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A Primer on Selecting and Using the Right Table Saw
by: Jim Laframboise

Just imagine - the sharp, toothed blades of a table saw ripping through your stack of wood, cross cutting them with pinpoint accuracy on the marked line. Or consider this scenario: trimming little pieces of wood to create a straight cut catering to the dimensions of a life-size model dollhouse. Making accurate cuts cannot be stressed enough in the woodworking game. Marking and cutting precisely along the layout line may seem like a science, but it does not need to be. By realizing the intricacies of an adept table saw, you'll work like a pro.
To begin with, table saws are very versatile pieces of cutting equipment. They have the capacity to tackle both thin and thick pieces of wood and adapt with different cutting methods like ripping, beveling (forming a cut angle other than a 90 degree angle) and mitering. The trademark home improvement tool, table saws have a less margin of error than widely misused circular saws that have a tendency to mis-cut from time to time. It all begins and ends with the type of blade used. Most standard table saws are equipped with a 10-inch carbide blade, excellent for general-purpose use. However, the introduction of new & improved blades into the market has created a variety of cutting options for the wood shopper. Replace carbide blades with the 12" 60T (tooth) Tungsten Carbide Tipped Saw Blade and you can really notice a major difference in each cut.

Choosing the right table saw requires a bit of strategical thinking and an analysis of your current woodshop situation. Table saws for under $200 are for occasional-use suitable for fast ripping on small lengths of wood. $200 to $400 table saws are frequent use, mid-range machines excellent for taking care of most ripping jobs. Investing in a $400 plus table saw remains your best bet for extensive woodworking projects like carpentry and furniture making. They are powered by quieter motors and cover a large surface area with more cut depth, taking on the thickest slabs reserved for the most hardcore woodworkers.

If you frequently cover large, intensive projects - look for a table saw with more work-support surface. Many saws come with table extensions that allow them to cut more towards the center of the wood piece. However, the portable table saw is the No. 1 option for polished woodworkers today. It is more convenient than bulkier, heavier table saws and usually constructed with aluminum for easy transport. In addition, leg sets could be purchased to complement its use. Adjustments to different depth and range of cuts are done by simply raising and lowering the blade according to wood thickness. In addition, blades can be tilted to conquer bevel cuts. Whatever you do - make sure you install blade guards or have a locking fence come standard with it. Your fingers are for using, not for disposing carelessly. With the right table saw selecting mindset, you should be able to purchase the right table saw that you'll use for years to come.

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