The Table Saw – Heart of Any Fine Woodworking Shop

There are many things you will want to consider before purchasing the best table saw for your shop. There are three main types of table saws: (1) the lightweight, inexpensive and portable contractor’s saw, (2) the cabinet saw, so-named because it has an enclosed cabinet as opposed to open base and (3) the new breed of so-called “Hybrid” table saws which fill the price gap between contractor’s saws and cabinet saws. This discussion will be only concern cabinet saws because, in my experience, nothing less will do for a shop that produces fine woodworking. Smaller saws lack both the accuracy and capacity of cabinet saws.

The table saw is the heart of your shop. You will use it more than any other machine and its accuracy and capacity will determine the quality and size of what you will be able to produce. This is akin to picking someone to marry: Ideally, it’s for life and you will have to live with your decision for a long time to come. Therefore, rushing into purchasing the first table saw you see, without doing your homework, is like a quickie Las Vegas marriage, always a gamble.Dewalt table saw

There are many things you should consider before you should consider before investing your hard-earned dollars in any particular machine. As I have said again and again, any woodworking machine you buy should be just slightly more capable than what you will demand of it now or what you imagine you would likely to demand of it in the future. While price is important, affordability should not be the sole determining factor in your purchasing decision. If you can’t afford the saw you need, wait until you can. Don’t saddle yourself with a table saw that may drive you crazy every day of your life. Take a few moments to consider what you really need and which machine will best fill the bill for you.

I’d like to take a minute to talk about the features that you should be looking for and what these features will mean to you after you unpack and set up your new table saw. These features include: motor horsepower, blade size, trunnion construction, tabletop flatness, tabletop size, arbor size and arbor bearings, sawdust extraction, ease of operation including raising, lowering and tilting the blade, tilt of the blade (left or right), the necessity of a magnetic switch and the importance of its location, ease of access to the interior of the cabinet, accuracy and ease of operation of the fence, the amount of rip space to the right and the left of the blade, safety features and table saw mobility around the shop. In addition to the table saw itself, you may want to construct an outfeed table around the back of the saw, if space permits. We’ll talk about that, as well.


Motor horsepower and blade size are closely related. The larger the blade, the more horsepower you will need to cut, at full blade height, through a piece of wood. Too much power is never a problem. Too little power can cause the saw to bind, slow down and even stop in the middle of a cut. This is not good, nor is it safe.

The smallest motor I would even consider for a 10-inch saw would be 3 horsepower. For a 12″ to 14″ saw it would be 5HP and for a 14″ to 16″ saw, I’d like 7.5 HP. You will also need to consider if the saw motor is single or three phase. Three phase motors use electricity a bit more efficiently. If you don’t have three phase power at your location, however, you will either have to buy single phase or purchase and install a phase converter large enough for your saw motor. Most saw motors use 230 or 460 VAC power, so make sure you have available in your shop the voltage your saw will require. Three phase motors can run on 208 to 220 volts or higher, depending on the motor.


The trunnion is the mechanism inside the cabinet which is responsible for both raising and lowering the blade and tilting the blade for bevel cuts. It is controlled from the outside of the saw by two separate wheels or cranks: one for raising and lowering the blade (usually found on the front of the cabinet) and the other for tilting the blade (either left or right, depending on the saw) which is usually, but not always, located on the side of the cabinet.

The trunnion determines the accuracy of your cuts so you want to be sure that it is well built and accurately machined. The saw blade must always be exactly where you need it to be. Furthermore, the trunnion must be easy to operate. It should not require Superman to raise or tilt the blade. As time goes on, you may find that it is harder to turn the wheels or cranks that operate the trunnion. This is usually because of sawdust contamination of the gears and/or lack of lubrication. Some better saws have ways of eliminating sawdust from the cabinet into an external dust port before it can get into the gears. Other saws come with self-cleaning gear teeth.


