5 Basic Table Saw Tips You Shouldn’t Ignore

Ok, you have a (new) table saw in your workshop, and you want to get the most out of this powerful tool.
Well, to achieve that, you will discover 5 basic table saw tips to get started.
By understanding these tips, you can dive deeper into the other table saw tips I have on this website, which I will link to in this article.
Shortly, those table saw tips are:

  • Tip 1: Make the table saw ready for use properly
  • Tip 2: Make an out feed table
  • Tip 3: Work safely
  • Tip 4: Keep it clean
  • Tip 5: Make table saw jigs to improve your table saw skills

Read these 5 table saw tips carefully, as these table saw tips will not only make your work easier and faster, but also a lot safer. As an extra advantage, by applying these table saw tips, you can make your table saw last longer. Use these table saw techniques in your workshop, and save money in many ways.

Disclosure: At zero cost to you, I may get commissions for purchases made through links in this post. I earn from qualifying purchases as an Amazon associate. Products featured are selected based on quality, performance, and reputation, regardless of affiliate relationships.

Things You Need To Know As a Table Saw User

If you are brand new to working with a table saw, or you just got that new power tool out of the box, you better read my article, How To Use A Table Saw—Easy Starter’s Guide For Perfect Cuts. That is the best table saw introduction there is who can help you step by step into working with a table saw and grow your table saw techniques.

Read The Manual

I know that many new owners prefer to skip the manual and get started right away, but it’s an excellent idea to take the time to read through the manual anyway.

By doing that, you get to know your tools in a short time, and you immediately know what can and cannot be done.

So next time, instead of getting started right away, read the manual first!

Get To Know The Parts Of a Table Saw

One of the best table saw tips for beginners is to know the parts of a table saw. If you want to know what is being talked about, it is a good idea to get to know the parts of your most used tool.

To learn more about all the parts of the table saw, I recommend going to the article on using a table saw that I linked to at the beginning of this section.

Ebook part 1 woodworking basics

Be Carefully

This may sound obvious, but with a table saw, you have a powerful, and at the same time, a dangerous tool in your workshop.

Always work with your table saw with full attention!
Before you get started, also with any other tool, analyze what the possible dangers are for your workplace and take preventive action.

The best advice for getting started with a table saw or another power tool is not to wear loose clothing. If you have long hair, tie it in a ponytail or tuck your hair into your clothes. Before you start, always try to investigate for loose things that could get caught by rotating parts and drag you.

The table saw is a fantastic tool to have in the workshop, but use it with caution and use it properly. To avoid making mistakes it is recommended to read my article, 10 Dangerous Table Saw Mistakes To Avoid

How Do I Get The Most Out Of My Table Saw? 5 Basic Table Saw Tips.

With the 5 basic table saw tips you can find below, you will certainly succeed in getting the most out of your table saw and grow your table saw techniques. Above that, you will be able to work in a safer way with your table saw.

If you want to increase the safety features of your table saw and make it a safer tool, I recommend reading my article, How to Make My Table Saw Safer (7 Helpful Tips).

However, these 5 basic table saw tips are just a starting point. If you’ve read through these 5 tips completely, you’ll find a bonus section with additional tips. These tips are discussed in detail in separate blogs that you can find by clicking through.

I regularly upload new articles in which I discuss new table saw tips in detail. Whenever I do this, I’ll be editing to this general table saw tips article. So come back regularly to discover the latest new adjustments and always stay informed of useful information for your workshop.

Table Saw Tips #1: Make It Ready For Use/Check Regularly

Whether you have a new table saw or you’ve had it for years, you need to tune your table saw.
There are a few things that you should check regularly if you want to get the most out of your table saw, which I will go over in this section.

Give Your Table Saw Some Space.

If you want to work comfortably, even when you want to cut large sheets of plywood, it is better not to place your table saw in a corner or along a wall of your woodworking workshop.
Make sure that you have enough space on all sides of your table saw.

I myself have a small workshop and I have placed my table saw in the middle of the workshop.
That way, I have as much space as possible around the table saw.

