angles between 0 and 45 degrees.
e) Do I need to cut perpendicular to the grain of the wood?
Not all table circular saws incorporate a cross cut stop or miter gauge, essential for this type of cuts. This would force us to purchase one separately, with the possibility that it does not fit securely on the table and at the angle we want. Given this, it is convenient to look for models of saw that do incorporate a miter gauge from the factory, like the one we see in the following figure.
3. Do I have space limitations?
This question is extremely important, since not only the full deployment of a table circular saw requires sufficient space, but there is never a shortage of the buyer who has discovered with surprise that his saw newly acquired does not enter through the door of his workshop.
For example, one of the features that we can take advantage of in certain table circular saws compact type and some models with wheels if we have adequate space are the extensions folding table, each 20-25 cm wide, indicated in red in the figure below.
The extensions to the left and right of the table allow us to handle larger workpieces, while the extension at the back accommodates longer workpieces.
Thus, for example, a table that has dimensions of 610 mm long x 445 mm wide, will be enlarged, thanks to the extensions, to the dimensions shown in the figure below.
This makes it possible to use longer and / or larger wooden slats and plates, so having enough room to maneuver them is essential for safe work.
Let us also not forget that the space we have also conditions the type of circular saw to choose. For example, confined spaces do not support a stationary saw, but are suitable for semi-portable models such as compact saws and bank. And if the issue becomes critical, then a wheeled saw, easily removable, foldable and transportable is the only option.
4. What features do I need to maximize my security?
Since the blade disc will rotate at high speeds, our protection is paramount. Consequently, the first thing we must ensure is that our saw have at least the following security elements detailed in the figure below:
Protective guard of the cutting disc: located parallel to the table, it must be able to move over the workpiece while cutting.
Safety wedge: It is a stationary blade similar in thickness to the cutting blade and is mounted behind the blade to prevent binding of the blade, which could cause dangerous kickback.
Insert for cutting blade: reduces the formation of chips and chips (which in addition to impacting the user can reach the engine) and helps prevent kickback.
Pushrod: it replaces our hand when we must make cuts in narrow strips that could compromise the safety of the operation.
Here we can consult more details of these essential elements, as well as other highly recommended additions to work with our table circular saw.
If we also cut the wood in a confined area, the dust extraction it is essential as a health and safety requirement. This means that it will be very convenient for the saw that we choose comes provided with a port and one hose for dust extraction, as shown in the figure above, which can be easily connected to a machine extractor, for example a wet and dry vacuum cleaner.
The advice that we propose in this article will be useful to guide the future user of a table circular saw about a smart purchase. But let’s not forget that the economic factor is also a component of great weight in making a decision. The table circular saws, even the simplest, are tools They come at a cost, so it is important that we carefully evaluate all technical details and have a price range in mind before beginning our search.