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Table and Radial Saws
Written by Elizabeth Wood
Editor In Chief, United Home Improvement


If you are a one of those homeowners that like to make your own home improvements, investing in either a table saw or a radial arm saw is an important decision. Both of these power tools make woodworking cuts a cinch. Although, it is important to understand, that both of these saws are beneficial in different ways. If space and money are an issue, be sure to take the time to consider the features of both before purchasing.

A table saw is a large piece of woodworking machinery. It is extremely versatile, but generally used for ripping or cutting large pieces of material. A table saw consists of a circular saw blade, mounted under a table, which is driven by an electric motor. Pieces of work are pushed through a table saw, giving you the control of making extremely accurate cuts. Due to the fact that objects are being pushed through the saw, it allows for you to cut large sheets of paneling, plywood and wallboard. However, a certain amount of space is required for large pieces of work to be handled. Additional parts include a table, fence, blade, and tilt and height adjustments.

Similar to the table saw, radical arm saws can make most of the common woodworking cuts. However, this saw is best for making crosscuts and rip cuts. The biggest difference in these two saws is that a radical arm saw is positioned above the table and is moved through the piece of work. Making cuts in long work pieces is made simple with a radical arm saw because you don't have to move a large 2 x 12 board through. Also, radical arm saws take up less space compared to a table saw. They can be positioned against a wall and kept out of the way.

With both tools, it is important to always wear safety goggles or safety glasses and a full face shield when needed. Also, use a dust mask in dusty work conditions and wear hearing protection during extended periods of operation. It is suggested that you refrain from wearing gloves, loose clothing, jewelry or any dangling objects that may catch in rotating parts or accessories. Lastly, never use these tools with debris or any loose objects on the table. With radical arm saws in particular, check often to assure that guards are in their proper position.

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