You need to cut a 4×4 and you only have a 10 inch table saw. You want to make a clean cut that goes all the way through and you’re wondering: can a 10 inch table saw cut a 4 x 4?
A 10 inch table saw can cut a 4 x 4 in two passes. The size of the 10 inch blade prevents it from cutting all the way through in a single pass. If you need to cut in a single pass, you’ll need to use a 12 inch blade.
Why must you do two passes to cut a 4 x 4?
To cut a 4 x 4 board, you must make two passes by moving the blade through the material. This is because the 10 inch table saws that are commonly used in woodworking can only cut 3 1/2 inches into lumber. To compensate for this shortcoming, woodworkers make repeated cuts to create the cut depth they want.
The 10 inch blade has a 5 inch radius, but after you factor in the table saw arbor and washer, you’re only left with about 3 1/2 inches of usable length.
How to rip cut a 4 x 4 with a 10 inch table saw
Rip cuts go across the grain of the wood, so there’s a fairly short cutting distance involved.
Remember to use a riving knife if you’re going to cut all the way through!
- Set your fence or miter gauge and raise the blade just a little under 2 inches. It’s easier to do the first pass with a shallower cut and use a deeper cut for the second pass.
- Make sure your insert plate is installed to prevent wood from falling into the saw
- Measure and make a mark on the wood where you want to cut
- Lock down your fence and position the board so the outside of the line is aligned with the blade. This will ensure you don’t remove any extra material
- Power on the saw and make one pass with the wood, and turn off the saw
- Flip the 4 x 4 over and align the teeth with the cut you just made
- Make your second pass to rip the wood
How to cross cut a 4 x 4 with a 10 inch table saw
Cross cuts go perpendicular to the grain of the wood. This would be like cutting a 4 x 4 in half lengthwise.
Don’t forget your riving knife if you’re looking to cut all the way through.
- Use your fence or miter gauge and fix it in place to start the cut
- Turn the crank and raise your blade about two inches up
- Measure and mark where you want to cut
- Align the wood with the fence or miter gauge so the outside of your mark is aligned with the blade
- Power on your saw
- Use a push stick(important, as you have less width to work with here) and begin cutting
- Make your first pass, then flip the wood over and start your second pass
Other saws to cut 4 x 4s
Circular saws are incredibly versatile and can be used for nearly anything. Most circular saws won’t have a blade big enough to cut through a 4 x 4 in a single pass, but you can use the same method as with a table saw. Just remember to use a strong vice to keep the wood in place as you cut.
If your miter saw blade is big enough, you can easily use it to cut all the way through a 4 x 4. The miter saw is best used for making bevel cuts and angled cuts. In case your blade is not big enough, just do two passes.
Reciprocating saws are meant for breaking things apart. They don’t make the cleanest cuts, so while they can definitely do a number on a 4 x 4, you won’t find yourself using one.
Chainsaws can eat 4 x 4s for lunch. However, they’re also best suited for demolition more than accuracy.
Handsaws have been used for centuries and they’re how everyone used to cut all wood. However, handsaws require a lot of effort and elbow grease, and you’ll find yourself with extremely callused hands!
Bandsaws are actually best for making curved cuts, but the blade is usually quite tall. If your bandsaw has a blade that can fit a 4 x 4, it can cut it!
Saws that can’t cut 4 x 4s
Scroll saws are used for making small, decorative cuts. the blade is very thin, so while it could cut a 4 x 4, you won’t use it for crosscuts or rip cuts.
Jigsaws are also suited for curved cuts. They’re a freehand tool and the blade is not that deep, so it will not go through a 4 x 4.
Table saws are the most versatile tool in any woodworking shop, and with a little bit of creativity, they can handle almost all the cuts you ever want to make.