While it’s true that the best saws in the world are only as good as the blades they spin, that’s just part of success. The other part depends on your skills managing your tools and using them.
Four Key Tool Tips to Help You Get the Most From Your Power Saws
Match the Blade to the Work
Crosscutting and ripping solid wood is a different job than cutting veneered sheet goods. Sawing melamine is different than trimming particleboard. Crosscutting crown moulding is different than sawing 2×6 wall studs.
This is why a complete set of traditional tablesaw blades should include a coarse ripping blade for sawing solid wood to length, a fine-tooth blade for crosscutting, a melamine blade for chip-free cuts in factory-finished sheet goods, and a combination blade for rough, general-purpose work.
While owning a group of blades like these works well, there are now single blades capable of cutting very smoothly and efficiently in many different situations. Freud’s Premier Fusion blade is one. It creates absolutely smooth, flawless cuts in all materials – from ripping heavy hardwood to cutting veneered ply and everything in between.
Match the Blade to the Machine
Today’s move towards smaller, lighter tablesaws and chopsaws make it easier to carry tools wherever the work is, but reduced cutting power is usually part of the price you pay for portability. If you have a lightweight chopsaw or portable benchtop tablesaw, you can make the most of their smaller motors by using “thin-kerf” saw blades. Kerf refers to the swath of wood removed by the blade, and thin-kerf models chew through about 30% less wood than full-kerf blades with each pass, delivering that much more cutting power to your work. The Premier Fusion blade is available in both full- and thin-kerf configurations, and is one of the few thin kerf models that includes polymer-filled, anti-vibration slots to keep the blade running true and wobble-free.
Align the Blade and Fence
When it comes to tablesaw performance, nothing matters more than the relationship between your saw’s fence and blade. The blade and fence must be parallel for smooth cutting to happen, and the best way to check is by switching off your saw part way through a fence-guided cut. Let the blade spin to a halt, disconnect the power, then take a close look at how the blade sits in relation to the wood. If the cutting groove isn’t evenly straddling the blade, adjust the base of the fence to make this happen reliably and automatically every time the fence is locked. Ideally, teeth are the only part of the blade that should touch the wood.
Crosscut Safely on the Tablesaw
Always make sure the end of your workpiece is free and clear of contact with the rip fence or any other object when crosscutting with a mitre gauge on the table saw. Ignore this precaution and you’re certain to experience kickback.
If you need to make repeated cuts of the same length, clamp a block of wood to the end of the fence closest to you, as a stop block, so the workpiece is clear of the block when it slides forward to encounter the blade.
Bring together superb wood, skilled hands, an enthusiastic heart and great tools, then watch good things happen in your own workshop. It’s the reason we all work with wood.