The Top 5 table Saw Accessories you must have
Table saw accessories? I know, you just dropped some major coin on your new saw. Yes, the new found hole in your billfold still smarts. But to really get the most out of this very important tool, you need to dig just a little deeper.
Put your hesitation aside and hear me out. Your new saw (or your well worn existing saw) does a lot of things extremely well. However, with just a little tweaking, it will do a whole lot more and do it even better.
All you need to do is add a few simple table saw accessories and your woodworking skill will be the envy of all your friends.
Table Saw Accessories
I’ve put together a simple list below of what I think will make your cuts consistently straight and true as well as simpler and safer to make. Here it goes:
Zero Clearance Inserts
Tear out is caused by the wide opening in your factory made plate. Regardless of the saw blade you have, using a zero insert plate will support your wood next to the blade and provide a significantly smoother tear out free (or almost tear out free) cut.
As you have already realized, the factory insert plate is not zero insert. Manufacturers have a wider opening so you can tilt your blade for angled cuts and also use thin dado blades. The factory insert is always functional but jack of all trades, master of none.
You can make these out of left over hard wood with your router and a flush trimming bit but the time to set up and cut is a lot for the cost savings. Especially since good quality inserts now have come down to about $18-25 each. See examples here. I used to buy and drill and install all of the leveling screws, but as I get older, I would rather make projects than jigs.
I have several inserts and switch them often depending on what I’m cutting. I never worry about tear out or a small cut off piece kicking back on me. The more I woodwork, the more I value simple safety prevention methods.
Hands Free Safety Switches
If you bought a saw recently it may already have this included. A hands free safety switch allows you to turn the saw on or off by bumping the switch with your knee, instead of reaching under the table to fiip the on/off switch.
For safety reasons you can always keep your eye on the wood and saw blade. It’s like driving a car, how many accidents happen because somebody took their eye off the road to fiddle with the radio. The more you keep your eye on the blade and wood, the better.
If you’re working with an oversized piece of wood it also make this easier to keep the wood secure. A very nice accessory. Easy to install and not very expensive. Once you start using this, you’ll wonder how you got along without it. Kinda like your first TV remote! Click here to see more
If you need to use a push stick the clamps can get in the way and then you don’t use the push stick and then an accident happens and your new nickname is stubby.
Commercial models are every inexpensive and provide much needed safety features that homemade versions simply don’t allow. Here’s the fence I like best.
Made a million of them in my life. However, clamping them to the table has always been problematic. No matter how tight I clamp them, even using locking vice clamps, they always seem to move and inevitable my work piece slides and it ends up as ruined scrap.
The beauty of plastic feather boards is that they are designed to clamp into the miter slot or even a t-track for downward pressure. No more clamping. Just insert, tighten and a safe, easy to use clamp.
Sometimes I use just one in the miter slot, but many times I use two in the miter slot and two in the t-track facing down. I use this set up a lot in the router table, also.
The newest thing is magnetic feather boards. They have magnets that allow you to position anywhere on your cast iron saw table. Learn more here.
Lastly, unless you have been blessed by the workshop space gods, you’re probably tight on space. Many people have their saw and other tools against the wall in the garage. Unless you took your incredible hulk pills, you probably don’t look forward to sliding the saw away from the wall every time you want to use it.
The simple solution is a mobile base. They range from about $50 to over $200. Yes, after about the third time you move your saw, you’ll break down and buy one and be glad you did.
Just measure your base and allow room to access the castors so you can lock them down after you move the saw. Here’s are some excellent bases
Well there you have it, my top 5 table saw accessories.
Be safe and now go make something in your shop!
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