Table saw binding prevents you from getting the quality cut that you want for your wood. In this article, you’ll understand how to prevent a table saw from binding and avoid its dangerous effects.
To prevent your table saw from binding, you have to check two important things. First, make sure your blade is not missing any teeth. a saw missing even one tooth can cause binding. Second, check the parallelism of your blade. A point millimeter gap can also cause wood binding. So, it’s a must always verify that you have a straight and equal alignment.
A Table saw is a fundamental and secure tool in woodworking. However, there are rules and measures to follow in using a table saw like any other power tool.
Why Table Saws Bind?
As mentioned, there are two essential things on why Table Saws bind. It is either because of the poor blade quality, or misalignment of the blade against the fence causing binding to the material. We will divide this article into two parts, to further discuss the two main reasons why table saws bind and how to prevent it.
1. TABLE SAWS BIND BECAUSE OF POOR QUALITY OF THE BLADE
It’s always better to make sure that you have a high-quality blade. Always check that it has a complete set of teeth because missing one tooth can cause binding or other severe safety issues like kickbacks.
Why Should You Get a Good Quality Blade?
Getting a good quality blade means it has a complete set of teeth with the right size in excellent condition. Remember to get the same model suitable for your table saw as well. Generally, the teeth should be slightly wider or a little bit wider at an angle than the blade to avoid binding.
For example, a crosscut blade is always the best option for cutting plywood. In spotting the right quality blade at a glance, the best kind doesn’t conserve on carbide or steel. More often, high-grade irons have thin and stamped steel plates. Avoid expansion slots that have a blunt end in open holds because they are usually from old technology, which is noisier and more dangerous to use.
Factors to Consider in Choosing the Right Blade
- Number of Teeth. It determines the cutting action. As a rule of thumb, more teeth means faster and smoother cutting work. Fewer teeth cut quick but may result in tear-out.
- Tooth Configuration is the shape of the teeth. Some common types of tooth configuration include Flat Top (FT) which is optimized for ripping and Alternate Top Bevel (ATB) which is suitable for crosscutting. To choose which one suits the job, consider the type of cut and the material.
- Tooth Angle. It is the angle at the centerline of the blade. Positive Hook Angle is where the teeth lean forward to a specific degree, while Negative Hook Angle means the teeth are on opposite the direction of blade rotation. A higher positive angle provides more aggressiveness.
- Gullet. It is the space between each tooth on the blade. As a general rule, gullet with more space has a bigger chip of material cut.
What are the Different Blade Types?
The two basic types of blade for a table saw are Rip and Crosscut Blades.
Rip Blades have fewer teeth and larger gullers. It means that it has more room to remove shavings and dust. They are ideal for cutting faster, but be aware that the result may be a bit rougher. Rip Blades have three to five teeth.
Crosscut Blades produce more delicate cuts. It’s because they have less gullet, and more teeth to cut through wood. It may cut slower than Rip Blades, but the result is smoother. Crosscut Blades have a range of five to seven teeth.
How High Should I set up my Table Saw Blade?
If there are too many teeth touching the surface of the wood, it can be a risk for a kickback because the material could twist and bend the saw blade. So, the ideal blade height should be wherein two to four teeth contact the workpiece at the same time during a cut.
How To Change A Table Saw Blade?
Changing a table saw blade is not complicated. You will only need simple tools to replace or install a new one. Here are some guidelines on how to change a table saw it correctly and to avoid any binding.
It depends on the wood, the tooth spacing, and your blade. More often, saw blades have an optimal height range of tooth contact when cutting different materials. Usually, there should be at least two teeth contacting the workpiece at all times.
- Step 1: Turn the Power Off
Turn the power off on your table saw. Unplug it from the socket to completely disconnect the energy from the saw. Then, give the saw a moment to drain all the power from the machine.
- Step 2: Start Removing the Blade Plate
Find the blade plate on your table saw. For most modern table saws, it is usually the metal plate located on the top surface of the table saw. Blade plates are in a secure spot with at least two screws. So, loosen them to remove the plate, and set it out of your way for the meantime.
