Table saw blade height?

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Forum topic by wmlaveck posted 11-03-2009 08:21 PM 3200 views 0 times favorited 14 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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25 posts in 3148 days

11-03-2009 08:21 PM

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


16274 posts in 4216 days

#1 posted 11-03-2009 08:25 PM

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


9331 posts in 3431 days

#2 posted 11-03-2009 08:33 PM

Me too

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

View ChunkyC's profile


856 posts in 3252 days

#3 posted 11-03-2009 08:35 PM

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

-- Chunk's Workshop pictures:

View pete79's profile


154 posts in 3139 days

#4 posted 11-03-2009 09:01 PM

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

-- Life is a one lap race.

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Scott Bryan

27250 posts in 3820 days

#5 posted 11-03-2009 09:03 PM

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


13603 posts in 3339 days

#6 posted 11-03-2009 09:13 PM

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

1520 posts in 4123 days

#7 posted 11-03-2009 10:40 PM

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


701 posts in 3311 days

#8 posted 11-03-2009 10:48 PM

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

2718 posts in 3284 days

#9 posted 11-03-2009 11:14 PM

I’m with patron & Cato

All the way up?—-Nooooooooooo!


View bigdog72's profile


16 posts in 3807 days

#10 posted 11-03-2009 11:22 PM

+1 on the 1/8” rule!

-- Geoff, Lillington, NC

View reggiek's profile


2240 posts in 3268 days

#11 posted 11-03-2009 11:29 PM

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


8535 posts in 3647 days

#12 posted 11-03-2009 11:32 PM

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 4078 days

#13 posted 11-03-2009 11:52 PM

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


527 posts in 3178 days

#14 posted 11-04-2009 04:15 AM

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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