However, I still occasionally find myself running out of space when cutting large pieces of wood.
If you have small workshop too, and cutting larger pieces of wood is hard to do, you should look for a good table saw alternative to get the job done. That is one of the reasons why I have bought my track saw a while ago. Check this list of table saw alternatives to see what is the best option for you.

So, find the best spot for your table saw in your workshop.
The more space you have around this power tool, the easier and safer you can work.

Use The Right Saw Blade.

If you only have a table saw, you can’t make cuts, you must complete this tool by adding a saw blade, but be aware, it is not just any saw blade.
To get perfect cuts, you will need to look for a suitable blade for the type of cuts you want to make, such as rip cuts or cross-cuts. You should also choose a saw blade that is adapted to the material you want to cut.

Because there is a lot to tell about this subject, I wrote an extensive article just on this subject. You can read more about this in my article, Understanding Table Saw Blades | always find the perfect one.
Thanks to this article, you will gain a good insight into saw blades, after which you can make the right choice much easier and obtain the perfect cuts you want.

In that article, I also talk about dado blades, a different type of saw blade than the regular saw blade. There is a lot of controversy surrounding the dado knife, and it is not always clear in which countries it may be used and which not. Thanks to the research I have done, you can quickly find out whether these are illegal in your country or not.

Connect Your Table Saw To The Dust Collection.

I probably shouldn’t tell you that dust is enemy number one in a woodworking shop.
So avoid dust floating around in your workshop as much as possible, and connect a dust extractor to your table saw.
Every particle of dust that is removed is one less that has a chance to end up in your lungs.

Recommended: check this article if you want to know more about how to deal with dust in your workshop.

Before You Switch On Your Table, Do This First!

Ok, you are ready to make your first cut. Of course, you want it to be perfectly made in the place you marked. This is the only way to ensure that the parts of your project fit together perfectly.
To make accurate cuts, and to cut smoothly without any problems, there are a few check points that you need to look at. I briefly list them below for you:

  • Check that the fence is setup straight and parallel to the saw blade
  • Is the saw blade set at the correct angle?
  • There is a throat plate mounted around the saw blade that you can remove in case you want to replace the saw blade. Make sure that this throat plate is always flush with the surface of your table saw.
    P.S. For my table saw, I made a DIY zero clearance insert plate. That is one of the steps I took to avoid tear-out. You can see how I made this insert plate in the video below.
  • Check whether your riving knife is still exactly in line with the blade. This is important to avoid kick back.

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Table Saw Tips #2: Make An Outfeed Table

When cutting long pieces, there is a good chance that piece will tip over if it hangs over the edge of the table saw. This can lead to damage to the workpiece, or worse, you could injure yourself by the suddenly ejecting piece of wood.
If you don’t want that, then you need an output table.

An output table is perfect for when you have a large space. However, if you have a small workshop like myself, you will have to look for a solution that is slightly smaller than a complete output table.

As an alternative to an output table, I have my workbench in my workshop. This is set up in such a way that my table saw connects to it and sawn wood can be pushed through on this workbench. A small disadvantage is that the workbench always has to be free if I want to cut long parts.

I made sure that the surface of my workbench was the same height as the surface of my table saw. That is one of the reasons why, in my opinion, a table saw should be set up level. To have a better idea of ​​whether a table saw is level and how to do this, you can view my article, does a table saw need to be level.

Having an output table not only makes your job easier, but also ensures that you can cut longer pieces of wood perfectly and most importantly, that you can do it safely.

However, if you do not have the option to place a table behind your table saw, you can opt for a solution that takes up less space, such as output rollers. In the photo below, you can see the outfeed rolls that I made myself. In this article, you can learn how to do it yourself step by step, and you can watch the instructional video.

5 helpful table saw tips every (new) table saw owner should see

Table Saw Tips #3: Use Safety Tools

I’ve already mentioned safety a few times in this table saw tips article. You can’t handle a powerful machine like a table saw safely enough. That is why I have this article on my website with 12 Table saw safety tips, so you can keep all your fingers, which I recommend reading.

To increase safety in my workshop when using this power tool, I have made some simple yet effective homemade tools.

