Making Cross Cuts with a Table Saw

Whether using a multi-purpose blade or special crosscut blade, it is easy to make crosscuts on a table saw. A crosscut is a cut is made against the grain of a piece of wood. A rip cut is made along the grain. Since wood consists of fibers holding the material together, it will tend to split apart along lines running parallel to the fibers, or grain.

To prepare for a crosscut, first check the angle between the blade and the tabletop, using a try square. Do this with the blade of the saw raised to it’s maximum height. If the blade is not at a 90 degree angle to the tabletop, turn the blade tilt adjusting wheel as required.

Once you are done adjusting the tilt orientation, lower the saw blade until it sticks up about ¼ inch over the top surface of the work to be cut. You should also check the miter angle, using a try square set against the miter gauge and the saw blade. Make sure the gauge’s tightening knob is fully tightened after adjusting it before proceeding.

- Next, mark where you will be making your cut, using a pencil and a straightedge, on the edge to be cut and the top surface of the piece.
- Place the back edge of the piece against the miter gauge, so that your mark lines up with the saw blade.
- Put on safety goggles and switch on the power
- With one hand on the miter gauge and the other hand on the work piece, push the piece through the blade steadily until the cut is complete.

A few safety tips to keep in mind when using the table saw to make crosscuts:

- Never reach over the saw blade to hold cut material steady. Instead, use a roller stand on the other side of the table saw.
- Always use two hands during the crosscutting- one on the miter gauge and one on the workpiece.
- Secure loose hair with a cap or rubber band, and remove watches and jewelry before using the table saw.
- Ensure the blade is sharp and securely attached to the arbor.