The best track saw system is an indispensable power tool in any workshop, used to cut and clean wood or any other soft material such as plastic, aluminium foil or metal. This tool is available in a wide range of models with specifications that cover all the needs of professionals and simple enthusiasts.
By bench top circular saws we mean models designed for a typically professional use and therefore so that they can stand stable and be installed on a flat surface. For manual work there are also circular saws, sabre saws or reciprocating saws: in this guide we will explain everything you need to know about circular table saws in order to be able to choose the best product for you.
The most important things in brief
- Circular table saws are usually the first tool in every carpenter’s workshop, we could say the basic tool of every carpenter.
- Unlike manual circular saws that require the user to handle the saw on the surface of the material, here the cutting disc remains fixed and it is the material that slides towards it, thus facilitating the operator’s work.
- Circular table saws are specialized tools and ideal for professional work: they will allow you to obtain very precise cuts both oblique and bevelled, which is impossible to achieve for other machines.
Buying Guide: Everything you need to know about circular table saws
The circular bench saw is one of those tools that can not be missing in any laboratory and are considered the best cutting tools in existence. In this section we will show you their main features and answer some of the most common questions regarding usage.
What is a circular table saw?
Circular table saws are electric cutting tools, which consist of a disc or circular saw positioned on a table with cutting guides: the saw is activated and rotates at high speed while the user moves the piece to be cut on the guides . They are therefore very powerful and extremely precise devices, ideal for professional jobs.
Although they are usually present mainly in carpentry and mechanical workshops, today there are models sold at very affordable prices and it is therefore possible to find them also in the homes of DIY enthusiasts, as they represent the perfect tool for jobs of a certain commitment.
What does a circular table saw consist of?
Circular bench saws mainly consist of a cutting disc that protrudes from the center of a horizontal table, inside which the other parts of the appliance are located (including the motor and the axes). The saw remains in a fixed position and the operator moves the pieces to be processed towards the disc that cuts them quickly and precisely.
As we have already mentioned, circular table saws are generally the first tools present in a carpentry workshop and constitute its operating center, since the pieces to be worked on follow one another on the cutting table and this is due to the different options of it has. Circular table saws allow cuts:
- In a straight line in the direction of the wood grain.
- Traverse them through the wood grain.
- Oblique and beveled, i.e. at an angle.
What types of circular saws are there?
It is important to explain in detail the different types of circular table saws especially because there is a certain discrepancy in terms of names that can confuse less experienced users. Many people refer to circular and bench saws using the same expression, but in reality they are very different tools.
It is also common to associate the circular saw with some semi-portable models. Actually the bench saws are divided into various types and, as we have said, they cover static and other semi-portable models. This confusion is also frequent among manufacturers and is due to the fact that most of these appliances incorporate a table that can be installed in different places.
Below we analyze the different types of circular table saws:
- It is the lightest and most accessible bench saw.
- It has no wheels or support.
- It is mounted on a workbench.
- Built in aluminum, plastic and other light materials.
- For DIY and home use.
- Soft and plywood cut.
- More powerful and with greater precision than the bench saw.
- It has a support to lean on.
- With connection for dust removal.
- The table is usually made of cast iron.
- Powered by a universal motor.
- Straight and angled cuts of solid wood and fiber panels.
- Light and DIY jobs.
- It is the most robust and heavy semi-portable saw.
- With anodized aluminum surfaces.
- It has a stand that can be folded to save space.
- It has wheels for easy transport.
- Cuts of wood, solid wood, parquet, plywood and plastic sheets.
- Ideal for construction professionals.
Construction, hybrid or workshop saw:
- High-end, expensive, heavy, bulky and very resistant machinery.
- Used in large workshops, industries and specialized schools.
- They can perform all types of work with hardwood, pine, plywood, pressure treated wood or thick sheets.
What are the components of a circular table saw?
Now that you know what they are, how they work and you have seen the various types of circular saws on the market, the time has come to deepen their main components, whose knowledge is essential since the correct functioning of the tool will depend on them. Here are what they are:
- Saw table: Made of anodized aluminum or wrought iron. Some models include cutting guides to facilitate the work.
- Protection of the cutting blade: Essential for safety, this element covers the cutting disc when the machine is stopped.
- Dust extraction hose: This element is not present in all appliances as it is an accessory. It is used to catch the dust while it is being cut.
- Stop for parallel cuts: Other extra accessory. It is used to mark the cut.
- Folding table extension : An extension equipped with hinges to increase the cutting space, ideal for long pieces.
- Angular calibrator: System to tilt the saw blade or the material and make oblique cuts.
