What Is A Table Saw Used For? Grasp 100 Percent Before Buy One

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Written By Scott Angel

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A table saw is a handy tool for people who are working at construction job sites and the avid DIY enthusiasts. It goes without saying that it’s an essential tool. Majority of the modern woodwork workshops are centered on this tool. Well, there is a good reason behind this. As a woodworker by now you definitely know what is a table saw used for, so that you can achieve the very best result. Your craftsmanship has to be on point. While there are many handheld devices that can get the same job done, the table saws adds to convenience and makes the work so much easier.

What Is A Table Saw?

I do know that there are people out there who are still unfamiliar of the table saw. Therefore, information is what they need in order to discover the potential of this great tool. There are different types of saws used in woodwork and they are all designed differently. If you have been using a band saw, then a table saw may seem vague to you. This is because both machines use a flat surface around the blade.

To put it plainly, a table saw is a kind of circular saw that is mounted at the base of a table surface. A part of the blade protrudes above the table where it’s exposed as it cuts through the wood. This should already have given you an insight of the tool we are talking about here.

The exposed part of the saw allows the machine to continuously cut into wood as the user feeds work-pieces into the blade. The good thing about this process is the fact that you can do it in an accurate and controlled manner.

Users can measure the cuts to certain lengths and angles. This is because the table portion is equipped with ways that you can use to make the measurements. The saw itself is mounted onto an arbor that holds it in place and allows you to make adjustments on the cutting lengths and angles as you desire.

The table saw may appear like a simple tool but it will actually be a priceless tool for your wood works. It will offer you the convenience; accuracy and consistency that you need to produce quality crafts. There are various models the market and you can either choose a portable table saw or one that can be set up in your shop. Most people prefer to get one budget table saw  installed at the workshop so that they are able to get fast cuts right away without spending time assembling everything.

What Are The Types Of Table Saws?

Table saws have uniform and basic designs. However, they consist of different types with each having its own ideal uses and distinct advantages.

Cabinet Table Saw

The cabinet saw is the best option for people who only cut wood at a fixed location. This machine is engineered for the most heavy duty and professional woodworkers. It is the most expensive probably because it comes with quite a high sawing power. The cabinet saws are an upgrade across the board and way more powerful than the contractor table saws.

Any cabinet saw model that you get out there will definitely have superior features to the ones you will find in other saw types. Each of its components is meant to offer durability and robust operations. This is because it’s a machine that has to withstand regular heavy duty use. Most of them are made of cast iron or steel to ensure long years of service. They also have heavier trunnions and gearing. For this reason, you should expect this to be a machine that will last forever.

Taking a look at its individual components such as the fences, they are quite sturdy and dependable which is a feature you will not find in the other types. They offer high levels or accuracy and you only need to make the adjustments the necessary adjustments once. Another perk is that the cabinet saws come with trunnions. You can use these to adjust and set their height or tilt as you desire.

What makes the cabinet saws stand out from all the rest is massive power they possess? As a matter of fact, this machines motor produces three to five horsepower. This is enough power to rip through almost any kind of material including hardwoods, pressure treated lumber and thick lumber.

Contractor Table Saw

Contractor table saws have been around for the longest time and were popular among woodworkers who wanted a machine for heavy-duty cycle. They were also a go-to for the DIYers until other types of table saws were introduced into the market such as the jobsite models. Another thing is that the contractor saws were meant to be the less heavy and more economical alternative to cabinet saws.

When you hear the name contractor saw, you will probably think it’s a portable machine. The truth is they were initially quite movable and even some models came with wheels to enable easy transportation. However, there has been significant advancement in its design and features resulting in an increase in its weight. The modern contractor table saw weighs on average 200 to 300 pounds. I wouldn’t call this a portable machine considering that amount of weight.

Since there are a variety of portable types that have taken over the market, the contractor saw is classified as stationary. The best thing to do is have it installed at your workshop or it can be moved to a construction site where it’s used on a regular basis until the project is complete.

The contractor table saw comes with a solid cast iron table top which is designed to last for decades. It also has a large table area and a powerful motor. A distinct element found in many of the older models is that the motor hangs off from the rear of the saw. This was actually a feature originally meant to make transportation easier since users could remove it. The contractor saw motor produces about one to two horsepower. This gives it a significantly higher rip capacity. This means that it has the ability to cut through larger and thicker materials.

Hybrid Table Saw

The hybrid saw is the newest type of table saws to have emerged in the market. They are basically a recent innovation that was meant to bridge the gap between contractor and cabinet table saws. In this case, this type of table saw comprises of features from both the cabinet and contractor saws. As a matter of fact, a majority of the models will try to address the shortcomings of both types.

