Getting the best table saw is a great step towards improving your woodworking projects. However, just as it would be with any other tool, there are some problems that may affect it. Some problems are common, while others are a rare occurrence. In this post, I will try and look at some of the common problems and provide you with the relevant answers. However, when there is a problem with the tool, the first thing that you should do is refer to the owner’s manual.
I know that most saws appear to be similar, but I want to emphasize that you should always refer to the manual. It does not make any logical sense to have such a powerful tool and not want to check out the instructions that are provided in the owner’s manual. In addressing troubleshooting for the common saw problems, I found it easier to break down the problems into two categories:
- Cutting Problems
- Mechanical Issues
Table Saw Cutting Problems and Solutions
When I talk about cutting problems, these are problems that specifically relate to cutting abilities of the saw. The saw is designed in such a manner that it should give you accurate cuts, fast and easily. If this functionality is affected, then the table saw would not be serving its purpose. Here are some cutting problems that you may encounter:
- Cuts come out rough and splintery
There are quite a number of possible causes why you are getting a tear out. In most cases, this may be as a result of the blade not being sharp enough. However, it could also be issues to do with the speed of the blade or the deed rate. The best solution is to ensure that your blades are always sharp and make use of the zero clearance throat, which reduces blow out. You may need to find the perfect balance between the blade speed and the feed rate.
- Blade slows down when making cuts
Have you been having trouble to pass your stock through the blade? Well, this may be due to a dull blade, the problem with the blade speed and the feed rate. The solution is slowing down the feed rate, lowering the blade speed and sharpening your blade.
- Common kickback when making rips
If every time you want to make a rip cut your workpiece threatens to kickback, then the possible problems is with the alignment of the blade to the fence. This is the main reason, I have always insisted on my guides that you should double check your table saw always before making cuts.
- The rip and crosscuts are miserable
With proper alignment, you should be able to produce crisp and smooth cuts that are accurate. If this is not the case, then you should check if the blade is properly aligned with the specific accessories, for each cut. The miter gauge is used for crosscuts, with the rip fence is used for making rips.
For more in-depth information about different types of wood cutting techniques, I highly recommend this article
Table Saw Mechanical Issues and Solution
Unlike the cutting issues, mechanical problems may be diverse and different from one model to another. This is mainly, due to the different features that manufacturers have on their tools. Nonetheless, let us look as some common mechanical problems:
- Fails to turn on
If it does not come on, there are a number of things that you can as a way of troubleshooting the problem. First and foremost, you should check the power connections to ensure everything is working as required. Start with the plug, then the circuit breaker, the power cord and then the power switch. You can try a different power point and see if this solves the problem. You could also disconnect the other tools so as to establish if it is a case of overloading. If at the end of all these it does not start, consult an expert technician.
- Stops, while making a cut
If the table saw stops in the middle of cutting a piece of wood, then it means that it is overwhelmed. It may be that the piece of stock is too tough for the tool and you are forcing it through. You may need to lower the speed of the blade so as to get more torque. If you keep forcing it to cut through such stock, you may end up damaging the blade and even hurting yourself.
There are some models that may also switch to overload protection and turn off. In such cases, you should unplug it and let it cool off for a while, before getting back to work. If the saw does not come back on, after letting it rest, you should check the owner’s manual for possible solutions.
- The table saw is unusually slow
Has your saw been going at very low speeds, than usual? This clearly, shows that there is a serious problem. The most common issue is with the extension cord. When it is too long, it seems to inhibit the proper functionality of the saw. As such, it would be advisable to replace it with a shorter cord and see if this will resolve the problem. If it does not work, then it may be a bigger issue that requires professional diagnosis.
- The blade does not tilt or rise
The rising and tilting functions may be affected, and this may limit the cuts that you can make. If there is a problem with the blade titling or rising, it may be due to maintenance issues. You could start by blowing out the dirt and dust from the elevation and the tilting features. When there is a buildup of debris, it will clog your tool and this affects its movement. Regular cleaning and maintenance is one of the ways to avert this.
- There is too much vibration
If when you turn on the table saw there is too much vibration, then you should start by turning it off. Check all the nuts and bolts and ensure that they are well tightened and no part is lose. You should also check if you have mounted it in a secure and firm manner. If any of the parts is not well aligned, then this may be the main reason why it is vibrating.
- Smells like it is burning
If you smell something burning, when you are operating the saw, you should switch off immediately and unplug it from the socket. This can be dangerous and since this may be more complicated, it would be best to call in an expert technician.
I have tried to highlight some of the common problems that you may experience with your table saw on this guide. However, you can be sure that there is so much that I have not covered. It is also worth mentioning that you should not expect the solutions to work universally for all models. The best way to troubleshoot for common problems is by talking to your manufacturer and using the owner’s manual. If a problem is beyond you, do not attempt to fix it.