Why Is My Table Saw Smoking? 10 Reasons + Easy Fixes

A table saw is a commonly used tool in the woodworking workshop. One of the table saw problems is that the table saw will start to smoke. If you notice smoke and ask yourself why is my table saw smoking, here are the top 10 reasons:

  • Dull Blade
  • Dirty Blade
  • Wrong Blade Height
  • Misangle Blade
  • Bent Blade
  • Incorrect Cutting Speed
  • Engine Overheat
  • Saw Dust Burning
  • Capacitor Burning
  • Incorrectly set fence

The problem is that a smoking table saw can have a negative effect on your workpiece and your health, but the danger is that a fire can start even if you have already left the workshop for a few hours. So if you notice smoke and ask yourself, why is my table saw smoking, then it is better to understand the top 10 reasons for a smoking table saw and solutions that you will find in this article. That way, you can take action as quickly as possible and avoid dangers.

To learn more about this powerful tool, I suggest you should read my main article Table saw basics: the most comprohensive beginners guide

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.

Why Is My Table Saw Smoking

These reasons for a smoking table saw can be divided into two categories: wood smoking and electrical smoking. Smoking can be identified by the color of the smoke and the unpleasant odor. The first eight reasons I discuss in this article are related to wood smoking, while the last two are related to electricity.

Dull Blade

It will be more difficult to cut through the wood with a dull blade and you will not be able to cut smoothly. As a result, it tends to rub off rather than cut the wood. When increased friction is combined with high speed, the heat begins to develop. This will cause the wood to burn and produce smoke. A dull blade is easily identified by inspecting both the blade and the workpiece. The teeth will be slightly rounded, and the workpiece will have scratches.
Related article: How Do I Know If My Table Saw Blade Is Dull (6 Simple Ways)

Why is my table saw smoking - Dirty Blade
Why is my table saw smoking – Dirty Blade


Sharpen or replace the blade. (For more information, see my article Is It Worth Sharpening Table Saw Blades? A Clear Answer)

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Wrong Blade Height

Too little blade height can result in excessive tooth friction. High friction can result in burn marks, rising smoke, and top surface splintering. By keeping the saw blade high enough and at the same time as low as possible, I try to strike a balance between avoiding this issue and working safely.


Try to find a balance between a high-raised saw blade with as little friction as possible and a safely raised saw blade.

Dirty Blade

With a long use of a saw blade, sawdust and molten lignin from the wood can collect on the blade surface. This will increase the thickness of the blade and develop additional friction. This allows the surface to heat up, after which it can produce table saw smoke.

Why is my table saw smoking - Dull Blade
Why is my table saw smoking – Dull Blade


Inspect the blade regularly and if you see dirt starting to build up, clean the blade with this table saw blade cleaner from Amazon.

You can learn how to clean a table saw blade in my article Learn How To Clean Table Saw Blades For Best Cutting (5 Simple Steps)

Misangle Blade

You must maintain the proper angle when cutting the wood. The workpiece must be fed precisely along the rotating path of the saw blade. When the blade angle is skewed and you push the workpiece towards the blade, it scratches the blade and causes the heat to rise due to blade rotation. As a result, it will burn and emit smoke.

Why is my table saw smoking - Use a Digital Table Saw Gauge to align your blade
Why is my table saw smoking – Use a Digital Table Saw Gauge to align your blade


Use a Digital Table Saw Gauge like this one from Amazon to align your blade with the miter slots.

Bent Blade

Due to friction, a bent or damaged blade can cause the wood to smoke. When the blade is bent, more areas of the surface are hit during rotation, causing heat to accumulate in that location. The surface will become scratched and black. The heat generated will weaken the blade further and cause it to bend more and more, potentially posing a kickback hazard.


When you notice a bent blade, replace it as soon as possible.

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Incorrect Cutting Speed

The feed speed of the piece of wood must be compatible with the speed. If the speed is high, you can feed the material at a high rate. If the feed rate is low and the RPM is high, it will be in contact with the surface for a long time, and as a result, we can see burn marks on the surface when the table saw start to smoke. Conversely, too high an input speed can also create a lot of friction and cause combustion, resulting in smoke.


Listen carefully to the sound your table saw makes. When you hear the speed decrease, slow down the feed speed.

Saw Dust and Wood Burning

Sawdust and other debris can accumulate in the engine. When this dust comes into contact with engine rotation, it can ignite and cause table saw smoking when cutting. As heat melts sawdust, it becomes increasingly bonded to lignin. The risk here is that the heat will smolder the sawdust and possibly start a fire. Even after you’ve used the table saw and left the workshop, this is possible.

In addition, a smoking table saw can also reveal that the wood you are cutting has burn marks. This can have various causes, such as a wrong saw blade, a dull saw blade, and so on.


Regularly blow all parts clean with compressed air so that dirt is removed as much as possible.

To discover what can be the cause of burning the wood, you can view the most common causes and their solutions in my article, Why Is My Table Saw Burning Wood? (9 Reasons + Easy Fix).

Incorrectly set fence

When the fence is at an angle to the cutting line, the workpiece will tighten between the fence and the saw blade. This creates friction, which causes table saw smoking when cutting. When the friction becomes too high, kickback can occur, which can cause physical injuries as a result. This is also called “binding”

Do you want to know where to install your rip fence, check out my article What Side of the Table Saw Should the Fence Be on – a Clear Answer where you will discover all about this.

Why is my table saw smoking - Incorrectly set fence
Why is my table saw smoking – Incorrectly set fence


To fix this table saw problem, check the fence before cutting. Measure the distance between the fence and the front of the blade, and do the same on the back of the blade. Keep resetting the fence until both distances are equal. Binding can also have other causes. In my article, “Why Is My Table Saw Binding? Problem Solved!“, I’ll tell you all about it

Motor Overheat

Because of friction and electricity, if you use a table saw for an extended period of time, the motor can become heated, leading to table saw motor smoking. The motor’s armature turns, and the brushes strike the commutator.

The brush can become heated when it comes into contact with the commutator. When the electricity and coils become overheated, their melting parts can be melted by heat, resulting in the rise of smoke.

Friction can cause the bearing to heat up when there is a problem with it. Heat from the bearings can spread throughout the engine.


Regularly check the bearing and keep the motor free of dust by blowing it clean with compressed air. If smoke comes out of the motor, stop the table saw and allow it to cool.

Capacitor Burning

Due to the heating, capacitors cannot store the electrical charge. Overheating causes a high internal gas pressure in the condenser housing. When the capacitor burns, you can smell the electric smell. When the capacitor burns, you can see the motor overheating, vibrating, or possibly even stalling and not wanting to start.


Provide sufficient air space around the condenser to allow it to cool sufficiently.

What Are The Consequences Of a Smoking Table Saw

The consequences of a smoking table saw are quite diverse. Let’s start with the health impact.

The smoke that comes from wood contains air pollutants that can cause cancer and other health problems. When the smoking particles are inhaled, they can remain in the lungs for months, and they will also cause many cancers.

The harmful organic chemicals present in wood smoke are mainly benzene, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, formaldehyde, and acetaldehyde.
Coming into contact with wood smoke can irritate the eyes, throat, sinuses, and lungs, as well as
headaches and chronic lung diseases and cancer after prolonged contact.

Another issue is burning the wood. Smoke, as you could already read in this article, often comes from too much friction, which causes burn marks and smoke.

Increased friction will indirectly lead to inaccurate cuts. Cutting straight lines will become increasingly difficult, which can lead to increased friction and, in the worst case, kickback. This can cause serious injury or even death.

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I hope this article was helpful, and that your question, why is my table saw smoking has been answered.

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

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