One table saw manufacturer I know believes in “aging” its cast iron machine table tops before milling them flat. The tops are cast and then left outside in a “bone yard” to bend, bow, warp and twist in the sun and rain for a year or so. Then, they are brought inside where all the rust is removed and the table top is ground absolutely flat and polished to sheen. The theory is that the metal needs to settle into a place where all post-casting movement has ceased and that the table should not be ground flat before this is done. Otherwise, the table may move out of absolute flatness after it is part of your new table saw and that it not at all desirable. Why? Because the flatness of your table saw top will determine the accuracy of your cuts. Be sure to check your new table saw for table flatness with a straightedge on or before delivery and afterwards from time to time. Lay the rule across the table top at all angles and check for daylight under the rule or rocking of the straightedge on the table top.

The size of the cast iron table saw top is also important: the larger the better. When you are sawing large objects, you want as much flat table surface as you need to support the work piece flat to the blade for accuracy. Larger table size is usually accomplished by attaching cast-iron table wings to the edge of the main table. These wings must be as flat as the table and the seam they create must be aligned so that the top of the wing is flush to the table saw table along its entire length.


The saw blade is mounted on an arbor with an arbor nut and the arbor is turned by the motor usually via pulleys and 1 to 3 V-belts. The arbor is mounted into the trunnion inside two or more arbor bearings. These should be sealed from dust for obvious reasons. The size of the arbor determines the size of the hole in the middle of the saw blade. This is usually 5/8″ for a 10″ blade and 1″ or larger for blades larger than that. The strength and alignment of the arbor and the bearings which support it determine the accuracy and smoothness of the table saw. Vibration and noise should be kept to a minimum and the saw blade should be straight in the table from front to back at all elevations and bevel angles.


Most table saw trunnions are made to tilt either left or right (but not both) to a maximum of 45 degrees from vertical. If you have a choice, and you usually do, never buy a right-tilt saw for the following reason. A right-tilt saw tilts the blade towards the fence and can pinch a work piece into the fence, causing a jam or, worse, a kickback just as the cut is finishing. Further, on a right-tilt saw, the blade is tilting towards the fence and could cut into and ruin it if the fence were to be inadvertently moved too close to the spinning blade. A left-tilt saw tilts away from the fence and instead of pinching the work piece, allows it to rise vertically slightly, if need be.


There is a rule that says, “Never stand directly behind a horse or a table saw.” Sooner or later every table saw operator will do something stupid that causes a kickback. If the operator makes it a practice to avoid standing where the kickback will occur behind the blade, he or she will probably avoid the severe injury that can be inflicted by a flying piece of wood striking the face, neck, chest or arms of the woodworker.

There are many hold-down and anti-kickback devices on the market. Some are good and some are a hazard in themselves. I had a large metal combination hold-down and anti-kickback device get caught in the saw blade, ripped off the fence to which it was clamped and flung into a plate glass door behind the saw. I heard it go whistling past my right ear. It missed me because I was standing, as always, well to the left of the saw blade.

Woodworking can be a dangerous business. Always use a push stick or similar device. Fingers are not replaceable. Never try to rip narrow strips next to the fence. Instead, cut them off of the left side of the work piece. In this case, you would stand to the right of the blade. In short, think ahead about the possible complications of what you are about to do, keep your eyes wide open (wearing goggles, of course) and keep your wits about you at all times.

Another important safety device is the magnetic switch. This device protects you after an electrical power failure. If the power fails and you have a regular switch, the saw will come back on when the power comes back on. If you were to be near the blade at the time, this could be disastrous. A magnetic switch will not allow the saw to start again until you press the button. The location of the switch is also important. It should be right out front where it can be quickly accessed by a hand, foot or knee in the event of an emergency. The off button should be wide, red in color and should extend outside of the switch box like a mushroom for fast access.


My ideal would be to never have a speck of dust reach the gears of my table saw trunnion and that all sawdust would be sucked away from the saw blade and out of the machine as soon as it was made. I would never need to clean out sawdust from inside the saw cabinet and the trunnion would always operate smoothly and easily. While I don’t expect to ever see my dream fully realized, there are saws on the market today that closely approach this level of efficiency in sawdust extraction.

