how to make accurate cuts with table saw

How To Make Accurate Cuts With Table Saws

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Professional woodworkers know all too well how versatile table saws are.

It is one of the most functional power tools you can use to make different types of cuts for your projects.

For most home workshops, this machine is their workhorse or flag-ship tool.

Learning how to make accurate cuts with table saws requires some practice, though.

Before we give you the different tips and tricks to achieve excellent results, let's start with the basics.

Parts of a Table Saw

Familiarizing yourself with the different parts of a table saw will help you understand how to use this machine.

1. Blade Guard

Most professional table saws come with blade guards.

This accessory protects the hands of the user from the machine’s sharp edges.

The guard is positioned so that it will not hinder the blade’s movement while cutting the board.

2. Kickback Pawls

Some manufacturers include this standard saw attachment in their units.

It helps reduce kickback while operating the machine, decreasing the risk of getting injured.

3. Miter Gauge

Most table saws have a miter gauge as a standard measuring accessory that allows you to make precise crosscuts on your material.

It is typically attached to a pivoting angle guide fitted into an indentation on the table saw for better cutting accuracy.

4. Rip Fence

The rip fence offers a cutting guide every time you cut your workpiece.

It typically extends from the front to the back of the table aligned to the blade’s cutting plane.

Most professional table saws have built-in fences, providing accuracy and efficiency for woodworkers.

5. Saw Blade

Most of the time, entry and mid-level table saws come with a standard saw blade.

The teeth count on each one determines the type, speed, and finished cut of the wood.

Blades with fewer teeth count can cut through the material faster.

The ones with more teeth provide a more refined finish.

6. Table Saw Motor

A 15-amp motor is the standard type for table saws.

When buying this power tool, look for one that can spin the blade at 3,850 RPM or higher.

7. Table Saw Stand

The machine’s stand is optional; you can buy it separately, or it may already come with the setup.

Its primary function is to provide sufficient height for the table saw equipment while cutting a workpiece.

8. Table Surface

Take note of the table’s surface when buying this power tool.

Look for one made of aluminum, as it usually comes with a non-friction coating.

The coating lets the materials pass smoothly over the surface, allowing you to cut faster but with less fatigue.

How To Make Accurate Cuts With Table Saws?

If you want to get the best results and better accuracy from this powerful tool, you must have the skill and ability to do it.

Here are some simple tips to follow for you to make accurate cuts with your table saws.

Tune the Table Saw

Tuning your table saw means you have to align the machine’s essential parts, like the blade, the fence, and the miter slot, to get the perfect cut.

Aligning the critical parts of your table saw helps keep it safe, efficient, and reliable at all times.

Know the Angles

Among the first things you need to have are affordable drafting triangles.

This tool provides perfect corners for various angle measurements from 30, 45, 60, and 90 degrees.

You can set a blade angle by raising the edge and resting the triangle against its body, lowering it back to its cutting position afterward.

Use an Extension

Try to screw an extension to the miter gauge’s head to enhance the precision and quality of cuts.

The extra surface provided by the extension helps steady longer workpieces.

Using an extension beyond the blade prevents tear-out on your stock.

how to make accurate cuts with table saw

Downward Pressure

If you need to cut a rabbet and your machine does not accept a dado blade, you have to make small fence adjustments while making various cuts.

You can achieve precise cuts through consistent downward pressure on your workpiece, preventing it from moving.

Sneak and Stop

For some types of cuts, especially those that need to fit an existing position, it is best not to cut it entirely at first.

Cut the wood in a slightly bigger measurement and make small adjustments until you get the perfect dimension through the help of a stop block.

Secure a stop block to the extension on the miter-gauge and push it towards the edge between cuts to get the required measurement.

What Cuts Can You Make With a Table Saw?

A table saw is a piece of versatile equipment that can make different types of cuts for your projects.

Some would require the use of specialty blades to achieve the cleanest cut.

Here are some of the cuts you can make with a table saw.

Rip Cuts

Table saws are known for making a perfect rip cut.

This common cut type is achieved by going through the material lengthwise, sawing through the grain.

If you want to make the perfect rip cut, use a table saw blade with fewer teeth.

You can also do this on more extensive materials, like plywood.

Smaller rip cuts are also possible but more dangerous.

It is best done using one or two push sticks to keep your hands away from the blade.

Crosscuts

Crosscuts are a bit challenging on a table saw but is still possible as long as you know how to do it with a lot of caution.

A cross-cut is often used in almost all types of woodworking projects.

Some woodworkers use a jig or sled when making this cut.

Miter Cut

A miter cut is another handy configuration for various projects, which you can make on a table saw together with a miter gauge.

Although a miter saw is the best option when making a miter cut, it is still possible with a table saw.

Thus, a miter gauge is a vital part of this configuration.

Bevel Cut

Using a table saw for bevel cuts proved to be more precise and efficient than circular saws.

You can tilt the blade of the equipment according to your required angle.

Again, a miter gauge plays a vital role when making a variation of this cut type, particularly the beveled crosscut.

Dado Cut

Dado cuts are often used in woodworking projects that need accurate fitting of several workpieces together, like in furniture making.

However, you will need special dado blades for your table saw to create the perfect cut more efficiently.

Rabbet Cut

You will also use the dado blade when making accurate rabbet cuts, removing parts of the material around the edges.

The miter gauge and the fence are two essential parts you will use together with the dado blades when creating rabbet cuts.

Typically, rabbet cuts are used to join two workpieces together, particularly in cabinet making and other similar woodworking projects.

Can You Make Angle Cuts With a Table Saw?

Ideally, you use a table saw for ripping, making long cuts in the same direction as the material’s grains.

Most table saws include a miter gauge in their setup.

It’s an accessory that helps in making cross-cuts at various angles as you slant the blade.

You can also invest in a good miter gauge, providing more accurate and efficient angle measurement.

Generally, you can use a table saw in cutting 45-degree angled workpieces.

Using some table saw improvements, like a miter sled or jig, makes it easier to create more accurate cuts.

Improving a Cheap Table Saw

An affordable table saw can also perform different ripping cuts, just like the more expensive cabinet models.

Inevitably, it comes with performance limitations, but you can make some table saw improvements to overcome some of its shortcomings.

Improving a cheap table saw helps with enhancing the accuracy, performance, and safety of your equipment.

Upgrade the Fence

The most affordable table saws come with standard fences that are either lightweight or poorly-made.

There are upgraded fence and rail systems you can buy online or look for ways to customize one for your machine.

Choose the Right Blade

Typically, a table saw comes with a primary blade.

If you want a more precise cut, it’s best to use the right edge for a specific task.

Specific cuts require either particular or specialty blades to produce the needed outcome.

Hence, you need to have different edge variations to achieve the right results.

Replace the Drive Belt

The drive belt supports your machine’s motor, which will show wear and tear through constant use, causing it to vibrate.

That vibration makes your table saw less accurate and inefficient.

It also adds to the danger of using this powerful tool.

You can replace the drive belt even before it wears down to prevent the vibrations from happening.

How Can I Make My Table Saw More Accurate?

There is nothing more satisfying than knowing how to make accurate cuts with table saws.

If you follow the tips we have provided, you will indeed produce perfectly cut pieces.

Making specific adjustments and upgrades to your basic table saws can make a lot of difference in their performance, too.

If you want a more powerful machine, though, don’t hesitate to look at the best hybrid table saws.

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