Another indication of how hard a table saw is working is monitoring the amperage (AMP) draw under loading conditions. We measured the amp draw for each saw using all three materials again at the same time we were recording RPMs. The first graph below shows the amp draw for each saw cutting plywood compared to the no-load amp draw. The white bar on the left indicates the no load amps and the colored bar on the right shows the maximum amp draw during the cut.
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One important aspect to consider when buying a new table saw or looking for a new blade is axis adjustment. Being able to adjust the vertical height of the blade allows you to control the depth of the cut, it’s also useful when you don’t need to cut all the way through the wood, especially useful with thick pieces of wood. To help making bevel cuts and joints you can adjust the blade to certain angles that you require.
It’s also a great table saw in its own right. This one has a wide, cast-aluminum worktable, and an out-feed extension thrown in as well. It has a 4 HP motor which cranks out lots of power, and it’s balanced by a soft start and automatic speed control like on the Bosch in our Top Three. It has wide rip and bevel capacities, plenty of alignment adjustments, and a robust build. Plus, it comes with a gravity-assist wheeled stand thrown in as well.
Look for a blade guard and splitter assembly. The guard will keep your fingers and sleeves away from the blade, while the splitter will keep your wood from re-binding together and jamming the blade, or causing kickback. Kickback is one of the biggest hazards of using a table saw, aside from coming in contact with the blade. Make sure you have either a splitter assembly or a riving knife on any cabinet saw you use.
While DeWALT’s DW744X is the only model here without wheels, the saw is otherwise well appointed. It’s got a unique rip fence design: instead of sliding along front and back rails, the fence is fixed to them. To change rip fence settings, you extend the rails out on rack-and-pinion gears. The design keeps the fence parallel to the blade/miter slots and prevents it from deflecting if pushed laterally. A red hairline cursor makes fence settings easy to read, and it passed my ripping tests with flying colors.
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Cutting a board to length by using the fence as a guide is one of the most dangerous yet very common techniques. The fact that it’s quite common among DIY-ers doesn’t make it safe. In fact, it’s extremely dangerous and can lead to fatal consequences. There is a high risk of kickback if you’re using this particular technique. Needless to say, the forces involved are immense, and you’ll end up with a piece of wood in your face. One could say – “But, I’m wearing safety goggles!” Even though it may be true, goggles won’t do much against a dense piece of wood flying straight to your face a few hundred miles per hour.
Portable table saws, or “jobsite” models, as they’re often called, are your best bet for working with larger stock or longer cuts on the go. These units provide the cutting width and depth of a big table saw in a compact, portable package that’s easy to throw in the back of the pickup after a day’s work. They’re ideal for pros working on smaller jobs, handymen who need a basic table saw that won’t break the bank, or home DIYers looking for a tool that’s easy to pack away during the workweek.
We made a few test cuts with ¾-inch plywood just to get a feel of the motors we were working with. It became clear pretty quickly that not all 15 amp motors are equal. Once we knew what to expect, we moved to pressure treated 2x pine material in 7-1/2 foot lengths. Why 7-1/2? Our test material started at 15 feet and it seemed silly to have some at 8 feet and others at 6.