Solutions to Common Table Saw Problems

Use this expert advice to make cutting with a table saw a bit easier.

Cut Thin Strips

make zero clearance throat plate from wood

A zero clearance throat plate can help make cutting thin strips of wood easier.

Problem: When cutting thin strips of wood on a table saw, they often fall into the extra space in the throat plate around the table. This can cause kickback, which can be dangerous.

Solution: Make a zero clearance throat plate from a piece of Masonite.

  • Cut the Masonite to the size of the top of the table saw.
  • Attach two cleats -- one on the front and one on the back -- so that when the cleats are attached to the Masonite, it fits just over the top of the table saw. Make sure to countersink the screws when attaching the cleats so the screw doesn't interfere with your cut.
  • Lower the blade of the table saw, then place the Masonite on the saw.
  • Finally, turn the saw on and raise the blade through the Masonite to create a zero clearance throat plate.

Rip a Dowel

glue dowel to piece of board then cut down center

Cutting a dowel is easier if it is glued to a board first.

Problem: Cutting a dowel down the center with a table saw can be very difficult since your fingers are so close to the blade.

Solution: Glue the dowel to a piece of board, then rip the dowel down the center.

Move the Fence

move fence to achieve greater angle on table saw

Moving the fence can help you achieve a greater angle on a table saw.

Problem: On occasion you may need more than a 45 degree angle on your table saw.

Solution: Move the fence to the opposite side of the blade to achieve a greater angle.

Make a Saddle

make a saddle for the fence

Making a saddle for the fence can also create a bigger angle on a table saw.

Another way to achieve a greater angle on the saw is to make a saddle for the fence, then attach an extra piece to it so you can support the board during the cut.

Tip: Use an angle finder to make sure you've obtained the proper angle. If not, adjust the angle of the blade until you're getting the angle you need.

Note: Take extra care when making these cuts. The angle of the blade can cause the board to become pinched between the blade and the fence. Also, the scrap piece can kick back.

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