This type of saw is in many ways to the contractor models. Mostly, there are only a few upgrades from the cabinet saw that area added to it. For instance, the motor size is the same. Another thing is it has an enclosed cabinet that improves dust collection. Some models are enclosed from the table top right to the floor while others are not and tend to have an open-leg design.

The difference is usually in the trunnion design. There are some that have cabinet-mounted trunnions and others table-mounted trunnions. Also, the hybrid table saws are typically heavier than the contractor models but way lighter than the cabinet saw. If you’re still confusing the two types for each other, keep in mind the hybrid table saw comes with an in-board belt-driven motor. On the other hand, the contractor saw has outboard hinged motor.

Their belt system is more advanced with better gearing when compared to its counterparts. Furthermore, this type of table saw is quite powerful with a 1.5 to 2 horsepower motor. For this reason, it’s considered more versatile and functional than the contractor saws. One of its perks is that it comes with a variety of accessories that can be extremely useful for a professional woodworker.

Benchtop Table Saw

The benchtop saws are the smallest type in the market. For this reason they are lightweight hence easily portable. This is the perfect table saw model for an enthusiastic hobbyist and DIYer.

This machine consists of no stands attached on it. For this reason, you will need you will need your own cutting surface and this can be a work bench or log. If you thinking of working on your first small project, then getting a benchtop saw may be a good idea.

All models have a direct-drive universal motor that runs at 1.5 to 2 horsepower. This is quite impressive considering their size. Note that it’s important the blade design matches with the particular motor speed. Therefore, it’s vital for you pay close attention to the kind of blade you use on this machine.

The benchtop table saw is made of lightweight material. Most models on average weigh about 50 lbs and this should not be a problem when it comes to moving it around and transportation. Since it doesn’t have a stand, it is designed to easily clamp onto any level surface as you work.

Portable and jobsite Table Saw

Just as the name suggests, job site table saws are designed for the jobsite. This is the type of a machine that combines its functionality with portability. It’s a favorite for professionals who seek a saw they can use on a regular basis. A jobsite table saw has a solid construction to ensure durability and enable it withstand the conditions at the job site.

This may be a portable saw but definitely has more advanced features than the benchtop type. For starters, it features stands that fold upwards and wheels for easy movement. Also, the fence is sturdier and this only means that it can produce cleaner, more precise cuts. On overall, its way better than the benchtop models when it comes to functionality, mobility, stability and durability.

What Is A Table Saw Used For Different In Types

What Purpose Do I Use A Cabinet Table Saw

I would easily say that owning a cabinet table saw is every woodworkers dream. They are what you need in your professional workshop for making large pieces of furniture. They are also used in factories. The only drawback associated with cabinet table saws is their size.  This machine can weigh up to 600 lbs hence it’s not exactly portable.

What Purpose Do I Use A Contractor Table Saw

Contractor saws are relatively cheaper than other types of stationery table saws. They are often great choices for people who need to work on small cabinetry projects, carpentry works and construction. This is the kind of machine that will offer professional grade cuts every other time.

What Purpose Do I Use A Hybrid Table Saw

The reason as to why professional users may go for the hybrid saw is its fences. They are engineered to offer accurate cuts and a larger rip capacity so that you can work on larger and thicker materials with ease. This machine is cheaper than the cabinet models making it a good alternative for professional contractors working on constructions, carpentry, heavy-duty cycles and some residential projects. It’s a machine that will take on almost all that you throw at it.

What Purpose Do I Use A Benchtop Table Saw

When compared to other types of table saws on the list, this one has the lowest rip capacity. Therefore, it doesn’t have many functions. As a matter of fact, it’s suitable for cutting through soft woods and other light-duty tasks. However, this is not the ideal tool for making quality furniture. Benchtop table saws are great for first-timers who haven’t really gotten a grip on how saws work.

What Purpose Do I Use Portable And Jobsite Table Saw?

An added advantage is the accessories such as longer rip fence, riving knives, dust collection ports and push sticks. All these are included in it as built-in features giving in an edge over its counterpart. It’s great for making quality furniture, house construction and making cabinets. It will do most of the work that a benchtop saw will not be able to do.

Final Verdict: What Table Saw Do I Need?

The truth is there is a table saw to meet everyone’s needs. When deciding on the type to choose there are several things that you have to consider. For starters, understand your level of experience and expertise. Another important thing is what you intend to with the table saw. After all this, it will be easy to get a table saw that perfectly fits your needs.

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