You can also make them, they are easy and fun projects to make.
Click on the links below the custom tools.
They will take you to the video or blog post where I show you step by step how to make them. I have free plans available for most of the homemade tools that you can download from the linked page.

Crosscut Sled

The crosscut sled was one of the first woodworking jigs I made for my workshop. It increases the support of the part to be cut and makes working with the table saw safer. Moreover, it can be worked quickly and accurately, especially when you have to make the same cuts repeatedly.

Push Stick.

A push stick ensures that your hands remain at a safe distance from the saw blade.
Thanks to the push stick, you can still push the wood against the saw blade with sufficient force, and this as close to the saw blade as possible. You can find more info about push sticks here.

Hold Down Stick

If you need to hold a piece of wood in place while cutting it with on the crosscut sled, you can do this safely thanks to a hold-down stick.
Due to the downward force that you can put on the workpiece via the hold-down stick, it will not slip.

Feather Board.

A feather board is a handy tool when you want to saw wood along the fence.
This jig can be used horizontally on the surface of the table saw, but also vertically on the fence to produce a downward force on the workpiece.

A feather board will take over from your hands by holding the wood in place, and because of that, protecting your fingers from the dangerously spinning table saw blade.
If you want, you can use these feather boards on a router table as well.

A feather board should also reduce the risk of kickback because the feather board makes it quite difficult to pull back the workpiece.

Table Saw Tips #4: Keep Your Table Saw Clean

Do you want your table saw to last longer? Then give it regular maintenance! By doing this regularly, this is only a small job of only a few minutes, but can avoid a lot of problems. Please check out my main article about table saw maintenance here to keep your table saw in the best possible condition. Do not miss this article!

The first point of attention is the table top.
Usually, the manufacturer makes the table top from cast iron or aluminum. Unfortunately, cast iron is not resistant to corrosion.
What you can do to protect your tabletop from this is to coat it with wax.
With an aluminum table top it is good to also treat this with an adapted product so that the table top offers little resistance when cutting.
It is recommended to do this at least once a month.

Warning: never use silicone-based lubricants, as this can be harmful to the wood you want to saw. The silicone lubricant can leave indelible marks on the wood.

The second point of attention is the remaining dust.
Remove these as much as possible.
The faster you remove sawdust after using the table saw, the less sawdust can get into the motor or all moving parts.
This means there is less friction and the table saw lasts longer.
Accumulated dust and dirt is a common cause of the many table saw problems that you will find in this table saw troubleshooting guide.

A third maintenance task that you can perform regularly is cleaning the saw blade regularly. Many issues with the table saw can also be avoided with this.
Do this at least once a month.
The cleaner your saw blade is, the better and smoother it cuts.
Another advantage of a clean saw blade is that the table saw requires less force to cut. Due to the reduced load, you will be able to extend the life of the table saw.

Table saw tips #5: Make jigs to improve your table saw skills

As the last in this list of table saw tips, I want to show you that a table saw can do more than just make straight cuts.

With the right jig, you can expand the possibilities considerably.
In addition, making jigs, whether for a table saw or any other jig, will allow you to grow your workshop.
Jigs will always help you make things more accurate.
So when you make jigs, you can use them to make new ones and improve your table saw skills over time.

In the past, I have made quite a few jigs, including some that can be used in combination with the table saw.

Be sure to check out my other blogs about building woodworking jigs or the playlist on my YouTube channel to get inspired to improve your table saw skills.
Keep following me, because I do have a few fun projects planned in the future that will expand the possibilities even further.

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Building your workshop can be daunting, filled with trial and error. Believe me, I’ve been there too.
But it was “The Ultimate Small Workshop” course, a gem I discovered and now endorse on Christofix.com, that provided insights unparalleled to any other. This expertise empowered me to invest wisely and save substantially.

I really suggest it to all of my fellow DIYers and creators!

I hope these table saw tips and table saw techniques were helpful, and that this blog and video inspires you improve your table saw skills.

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It will be much appreciated.

I’m looking forward to seeing you soon in another blog or video.

Christophe, founder of Christofix.com
Woodworking | DIY | Home decoration

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