How Does A Table Saw Work

How does a table saw work? Many woodworkers, even those that are already at the professional level, are asking this question. Of course, with the intricacy and precision of its cuts, you will really wonder how this power tool does its job.

A table saw has a straightforward function, and that is to slice largte pieces of woods. This is the reason why you always see this machine on workshops and lumber retailers. These beasts are capable of dealing thick pieces of wood, as long as you equip the right blades to them. Aside from, knowing how to use a table saw can improve the cutting efficiency of this tool!

There are several types of table saws on the market today. Therefore, each uses a different mechanism to perform their respective functions. Read on to know how a table saw works!

How Does A Table Saw Work

Benchtop Table Saw

A benchtop table saw is commonly known as a job site saw. This is because this is the most preferred tools of professional woodworkers. Moreover, this one is lightweight and has a compact design so that you can put it on a table or a support surface. One person can even lift this tool on different locations. Usually, this type of table saw is made from the combination of aluminum, steel, and plastic.

Benchtop table saws use direct drive (pulleys or no V-belt) in their universal motor. This engine sends power to the blade, which in turns, do all the cutting. Among all the types of table saws, this one has the least capacity. However, they can still give an adequate and precise performance.

The universal motor of a benchtop saw does not run quietly as a brushless AC motor. Of course, that is given. But when it comes to power, it is better than its counterpart. The top portion of the benchtop table saw is quite narrower compared to the cabinet and contractor types. Therefore, the ripping capacity of this tool is also reduced.

Moreover, this table saw has a short rip fence. Achieving straight and clean cuts with a short rip fence is quite hard. The distance of the blade to the edge of the table top is short, too. With this, cross-cutting with the use of the miter gauge is quite challenging, too. Since table saws are small and have less mass, they produce excessive vibrations.

Contractor Table Saw

A contractor table saw is quite heavy and burly. It got an attached base with stands (usually comes with wheels). There are two mechanisms in which a motor of contractor table saw can function. The first one is a direct drive. This means that the motor powers the blade without an intermediary belt. The second one is through a hinged off the rear of the table saw and operates the blade by two belts. The latter mechanism uses either a 1 or 2 HP induction type of motor.

Specifically, contractor table saws are commonly used by homeowners and typical hobbyists. This is because they use the standard electrical circuits. In short, it does not harm the circuitry of your property. Another reason is due to its low-cost operation.

There is only one issue with a contractor table saw. Its motor seldom hands off the rear of the saw while doing a pivot. Therefore, collecting dust can be quite troublesome.

Cabinet Table Saw

Cabinet table saws are very bulky because of its cast iron and steel construction. These materials are essential so that it can prevent vibrations while improving its cutting accuracy.

A cabinet table saw has a close base, which they refer eventually as “cabinet.” This type of table saw utilizes induction motors that are in the 3 to 5 hp range. If you are planning to use on in your home, you should choose a model that has a heavy duty circuit (220-volt outlet is required). The motor is ensconced on the cabinet while it is driving the blade with three parallel belts.

Because this tool is heavy, it is better than any other type of table saws. The heavier the system, the more stable it is. Moreover, it is less prone to vibrations, too. You can also expect that it is more durable than conventional table saw types. A cabinet table saw comes with a trunnion. It is a component that integrates the saw blade to the mount so that it can do tilt and height adjustment! Aside from that, it has a good dust collection system because it the dust port is fully enclosed in the cabinet. In short, cabinet mounted trunnions are better than table mounted trunnions.

Hybrid Table Saw

If you want to get into the competition, then you should opt for a hybrid table saw. This type of table saw is built to compete against high-end contractor saws. A hybrid table saw offers the some of the advantages of cabinet-type table saws. This time, it can give it to you at a much lower price. Most of the hybrid table saws you can see today have an enclosed cabinet, too. This is used to improve its dust collection mechanism. In fact, its cabinet is almost similar to those of cabinet table saws. It is either by a full enclosure system from the table top or through a short system on the legs.

Some models of the hybrid table saws today comes with a cable mounted trunnion. They are lighter than a contractor saw but heavier than a cabinet saw. Other hybrid table saws include a sliding table so that you can maximize its cross-cutting capability.

There are variations to the drive mechanism of a hybrid saw. Usually, it is through a single V-belt, multiple V-belts, or a serpentine belt. Moreover, this kind of saws has 1.5 or 2 HP motors. This makes them compatible to 15 and 20-amp 120-volt household circuit.


Knowing how does a table saw work improve the tool’s performance on your workshop. By studying its components, you can maximize the potential of this tool in dealing a different kind of woodworking applications. Moreover, it will teach you the safety precautions while using this beast. After all, it is your duty also to know how to use a table saw!