Table saws are one of the most versatile tools in a woodworker’s arsenal.
But how deep can they cut? And what is the difference between rip cuts and crosscuts? We’re here to answer all your questions about table saws, so read on!
You’ll be able to make better buying decisions when you know more about these machines.
Table saw cutting depth
The depth of a cut determines how far the table saw blade will travel through the piece being worked on. Table saw blades are adjustable, which means you can go from a fraction of an inch all the way to 3.5 inches with a 10-inch blade and 4 inches with a 12-inch blade.
|Blade diameter||Cutting Depth|
|5 1/2″||1 1/2″|
|7 1/4″||2 1/2″|
The blade on table saws can be moved up or down depending on how deep you actually want to cut. Just because you can cut 3.5 inches does not mean you have to cut that far every time!
Why is the blade size and cutting depth different?
There may be a little bit of confusion as to why a 10 inch blade can only cut 3.5 inches.
If you were to just go by the numbers, a 10 inch blade should be able to cut 10 inches!
However, since the 10 inch measurement is that of a circle, the only usable cutting area is the radius of the circle.
So then you’d assume it could cut 5 inches, but that’s before factoring in the axle below the arbor that turns the blade itself. After you factor in the size of the pivot, you’re left with around 3.5 inches.
What kind of cuts can you make with a table saw?
Table saws are incredibly versatile tools in any woodworking shop. They can make crosscuts, rip cuts, bevels and miter cuts.
Table saws can even cut grooves or rabbets into a piece of wood! With the right jig, you could even produce tenons using your table saw.
A rip cut is a cut that moves the wood across, or perpendicular to, the blade. In other words, you’re ripping a piece of wood down the length of it. A crosscut is a type of cut where you position your work so that it cuts from top to bottom.
In general terms, a crosscut has more splintering of the wood. A rip-cut leaves less splintering, but with the possibility of your work piece not being exactly straight.
Making an angled miter cut doesn’t require much extra effort. All you need to do is get your desired angle, and use it as a miter angle when positioning your jig.
How to adjust blade height on your table saw?
The blade of your saw can be adjusted. This is good because you might only need the blade to cut a little bit, not all the way through.
If you want to cut a 2-inch notch in your board that is 3.5 inches long, then you might not want to use the 10-inch blade that can cut through bigger boards.
But by adjusting the height of your saw blade, it will make this much easier! First find where the crank (it looks like a hand) is at on one side of your table saw and turn it one way or another until you see how high or low it’s coming out when you push down on it.
That is your max height. And now you can try lowering it down as much as possible, and then raise the blade exactly where you need it to be to cut a 2 inch notch in your board!
Good table saw blades for rip cuts
Good table saw blades can cut a board in a straight line. The blade height is important because it determines how high the blade cuts the wood. You don’t want to raise the blade higher than neccessary, or you will have a lot of splinters and kickback from the wood!
To make the best of your table saw, you’ll need to adjust the table saw a little by changing the blade or the blade height.
General purpose blade
Most table saws will come with a 10-inch blade, which is fine for starters, but a general-purpose blade is a good option to consider if you’re just going to use it for regular cuts and nothing too complex.
General purpose blades have just the right amount of teeth(40-50) to do rip cuts and crosscuts on most types of wood.
By switching up between a 10-inch and a general purpose blade, you’ll be well-equipped for most woodworking projects.
8-inch dado blade
Remember what we said above about using too high of a blade and getting splinters and kickback?
If you want to make really small cuts with your table saw, you’ll want to pick up an 8 inch blade.
8 inch blades cut shallower than 10 inch blades, but since it spins faster than a 10 inch blade, you’ll be able to get through tougher materials quicker.
If you use two 8 inch blades in conjuction, you’ll be able to make grooves with ease, which make for very clean notching and fastening.
By researching and understanding the different types of cuts that can be made with a table saw, you will know what blade to use in your particular situation.
Knowing all the basics about table saws like how they work and which blades are best for each type of cut is essential when it comes time to make purchase decisions!