Table Saw Selection Guide
The table saw works well for long, straight cuts and is also very good at rip cuts. If you add a jig to the saw, you can use it to cut dovetail joints and other complicated cuts. You can also manipulate the blade height to cut grooves.
The saw's controls are located on the metal or plastic base on which the table sits. The blade can be raised, lowered, or tilted through the use of hand cranks. These cranks work by twisting and pivoting the trunion, which is a metal casting located inside the base. The trunion holds the motor and the blade, as well as the belt that connects them, allowing them to work as one.
Table saws come in several varieties, the lightest of which is the portable table saw. This small, portable saw can be easily carried between job sites. Because it has no legs, it must be used on a workbench or other standing surface.
A contractor's saw can be moved from place to place but requires two people to lift it. Contractor's saws are much heavier than the portable variety, and they include integral cabinets and legs that enable them to stand in place.
Cabinet saws are the heaviest and most solid of the table saws. A cabinet saw stands on an enclosed base that houses its motor and trunion. This type of table saw is not portable.
Hybrid saws are a cross between contractor's saws and cabinet saws, as they combine the smaller table and legs of the former with the enclosed base of the latter.
Table Saw SafetyTable saws, with their sharp, rotating blades and sawdust production, can be hazardous to their users. With this in mind, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has published these table saw hazard solutions, and the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) recommends that table saw users limit their exposure to wood dust. NIOSH has published an article about controlling wood dust from table saws, in which they propose that a local exhaust hood be placed directly above the rotating table saw blade.
Table Saw Manufacturers
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