As the heart of most workshops, the table saw is the go-to equipment for most cutting tasks. You can use it all day long to rip long pieces of wood without a hitch. Besides, you can use it to cut angles. It may not be your best option when cutting angles, but you can produce precise angled cuts using it. Moreover, you can cut angles with the table saw in two ways. Either you can tilt the blade or change the wood’s angle using a tapered guide.
The table saw is not the go-to saw when cutting angles. The miter saw will do better because it is designed to make miter and bevel cuts, and it can make angled cuts with utmost accuracy and precision. But with the table saw, you need to engage in a thorough preparation to achieve a clean cut using the table saw.
At the onset, you need to delineate the cut line on the wood. Then, you need to set the saw blade to the correct height. Besides, you can select the right angle of the saw using a miter gauge. It will help if you are likewise mindful of the safety precautions and proper techniques before cutting angles.
A Thorough Discussion of the Two Methods
As mentioned above, you got two methods to choose from when making angled cuts using a table saw. It will help if you are mindful of these two methods, especially if you are only jumpstarting your woodworking career:
Method 1) Adjusting the Angle of the Table Saw Blade
One of the methods to make angled cuts using the table saw is by simply adjusting the angle of the table saw blade. Most woodworkers prefer this method because it is easy to do and requires only straightforward steps. Below are some succinct steps you need to follow when adjusting the table saw blade’s angle:
Step 1: Change the saw blade’s angle!
You will find that most table saws would let you adjust their blade’s angle. Moreover, you can tilt their angle to 45 degrees. Some table saws, however, would allow you to tilt their blades further. Once you’ve tilted the saw blade, you can start making bevel cuts. Bevel cuts, of course, are necessary when making picture frames, door frames, and other tasks.
You will see in most table saws a pivot system or a crank system. The crank system got a handle that you would turn to adjust the saw blade. Moreover, the crank system usually has an indicator scale near the crank to indicate the saw blade’s angle. These scales may not be that precise, but they do show the approximated measurement. So, you need to double-check the angles.
This possibility is also an issue in the pivot system. The pivot system will not tell you an accurate angle, so you need to make some minor adjustments to get the precise angle. More often, you need to unlock the system by pulling the handle. Once you’ve unlocked the system, you can easily slide its handle along its scale to lock the blade at the required angle.
Step 2: Measure the Angle
You should double-check the blade’s angle to ensure that you are getting the precise angle. You can measure the angle in a few ways, and some methods are easy to do, and some are more precise than others. Here are some ways to measure angles correctly:
1-Using a digital angle gauge:
You can use a digital angle gauge to measure the blade’s angle accurately. The accuracy of these digital angle gauges is up to two decimal places. You only need to position the gauge on the saw blade to measure the tilt of the angle. I would advise you to choose a digital angle gauge that features a built-in bevel angle display.
2-Using a digital protractor:
Another method is the use of a digital protractor. This method is an accurate method of angle measurement. The digital protractor looks like two rulers joined by a hinge. Moreover, an LCD screen is near the joint. This device is relatively easy to use. You only need to position one arm against the tabletop and open the protractor’s other arm until it is flushed with the material. The screen indicates the measurement. Furthermore, the margin of error of this method is very minimal.
3-Using a standard protractor
If you don’t have a digital protractor, you can go old school by using a standard protractor. Get yourself a standard protractor. Position the flat end of the protractor on the table. Let it sit flat on the table. You can set it behind the blade or in front of the saw blade. Afterward, you can adjust the blade using the protractor. Ensure that the saw blade is dead center to get an accurate measurement.
As a caveat, you should raise the saw blade to its full height before you adjust it. In this way, you can see the saw blade clearly and measure the angle precisely. But don’t forget to lower the saw blade before you cut. You should also be mindful of the pressure you apply to the saw blade. It will help if you move the rip fence in such a way that the saw blade tilts away from the rip fence. This setup will lessen the pressure on the saw blade.
If you can’t switch the rip fence, you should ensure that you take the necessary precautions when pushing the wood over the saw blade. Avoid twisting the wood or moving it out of the cutline. Ensure likewise that you use a push box or push stick when you do this.