- Step 3: Remove Your Current Blade
First, you have to move your current installed blade and put it in the highest position. You will see the arbor nut and washer. They are like bigger and thicker screws that secure the blade in place. So, you’ll need two wrenches to loosen them. Once unsecured, set the old one aside to avoid unwanted injuries.
- Step 4: Install Your New Blade
Insert the new blade correctly, and make sure that the teeth of the blade face towards you. Place back washer and nut in place and secure them using the same method that you did to loosen them. If you need to hold the blade, use a piece of small wood and never use your hand.
- Step 5: Reconnect the Power
After making sure that you’ve secured everything, plug the saw back and try it. Determine if the blade is correctly in place and runs properly. It is essential to always check its quality and replace them immediately whenever needed.
2. TABLE SAWS BIND BECAUSE OF IMPROPER PARALLELISM
Improper parallelism is the second main reason that leads to binding, which may result in kickbacks. Remember, even a point millimeter gap between your fence slot and the blade can cause other severe misalignment issues. So it’s crucial to measure your fence slot and the blade equally.
How to Align Your Wood Correctly on the Table Saw?
It’s about making sure that there’s no difference in the measurement between the fence slot and the blade.
There are many ways of measuring the distance between them, but it’s all about making sure that the fence slot and the blade are equally parallel to one another.
What is Table Saw Kickback?
According to the Journal of Trauma, there’s an approximate of 31,400 people admitted to the Emergency Room in 2016 because of a table saw related injuries. Table saws are useful and easy to use. However, with one mistake, it can be hazardous and cause injuries.
Kickback is when the wood suddenly propels back towards the woodworker because the power tool is at a high rate of speed. It can also be because the wood is moving fast that it has no time to adjust. Be careful as the wood can hit your head, chest, or torso. The wood can move too quickly, and your hand could get pulled across the saw blade.
A kickback happens because the wood loses the pressure as it drifts away from the fence due to misalignment. The wood gets caught on the backside of the saw, and before you know it, it’s getting back towards you in a quick motion.
How to Avoid Kickbacks?
Kickbacks are dangerous, and they can ruin any part of your body or cut your fingers. To minimize the risk of kickbacks, you should follow some of these inexpensive guidelines to avoid such painful injury.
- Use a Riving Knife. A Riving Knife looks like a thin bit of metal and resembles a small surfboard fin. It helps in locking the wood into place and prevents the material from drifting away.
- Use a Splitter. A splitter is a good alternative for a Riving Knife. It also adds a zero-clearance throat plate, with the same purpose of keeping the wood from drifting into the blade.
- Use a Push Stick. A push stick is always better in pushing the wood through the blade instead of your hands. It is an important safety measure to consider to avoid accidentally cutting of your fingers.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
What Cuts Can You Make with a Table Saw?
Table saws are capable of cutting different cut styles like a rip cut, a crosscut, beveled cuts, rabbet, miter cut, and a dado cut. However, take note that some cuts like dado and rabbet require unique blades for a clean cut.
What Should be the Side of the Fence on a Table Saw?
Generally, the fence should face the side of the blade. If you’re right-handed, the fence should be on the right side of the blade, then vice versa. It will help you choose which hand has a dominant control, and which side is more comfortable for you.
What are the Essential Table Saw Safety Types of Equipment?
Some of the essential equipment includes the use of push sticks, a blade guard, safety glasses. Never wear gloves, or any long sleeves as it may get tangled with the blade. Most of all, always respect the power of your table saw.
If you haven’t got a table saw yet, click here for a complete guide for purchasing your first table saw.
The most important thing to prevent binding when using a table saw is to check the quality of your blade and the proper alignment. Get the right type of blade for your wood, with excellent quality. Install it correctly and tightly. Then, make sure that you have successfully checked the parallelism between your fence slot.
If you have other problems such as smoke coming out of your table saw, click here and learn how to fix it.