Help for New Table Saw User

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Forum topic by Skipio posted 12-23-2011 06:23 PM 2623 views 0 times favorited 26 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View Skipio's profile


9 posts in 2369 days

12-23-2011 06:23 PM

Hello All!

Im new here, and am in awe of the amazing projects that people turn out. Im quite a long way from turning out anything as nice as these finished projects, and thats why Im posting.

I bought an old house last year, and like all old houses it needs some love. However, this one also came with a Craftsman 103.22451 table saw that was in the basement, as it was just too darn heavy for the previous owner to take out with him. Its a 10” cast iron top saw, and it seems amazingly well made. I have recently decided to fire it up to help me work on some of the many projects that I have ahead of me.

The thing is that I get some of the basics of table saw use, but honestly I dont know the finer points. Does anyone have any tips, or a reference, or a site they could point me to about getting this saw set up to be a good workhorse? Im not making furniture with it yet, but I would like to rip some boards and use it to cut some kerfs and things.

This past weekend I was using it to rip some plywood and a few boards, and I had lots of burn markings on the wood, which Im guessing has to do with either my blade not being sharp enough (they are older than me, I think) and/or the fence being out of alignment.

At any rate, I would appreciate any info or insight that anyone can offer!

26 replies so far

View NBeener's profile


4816 posts in 3196 days

#1 posted 12-23-2011 06:26 PM

As a starter, I’d recommend Kelly Mehler’s book:

-- -- Neil

View CharlieM1958's profile


16275 posts in 4240 days

#2 posted 12-23-2011 06:47 PM

I second Neil’s recommendation.

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

View TheDane's profile


5439 posts in 3685 days

#3 posted 12-23-2011 06:51 PM

Neil’s suggested reading is spot-on … I bought Kelly Mehler’s book when I got my first table saw, and it has been the go-to source for just about any question I had.

You’ll always get better results with a good quality, sharp blade.

Dull blades can cause burning, so I would pick up a decent quality blade (I have had good luck with a thin kerf Freud Diablo, but there are many choices available), then go through a thorough alignment to first make sure the miter tracks are parallel to the blade, and then make sure the fence is parallel to the blade and the miter tracks.


-- Gerry -- "I don't plan to ever really grow up ... I'm just going to learn how to act in public!"

View crank49's profile


4032 posts in 2993 days

#4 posted 12-23-2011 06:51 PM

Yes, a good book and probably a new blade is a good place to start.

View Skipio's profile


9 posts in 2369 days

#5 posted 12-23-2011 10:41 PM

Much thanks all. I have gotten a very warm welcome here so far!

Ill pick up a copy of that book if Santa happens to leave me some extra change in my stocking this year. As far as blades, I sent the one that was in the saw out to get sharpened, so that should hopefully eliminate that variable for now. Its not a blade with carbide teeth, just the steel. I know that means it will dull relatively fast, but it should work for me for a while, right?

View chrisstef's profile


17422 posts in 3028 days

#6 posted 12-23-2011 11:01 PM

It shoudl work for a while i dont see why not but if you want to get into a decent blade check out the freud diablos and the CMT’s available at the blue big box.

-- Its not a crack, its a casting imperfection.

View JohnEinNJ's profile


94 posts in 2370 days

#7 posted 12-23-2011 11:59 PM

By all means get a decent blade; it will be much safer and will make a huge difference in your work. Safety first: learn the safety rules before you learn techniques!

View Grandpa's profile


3259 posts in 2698 days

#8 posted 12-24-2011 12:59 AM

Sharp blades are always safer. In the steel blade days people had a huge stack of blades with some sharp and other to be sharpened. With carbide the blade count has come to a few blades. Yes they cost more but the sharpening charge on the steel blade goes a long ways toward a Freud Diablo. I am always looking for a bargain on a decent blade. Learn the safety rules as the other have mentioned. Equip yourself with push sticks and push blocks and keep them nearby. Welcome to LJ and enjoy.

View Skipio's profile


9 posts in 2369 days

#9 posted 12-24-2011 01:22 AM

Im needing to obtain (or make) myself a feather board and I already have the push sticks handy.

My first order of business is to mount a switch that is reachable from the working side of the saw, currently there is no easy way to turn off the saw at all without unplugging it, which I know is not safe. I have put any use on hold until I get that taken care of.

I was also thinking it would be handy to keep a few of the steel blades handy for if I am ripping some of the random boards that came with our house down. Im sure some have nails or other sorts of things hiding in them, and I would rather not trash a nice carbide tipped blade, since that sure eliminates the savings that could be had from re-using the lumber.

Thanks again, Im looking forward to learning more!

View ChuckV's profile


3123 posts in 3549 days

#10 posted 12-24-2011 01:43 AM

I have several of the power switches from Rockler. I have had some of the switches for a few years and they work fine.

They are currently on sale:

This is a 120V switch.

-- “Big man, pig man, ha ha, charade you are.” ― R. Waters

View Dallas's profile


3599 posts in 2509 days

#11 posted 12-24-2011 01:49 AM

To help keep from ripping in to nails get yourself a metal detector wand.
HF has them for $40 and if you can get their flier, they have 25% off coupons for 01-Jan-12

They also have one for $17, but it’s probably not as good.

It adds up to being a whole lot cheaper than buying throw-away blades.

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

View Grandpa's profile


3259 posts in 2698 days

#12 posted 12-24-2011 01:49 AM

Grizzly also has a switch that is much like those from Rockler and maybe cheaper. Depends on how good the sale is. Position it so you can bump it off with your knee. Don’t gut the old Sears switch as some have tried. Sometimes there are capacitors included in that little box on the front.

View IrreverentJack's profile


727 posts in 2865 days

#13 posted 12-24-2011 04:40 PM

That may be the best Craftsman saw made. IMO it’s a keeper and worth investing in – if it needs it. -Jack

View Skipio's profile


9 posts in 2369 days

#14 posted 12-24-2011 04:55 PM

Im hoping to keep the saw for the rest of my days, since they just dont build stuff like that anymore.

I dont think it needs much other than some love, cleanup, and safety mods.

My thought was to wire in a regular toggle switch on the front that could be reached, but Ill look into the switches like those posted above.

Thanks again for all of the tips all, much appreciated!

View IrreverentJack's profile


727 posts in 2865 days

#15 posted 12-24-2011 05:30 PM

I hope someone here has that saw and can speak about it. I bought this switch from Grizzly. I called their customer service to find a box, flange and strain relief. Basically look for a saw with a motor the same size and buy that switch assembly. I began to feel I was spending too much on my contractor saw. I wouldn’t feel that way if I had your model saw. Think about PALS. Blow all the dust out of the motor. I’d buy a cheap carbide blade for you recycling. -Jack

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