Woodworking enthusiasts cannot do without a table saw, but purchasing the right one can be difficult. A table saw can cross cut, rip, miter, or bevel, and its functionality can be enhanced with the right accessories. A table saw is different from a standard saw, in that its cuts are more precise, regardless if you need them to be straight or angled.
It is important to know the components of a table saw, not only to buy the right one, but also to change them according to the project you will be working on. The blade is typically 10″ or 12″, though both smaller and larger models exist. Most of the times, these are metal blades, whether in their entirety or just the core, but the teeth is what makes a blade able to cut through materials of different hardness. A blade features between 24 and 80 teeth (more teeth make for a smoother cut, while fewer teeth are better for cutting faster) that are typically made of carbide or carbon (carbon steel, tungsten carbide); sometimes, the saw can be equipped with diamond-tipped teeth to make sure it really can cut through any material, but this is obviously the most expensive option. Finally, make sure the speed of the blade matches the speed of your table saw to avoid damaging the equipment; you can read about this and other safety features on http://www.thesharpcut.com/buying-guide/.
Other vital components are the fence and the miter gauge. The fence sets table saws apart from other saw types, with the most accurate fences found on cabinet saws. The robust T-square fence is most commonly used with table saws and enables accurate rip cuts; on the other hand, the miter gauge is great for making cross cuts and other types of angled cuts.
Table saw types
There is a variety of table saws, each with its own perks. Thus, there is the stationary table saw that can be classified into contractor, hybrid, and cabinet. Contractor saws are typically more powerful than portable saws, and less expensive than cabinet models, while hybrid table saws have some of the features of both contractor and cabinet saws. Of all models, cabinet saws are the largest, most powerful, as well as the heaviest; mainly used by professionals, cabinet saws are meant for heavy-duty long-term use and require fewer adjustments than the other models. They can cut through anything, from hardwood to plywood, from pressure-treated lumber to pine.
The portable jobsite table saw is mounted on a stand with wheels, which, along with its compact design, enable you to move the saw around as needed. Small and lightweight, a benchtop saw is still portable, though less so than a jobsite model; that is because benchtop saws require a work bench since they are not supported by a stand.