Some saws shield the blade in a casing underneath the saw table and suck the dust out directly from there. Others slant the floor of the saw cabinet towards a dust collection port. Many just allow the sawdust to accumulate on the floor under the saw until you clean it out. You will always have some cleaning of the interior to do. Perhaps you won’t wait until the sawdust has totally encased the trunnion gears packing itself up to the bottom of the table top. You will need to connect the saw to a dust collector through its dust port. The suction of the dust collector should be about 350 CFM for a 10″ saw and more for a larger saw.


At least one, but preferably two or more access doors should be provided leading into the cabinet of the table saw. The one you will use most often will be for cleaning out the interior of sawdust. Another should give easy access to the motor, trunnion and belts for adjustment and repair. Many saws provide a removable access panel instead of a second door. That’s fine for occasional motor, arbor, belt and trunnion access but you will want the sawdust door to open and close easily.


The saw should come with a Biesemeyer or similar type fence included in the purchase price. This type of fence locks and aligns itself to a rectangular tube attached to the front of the saw table when you press down on a handle. Fence accuracy and ease of operation will be important every time you touch your table saw and so a cheap fence is no bargain. The fence will probably read measurements along a stick-on measuring tape on the top of the front fence rail tube. You will need to carefully adjust the fence for accuracy. Instructions of how to do this should come with the set-up instructions for the saw.

The fence must be aligned so that the front of the blade and the rear of the blade are exactly the same distance from the fence at all settings. Once you have ascertained that the blade and fence are parallel to each other, you must cut some test boards to accurately set the fence to the scale. Set the fence to exactly 2″ on the measuring scale. Rip a test board and measure it. Adjust the fence to the scale by moving the viewer’s hairline left or right. Rip more boards until you have exact accuracy. The viewer through which you see the tape should be strong in magnification.


Your new saw must have a rip capacity equal or wider than the widest thing you will ever want to rip. Usually, a cabinet saw will have a rip capacity of around 30 inches or 50 inches. A large rip capacity to the right of the blade will require an extension table to support work wider than the cast iron table. Many times, this extension table is included with the saw or, alternatively, you can easily build you own. The fence must have a tube or rail long enough to achieve the maximum with you want to rip.

If you consider that a sheet of plywood measures 48″ in width, I would think that you might want to opt for a 50-inch rip as opposed to the slightly less expensive 30″ rip capacity. You might want to rip off only one inch from that sheet of plywood and, while doing that, you will want the plywood to be fully supported. You might want to crosscut a sheet of plywood into two 48″ pieces. You also should consider the rip space to the left of the blade: The wider, the better. Sometimes, you might want to accomplish tasks that require the fence to be put over to the left side of the blade.


Some shops are small enough to require that all machines be able to roll around on the floor. The theory is that you pull out only the machine you are using at the time. In planning your shop, you should decide if your space requirements will mean that everything has to roll, some machines but not others have to roll or all machines can remain in their own positions permanently. Many cabinet saws offer the optional extra of some sort of mobility device. In the case of a table saw, you don’t want it rolling around while you are pushing lumber through it and so the wheels must retract enabling the saw to rest on its cabinet base on the floor.

Some of the nicer table saws have the caster wheels permanently mounted inside the cabinet so they are never seen and are never in the way. A foot pedal controls raising the saw up into the mobility position and then lowering it back down onto the floor. If your table saw does not have this feature, after-market mobility bases can be purchased as needed.


The ideal solution is to have enough shop space so that you will never have to move your saw around at all. In this situation, you can construct an outfeed table to support large work pieces and long lumber as they leave the back edge of the table saw table. Ideally, depending on space available, you should build this outfeed table so that it extends eight feet or more in back of the blade. You can use the space underneath the table for lumber storage and/or drawer space. The table can also serve as a work bench for the construction of large cabinets and tables. You can use it for pipe clamp glue-ups and spray painting layout, as well.

Needless to say, the table must be exactly the same height as the top of the table saw table and you may need to extend the slots for the miter gauge into the beginning of the top of the outfeed table. If your saw extension table extends 50 inches or so to the right of the blade, so should your outfeed table and it should extend along the entire back edge of the table saw to the left of the blade. The saw should ideally be oriented so that you can bring long lumber through the shop door and directly onto the saw table without having to turn a corner.

