Okay, so you own a table saw and use it regularly and love it. But what are the table saw tricks that turn your table saw into something exceptional? There are techniques used by seasoned woodworkers and professionals every day, and we wanted to bring you some of the best.
Here are 16 table saw tips you can do to make your table saw experience the best it can be.
16 Table Saw Tips & Tricks
These are our top table saw tips and tricks:
1. Quickly Make Table Legs
You will need four sheets of 1 x 6 to make the legs. Start by marking 1.5 inches from the left side of the wooden board and 3.25 inches on the same side at the base. This gives you the taper that you need to add strength to the legs. Draw a line to join the two points along the length of the board.
Now rip cut along the line to make two tapered pieces. Glue and nail the two strips together to create a single table leg. Repeat this process a further three times to complete the set of four.
2. Use a Stable Plywood Base
Start with a sheet of 0.75-inch plywood. Cut the plywood base a couple of inches wider and longer than the table saw dimensions. Next, cut a 1-square foot hole in the center of the board. Lift up your table saw and centralize. Now mark out the mounting holes, drilling a 0.125-inch hole where the marks indicate.
Flip the board over and drill 1-inch diameter holes roughly 0.25 inches deep to recess the carriage bolt heads. Now you can mount the table saw with washers and nuts.
3. Cut-Off Block to Reduce Kickback
Kickback occurs when the workpiece pinches between the fence and the blade. To prevent this, cut a block of wood and clamp it to your safety fence. Then, adjust the fence to include the thickness of the wooden block.
As you move toward the table saw blade, your stock should not be in contact with the safety block. This process creates a safe gap so that the workpiece won’t bind.
4. Get a Digital Angle Gauge
Digital angle gauges, like the Wixey Angle Gauge with Magnetic base, make life in the woodshop a lot simpler. Crank up the blade at 90 degrees and set the magnetic base of the gauge against the blade. To calibrate, press zero. This resets the gauge, enabling it to find an accurate angle.
Now set the blade at the desired angle, and the gauge gives you a precise reading. Whether it is 22.5 degrees or 45 degrees, this gauge is quick and straightforward to use and saves you a ton of time making manual adjustments to get the angles right.
5. Straighten a Crooked Board
Trying to cut a crooked board along your table saw fence would only result in a lopsided board. Worse still, it could result in the board binding and kickback occuring.
A simple trick is to take a sheet of plywood with a straight edge and screw the crooked board to the plywood, making sure there is an overhang. Now you can run the plywood along the table fence, and the cut will be straight on the crooked board.
6. Cut Rabbets Faster With a Dado Blade
Cutting rabbets with a dado blade is simple, but here is a way to speed up the process. Place an auxiliary fence against the table saw fence and set the blade so it cuts slightly wider than the width of the rabbet.
Now you can adjust the table saw fence to change the width of the rabbet, allowing the dado blade to cut into the auxiliary fence.
7. Mount a Featherboard for Accurate Rips
Featherboards increase the accuracy of your rip cuts. You can buy magnetic varieties that stick to your cast iron table. These are easy to use and work by gently guiding the stock, making an accurate channel as the workpiece approaches the blade. The secret is to make sure that the contact between the table saw fence and the featherboard is light at all times.
The featherboard should be placed just before the infeed side of the blade to prevent binding.
You can create your featherboard from wood and clamp it to the table. See the instruction manual of your particular table saw for further details on how to mount it or failing that, seek the information online.
8. Add a Floating Fence
Edging your plywood sheets with wood is a tricky business. Rather than getting the edge to match the thickness of the plywood, fit an edge about 0.125 inches wider than the board.
Clamp a tall floating fence to the table saw fence, making sure the fence’s surface is flush with the blade. Then, feed the wooden edging with the protruding side over the blade. This trims the edging flush with the plywood.
9. Blade-Loc for Blood-Free Blade Changes
Woodworkers are filled with dread at the prospect of getting their bare hands on a razor-sharp blade. Blood often spills! The Bench Dog Blade-Loc prevents this from happening. It grips the sharp teeth while you loosen or tighten the arbor nut.
10. Make Your Own Flip-Up Stop
This is cheap and easy to make. Take a block of wood and cut it in two. Then, using a sturdy hinge, screw the two halves together. Now you can flip it up to make cut crosscuts and flip it down for rip cuts.
11. Cut Long Boards With a Clamped Fence
Sometimes you need to extend the length of your fence to rip cut long boards. Either clamp a long level to your table saw fence or a length of sturdy board. Make sure the board is perfectly straight. A long fence makes cutting extended workpieces easier.
12. Try a Dandy Outfeed Table
You will need two lengths of 10 foot 2 x 4 and an 8 foot sheet of 0.75-inch thick plywood. You’ll also need two sawhorses. Screw the 2 x 4 to the underside of the plywood on each outer edge, leaving the excess 2 foot of 2 x 4 protruding.
Make sure you notch the 2 x 4 so that your table saw fits flush with the plywood. Now bolt the table saw to the wooden struts to add rigidity to the structure. To increase the strength of the outfeed table, screw the 2 x 4 to the top of the sawhorses.
13. Dado Guide Using a Standard Blade
The first thing to do is to fit an extension to the miter fence using a strip of 1 x 3. Mark the width of the dado and the kerf of the blade included within that width. Then make the first cut, following the guide marks for the width of the dado.
This establishes the top of the dado. Now cut along the inner edge of the dado width, again taking care to include the kerf of the blade. You should now have two cuts that correspond with the original width measurements of the dado.
Run the dado across the blade making cuts between the two original lines. Repeat this until you have made several cuts. These strips of wood can be chiseled out easily. Make adjustments if the dado is too tight.
14. Cut Skinny Strips Safely
Thin strips are dangerous to cut on a table saw because they bring the operator’s hand in close proximity to the blade. A straightforward way to reduce the risk is to use a scrap piece of plywood as a width extension for the push stick.
Cut a length of plywood and attach a heel strip to the edge that sits next to the workpiece. Press the plywood against the stock, and the heel pushes the project towards the blade without getting close to your hands. You can even keep the blade guard in place.
15. Calibrate Your Miter Gauge
Calibrating the miter gauge is crucial if you want accurate angled cuts. This makes a world of difference if you need precision for your project. Most DIY or art supply stores sell draft triangles that make setting the miter extremely accurate.
Place one edge of the triangle against the saw blade set at 90 degrees, and the other on the miter saw fence. Now, make sure that the miter fence abuts the edge perfectly. This tells you that the miter is calibrated and will produce accurate cuts.
If you use a right-angle tool, you will only set your miter gauge to 90 degrees.
16. Convert Your Worktable
Sometimes you need a workbench, so you can convert your table saw to adapt. Drop the blade to the lowest setting. Measure the width and length of the table saw. Use two strips of 2 x 4 and a sheet of plywood and cut it to size.
Screw the plywood top to the 2 x 4 and place it on the table saw. Make sure that the fences have been removed. Cleats at either end should prevent the additional tabletop from sliding off. Now you have a handy workbench, and the saw is protected below.
Woodworking Made Easier
There are many things you can do that make life easier and save you money when it comes to table saw tricks. Some are a little more complex than others, but once you gain experience on these techniques, add in a few handy table saw accessories, you’ll wonder how you ever managed before.
Embrace ingenuity and enjoy saving money. It makes you a more accomplished woodworker.