Table Saw Basics

SKU: C-349Duration: 23 Minutes Certificate Included

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Course Details


Training Time: 23 minutes

Compatibility: Desktop, Tablet, Phone

Based on: Industry Standards and Best Practices

Languages: English

Table saws are essential tools used to accurately cut lumber and sheet materials like plywood and particleboard. This course discusses the location and function of the major components of a typical table saw and safety guidelines to follow while working on and around a table saw. It concludes by illustrating how to adjust the blade height and blade tilt, as well as how to square the blade and set the cut width. Understanding the table saw will allow you to use the saw properly and effectively, and will help prevent you or your co-workers from being seriously injured.

At the end of this module, you will be able to:

  • Identify and describe basic table saw components
  • List general table saw safety practices
  • Describe how to install a saw blade
  • Describe saw blade adjustments
  • Describe table saw cutting parameters

The following key questions are answered in this module:

What is a table saw?
A mechanical saw used to cut wood in an accurate manner by pushing wood across a table and against a circular saw blade.

What are the components of a table saw?
A power switch, the saw blade, the blade guard, the blade-height hand-wheel, the rip fence, the splitter, the throat plate, and the miter gauge.

What are some safety guidelines for using a table saw?
Use appropriate PPE, such as safety glasses and ear protection; properly adjust blade guard and splitter; unplug the saw before maintaining the blade; avoid distractions while operating; plan before you cut; don't wear loose clothes or gloves; don't cut used lumber; don't use a dull blade.

What's the most important thing to do before inspecting, removing, or installing a blade?
Unplugging or locking out the saw so it can't be turned on

What does the splitter do?
It is a wedge-like device that keeps the already-cut portion of the board separate. This prevents kickbacks, which can harm the operator.

How does one set the width of a rip cut?
By moving the rip fence so that the distance between the side of the blade nearest the rip fence and the side of the rip fence nearest the blade is the desired cut length.

Below is a transcript of the video sample provided for this module:

The main components of a table saw are: a power switch, which is used to turn the saw on and off, circular saw blade, which cuts through boards, blade guard, which covers the part of the blade above the table. This usually transparent plastic cover is hinged to ride up and over the piece being cut and is intended to prevent incidental contact with the blade. Blade-height hand-wheel, which adjusts the blade height. It is secured with a lock knob. Blade-tilt hand-wheel, which controls the angle of the blade and is measured by the tilt scale. This hand-wheel is also secured with a lock knob. Rip fence, which is used by the operator to stabilize and guide material as it is pushed through the saw during a cut. The distance between the rip fence and the blade determines the width of the cut. The desired width is set by moving the rip fence and securing it with the lock handle. Splitter, which is a wedge-like device after the blade that prevents the board from pinching the blade and causing a kickback. Throat plate, which is a removable surface in the table that allows access to the blade. And a miter gauge, which is used for guiding material through the saw when crosscutting narrow material. It slides in either miter slot in the table. An angle scale allows material to be cut at precise angles. A lock knob secures the angle setting.

Use the additional resources and links below to learn more about this topic:

  • U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA) –
  • OSHA eTools -
  • OSHA eTools -
  • OSHA Training Publications -
  • Woodcraft –
  • Woodcraft Articles -

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