Woodcutting is a basic act that we all perform when we do woodworking. The first tool that most woodworkers will think of is the table saw. However, many do not know what types of wood cuts a table saw can make and will therefore never get the most out of this tool.
So, what kind of cuts can a table saw make?
Table saws are versatile tools capable of making various types of wood cuts such as rip cuts, cross cuts, miter cuts, beveled cuts, rabbet cuts, making joints, kerfing, and dado cuts.
You will be able to explore each of these 8 basic types of wood cuts in detail in this article and give you insight into how to get the best out of your table saw and develop new techniques for building unique projects. So what kind of cuts can a table saw make? Let’s find out!
Why Would You Use a Table Saw?
The main reason to use a table saw is that they are excellent for cutting straight lines with high precision. It’s difficult to go wrong once you’ve determined the dimensions for the cut you want to make. You can also quickly make multiple copies. Simply insert the wood into the saw, and the tool will ensure that you make the same cut every time.
Table saws can easily make the most commonly used cuts, crosscuts and rips. The ease with which this can be accomplished can be a big plus for inexperienced woodworkers. Several other types of wood cuts can also be made, as you will see later in this article.
Table saws have a dust extraction system that allows them to collect the released sawdust. That means your work area is kept cleaner, and dust is less likely to get into your lungs. Learn more about dust control in your workshop, and read my article, How To Deal With Dust In A Woodworking Workshop | 5 Effective Ways. It should also be mentioned that a good table saw that is properly maintained can be used for many years.
What Kind of Cuts Can a Table Saw Make?
You probably already knew that you can cut a board in half with a table saw. In addition to the best-known types of wood cuts such as rip cuts and crosscuts to cut that board, there are many others, sometimes less well-known table saw cuts.
By knowing which cuts the table saw can do, you can get the most out of your table saw and take your skills to a higher level.
Therefore, you can discover below the most interesting types of wood cuts that you can easily make with your table saw, whether you are a novice woodworker or a more experienced woodworker.
Let’s discover the answer to the question, what kind of cuts can a table saw make?
Rip saws are really the strong point of a table saw and are probably the most common cut the table saw is known for. A rip-cut is basically ripping a material lengthwise, along with the grain.
There are many other tools that can rip cut, like the circular saw or jigsaw, but none of them are capable of making rip cuts as effectively and accurately as a table saw. The rip saw blades have fewer teeth than a crosscut saw blade.
To rip larger pieces of wood:
Some table saw cuts are made on larger pieces of material, such as when you want to break down a sheet of plywood.
Cutting larger sheets of plywood will be much easier with two people, but if you have a larger table saw such as a cabinet model with a very large table, you can easily do it yourself.
To rip smaller pieces of wood:
Smaller cuts can also be made with a table saw, but are usually much more dangerous to do. This is because the stop of the table saw should be closer to the blade. For this, it is recommended to use a push stick here so that you can keep your hands away from the saw blade.
A second danger when making the smaller table saw cuts on a table saw is that pieces can fly back at you due to kickback. Never stand in a straight line behind the saw blade.
Crosscutting on a table saw is more difficult than on a miter saw or crosscut saw. However, if you know how to do it, exercise caution, and use the proper tools, it is still possible.
A crosscut is likely to be one of the most common types of table saw cuts you will ever use in any type of woodworking.
When using a table saw to cut any type of material, there are a few things to keep in mind when making a crosscut.
When cutting on a table saw, the piece you’re cutting off has a good chance of sliding off, pinching the blade, and coming back at you. As a result, when making crosscut cuts with a table saw, you must exercise extreme caution.
Most table saws come equipped with a miter gauge for making crosscuts. This is accomplished by clamping a stationary piece of wood to the miter gauge, which provides support for the wood. This significantly improves the process’s safety and efficiency. It also improves accuracy because it allows you to align your cutting line with the pre-cut slot in the miter gauge fence.
However, I never use my miter gauge in my workshop. As an alternative, I have my crosscut sled that expands the possibilities even further.
I firmly believe that making a crosscut sled is worth doing, especially if you plan on making a lot of crosscut cuts with a table saw rather than a miter saw. In my article, the most complete crosscut sled, you will learn step by step how to make a crosscut sled in a fairly simple way. Moreover, you will find handy plans where all the research has been done for you, and you only have to take the measurements to start building.
