How to Use a Portable Table Saw

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A couple years ago, Spencer and I needed a table saw for some projects we were working on. Spencer had high hopes coming from working in a cabinet shop but our budget was small. After doing some searching we decided to just borrow this little beauty from my dad – this Skilsaw Portable Table Saw from Home Depot. It has been a good little saw and as you can see from all the saw dust – is really loved! For a portable saw it is awesome. I thought about cleaning it up for the pictures but I love the saw dust! It means projects are being worked on! Maybe one day we will own one of our own!

Today we are going to talk about the parts of a table saw and give some tips that can be used for most portable table saws.

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Guard: The guard is a metal piece that is as long as the table and slides from one side to the other. It follows a ruler that starts at 0 (where the blade is) and measures up from there on both sides so you can cut from the left or the right.

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The guard has a clamp so you can clamp down the guard on the measurement you need to cut your material.

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Power: Our Power button looks like this and obviously turns the saw on and off. I like that the button is large and easily accessible so you can turn it off quickly if you need to.

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Blade Angle and Lever: The little red arrow shows you the angle of your blade so you can change the angle and cut miters and angles with your material. If I moved the red arrow to 22.5 I would have a 22.5 angle.

The black handle/lever raises your blade up and down. This is an important feature that keeps you safe as your cut your material. If  I am cutting a 1/4” piece of pine, I would adjust the blade to barely be over 1/4’” so the chance of getting hurt is lessened.


Let’s see it in use!

For the demonstration we are going to be cutting 1/2” MDF into 3 7/8” pieces. We have set our guard to be 3 7/8” and have raised our blade to just barely over 1/2”. Turn on the Table Saw. Hold your MDF tight against the guard the entire time you cut and going at an even pace, run your MDF over the blade.



When you are nearing the end of your cut pay careful attention to make sure the MDF is tight against the guard. It will want to shift as the weight of the MDF shifts as it is cut and can start to cut crooked/rough. Just slow down and little and you will be fine.

When it is cut, lift your wood pieces straight up, avoiding all contact with the blade (I cannot stress that enough) and bring them around the outside of the saw –and you are done!

I know it looks and sounds really intimidating but once you get the hang of it, it is a wonderful tool and you will wonder how you ever did without!

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And one more just because we are cute and I love us!

Have a great weekend!

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Hey there! We are Spencer and Amanda, a DIY husband and Wife team, sharing projects we build and create together for our home. Since buying our home in 2007 we have had the saying that Spencer builds it and makes it work and Amanda makes it look good. We hope you will stick around because we always have projects in the works!

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