- Eccentric lever: Used to adjust the cutting settings.
- Adjustment handle and support: Another safety element to support cutting materials.
- Crank to adjust the cutting height: Allows you to adjust the cut.
- On / Off switch: Powers the motor and starts the saw.
- Push rod: Used to move the material to be cut. It is essential as you should never move the material with your fingers.
- Base feet: They are used to support the instrument. Most have an adjustment system to calibrate the height and level.
- Cutting blade: Circular serrated discs. They work with an axis that rotates at high speed.
How many types of circular saw accessories are there?
Some of the components we described in the previous section are actually accessories which in any case remain very important when working with circular table saws as they perform safety tasks or simplify the work. The knowledge of these accessories and their functions ensures quality cuts and better working conditions.
Below we present the main accessories of a circular table saw:
Serrated blade or disc:
- It is the most important part of the machine.
- There are different types of discs based on the teeth.
- The choice of disc types will depend on the material we are going to cut.
Stop for parallel cuts:
- Guide for making basic cuts.
- Basic accessory for angular and transverse cuts.
- They have resistant arrests.
- Corners must be easy to read.
- It fits easily into the corner.
- Element used to move the material through the cutting blade.
- It is a fundamental accessory, especially when working with staves of 120 mm or less.
- It is important to have more than one push bar.
- For cutting materials less than 30 mm wide.
- It is flatter than the temples and has a solid surface with a horizontal handle provided by a handle.
- Securely supports the workpiece against parallel or transverse stops.
- Prevents the piece from bouncing when sliding towards the saw.
- It has inclined teeth that accompany the passage of the piece.
- They can be used on any type of bench saw.
Insert for cutting blade:
- Small piece of metal or wood.
- Similar to a mouth surrounding the cutting blade.
- It forms a hole that protects the user and prevents chips from being ejected from the internal parts of the saw.
Protection of the cutting blade:
- Essential safety accessory.
- The manufacturers replaced the classic opaque protections with transparent models.
Which type of circular table saw suits me and what level of precision can I expect?
This is a basic question when buying a circular table saw, whether you are a professional carpenter or a DIY enthusiast: if you are a professional and you are looking for a machine for intensive use you will have to opt for a fixed and high-performance model , capable of cutting all types of wood, even the thickest.
If, on the other hand, you are fond of bricular or if you will use it for light work, the ideal is to buy a semi-portable model such as a bench saw. These products have excellent accuracy and are also very compact, so you can put them on a workbench and store them after use.
How to use a circular table saw?
Now you know everything you need about circular table saws, but unless you are an expert carpenter you may still have some doubts about using these tools. It is normal, they are powerful appliances and if you have decided to use them for the first time you may be a little frightened. To help you, we will explain step by step how they work:
- Before using it. The first thing to do is familiarize yourself with the use, the functions and all the controls of the machine. You must be clear how to turn it on and how to turn it off. These appliances have safety devices, so it is a good idea to learn how to use them.
- Security and protection. Do not remove the protective elements from the circular table saw. Wear appropriate clothing and follow the manufacturer’s safety instructions.
- A workspace. Place the circular table saw in a space dedicated to work. It must be a suitable place where you can work comfortably without risk, neither for yourself nor for those around you.
- A solid surface. If you don’t have feet, you will need to place the saw on a workbench or on a solid surface. Before working, use a level to make sure the machine does not move.
- Secure the wood. To work the wood you must first fasten it against the table and the guides.
- Position. Always stand in front of the machine in order to have the on / off button in front of you.
- Move the cutting material. Never use your hands to move the cutting material towards the disc. Use auctions or stops. Move the material gradually, without exerting pressure.
- Turn off the machine. Whenever you finish cutting, turn off the machine to avoid accidents.
- Maintenance. When you are done working on it, clean the lower and upper housings. Also check the condition of the saw teeth after each use and if it is well fixed. Replace the discs when necessary.
If you have followed our guide you should already know everything you need about circular table saws, however before embarking on the purchase we recommend you read the following section in which we will explain the most important criteria and factors that you should consider before choosing the your ideal model:
- Material to be cut
- Frequency of use
- Types of cut to be made
Circular table saws are the top tools of any carpentry workshop in the world, also thanks to the new more compact and convenient models they also triumph among DIY fans. These are very versatile tools that allow you to cut materials in one step, quickly, effectively and effortlessly.
There is a wide variety of circular saws on the market and this only makes the purchase of the best model more complicated for you, but if you have followed our advice so far you will surely know how to choose the saw that best suits your needs and what criteria you have to be careful.
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