eatures to consider

A Good Table

Cast iron remains the first choice for table material; die-cast aluminum is second. Use a straightedge to check for table flatness. Table extensions are a plus because they increase your working surface and help support large workpieces.

Rip Fence and Rails

Look for a rip fence that slides smoothly, locks parallel to the blade, and adjusts easily if it goes out of square. Guide rails should be rigid and straight. A fence that locks at both ends is more rigid than one that locks at only one end.

Miter Gauge

This should slide freely in the table slots without side-to-side play. A finely calibrated scale with stops at 90r and 45* is an asset. The gauge should also have holes to screw on a wooden auxiliary fence.


Impressive power ratings on some home-shop tablesaws often misleadingly refer to "peak" HP. A more useful measurement is a motor's "rated" or "continuous" HP. Pick the most powerful motor you can afford—preferably one with built-in overload protection.

Safety Features

A large, easy-to-reach "off" switch is important. The blade guard should swing out of the way during blade changing. Because the guard must be removed for some woodworking operations, look for one that's easy to remove and reinstall.

Controls and Mechanisms

Handwheels, knobs and locking devices should be sturdy and operate easily. The blade should adjust without any play, and there should be a lock to hold the blade setting. Degree scales should be easy to read, and there should be adjustable stops at 45' and 90\ Make sure the arbor is long enough to accept a dado head.

options worth having

Dado-blade set Multiple-blade, carbide-tipped dado sets are the best. (See AW #42 for a review of dado blades.)

Rip fence and miter gauge.

The fence should lock square to the blade and slide easily on sturdy rails. The miter gauge should be sturdy and slide easily without play.

Sturdy, smooth-operating mechanisms. Look for well-made controls that move easily and took adjustments firmly.

saws cast-aluminum top, bolt-on table extensions and a belt-driven induction motor that hangs out the back. (Some of the lower-priced models have direct-drive motors.) Today, more models are configured with premium fences like those found on cabinet saws. As a minus, the open base and back make dust collection difficult on a contractor's saw. And this type of saw doesn't have the power you'll find in a cabinet saw.

benchtop saws

If you do small-scale work, or if you need a portable jobsite saw, a benchtop tablesaw may be just the ticket—it's inexpensive and portable.

But these saws have limits: Small tops limit rip capacity, and a stable bench or base is a must. Motors are noisy and underpowered. And don't expect great precision from the rip fence or miter gauge.

A notable exception is the DeWalt DW744, which has a rack-and-pinion fence.

Aftermarket rip fence. This is probably the best accessory you can buy for your saw. A good fence will boost your accuracy and efficiency. (See AW #61 for a review of fences.)

Outfeed tables. If you don't have enough room in your shop for permanent outfeed tables, consider buying or making portable outfeed rollers.

Sliding tables. Available for cabinet and contractor's saws, these make crosscutting easier and more accurate.

Tenoning jig. You can use this jig to cut tenons, lap joints, bridle joints and spline joints.

Dust collection. Hooking up to a dust collector will save cleanup time.

Aftermarket blade guards. These are better than most standard guards.

*for more info ft

Check out the detailed test results in our "Cabinet Saw Showdown," AW #49.

Pro-Tech 4106

Skil 3400

Tradesman 8030A

Craftsman 29951

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Woodworking Tools and Installation Tips

Woodworking Tools and Installation Tips

There are a lot of things that either needs to be repaired, or put together when youre a homeowner. If youre a new homeowner, and have just gotten out of apartment style living, you might want to take this list with you to the hardware store. From remolding jobs to putting together furniture you can use these 5 power tools to get your stuff together. Dont forget too that youll need a few extra tools for other jobs around the house.

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