First day with a borrowed tablesaw

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Blog entry by RJH311 posted 02-03-2012 02:09 AM 1143 reads 0 times favorited 7 comments Add to Favorites Watch

So today my uncle brought over a small benchtop tablesaw for me to use in making the small projects that I’ve been eyeing. Specifically, I made an end grain cutting board out of hard maple. It took me one pass of the saw to realize that the quality of your tools SEVERELY affects the outcome of any project. I’m very grateful that my uncle was kind enough to find a tablesaw for me to use but this makes me appreciate good equipment even more. The saw is 3hp and had quite a time trying to cut through the maple. I ripped 1-1/2” thick pieces 20” long and every pass the overload circuit breaker popped because it couldn’t handle the stress. I finally got through all the strips to glue them up but they were slightly warped in the process, I’m guessing because of the heat generated in the process. My crosscut sled was a little wobbly as well, so that also didn’t help. The end product was a glue up that was definitely not straight and will need a lot of planing. I have a newfound respect for quality machinery.

7 comments so far

View wseand's profile


2754 posts in 2464 days

#1 posted 02-03-2012 02:59 AM

I would say without knowing more about the saw that it needs a tune up and a new blade. Its borrowed so how much time and money would you really want to put into it. You really can’t complain to much when you borrow others tools. Next time get friends and family with better tools. :~)

-- Bill - "Freedom flies in your heart like an Eagle" Audie Murphy

View crashn's profile


528 posts in 1887 days

#2 posted 02-03-2012 04:01 AM

To get true 3hp out of a motor, you need 220v. The 3 hp that the machine is labeled is false :)

-- Crashn - the only thing I make more of than sawdust is mistakes

View Dallas's profile


3599 posts in 1909 days

#3 posted 02-03-2012 04:19 AM

What Crashm said!

a horsepower = about 746 watts before losses so a 15amp circuit @ 125V would equal 1875 watts / by 746 = a possible 2.5 HP, but then there are efficiency losses. Because we don’t live in a perfect world, you are most likely to see 1.5 to 1.75HP out of it.
That is plenty to cut what you were cutting. Were you using a ripping blade? (24-30 TPI) or a combination blade (30-50 TPI) or a cross cut blade (50-120TPI).

-- Improvise.... Adapt...... Overcome!

View SalvageCraft's profile


274 posts in 1948 days

#4 posted 02-03-2012 05:25 AM

You can pick up a decent freud diablo for under $40 if you plan on using the saw a bit more. It really sounds like a new blade would do you wonders!

I use a dewalt benchtop saw with a freud fusion thin kerf blade. I think the saw runs about 1.5hp. It’ll cut hard maple 1.5” thick just fine if you don’t rush it. I do have issues popping the circuit if I’m ripping pitchy woods like pine cause there’s more drag on the blade with the pitch, and being such a soft wood, the stock tends to pinch more at the back of the cut.
Because of this I find ripping hard woods often goes a lot smoother! Still would be nice to have a solid cast iron table and 220v behind the blade though!

-- Jesse --

View CharlieM1958's profile


16229 posts in 3640 days

#5 posted 02-03-2012 05:29 AM

Like the others said, no way is that a 3hp saw, no matter what it might say on the sticker.

I have a full-sized Ridgid TS3660 that is only 1.5hp, but it cuts like a hot knife through butter with a good blade. I suspect a dull and/or incorrect blade for the purpose was the major cause of your troubles.

As to the warping, that was most likely due to tension in the wood being released when you cut it. That just happens sometimes, and there is really nothing you can do to anticipate or prevent it.

You are correct, though, that good machinery usually makes a job a lot easier.

-- Charlie M. "Woodworking - patience = firewood"

View stefang's profile


15512 posts in 2756 days

#6 posted 02-03-2012 02:48 PM

I have a 1,5 hp that works quite well. I agree, the problem is probably the blade and/or the feed rate.

-- Mike, an American living in Norway.

View dbhost's profile


5590 posts in 2654 days

#7 posted 02-03-2012 09:08 PM

A 110V 15 amp saw which is what most bench top saws are, in no way can produce 3HP… So I am guessing it must be a Craftsman, which tend to uh… creatively label their saw ratings…

Now having said that, I do have a 1.5 HP (15 amp) table saw, and given the right blade, a thin kerf 24 tooth rip blade, Black Wallnut, Maple, Mesquite etc… up to 3” thick is no problem.

The keys here are blade, fence alignment, and feed rate. Make sure you have the fence and blade trued up, use a good thin kerf ripping blade (Diablo 24T is a good one, and cheap too!) and just go slow and steady with your feed rate, as fast as the saw will go without bogging basically. If you are bogging the motor, something is wrong…

Some things to look at when ripping hardwoods blade wise are…

#1. Blade tooth count. Higher tooth count means harder for the blade gullets to clean, means the blade gunks up and has to work MUCH harder to do the same job. This is why you see ripping blades with low tooth counts. 36 teeth or under, typically you see them at 24 tooth. #2. Blade kerf. Full kerf blades are great for guys running cabinet saws. You aren’t. Make sure you are using a thin kerf blade. Takes less power to ram the narrower teeth through the wood. #3. Blade Sharpness. Good blades go bad with time. They can get dull, as you know, a dull blade doesn’t cut well. #4. Blade cleanliness. Just like sharpness, if the blade is full of pitch and whatnot, it will have to work much harder to do its job. Clean that thing…

Now having said all that, will you get the same results using a cheap direct drive benchtop versus a high end cabinet saw? Not even close. But then again, some low end dollar wise saws, can be made to give you the results of the high end bad boys too. At least comparing similar motors etc… Comparing say a 1.5HP contractor saw to a 5HP cabinet saw isn’t what I would call fair… But the results from what I have seen depend far more on the operator, and tool setup, than on the grade of the tool… I have seen woodworkers make careers out of woodworking making gorgeous furniture and accessories using nothing more than a little plastic bench top piece of junk saw, and I have seen guys blow $3,000.00 or more on a high end saw that can’t cut a straight line to save their lives…

-- My workshop blog can be found at

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