If you are a new woodworker, you can use this short guide as an introduction to the table saw. As an overview, we are going to be going through the main components of the table saw first-time user introduction and some general safety tips. So, let’s get started.

Using A Table Saw For The First Time

First, you will need to understand that there are two different table saws categories. There is a portable table saw and a non-portable table saw. The portable ones are also known as tabletop models.

These are small and easy to carry around at the same time, powerful enough to do most woodcutting jobs. The second type is better known as the cabinet saw. This is the most powerful table saw out of the two.

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Primary Use

The primary use of a table saw is to cut material. You can make crosscuts, bevels, rip cuts, etc. You can also make other specialty cuts.

When you are crosscutting a wood board, you are cutting the length. And when you are making a rip cut, you are cutting the width of the board.


On a table saw, you have the main table, the throat plate for accessing the blade and the motor, an adjustable rip fence with lock, miter gauge slot and a miter gauge for making crosscuts, a base for the saw so that it can sit at a proper working height and lastly the blade height and bevel adjustment.

You can adjust the blade height as well as tilt it. You can also see blade and dust guards, riving knives, an extension table as well as a closed base for better dust collection. Almost forgot the motor which powers the saw.


It’s important that you learn how to install a blade on a table saw properly. The next important thing is to set the proper blade height. The main reason is for safety. Now, it’s equally important to use the blade guards while you are cutting.

Safety Tips

On to our last and most important topic which is preventing kickback. Kickback is for those who don’t know, is when the material that you are cutting gets pinched, wedged, or twisted between the blade and the fence and turns into a high-speed missile catapulting itself back towards you. Ouch!

I know that sounds scary, and it should be because that’s how most people get injured while using a table saw. Here are some short tips to prevent kickbacks.

  • As you are pushing the material through the blade, make sure to hold it tight to the fence and tight to the table at all times.
  • Get into the habit of not letting the offcuts get between the blade and the fence.
  • No matter what material you are cutting, make sure the offcuts are on the left side of the blade and away from the fence.
  • Always support your workpiece on the outfeed side of the table, especially if you are cutting long materials. This also prevents the workpiece from falling off the backside of the table uncontrollably.
  • Last and most importantly, use a riving knife or a splitter. The riving knife is a great way to keep the material from binding on the blade as you are making the cut. Not all saws have this, and some of them only have a splitter.

Final Thoughts 

Regardless of the type of saw you are planning on using, as long as you use the safety tips mentioned here, you will be able to use a table saw safely.

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John Mandich
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