Learning Table Saw Terminology

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Let’s learn the essential table saw terminology.

Every table saw shares the same fundamental anatomy. When one is researching before the purchase of a table saw, it is essential to at least have a fundamental understanding of what to look for before proceeding with your purchase.

The majority of table saws in the market have a broad range of options and features, and to assist you in making the best possible choice in your specific circumstance; we are going to explain “the table saw basics.” By understanding the fundamentals of this tool which is essential in every wood-shop, you will make a better buying decision. We will start with the primary table saw parts and explain what makes them significant, and what you should be looking for when you decide its time to purchase a new table saw.

The Table Saw Base

It all starts with the base; it contains the majority of the part of the saw. These parts might include some terms that were unfamiliar to you at first, but after a while, they will become second nature. The components of the table saw base are the motor, the arbor assembly, the trunnions, and the sector gears.

Some saws are called cabinet saws because they have a wholly contained base that reaches the floor of the shop or garage.

While other saws are called open base saws because the base consists of a metal case that encloses the inner working components of the saw. Some open base saws have legs that reach from the bottom of the base to the ground.

Now we also have the option of a new style called the “hybrid” table saw. The hybrid style blends the features of a cabinet base and an open base. Hybrid table saws have legs, but the base area is fully sealed on all fronts to aid in dust collecting and reducing noise levels.

Table Saw Motor, Trunnions, and Arbor Assembly

The most vital elements of any table saw are the electric motor and gearing, the arbor assembly, and the trunnions.

The brand, quality, and toughness of these parts can vary considerably and can greatly impact the durability of the saw you choose. , its capacity for cutting heavy stock and its ability to stay in adjustment and hold settings.

Induction electric motors power the majority of saws, and they usually have a horsepower range between 1 – 5 HP. Large table saws have a TEFC system. TEFC stands for “totally enclosed; fan cooled,” and these types of saws are intended for continuous heavy duty use, they are entirely enclosed to protect the machinery against fine wood particles and other contaminants that are a staple in most woodshops.

Tables saws intended for the do-it-yourselfer and mostly home & garage use are regularly equipped with motors 3 HP and blow. They can be utilized with a conventional 110-volt household circuit. When the hardwood sheets are frequently over 1″ thick, a pro-class tables saws are needed. Their power will be up to 5 HP and require a 220-volt circuit. The professional class motors are built to stand countless hours of continuous heavy duty work.

Table Saw Cutting Area and Expansion Wings

The class of materials used in a table saw’s surface bed area remarkably critical to the long-term performance of the saw.
The table area is usually one of the biggest components of the saw and needs to be unyielding. The quality of the of the bed materials influences many aspects of the machine, not only because it holds the piece of wood that will be cut but also because it absorbs shakes and vibrations.

In today’s table saw market, most saws can be bought with optional expansion wings. Commonly the extensions attach to the left and right surfaces of the table and extend the surface range of the tool to help shoulder larger wood stock. Extensions wings for smaller saws are much more portable since they are made of lighter metals while stationary table saws have heavy duty cast iron extensions wings.

The Rip Fence and Rails

The table saw’s rip fence is the part the guides the wood while it is being cut. The rip fence can be set to different widths. Basically, any width within the saw’s cutting range. The rip fence glides on rails attached to the front, and the rear frame of the table saw. They are designed to keep the fence completely parallel to the blade.

As important as the fence and rails are to the precision of the saw. Unfortunately, these components quality can vary immensely and should be considered equally essential to any other component of a quality table saw.

The Table Saw’s Miter Gauge

Almost every table saw uses the miter gauge and/or miter slot system. These components permit for easy cross-cutting.

The miter gauge is one of a table saw’s conventional jigs. They are used to cut the wood stock to length and make standard miter cuts. The miter gauge holds stock and transfers it across the table saw’s tabletop through the miter slots while the blade slices. When they are of good quality, they will allow doing a practical job with most everyday crosscutting. The miter slots can simply be explained as notches that run laterally to the blade across the width of a table saw’s bed while allowing the miter gauge to slide across the surface with stock as the blade cuts.

We have usually seen that the aftermarket miter gauges (also called crosscutting sleds) tend to be some of the most useful add-ons to any table saw. These add-ons have become so popular because they allow for more combinations of cuts than the standard manufacturer’s systems.