As a woodworker, you gotta have a table saw. But do you know what exactly constitutes a table saw? Find out in this article.

Saws are a must-have for every woodwork enthusiast. They are mainly used for cutting construction materials such as wood, metal, and plastic. But like most work tools, saws come in various designs and brands.

They consist mostly of a toothed blade, chain, or wire. One of the most popular saws is the table saw. This is a powerful cutting tool for making crosscuts and rips.

This machine originated centuries ago and has undergone several changes to evolve into what it is today. But not many people are familiar with or can describe what it is. In fact, you can easily mistake it for other types of saws.

However, we will be explaining what a table saw is and providing other necessary information about this work too in this comprehensive guide.

Overview: What is a Table Saw?

Did you know that the first table saw hit the scene like 200 years ago? But back then, they were nothing like the dope table saws we have today. They were built to handle some heavy-duty stuff, like cutting massive logs of timber. And you worked them with some manual labor, with a spinning blade doing most of the work.

But as tech evolved, these saws got a serious upgrade. Now, they come with all sorta electrical parts. For example, motors and blade mechanisms, and a ton of other features to boot.

A modern-day table saw has four main parts: the circular blade, the stand, the motor, and the ardor. The power comes from the motor to the circular saw mounted on the ardor and makes it spin like a boss in a clockwise motion. This results in some seriously sick downward-cutting strokes.

And yeah, most table saws come with a user’s guide for all you newbies out there. But don’t get it twisted. This machine can be really dangerous if you’re not careful. Serious injuries can happen if you’re not paying attention.

When it comes to what a table saw can do, the possibilities are endless. It’s not just for cutting wood. You can also use it for cutting materials like fiberglass, brass sheets, aluminum, and plastics.

And you can make all sorts of cuts, like kerfs, dadoes, crosscuts, rips, rabbet cuts, and short bevel cuts. That’s all thanks to some dope components like sliding crosscut sleds and extension tables.

What’s more? You get table saws as corded or cordless. Yeah, some work with electricity, while others don’t. That’s not all. These saws can weigh anywhere from a few pounds to a whole ton. But no matter what type you’re working with, trust that you can get some seriously good cuts.

Features and Uses

Toothed Blade

A table saw’s got a toothed blade that looks like a circular saw and can make all kinds of cuts. It moves in a clockwise motion and chops down on whatever you put in front of it, with some blades sporting up to 90 teeth depending on the saw. These blades come in aluminum or other metals and deliver precise, accurate cuts.

Variety of Cuts

Sure, if you need to make cuts, the table saw will not cause you any problems. All types of cuts, including rips, cross cuts, rabbit cuts, short miter cuts, and even dado cuts, can be made using this tool.


You gotta make sure you’re getting the right amperage for your needs. Give or take, table saws have large amperages. And you also have a lot more of this tool coming at various amperages.

Take the job site models for example. They can run at 15 amps, while the workshop ones can go up to 110 or even 220 amps. But you oughta know this: some table saws measure their electrical current in horsepower, with motors up to 5 HP.


Do You have some safety concerns? Don’t stress. That’s a top priority when it comes to cutting tools. Table saws are responsible for some gnarly injuries, so manufacturers have added some dope safety features

There’s a riving knife to prevent kickback, a paddle-like switch so you can turn it off with your leg or knees while keeping your focus on the blade, and even anti-kickback pawls and blade guards. And if the blade does come in contact with skin, there’s a braking system that stops it in its tracks, available on all SAWTOP models.

Rip Fences

Yeah, rip fences are a biggie when you talk about table saws. It’s an important part that keeps the blade from binding to the wood and causing a kickback. Make sure you can adjust it and it has a lock-in feature.

Other Features

You might wanna check out some other features like the miter gauge, storage system, table extension, tilts, stands, and dust collection system in your table saw. Most table saws got them. They sure can make your table saw experience way better and safer, so don’t skimp on them.

Types of Table Saws

When it comes to table saws, there are three types you gotta know about: job site, contractor, and cabinet. Each one’s got its own unique features and uses, so pay attention!

Jobsite Table Saw

This saw is portable, with a blade, a stand on wheels, and a fence. We gotta say it is perfect for onsite work since you can easily transport it wherever you need to go.

It might have a lower amperage (usually 15 amps), but don’t let that fool you – these saws have powerful motors. And for sure,  they can cut through large wood pieces like butter. This is the go-to table saw for beginners and DIYers.

Even though I built mine into a table, it originally came with a stand so it was portable.

Contractor Table Saw

This saw is heavy-duty and built to cut through large pieces of timber like a boss. You’ll find these stationary saws in workshops. And you can get them to work on standard residential voltages of 120 volts.

But that’s not all. On this saw, you’ve got a powerful motor, a circular saw, a table with extensions, and a rip fence. Plus, some models even have a miter gauge, tilt, a braking mechanism, and a dust collection system. Thinking about moving it around? No problems. Some of them come with stands with wheels.

Cabinet Table Saw

These saws are a BEAST. It’s big, it’s powerful, and it’s made for heavy-duty cutting of hard materials. It’s got a cabinet-like structure, a powerful motor, large blades, and a stand.

Not to mention these saws run on high electric current, with some models boasting 5 HP.

Again, they come with electric cords, rip fences, and push sticks, as well as circular Blades that are rotated by belts instead of direct power from the motor. And don’t forget the miter gauge! But be warned – you gotta be a pro to use this table saw.

Tips on Using a Table Saw

When using a table saw, safety comes first, and this must be strictly adhered to.

  • Always read the manual attached to the machine before using it.
  • All components of the table saw serve a purpose and must remain intact for precise cutting and to prevent injuries. It is not uncommon for amateurs to remove the rip fences. But, that’s pretty dangerous and can cause kickbacks and injuries.
  • Do not use the table saw on warped wood to prevent kickback. They are best suited for polished wood.
  • You gotta put on protective gear when using the table saw. They include the right padded gloves, a mask, goggles, and earplugs to protect the nose, eyes, and ears from dust and noise.
  • Always use the rip fence for making rips and the miter gauge for crosscuts. This is because the rip fence provides the support needed for making crosscuts.
  • Hey! Use the push stick instead of your hands when pushing the cut material through the Blade to avoid injuries.
  • Ensure the material you want to cut is flat on the table surface for precise cuts.

Final Thoughts

The table saw is the best saw if you are looking for versatile cuts with precision and accuracy. It can be portable or stationary and is mostly powered by electricity.

These saws have powerful motors and toothed blades and are quite dangerous. According to statistics, table saws cause about 40,000 injuries per year in the US, and about 4000 of them lead to amputation.

So don’t get overconfident and use the utmost caution must be taken when using these saws.

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