Why do 10" tabe saws have less than 3-1/2" cutting capacity?

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Forum topic by splatman posted 01-18-2015 02:03 AM 1376 views 0 times favorited 8 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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586 posts in 1363 days

01-18-2015 02:03 AM

Topic tags/keywords: tablesaw question cutting capacity 4x4 one pass single pass blade sawstop

This is something I have questioned for over a decade. Most 10” TS’s have a cut capacity of 3-1/8 – 3-1/4” I just checked the SawStop website; all their models have 3-1/8” cut cap. Why is that? What’s wrong with being able to cut a 4×4 in a single pass? Or gang-X-cut a bunch of 2×4s on edge in one go?
I would put a SawStop on my wishlist, if it had 3-5/8” cut cap. Or if they offered a 12” model.
Anyone tweaked their TS to get more cut cap.? How did you make it happen?

8 replies so far

View firefighterontheside's profile


17937 posts in 1821 days

#1 posted 01-18-2015 02:42 AM

Half of ten is five. The arbor washer is about 2 inches. That only leaves four inches. Then you have to get thru the table itself and have a certain amount of clearance. I’m thinking 3 1/8 is about as good as it gets. It would be nice though. I guess that’s why some people have a 12” saw.

-- Bill M. "People change, walnut doesn't" by Gene.

View Rob's profile


704 posts in 3035 days

#2 posted 01-18-2015 03:07 AM

Even though the arbor is only 5/8”, you have to have enough clamping surface against the blade in order to keep it from spinning (or stopping) independently of the arbor. You lose some cutting depth to the flange on one side of the blade and the arbor washer on the other. On my saw, there’s only about 9/16” clearance between that washer and the top of the table, which doesn’t leave much clearance between the washer and the bottom of the throat plate. (The bottom of the throat plate is actually hollowed out in some areas for extra clearance from the arbor flange and washer.)

Doing the math backwards for any 10” saw, you start with 10”/2=5”. Subtract 3-1/8” cutting depth and 5/16” arbor on the top half of the blade (combined 3-7/16”) and you have 1-9/16” left. Factor in a 1/2” throat plate and 1/16” clearance and you’re down to a washer that’s only 1” wide from its inner radius to its outer radius if I did my math right. That isn’t a lot of surface area to securely clamp the blade, and I’m guessing someone has done some research and found that shrinking this surface area by more than 50% to steal another 1/2” of cutting capacity would either be dangerous or it would render the tool useless.

Like Bill said, it would be nice, but I guess if you have to cut a lot of 4×4s maybe a 12” saw is a better option for you.

-- Ask an expert or be the expert -

View runswithscissors's profile


2724 posts in 1989 days

#3 posted 01-18-2015 03:17 AM

I do know of one that can cut a 4×4 in one pass: the Ryobi BT 3000 or 3100. I surmise that they were able to do it by using a flat toothed drive belt rather than a V belt and pully. Also the throat plate was the thin style like on many jobsite saws.

-- I admit to being an adrenaline junky; fortunately, I'm very easily frightened

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928 posts in 2038 days

#4 posted 01-18-2015 03:48 AM

Runwithscissors hit the nail on the head. It’s not the washers its the driven pulley. in the contractor saws its the gear drive or the direct drive motor housing.

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586 posts in 1363 days

#5 posted 01-18-2015 05:03 AM

I knew someone here on LJ mentioned it; I just could not remember who said it, or what model. A search yielded zilch. My dad owned a Ryobi BT3000 back in the 90’s, and I do not remember its cut cap. I must have never had to cut a 4×4 at the time. I do remember it having a flat toothed belt.
I knew it’s the blade washers or the pulley had to do with it. To have 3-5/8” cut cap., that leaves 2-3/4”, which is plenty for the arbor washer. The arbor washer on my Ridgid is 2-1/2”. The throat plate would just have a cutout over the arbor, to allow for the washers. So, yes, it’s the pulley, that is the issue.
I just sent a message to Sawstop, asking if any 12” models are in the works.

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586 posts in 1363 days

#6 posted 01-20-2015 05:34 AM

Got the reply to said message today. Copy-&-pasted from email:
Thank you for contacting SawStop. In response to your request, SawStop only manufactures 10” table saws. Sometimes people need 12” saws for depth of cut requirements. However, most often the buyer is looking for a heavy weight and powerful tool. Our Industrial Cabinet Saw is the heaviest weight 10” saw on the market, and the most powerful. Most find that this suits their needs well, and choose to replace their 12” saw with a SawStop.

Don’t wait for an accident, buy SawStop today
(end message)
I guess I’ll just get whatever decent 12” TS I can find, and use appropriate amounts of caution.
If you wondering about why I would need to cut up 4×4s, I should have said 4xX stock. Sometimes, I find 4×8s, 4×10s, and 4×12s in dumpsters (along with carloads of other scrap lumber) in dumpsters. Probably window/door header offcuts. Of course, there’s plenty of other reasons, such as trimming thick (face-glued 2×4s) glue-ups for example.

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80 posts in 1623 days

#7 posted 01-20-2015 03:10 PM

I wondered the same thing but then i realized that i never need to rip a 4×4 so i just got a miter saw that can cut a 4×4.


View bigblockyeti's profile


5092 posts in 1685 days

#8 posted 01-20-2015 04:08 PM

I guess that means they’re not even working on a 12” model. I especially like the end of their message, because everyone knows if you don’t have a sawstop, you WILL loose all of your fingers and probably your life too!

For cutting thick stuff, I typically use my bandsaw, with a thinner kerf and already having 3hp, it does quite well. The fence did need to be modified (lengthened) to facilitate easier ripping operations. The surface finish isn’t what you’ll get from a dedicated circular ripping blade either, but a very light pass through the planer or across the jointer makes it very smooth.

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