I bit the bullet and bought a table needed please.

  • Advertise with us

« back to Woodworking Skill Share forum

Forum topic by thechipcarver posted 03-06-2016 12:54 PM 927 views 0 times favorited 11 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View thechipcarver's profile


178 posts in 999 days

03-06-2016 12:54 PM

Ok, for the longest time I have been avoiding buying a table saw. I want to make my own boxes to chip carve. I have tried just about all other cutting tools but with no success. So, I bit the bullet and bought a table saw. I tried to research the best that I could afford and what was available around here. I didn’t want to buy used because of the lack of knowledge. To be honest, I’m scared to death of table saws. That’s why it took me so long to buy one.

Here is what I bought:

I know it might not be the greatest, but like I said I had to go with what was available and cost. I need help becoming knowledgeable about using the saw and using it safely.

Any tips, websites, videos etc. would be great.

-- While teaching a class, a gentlemen once asked me: "When chip carving an intricate design, what do you do when you are almost finished and the wood breaks off?" I replied "Cover the kids ears."

11 replies so far

View BuffaloBrewer's profile


8 posts in 239 days

#1 posted 03-06-2016 01:00 PM

Congratulations on the new tool! Build a sled for it. I hated the table saw until I built a sled and now actually enjoy using it and feel it’s much safer.

View McFly's profile


181 posts in 448 days

#2 posted 03-06-2016 01:51 PM

First thing I would do is get it off that wobbly stand and build something beefy that is never going to move on you while you’re running the saw.
The more stable a platform you have, the better off you’ll be in the end as far as accurate cuts and safety.

Also, X2 on the sled for the reasons aforementioned.

View waho6o9's profile


7119 posts in 1997 days

#3 posted 03-06-2016 02:00 PM

A healthy respect for machinery is wise, and congrats on your new table saw.

An expensive rip blade and crosscut blade come to mind as good additions as well.

View OSU55's profile


1039 posts in 1410 days

#4 posted 03-06-2016 02:16 PM

If you cut a lot of material at one time, ripping and x-cut, then separate blades make sense, If not, switching blades all the time is a pita. A good combination blade can do pretty well. The Freud LU83R010 10-Inch 50 Tooth ATB Thin Kerf Combination Saw Blade can be had ~$50. That saw probably came with a thin kerf, and you should stay with one. TS sleds are great! I have several depending on the job. Definitely build a good sturdy base for the saw, and look into some “push handles” to get stock past the blade. Start there before building a stand or sleds. There are many designs of push sticks and handles you can make yourself, do the research.

View BB1's profile


421 posts in 269 days

#5 posted 03-06-2016 02:27 PM

I am new to this (just marked the one-year “anniversary” of purchasing my table saw last month) so won’t attempt to provide guidance. I’m sure the LJ will help out – they always do!...but thought I would share this video I came across –

View dhazelton's profile


2284 posts in 1717 days

#6 posted 03-06-2016 03:26 PM

Until you get used to it make your rip cuts on wood much longer than you need for your box. You can also run your board a little more than halfway through, stop and flip the board end over end and finish the cut – that way your hand never goes near the blade. Use push sticks and keep your guard on the saw and you should be fine.

View MadMark's profile


968 posts in 873 days

#7 posted 03-06-2016 03:32 PM

Take a red Sharpie and draw a line from the blade to the front as a reminder that ANYTHING on the line gets CUT OFF.

Get the Freud LU83 10 50T blade suggested in previous posts.

Do NOT splay your hand (thumb) out while feeding, that is how thumbs get lost! Keep your thumb tucked in to the right of your index finger. That way if your index finger passes, the rest of your hand will too. Keep your pinky hooked over the fence so your hand can’t slip.


Put a ZCI (zero clearence insert) on the saw first thing. This will increase safety.

Crank the blade down after every use.

Have LOTS of light.

Push sticks don’t put downward pressure on the stock, use a ‘shoe’ type pusher.

Preplan each cut. Know if you need to move your hands and when before you cut.

Keep the saw top lightly waxed (more important for cast iron, for alum not so much)


-- Madmark -

View knotscott's profile


7146 posts in 2796 days

#8 posted 03-06-2016 04:14 PM

This probably isn’t what you were hoping to hear, but I feel strongly enough about that I think it’s worth considering. If you don’t absolutely need portability, I’d return that saw and either look for a good used saw, and save longer for a better new one. It’s exactly the type of saw that most us try to coax newbies into NOT buying. I fear that you’ll be fighting that saw every time you use it. For $200, you can buy a significantly better used saw that what you’ve got now. If you’ll post your nearest city, there are lots of folks here who can help guide you through buying a good used saw.

Your current saw will certainly cut wood, but the sheer lack of operating room in front of the blade, lack of mass, and lack of accuracy would scare me too. A saw that size and light is simply not as safe as a more substantial saw. That saw literally leaves you just a few inches to register a board on the table surface before it reaches the blade. A full size saw would leave you with a foot of operating room before the board contacts the blade. Reliability is likely to be poor, and it’s not likely to be feasible to fix it. There’s also very little you can easily do to the saw to get it to grow with you. I cringe as I type this bccause I know how harsh it must sound, but this is the advice I’d give to my brother or best friend.