Miter saws are very useful for many projects, and a table saw can also be used to cut these when used in conjunction with a miter gauge.
To make miter cuts, I prefer my miter saw over my table saw, but it is possible to use the table saw if it is your only tool or if you simply enjoy using it!
The miter gauge is essential for performing any type of miter cut on a table saw and is really what the miter gauge is all about. Set the angle of your miter gauge, slide the workpiece onto it, and clamp it, and you’re done!
Beveled cuts are another type of cut that a table saw can make. A bevel cut improves the finish while reducing the risk of the edge. The only tool for ripping deep or extremely long chamfers is a table saw. It is more precise and efficient than a circular saw, and saves you time.
A chamfered cut can be achieved simply by tilting the saw blade. For this, most table saws with a maximum bevel of at least 45° can be used.
When using a table saw to make a bevel cut, slide the workpiece along the fence for rip cuts and use the miter gauge for beveled cross cuts.
A rabbet cut is a groove on the edge of a board. Depending on which side of the board you are cutting on, use the fence or the miter gauge to cut a rabbet. A dado blade can be used to make the cut easier and faster (more about dados and dado blades later in this article)
Rabbet cuts are commonly used in cabinetmaking and woodworking projects to join two pieces of wood together. Because of the rabbet cut, a joint between two boards will be sturdier.
If you want to learn more about rabbet cuts and the differences between them, I recommend reading my article, Rabbet Vs Dado Vs Groove (What’s What & How To Make Them). These three techniques will provide you with better insights as you build your projects.
Aside from rebates and grooves, your table saw can make a wide range of joint cuts. When cutting joints, however, use extreme caution. You must understand that the finer work will bring you closer to the saw blade. This increases the likelihood of an accident occurring.
Making all of the connections with a table saw would make this article far too long, so I will create more specialized articles in the future, which you can find in this list about joinery articles.
Here’s a list of common joint cuts made easier and more accurate by a table saw to give you an idea of what connections are possible:
- Tenon joint
- Dovetail joint
- Finger joint
- Castle joint
- Half-lap joint
Kerfing is almost cutting a strip of wood with regularly spaced cuts to give the wood enough flexibility to bend into a tight bend.
This method of removing plank parts, known as gouging, can give even thick hardwood a curvature. The tighter the bend produced, the closer the cut distance.
The crosscut sled is recommended for use with this technique. This will enable you to work efficiently and safely. After you’ve cut the notches, dampen the wood to make folding even easier.
Dados cuts are extremely useful, especially when making furniture, cabinets, and other woodworking projects that require the precise assembly of two or more pieces.
Using special dado blades is the simplest way to make dado cuts. Unfortunately, not everywhere; it all depends on the country in which you reside. I live in Belgium, where it is illegal to use dado blades.
To find out if you can use dado blades on your table saw, read my previous article, Can I Use Dado Blades On My Table Saw? solved! Make sure to read this article to find out if you can use these sheets.
If you are not permitted to use dado blades, you can make several cuts next to each other until you reach the desired dado slot width. You can use a dado maker or notch maker to assist you with this and to accurately cut connecting slots.
Check out these useful tools by following the links. You’ll see that these are simple to make for your workshop.
Things to Keep in Mind Before You Get Started with a Table Saw
There are a few more things you should know now that you know the answer to the question, “What kind of cuts can a table saw make?”
A table saw is widely regarded as one of the most hazardous tools in the workshop. That is why I’d like to give you a few safety tips. When using a table saw, keep these things in mind.
- Wear protective gear such as safety glasses and hearing protection.
- Always turn off the power before assembling your table saw.
- Maintain a good position to avoid kickback injuries.
- Maintain a clean environment.
- Never put your body over a moving blade.
- Check your table saw’s safety features.
- Examine the wood for foreign objects like nails.
- To avoid tipping and kickback, use outfeed tables.
- If the blade is clogged, do not start the saw.
- Make use of the appropriate tools, such as a fence, miter gauge, or crosscut sled.
- Never cut by hand.
- Make use of a push stick.
Other factors to consider when cutting with a table saw include using the correct sawblade and cutting perfectly straight.
These two factors can not only help you make perfect cuts without leaving burn marks, but they can also significantly reduce the risk of an accident. I highly recommend that you read these two articles because they are critical to your safety and the success of your projects.
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