Method 2) Altering the Wood’s Angle Using a Miter Gauge
The second method you can use to cut angles using a table saw is by altering the wood’s angle using a miter gauge. In this method, you can change the angle at which the blade meets the wood. You can use a miter gauge for this purpose. A miter gauge is a protractor with a metal foot. Moreover, you slip the foot into the miter slot. You can slide it up or down.
This protractor comes with a moveable handle that alters the ledge’s angle. You only set the angle to use it and position the wood against the ledge. Afterward, you set the wood through the saw blade by pushing the miter gauge through the miter slot. The use of the miter gauge is straightforward.
You will find that most miter saws come with a screw lock handle. You only need to unscrew this handle to let the handle slide with the protractor. Afterward, you lock it by screwing it. You should lock the gauge in place so that it will not shift. You can also clamp it in place, though some configurations don’t allow for clamping. If you’re unable to secure the workpiece with a clamp, you must hold it tightly against the gauge for a more accurate cut.
Method 3) You Can Also Use Taper Jigs
Another method to use when making bevel cuts is to use taper jigs. You will find various taper jig types. So, you might get a bit confused as to which to choose. Yet, I suggest that you go for something (wood) with a clamp and a good base. Such a taper jig will save you from the risks of injuring yourself because your hands will be far from the blade.
Make sure likewise that you choose quality taper jigs. In this way, you will not need to purchase more often because quality taper jigs last longer.
To use the taper jig, you only need to measure and mark the endpoints. Afterward, you should connect these marks to achieve a clear line. Ensure that you open the taper jig to get the precise angle. You should measure starting from the jig to the cut ends. The distance between these two points must be equal. Before cutting, you should ensure that you got the precise angle. Make sure likewise that no spaces remain between the edges.
Additional Tips When Making Angled Cuts Using a Table Saw
Aside from knowing the methods on how to make angled cuts using the table saw, it is also useful to be cognizant of the following additional tips when making bevel cuts using the table saw:
Set the Perfect Angle of the Blade
If you don’t set the saw blade at the perfect angle, you can’t expect to get a perfect bevel cut. So, make sure that you position the blade firmly affixed to the pole. In this way, you will not need to worry about the blade wobbling or not making the correct angled cut. Moreover, if the saw blade is firmly affixed to the pole, you can easily install the fence, saving you energy and time.
Install the Fence
The procedure for installing the fence may vary depending on the fence type you are installing, and the saw type. Nevertheless, it will help if you follow the manufacturer’s guidelines on installing the fence. In this way, you can ensure that you are correctly doing it. Moreover, if you install it correctly, you can start right.
Consider the Fence’s Position likewise
Most types of fences have wing nuts. So, you can set the fence in place manually. You can locate the fence anywhere you prefer as long as you set it right.
Adjust the Height of the Saw Accordingly!
The ideal height for the saw blade is 0.64 cm. So, this height should be your basis for adjusting the crank. You can use a ruler when making adjustments. Position the ruler on a broken wood piece. Then, mark the 0.64cm on the scrap wood piece. Afterward, set it side by side with the saw.
You should adjust the saw until it aligns with the point. When you raise the height of the blade, you let more contact happen between the wood and the blade’s teeth. With more contact, you can make a smooth cut.
Cutting Different Angles
You can cut 45-degree angles using the table saw. But when cutting, you need to ensure that you cut two different pieces of equal size. Afterward, you can piece the separate pieces together. If they don’t fit together, you should repeat the cutting process by checking your miter gauge.
Yet, you can also learn to cut angles more than 45 degrees using a table saw. You should test the different angled cuts that are more than 45 degrees separately. Nevertheless, the angled cuts should be as seamless as possible.
When cutting angles, the key to making accurate angle cuts is how you square the miter gauge against the saw blade. The angle indicators may indicate the right angle, but you should never be so naive as to trust what the angle indicators suggest. The angle indicators may tend to be very sloppy when it comes to angle measurements.
To ensure that you get the precise angle measurement, you should follow the abovementioned methods. In this way, you control what you are doing when you get the precise angle measurement and come up with an accurate angle cut.
Liam is a 37-year-old woodworker and interior designer who loves to make every furniture project an art piece. He is very experienced in furniture design and woodworking project planning.