Table saw blade height?

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Forum topic by wmlaveck posted 1753 days ago 2188 views 0 times favorited 14 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View wmlaveck's profile


17 posts in 1777 days

1753 days ago

I suspect that this has already been answered. Years back in a high school wood class I was taught to keep the table saw blade all the way up. This is to reduce kick back as the blade is pushing the stock down against the table. The other school of thought is to keep the blade as low as possible for safety. I use both, but prefer the blade all the way up. This seems to make it easier to feed the stock though the blade. I would like to read some feedback on this topic.

-- If I ever turn up missing, check the garage.

14 replies so far

View CharlieM1958's profile


15684 posts in 2845 days

#1 posted 1753 days ago

I was always taught that the blade should be just high enough so that the gullets clear the top of the workpiece.

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

View Gary's profile


7088 posts in 2060 days

#2 posted 1753 days ago

Me too

-- Gary, DeKalb Texas only 4 miles from the mill

View ChunkyC's profile


856 posts in 1881 days

#3 posted 1753 days ago

I raise the blade like Charlie, just high enough so the gullets clear.

-- Chunk's Workshop pictures:

View pete79's profile


154 posts in 1767 days

#4 posted 1753 days ago

Same here. I go about 1/4” higher than needed to clear the gullets.

-- Life is a one lap race.

View Scott Bryan's profile

Scott Bryan

27251 posts in 2449 days

#5 posted 1753 days ago

How about a fourth vote for raising it until the gullet clears. This lessens the potential for injury should your hand or other body part come in contact with the blade.

-- Challenges are what make life interesting; overcoming them is what makes life meaningful- Joshua Marine

View patron's profile


13001 posts in 1968 days

#6 posted 1753 days ago

safety first !

i was taught that 1/8” over wood ,
in case i ran my fingers over blade ,
won’t cut to the bone !

-- david - only thru kindness can this world be whole . If we don't succeed we run the risk of failure. Dan Quayle

View Dan Lyke's profile

Dan Lyke

1470 posts in 2752 days

#7 posted 1753 days ago

Other reason to keep that saw blade as close as possible to the wood height is that I’ve found that I get a cleaner edge that way. I use a saw on a rail rather than a table saw, but I believe the physics are the same for the tablesaw.

And my only personal kickback experience has been with a router table, but I’d guess that if the piece starts to bind between the blade and the fence, it’s probably as likely to ride up to where there’s real kinetic energy in the blade as it is to be pulled down by the higher blade. So I’d go as low as possible.

-- Dan Lyke, Petaluma California,

View Cato's profile


641 posts in 1939 days

#8 posted 1753 days ago

I’m about with Patron, I raise mine the height of the tooth over the wood. It seems like I have less dust on the tabletop that way and also as he mentioned less blade exposure to your fingers and hands.

View Kent Shepherd's profile

Kent Shepherd

2697 posts in 1913 days

#9 posted 1753 days ago

I’m with patron & Cato

All the way up?—-Nooooooooooo!

-- She thought I hung the moon--now she just thinks I did it wrong

View bigdog72's profile


16 posts in 2436 days

#10 posted 1753 days ago

+1 on the 1/8” rule!

-- Geoff, Lillington, NC

View reggiek's profile


2240 posts in 1897 days

#11 posted 1753 days ago

Make that a +2 on the 1/8th – Cleaner cuts….less stress on the wood….and keeps the piece more firmly on the table…

-- Woodworking.....My small slice of heaven!

View PurpLev's profile


8476 posts in 2275 days

#12 posted 1753 days ago

1 tooth over the board, safer, better dust control, better cut quality

-- ㊍ When in doubt - There is no doubt - Go the safer route.

View niki's profile


426 posts in 2707 days

#13 posted 1753 days ago

Yeap, there are two schools and never ending debate…

I love “high blade” for solid wood and low blade for man made sheet goods…

The high blade is less prone to overheat and distort i.e. – runs cooler and it’s easier on the motor, i.e. faster feed rate and less burn marks…

I think that every one that recommends the “Low blade for safety”, doesn’t use blade guard and/or his fingers are too close to the blade during the cut…

Usually, the critical point that the operator can cut his fingers due to high blade is the end of the cut so, if one sets the blade to 2¼” (to cut a 2” thick material), at the end of the cut, 2¼” of a “naked blade” will be exposed and wait to cut your fingers unless, your fingers are not there (long push stick) and/or the blade guard is installed…

Please have a look at the pics below…who can “catch” me….



Or here




As you can see, no fingers around – no “food for the blade”...

To read more about blade height please have a look here

And if you have Ian Kirby’s book, “The Accutate table saw”, have a look at pages 70&71…


View JasonWagner's profile


523 posts in 1807 days

#14 posted 1753 days ago

i agree with most…gullet bottoms at the top of the wood

-- some day I hope to have enough clamps to need a clamp cart!

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