If you keep what you have read here in mind, you should be able to find a machine that is perfect for your needs. Remember, cheap price guarantees neither satisfaction nor success.

Understanding Reverse Osmosis

Reverse osmosis water filter systems were used originally in desalination plants. They did a decent job there. Reverse osmosis treatment was also used in the printing industry. They worked well in that arena, as well. But, when reverse osmosis treatment reached the drinking water platform, there were several problems. In the last 30 years, the popularity of reverse osmosis water filter systems has reduced considerably. Reverse osmosis treatment alone is simply not that good, especially, when you compare it to other purification systems on the market, today.

The truth is that reverse osmosis water filter systems do what they are supposed to do. They remove minerals. So, the water is good for printing and film making. It’s just not good for people. People need trace minerals in their drinking water. It’s better for their health and the water taste fresher. No where on the planet will you find naturally occurring de-mineralized water. In fact, in areas where people are the healthiest, the water has naturally balanced trace minerals that include potassium, calcium, sodium and others. One thing that reverse osmosis treatment does not do, is remove chlorine. Chlorine removal is the reason that most of us need drinking water filters in the first place. You see, reverse osmosis water filter systems cannot block anything that is lighter than water. A lot of pesticides are lighter than water and thus are left behind by reverse osmosis treatment. So, if we use the system at home for drinking water, we end up with unhealthy de-mineralized water that is contaminated with chlorine and pesticides. Yuck!

Waste water is another problem with reverse osmosis water filter systems. In today’s world, when water is in short supply, reverse osmosis treatment wastes about 4 gallons for every one that is cleaned. A dismal record for sure, especially in these times. From an environmental and global stand-point, we simply cannot afford to use reverse osmosis water filter systems. Then there is another disadvantage. When you have a demand for filtered water, you cannot count on reverse osmosis treatment. It takes approximately 3 to 4 hours to clean a gallon of water. For most of us, time is another thing that is in short supply these days.

When reverse osmosis water filter systems were first converted to home use, they became an instant hit, as nobody knew about the drawbacks. Reverse osmosis treatment was advertised as the one sure way to purer drinking water. But slowly as people learn the truth, reverse osmosis water filter systems are losing their appeal. Reverse osmosis treatment is like having a dinosaur navigate the freeways. Reverse osmosis water filter systems use old technology. Manufacturers are trying to take advantage of our need for cleaner water, by touting the products as the most “technologically advanced”. Don’t buy in to the hype. There are many great water purifiers on the market today. But, let’s leave reverse osmosis water filter systems in the past, where they belong.

Things To Know About Reverse Osmosis

Reverse osmosis is a method of water filtration or purification whereby molecules of water are forced under pressure through a membrane of plastic. Most of the impurities etc. are filtered out and directed to the drain and the filtered water is sent to a holding tank. The process of reverse osmosis can certainly do a pretty decent job of getting rid of most water impurities and contaminants that serve to plague most household water supplies. Reverse osmosis water systems will definitely be a major contributor to improving your health by removing bacteria and pyrogens etc. that will sadly be all too present in most sources of unfiltered water. A fact of life is that most of the contagious diseases that affect people are carried by water and are passed on through impure water supplies. So the purification process that occurs to water via the reverse osmosis process will certainly contribute to an improvement in health.

You will find that it is a pretty simple process to install most home reverse osmosis water systems. If you have even basic diy skills you should be able to handle it no problem. You should expect a properly-installed system to remove up to 99% of the common water impurities. This will make sure that the water coming from your taps is perfectly safe to drink. It is certainly a fact that you can indeed serve to improve your health through reverse osmosis. You may very well see a noticeable health improvement in your whole household.

