Table Saw Tips and Techniques

Table saw tips and techniques are a valuable resource for novice woodworkers looking to expand their knowledge of this workshop centerpiece.

Your basic table saw is designed to perform three basic operations; crosscutting (cutting to length), ripping (cutting to width), and bevel cutting ( cutting at an angle). In the hands of an experienced woodworker though, the table saw is capable of much more.

One of the characteristics of the table saw that makes it such an invaluable tool in the workshop, is it's adaptability. Over the years, savvy woodworkers have devised many innovative techniques and procedures for the table saw, greatly expanding what can be accomplished with this simple machine.

Learning these skills will make your time in the workshop more productive, more enjoyable and allow you to move on to more complex projects.

These useful table saw tips and tricks, as well as skill enhancing table saw techniques will help you along in that direction.

Table saw tips articles

How to cut a mitered rabbet joint on the table saw

How to cut a mitered rabbet joint on the table saw.

A mitered rabbet joint is a good choice when you want the good looks of a mitered corner, but with the added strength and self-aligning properties of the rabbet joint.

I use it mainly for decorative boxes or small drawers for side tables etc., and when further reinforced with dowels or corner splines, many other uses are possible for this attractive woodworking joint.

Making box joints on your table saw

Making box joints on the table saw.

There are two viable tools for making box joints in the home workshop, the router and the table saw. Both require the use of a special jig to form and space the fingers of the joint.

While many woodworkers like to cut their finger joints with a router, my prefered method is using a shop made jig mounted in the miter slot of my table saw. It's quick, accurate and once you gain a bit of experience, very easy.

Building cabinet doors with basic table saw techniques

Adjusting the throat plate.

If you've put off building cabinet doors because you think you need all kinds of special tooling and expensive router bits, try your hand at making these great looking doors styled after shaker cabinet doors using nothing more than your table saw.

With simple stub tenon and groove construction for the frame and 1/4" plywood for the center panel, these doors are quickly and easily built using basic table saw techniques. It's helpful if you have a dado blade set, but it's not absolutely necessary.

Resawing on the table saw

resawing on the table saw.

Resawing is simply cutting a thicker board into two or more thinner boards. The board is cut on it's edge, so that the full width of the original board is retained. This kind of operation can be done on either the band saw or table saw.

Ripping lumber (especially wide lumber) on edge with the table saw does require a bit of common sense though, to be done safely. These table saw tips and techniques will help you resaw lumber into any width you need.

Adjust your throat plate to improve cut quality

Adjusting the throat plate.

When was the last time you checked to see if your throat plate was level with the saw's table? This often overlooked adjustment can cause all sorts of trouble and much time is often wasted looking elsewhere for the problem.

When your workpiece hangs up on the front of the table saw insert, it's pretty obvious that the insert needs adjustment. What's not so easily noticed is when the back of the insert is raised slightly, causing the workpiece to lift a small amount as it passes over this high spot.

Add a table saw splitter to a zero clearance insert

Ripping board safely with table saw splitter in place.

If you use zero clearance inserts, adding a table saw splitter directly to the insert is an effective method of preventing kickback when ripping stock on your table saw.

Although there are certainly many causes for kickback, probably the most dangerous occurrence happens when the wood closes together as it passes behind the blade. The upwardly rotating rear teeth at the back of the blade can catch the workpiece and throw it back violently in the direction of the operator.