The heart of many woodworking shops, the table saw can do many things, but only if you have the right accessories.
1. A Good Blade Selection – Ripping and crosscutting solid wood require different things from a blade. Melamine, laminate and other man-made materials also present unique challenges when cutting. And a dado blade can assist with making dadoes, grooves or rabbets. One blade won’t do everything.
2. Somewhere to Store Blades – Blade teeth make clean, efficient cuts, but only if they’re sharp and the blade is in good condition. Having a proper cabinet or case for your blades will go a long way to keeping them in good working condition. Even a few screws on the wall to hold the blades is better than nothing.
3. Crosscut Sled – Cutting workpieces at a 90° angle is an important part of woodworking. A dedicated crosscut sled will make cutting larger workpieces to length easier, safer and more accurate.
4. Mitre Gauge – Also on the theme of crosscutting workpieces: A table saw likely came with a mitre gauge, but an after-market version might go a long way to assisting you with making 90° and 45° cuts, not to mention any other angle you choose.
5. Mitre Sled – Although a mitre saw can make 45° cuts, I find mitring workpieces on a table saw with a proper mitre sled is more accurate and you end up with smoother cuts. A mitre sled is also easy to make.
6. Auxiliary Fence – A piece of 3/4″ plywood ripped to 4″ wide and cut the length of your rip fence is essentially all you need. Clamp it to your rip fence to assist with making rabbets, machining long bevels and doing all sorts of other fancy things on a table saw.
7. Push Sticks – The best push stick is your hand, but if a cut is too close for comfort, you need a push stick. It will grip and guide the workpiece as it’s being cut, and will keep your hands a safe distance from the blade. There are lots of versions to accomplish many tasks, so do your research and then make a few. Many after-market versions are also available.
8. Featherboards – Featherboards can help make cuts smoother and reduce kickback. Although you can purchase them in a variety of shapes and styles, they’re also easy to make.
9. A Few Clamps – I keep two 6″ F-clamps and two 2-1/2″ C-clamps at my table saw at all times. Whether it’s securing my auxiliary fence, clamping stops or positioning my long featherboard, a few clamps are helpful to have nearby.
10. Outfeed Table – Having the ability to support long lengths of material is critical to safety. It also makes for better cuts. If space is really tight you can add a hinged outfeed table to your saw. Another simple option is to use a router table or other stable surface positioned behind your saw as an outfeed table.