Essential Power Tools – the table saw

We’re onto tool number five this week and that’s where the table saw fits in for me.  If you are working wood – and you should  – and are doing a lot of cutting or require a significant level of accuracy the table saw stands well above the circular saw that holds the number two spot on  the list.

Craftsman contractor table saw

Craftsman contractor table saw

Now my table saw is a  craftsman contractor saw model.  Now, I chose the “semi” portability of the contractor saws because in the winter it sits in my basement workshop but as soon as the weather improves it gets moved into the garage – and when it’s getting used is placed in the driveway putting the dust outside.  It’s also been taken to projects at other homes.  I say semi-portability because it is awkward and is a good lift.  Now if you only need to roll it around on its wheels – it really is an easy move.  BUT, the heft does equate to some really solid construction – and that is key here.  DON’T bother cheaping out and getting a small wobbly table saw with a crappy fence – stick to your circular saw until you can afford to get a good saw.  As a reference point, the Craftsman I have runs something north of $400.  For my purposes it is the best compromise between accuracy, portability and price.

Push sticks, hearing and eye protection - not optional parts of your kit

Push sticks, hearing and eye protection – not optional parts of your kit

Now there are a few not so optional accessories you need along with the saw – the hearing and eye protection you should already have – but you will need some push sticks.  Push sticks are essential when you are working close to the blade.  You can cut these yourself, but purchased plastic ones are cheap and I particularly like the ones that have a grove in the lower surface which allows me to get better purchase on the material.

Now,  you’ll note that I don’t have the blade guard in place in the photo’s and videos.  Having an unguarded blade is a risk that I am willing to run – and it is a risk.  I run it in part because a significant amount of my work involves cutting blind groves in material.   That said, I am very careful around the saw, and don’t work with it when I might be tempted to be complacent or in a rush.  If you aren’t doing that type of work and prepared to accept the same elevated risk profile leave the blade guard in place.

Combination roller stand - a near necessity to go with your table saw

Combination roller stand – a near necessity to go with your table saw

If you are working with longer or larger materials – sheet goods or lumber you should probably get a roller stand that will allow you to avoid struggling with acquard material – and you don’t want to make a risky move around a saw blade.

My saw has found use building furniture, buildings and of late has seen a lot of work cutting materials to produce bee hive woodware.   It wasn’t cheap, but it certainly is a pleasure to use good tools – and it has paid for itself several times over.

If you don’t already have a table saw consider investing in one to add to your workshop as a means of empowering your independence.

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