Most of the available different types of water filter systems are not as effective at removing impurities from water as a reverse osmosis water filter. For this reason this type of water filtration system should be seriously considered as a contender. How precisely will your health show improvement if you install a reverse osmosis system? It can go a long way towards reducing the risk of diseases such as cancer that can be attributed to coming into contact with contaminated water. Drinking polluted water has also been linked to causing birth defects and learning problems in children. You can reduce the risk of the above by installing a home reverse osmosis system. This will enable you to always have a good supply of clean and pure drinking water on a daily basis.

Another way in which health through reverse osmosis is improved is due to the submicron filtration of water carried out that reduces the amount of cysts, pesticides, volatile organic chemicals, trihalomethanes, asbestos and lead that are sadly not uncommon in the average unfiltered water supply. The goal of improving the health through reverse osmosis of your family is a very laudable one, so you really should check out the different makes and model of unit that are on the market – if you do, you’ll probably find that for all their benefits there are better options on the market than reverse osmosis water filters.

Information Regarding Reverse Osmosis

The amount of people that still purchase bottled water for home use never ceases to amaze me. Come on people, it’s time to get educated here. You are wasting time and energy, landfill space, and yes, money…Lots of it.  Have you ever heard of reverse osmosis? Did you know that most bottled water manufacturers are using reverse osmosis as a means of purifying the bottled water you are drinking? It’s a fact that many people are completely unaware of. Soon, everyone will know the benefits of reverse osmosis. Reverse Osmosis equipment has only been manufactured for the household consumer for just a few years. Until recently, it was used primarily by major corporations and the U.S. Government for purifying non-potable water supplies throughout the world. It was, and still is, used on large military and commercial ships for purifying seawater, making it suitable for human consumption.

Reverse Osmosis (RO) is often described as filtration, but it is much more complex than that. People sometimes explain it as a filter because it is much easier to visualize using those terms. For instance, the osmosis phenomenon is how our blood feeds each cell in our bodies. As our blood is carried into the smallest of capillaries in our bodies, nutrients actually pass through the cells’ wall to sustain its’ life. For example, if you take a jar of water and place a semi-permeable membrane in it, which by its’ construction mimics a cell wall, then divide the jar into two sections and place water on both sides of the membrane to an equal level, nothing happens. But, if  you place salt, (or other such dissolved substance), into one side of the jar, you will soon notice that the water level in the salty side begins to rise higher as the unsalted side lowers. This is the natural osmotic pressure at work. The two solutions will continue to try to reach the same level of salt or equilibrium on each side of the membrane by the unsalted water passing through the membrane to dilute the salty water. This will continue until the “head” pressure of the salt water overcomes the “osmotic” pressure created by the differences in the two solutions.

Many years ago, researchers discovered a means to reverse or exploit this natural osmotic process and use it to purify salty ocean water. They found that if they took that same semi-permeable membrane and fed salty water into it with a sufficient amount of pressure on one side of the membrane, to overcome the natural osmotic pressure of the other side, they could actually “manufacture” clean water on the side of the membrane that has no pressure applied to it! Depending on a membranes’ design, and the material it is made from, the amount of TDS, (salt or total dissolved solids), reduction will range from 80 to over 99 per cent. Different minerals have different rejection rates, for instance, the removal rate for a typical TFC (Thin Film Composite) membrane is 99.5% for Barium and Radium 226/228; but only 85.9% for Fluoride and 94.0% for Mercury. Contamination removal rates are also dependent on proper feed-water pressures.

Is it Reverse Osmosis Water Safe To Drink? Reverse osmosis water is perfectly safe to drink.  There is also a scientific explanation as to why this type of purified water is actually better for you than water that contains high mineral (TDS) content. Water with a high TDS count of over 50 ppm, actually becomes electrically charged and can conduct very small amounts of electric current. High TDS water, under the right circumstances, can actually cause a small electric light bulb to become illuminated!  Water with high TDS is typically a solution that is lacking in hydrogen molecules. This type of water often causes de-hydration on the cellular level. Reverse Osmosis water with low TDS on the other hand, has a much lower ability to conduct electrical charges.  Typically, Reverse Osmosis water is slightly acidic and loaded with positively charged hydrogen (H+) molecules.  This type of water has been scientifically proven to provide superior hydration at the cellular level.