A General Guide to Understanding Table Saws

Published On: January 4, 20230 Comments on A General Guide to Understanding Table SawsTags: Last Updated: January 21, 20244.5 min read

A table saw is an essential and versatile cutting machine used for various purposes. It comes in multiple sizes, from small, lightweight, portable table saws to kitchen table-sized heavyweights. You can learn more about table saws at https://www.cuttinghq.com/ — the home of woodworking enthusiasts. Table saws can rift several sizes or types of wood, including 4-foot by 8-foot sheets of plywood with a long, precise, and single cut. They can also cut tiny slivers of wood so small and not more than the thickness of a pencil.

table saw

Understanding table saws is an excellent place to start if you’re an amateur or beginner looking to dive into the woodworking universe. This article covers what you need to know about this vital woodworking piece.

The Basics of Table Saws

The blade of a table saw is in a fixed position. It’s the operator’s job to push workpieces past the fixed blade to make several types of cuts.

Table saws can be used to make any of the following cuts:

  • Rip Cuts: Straight and long and often go with the wood grain.
  • Crosscuts: These usually go against the wood grain.
  • Angled Cuts: There are two types of angled cuts — bevels and miters. Bevel cuts are made to the edge of the workpiece, while miter cuts are made on the face of the workpiece.

Standard Components of Table Saws

Table saws come with standard components you should be aware of, and they’re as follows:

1. Blade guard

The blade guard is a pivoting shield that protects the operator from debris and dust. It also helps prevent accidental contact and kickback with the blade.

2. Rip fence

The rip fence is a bar on the table saw that guides the workpiece as it travels past the blade.

3. Bevel system

This mechanism helps you tilt the blade into the perfect position to make bevel cuts.

4. Anti-kick pawls

Anti-kickback pawls are toothed metal arms that grab a workpiece if it kicks back toward you.

5. Miter gauge

The miter gauge is an adjustable guide that allows you to move the wood past the blade to make cuts at specified angles.

6. Riving knife

A riving knife is a tool that helps prevent the wood from pinching the table. This tool also significantly minimizes the risk of wood or boards kicking back toward you, the operator.

7. Motor power

Table saws come with different degrees of power, and this increases from benchtop table saws to cabinet models. The standard table saw should have at least a 15-amp motor as well as 120V AC power.

using table saw

Types of Table Saws

Table saws make it possible to make accurate, straight, and long rip cuts (i.e., with the grain), as well as repeated crosscuts (i.e., against the grain).

At a general level, table saws are available in two major types:

1. Stationary table saw

Stationary table saws are often set up permanently in a specific location. This type of table saw has more power than its portable counterpart. The extra power makes this tool run cutters and knives designed to remove and mill large amounts of stock. Stationary table saws often accommodate more accessories than their portable counterparts.

The following table saws fall under the umbrella of stationary table saws:

a. Contractor table saws

Contractor saws are no longer the standard these days. However, these were the original table saws that pros operated and are perfect for those who work with large materials and require lots of space.

b. Cabinet table saws

These are top-of-the-range woodworking equipment. Furniture builders, professional carpenters, and cabinet makers use specialty models for cutting wood with extreme precision and ease. These table saws are uniquely smooth and feature-heavy.

c. Hybrid table saws

Hybrid table saws are a blend of contractor saws and cabinet saws. The best of both models are wrapped into one in the hybrid table saw. Pros use this type of table saw for style, quality, and flexibility. They’re surprisingly budget-friendly and require some space for practical use.

2. Portable table saw

Portable saws perform most of the functions of their stationary counterparts. Additionally, this type of saw enjoys the mobility advantage, making it the perfect equipment for deck-building and framing. Generally, portable saws are excellent choices for small workshops with limited spaces.

The following fall under the umbrella of portable table saws:

a. Benchtop table saws

This type of table saw sits atop a workbench and is the perfect option for a DIY professional with little space for mounted versions. In addition, they’re affordable and can be used anywhere due to their portability.

b. Compact table saws

This type of table saw is bigger than its benchtop counterpart but smaller than the jobsite version. They look similar in design to contractor saws but are a miniature version. They’re perfect for beginners and hobbyists looking to improve their woodworking craft.

c. Jobsite table saws

These table saws are durable, lightweight, and mini versions of the more prominent options highlighted earlier in this article. They offer professional-grade performance but on a smaller scale. They’re used professionally and for personal purposes.


Table saws remain a vital tool in the woodworking industry, regardless of your preferred type: stationary or portable. We hope this brief guide helps you decide which table saw type best suits your woodworking needs.

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