Here are some pics to illustrate the point I made about operating space in front of the blade. Imagine yourself trying to set an 8” wide x 6’ long board onto the front edge of the saw so you can rip it to final width. Which would you be more comfortable with?

Some reading to help your decision:
The ABCs of Table Saws

-- Happiness is like wetting your pants...everyone can see it, but only you can feel the warmth....

View JBrow's profile


748 posts in 341 days

#9 posted 03-06-2016 04:29 PM


First and foremost, I would follow McFly’s advice and put the saw on a stable platform. It can be on locking casters if you need mobility. You simply do not want the saw to move around when you make a cut. Your attention needs to be on the cut. Or better yet, give knotscott’s recommendation some serious thought.

Maintaining your healthy respect of the table saw will mitigate most dangers the saw can pose. Complacency is perhaps the number one cause of table saw accidents.

Aside from taking a finger that contacts the blade, other hazards with a table saw is binding and kickback. Binding is where, as wood advances during the cut, resistance in encountered and more force is need to push the wood through a cut. Trying to overcome the resistance by pushing harder can result in a slip of the hand. If the progress of the cut is not smooth and binding is suspected, stop the saw and diagnose the problem before proceeding.

Kickback occurs when the edge of a work piece makes contact with the back of the blade. This can happen if the saw kerf closes on the blade, pinching the blade, or when the stock rotates and one edge contacts the back of the blade. The upward spinning back edge of the blade lifts the workpiece and can send it back at you.

The table saw is used daily by lots of people and few ever have accidents. The tool can be used safely. There are several key factors that enhance the safety of the tool.

First is to ensure that the saw blade is parallel to the mitre slot and that the fence is parallel to the mitre slot. With these adjustments accurately made, the front and back edge of the blade will be in the same plane as a work piece is cut and the plane of the blade is parallel to the fence. Cuts are smoother and safer.

Whenever I use my saw, I keep the glade guard in place for through cuts. If yours has a separate riving knife, it should also always be kept in place. The guard covers the blade and goes a long way keeping fingers away from the blade. The riving knife or splitter helps keep the work piece aligned with blade and keeps a wild piece of lumber from pinching the blade.

The blade can enhance or diminish the ability to use the saw safely. The blade should be sharp. Cuts are smoother, cleaner, and the work piece advances smoothly through the cut with a sharp blade. The type of blade should match the cut. A rip blade for ripping and a cross cut blade for cross cuts. I use a combination blade that can handle both crosscuts and rip cuts.

Never rip a work piece that is twisted. As you advance through the cut, the table side surface of the work piece can shift and bad things can happen. Also the edge of a board that rides against the fence needs to be straight.

When making through cuts, only use the rip fence for ripping. Move the fence out of the way when making through cross cuts. This practice keeps the off-cut from a cross cut from contacting the blade.

Most people like to keep the blade low, with the bottom of the gullet even with the top surface of the work piece. This seems safer to me than raising the blade all the way up. However, it increases the heat on the blade and if a work piece lifts during a cut, the work piece can become stuck on the riving knife or splitter. But overall, especially when learning how to use the saw, keeping the blade low is probably a good idea.

Sometimes, a short piece that is being ripped can ride up off the table. A push stick to advance the work piece through the cut and a feather board to keep the work piece on the table solves the problem. Also if a rip cut is done first then the work piece cut to length, this problem can sometimes be avoided.

When making rip cuts on narrow stock, a push stick is needed. Your fingers should always be 3” or more (more is better) away from the blade at all times. Many table saw users like push pads. I do not like push pads for through cuts because the blade guard must be removed to use one. I really like the added margin of safety afforded by the guard system.

Before making a cut, consider carefully whether the setup will allow the cut to be made safely. If you are like me, you have an inner voice that will keep you informed. Always listen to that inner voice.

The last thing is to carefully read the entire manual. Reading the safety section several times is a good thing. Also, there are books that discuss the table saw. These are also good reads, not only to allow you to get the most out of the saw, but to inform you on how to use the saw safely. And do not forget YouTube.

I am sure that if you maintain your respect for the tool, keep it well maintained, and are thoughtful before making cuts, you will master the table saw in no time and enjoy years of safe operation. It really is a cool tool!

View Rick M.'s profile (online now)

Rick M.

7700 posts in 1801 days

#10 posted 03-06-2016 05:12 PM

2 most important are don’t stand behind the blade and don’t put anything inline with the blade that you want in one piece.


View thechipcarver's profile


178 posts in 999 days

#11 posted 03-14-2016 11:35 AM

Thank you for all the tips. As for right now, I think I’m going to keep this table and use it to make the boxes. I took the time to watch some videos and took your guys safety advice. I believe this will be a good saw for the space and budget I have.

Here is my first project (in progress) with the new saw.
The box is made of basswood.

Main body of the box, drying. The design on the side of the box is my own design. It is hand carved.

Lid of the box, custom made clamps.

Finished photos shortly.

-- While teaching a class, a gentlemen once asked me: "When chip carving an intricate design, what do you do when you are almost finished and the wood breaks off?" I replied "Cover the kids ears."

Have your say...

You must be signed in to reply.

DISCLAIMER: Any posts on LJ are posted by individuals acting in their own right and do not necessarily reflect the views of LJ. LJ will not be held liable for the actions of any user.

Latest Projects | Latest Blog Entries | Latest Forum Topics