Welcome to Table Saw Basics -- a one hour course on using a table saw accurately and safely -- a good starting point for table saw beginners, some interesting jigs for experienced woodworkers.
The series of videos that are listed on the left were deemed by Popular Woodworking to be the most complete video on the subject in its day -- and table saws haven't changed much since then. We have fancier guides and guards available today but essentially it is the same machine.
Oh yes I look much younger in these videos than most of you remember. This course was recorded a long time ago just as I was transitioning from a shop bound cabinet maker to the Home Improvement problem solver that you have known for over 30 years on TV and the web. This course was originally produced as a one hour video course. Here for the web I have broken it up into very small clips -- allowing you to use the video list on the left to follow through the whole course, or jump directly to the part you want to see.
Some of the jigs shown in this video are now available as store bought items, like the feather boards, but many of these jigs are tools that cabinet makers make for themselves to this day. Breaking this course up into small video clips allows you to go straight to what you want to watch -- or watch them all in sequence for the full course.
This course was all done on a large industrial saw, but with the exception of the overhead guard on this machine, there is no real difference between this saw and all the others you can purchase at renovation centres. Things are explained without dimensions so that you can build all the tools and jigs to fit your particular machine. What may surprise you is to learn that even on table saws there are some basic line-up and adjustments that can make your machine work better -- and the blade is not the starting point for lining things up -- but you'll see that in detail in the videos.
Don't forget that there are blogs at the bottom of each video for you to share your reactions, even improvements on these techniques. When it becomes warranted I will modify the videos to deal with your suggestions, maybe even include some video from your shop as we all work together to share our own Learning Curves. One such blogger suggestion was that I explain why I was often not using the safety guard or safety glasses. In the origninal VHS video, at the begining there was a long note about removing the guard often so the camera could see what is happening. That got lost in breaking the single video into pieces so I have now gone back and added that note where relevant throughout the clips. As for the safety glasses, I think I was doing so much explaining and so little cutting and I wasn't yet really used to a camera that I simply left that out. Again see my safety notes now added to the video clips.
One reality is that often the blade guard or specific jigs gives you a significant amount of eye protection, but you should wear safety glasses whenever the blade is moving. I am happy to say that in today's shops safety such as this has become a daily standard in most shops including my own, not the case when I spent the whole day in the shop back in the 1970's. You do see me wearing safety glasses in the Miter Saw videos, produced 30 years after this table saw video.