How to Use a Table Saw

Table saws are very versatile and powerful woodworking tool for making precise cuts of various shapes, sizes and profiles. Though it has many uses, the typical use of a table saw is to cut stock materials into smaller pieces so that they can be used for construction or other purposes.

how to use a table saw

While cutting with the blade guard in place (which is how most table saws are used), the stock material is held in place by a push stick, featherboard (or hold down) and miter gauge. The push stick keeps the operator’s hand away from the blade so that cuts can be made safely.

You can also check out our full breakdown of the Best Table Saw UK here.

Step by Step Guide: How to use table saw

cutting material

Here are the steps how to use table saws:

Step 1: Set Up the Table Saw

Locate your table saw, open and level the stand, locate materials to be used as outfeed support or push sticks (if needed).

Ensure that there is no residual material left from the last cut in the throat of the blade and on top of the blade itself.

Ensure that the rip fence is parallel to the blade and use a combination square or tape measure (something that will not deflect) to check how square you have set your rip fence.

Disengage the power switch, lock it out if need be, remove the blade guard and anti-kickback pawls from over the blade.

Adjust the miter gauge so that its outer edge is about 1/8″ to 1/4″ away from the opposing side of the saw blade (i.e., if left side, move it towards right and vice versa).

Always remember to wear safety glasses.

blade height adjustment wheel


Start by measuring the ruler’s distance from the blade and lock it in place with a tape measure. Use a precision measure to determine how deeply you want your cut to be on one side of the fence. Mark this location with a pencil, then use that line as your guide when positioning the fence for repeated cuts (this also helps create faster, more uniform cuts).


Lay the rip fence parallel to the table saw blade, then raise and lock the blade guard. Before turning on the saw, place your material against it with pressure towards you and make sure it isn’t touching anything but material itself. Only then touch the start button if kickback is an unlikely action based on what you just laid down (as in, how well you lined up the fence).


When making cuts on your table saw, slowly release the rope’s edge as you guide it. Make sure that the sheet is kept flat on the table with tightly attached to the fence. Guide material first with one hand and then switch back to fingers as cut approaches end. If sheet extends beyond cutter base, use helper piece or table extension when cutting for added support to prevent sheet from tipping over the fence and binding in blade.


When making a large rip, you should use the pusher to guide the material. If needed, your push stick can also be used for this task. You should make sure that your fingers do not come near the blade when using either of these tools. With that being said, it is important not to risk letting your fingers move past the blade because it can lead to an unexpected injury.


Finally, remember that the fence is only as long as it needs to be. The goal here is to minimize how many adjustments you need between cuts. You should always make sure that the fence and blade are still aligned after you have adjusted it. A measure of how well this task has been completed can be judged by how consistent your cuts have been.

Switching out table saw blades and inserts

blade arbor

There are three types of blades and three different kinds of inserts. I’ll explain the differences in purpose, as well as how to change them. The standard type insert is the kind that is normal with a table saw and can be used for cross sectioning if there is enough waste material so that it does not get caught in the gap and jam up. The last insert is a wide gap model which allows trenching cuts just with the dado blade. To use the wobble blade, insert an inward-facing blade relative to the table surface.

Blade Height Setting

For blade height setting, in most woodworking tasks, the blade should be slightly higher than the thickness of what you are cutting. For safety reasons, it is better to set the blade above your headstock through a range of heights. If you have to use this method for safety, do so cautiously.

Miter Gauge

The miter gauge is a more difficult tool to get how to use because it has a number of uses. The way I set it and how I recommend is with the beveled edge facing up so that you can slide your material into, then cut against the blade without slipping. If you do not have a miter gauge, you can make one with a steel rod and some pieces of scrap wood (as described in the how to build a miter gauge section).

What is Kickback?

step by step instructions

Kickback occurs when the blade grabs your material and pushes it up at you. There are multiple common causes for kickback, which can be avoided with good safety habits. If your fingers or hands should ever get near the moving parts of a table saw, immediately turn off the power switch and unplug it — even if you don’t see an injury.

Extensions to Work Table

When you cut a large piece of ply, it might bow or twist when it doesn’t have fully supportive surface underneath. Use rollers to stabilize a sheet while passing through the table saw. Being portable means they can be moved easily any time and in any position. There are also portable saws but that is for another guide.

Positioning Blade Guards

accurate and precise cuts

To create a guarded space and sensible downward angle for your hands, you should position the blade guard so that it extends further than the highest part of whatever material will go underneath. Always remember that if something is already positioned, then there can be no cutting in this place in its present state. When necessary, adjust or remove the guard as needed. If it is removed, tape or put a reminder to remove guard before using.

Runner Table Extension

The runner table is the extension that runs parallel to your saw blade. It may be used for certain cuts and different situations depending on how skilled you are with benefits and how much time you have. The function of this design feature is allow boards to run against the fence smoothly.


miter gauge handle

Make the necessary adjustments to your equipment for safety and it will be easy to use a table saw. When you are not using it, remember to unplug the power cord. This will prevent accidents from occurring and damaging your unit.

By following this advice in how to use a table saw, you can save valuable time and money with future projects. Make sure to follow these instructions for how to use a table saw correctly so that they are easy

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *