Saw Safety and Maintenance know How

A good table saw will enable you to cut accurately and straight every time.  To be very professional is essential, so carrying out consistent safety checks and maintenance will enable you to do just that.

What is a table saw

A table is saw is motor driven arbor which tilts; it is connected to a table which remains fixed horizontally. For ripping (cutting straight) you will with a rip fence and for miters you will work with a miter gauge.

The blade can be set for depth and angle, the rip fence has a lateral adjustment.

Safety first

  • Always work free of clutter
  • Sharp blades minimize the risk of kickback
  • Use the saw guard whenever possible
  • Stand to one side of the saw to minimize any injury in the event of kickback
  • If you have to remove the guard for the job at hand take extra care
  • Always use a push stick when the fence is set under 3” to the blade
  • Always unplug the saw when you have to change blades
  • Never reach over the blade
  • Always wear eye protection
  • Always make sure the fence is locked into place once you have the width set
  • Always keep the work firmly down on the table while pushing it past the blade
  • Keep the workpiece riding against the fence throughout
  • Do not allow too much overhang of the workpiece beyond the table
  • Don’t try to force the wood faster than the saw will accept



The saw is one tool that does require not just regular maintenance in terms of service but even after a few hours it may need realigning, waxing, and oiling.

Keep a schedule close by so you can check what needs to be done.  For example

1 to 2 hours             Table top, fence and miter gauge need waxing

5 hours                      Fence, miter gauge, splitter, guard, anti-kickback pawls, motor and arbor pullies need aligning

10 hours                   Trunnion gear, worm gear, arbor gear, fence travel gear need oiling

Adjusting and aligning

Your table saw vibrates very fast and this can lead to loosening of the nuts and bolts so check your manual for precise instructions.

The basic adjustments will be

  • Checking for the movement and locking of fence
  • Miter gauge set and locking
  • Adjustment of angle pre-set stops
  • Raising and lowering the blade
  • Tilting the blade and lock at the correct angle
  • Adjusting the 90 degree stop for the blade

For all table saws

  • The rip fence, blade and miter gauge slots in the table must all be parallel at all times
  • The rip gauge and miter gauge must be at 90 degrees to the table
  • The throat plate should be flush with the table top
  • Always check the table top with a long straight edge first

The throat plate

The throat plate should be flush with the table top. (If it is not check for a build-up of sawdust).

Splitter alignment

The splitter is used for keeping the saw-kerf open; the kerf is the pace in the board which is removed by the saw blade. Measure the alignment of the splitter

The blade

  • A dull blade can cause misalignment
  • Blades should be professionally sharpened
  • Take care of blades, store them safely, avoid dropping them or banging them
  • They can be cleaned with fine steel wool and lacquer in between sharpening
  • They should be dried before storing

The arbor

  • You may have a motor pulley to armor pulley, if so the pulley should be checked for alignment
  • The bearings can be replaced (you will hear a clicking noise if this is the case) and do not use the saw until this has been done
  • Check the arbor washer if you ever find a wobbly blade
  • Check the blade is not warped
  • If it the arbor washer is faulty it can be replaced

Cleaning and waxing and making it all look good

  • Use a light steel wool and lubricant for cleaning
  • Wipe it clean and apply paraffin wax including the rip fence and miter gauge faces
  • Polish the wax off to create a smooth surface, this ensures your work will glide, reduced the risk of burning and rust, it looks good too!


Anything wet should not be cut with a table saw, the risks are injury, kickback damage and rust

Anything that is not treated properly, twisted or warped wood is hazardous to your table saw.


Take care to know how you are going to deal with sawdust to avoid any build up and keep it away from the motor and moving parts.

Yearly maintenance

The belts should be changed yearly along with a thorough service.

If you are looking for a good looking table saw to add to your workshop then take a look at The Sharp Cut for the sharpest tools out there.