Other Woodworking Tools

Please note that these documents are not intended in any way to substitute for receiving training, in person, in the shop. If you have not received training on the tools, you should not be using them.

Table saw

The table saw is used for cutting sheet stock, ripping lumber, and (with the appropriate blades, jigs, and carriers) crosscutting lumber. It can also be used for joinery of various types. When using the table saw, the piece is whatever passes between the blade and the fence. The front of the table saw is the infeed direction and the saw blade spins toward the user. The table saw creates a cut face in reference to the fence, and is generally parallel to the fence.

  • Kickback
    • Table saw blades spin towards the user and can throw the piece between the blade and the fence at high speed into the kickback zone.
    • The kickback zone is the area directly behind you when you stand facing the front of the table saw with the fence on your right.
  • Safe use
    • Ensure that no one is standing behind you in the kickback zone.
    • Stand so that your body is to the left of the sawblade.
    • Ensure that the piece being cut is stable on the table and against the fence. Do not cut unmilled or rough milled wood on the table saw unless it will be stable through the cut.
    • Do not remove the guard and splitter unless there is no safe way to make your cut with them in place (i.e. cutting with the blade at an angle).
    • Use the ripping fence or the crosscut guide, but don’t use both of them at the same time.
    • During a rip cut, once the material has moved away from your left hand, move your left hand off the table. Do not drag your hand across the table and never reach over the blade.
    • If using the fence, secure it.
    • Have pushsticks ready and to hand.
    • Adjust the height of the blade so that it extends about 1/4" above the top of your wood.
    • Keep 2 fingers of your right hand on the fence throughout the cut. This keeps your hand "locked" into the fence and much less likely to slip into the blade.
    • Always support the piece through the entire cut and push the piece through the cut completely so that it clears the sawblade.
    • Your left hand and fingers should never approach the line perpendicular to the sawblade's front extent.
    • If a cut goes wrong, shut off the saw immediately. If it does not feel safe to do so, hold your workpiece so that it does not move, and call for help.
    • Allow the sawblade to stop moving completely before retrieving wood adjacent to the blade.
    • For long pieces, position someone on the far side of the blade to catch the piece as it comes off the table, but do NOT have them pull on the piece in any way while the table saw is running.
    • Feed the work piece at a moderate rate, but not so fast the motor slows down.
  • Effective use
    • Measure distance between fence and blade tooth set.
    • Support work throughout cut for even cutting.
    • Check saw angle instead of relying on deflection indicator.
    • Batch all pieces together to ensure uniformity.

Manual and parts list for our table saw.

Compound Mitre Saw/Chop Saw

The compound mitre saw is used to cut lumber to rough length. The angle of the saw relative to the length of the board can be adjusted to the right or left to cut mitres; it can also be be angled over to the right or left to cut bevels. It can simultaneously cut a mitre and a bevel, hence the name "compound mitre saw."

  • Safe use
    • Make sure the table is free of scrap and built up saw dust.
    • The workpiece must be stable against the fence, held either with one hand or with a clamp.
    • Keep hands safely positioned. One hand secures the piece, well out of way of blade; the other hand secure grips the actuator and saw handle. Never hold the stock being cut with your thumb sticking out along the edge of the board; tuck your thumb back under your hand.
    • Lower the saw into position not touching the piece, then start the saw, and, once it has reached its full speed, push it through the work piece.
    • Do not start the saw if the blade is in contact with the work piece.
    • As soon as you complete the cut, release the power switch, and let the saw come to a complete stop before removing your work piece and scrap.

Manual and parts list for our miter saw.

Band saw

The band saw is an excellent tool for making curved cuts.

  • Safe use
    • Adjust the blade guides properly. The upper saw guide should be about 1/4 inch above the work-piece. This keeps the blade stable, and helps keep your fingers from the blade.
    • Check the work-piece to be sure it is free of debris (i.e. rocks, tool bits, nails).
    • Plan the cut to prevent backing out of a cut, as this can pull the blade off the wheels. Make relief cuts as needed for tight radius areas.
    • Do not make curves so sharp that the blade twists.
    • When feeding a work-piece into the blade, your hands should not be in line with the blade in case you slip or lose balance.
    • Allow the saw to reach full speed before starting to feed your work.
    • Holding the work-piece firmly, start it gently, feed it at a moderate rate.
    • Use a push stick when sawing small or difficult to hold pieces.
    • A minimum of three teeth must be engaged in the work-piece at all times or the teeth may be torn off of the blade.
    • If the saw stalls in a cut, turn the power off and carefully work your workpiece free by hand.
    • If the blade breaks, turn the machine off and wait for it to come to a halt.

Manual and parts list for our band saw.

Jig saw/Sabre saw

The jig saw is best used for cutting curves in relatively thin stock.

  • Safe use
    • Select the proper blade for the material to be cut, and secure the blade in the saw before plugging in the electric cord.
    • Make certain the work piece is well supported and clamped down. Do not cut into tables or supports.
    • Use a relief cut on corners to prevent binding or pinching the blade. This will prevent the blade from breaking.
    • Hold the saber saw down firmly against the work-piece to prevent vibration or injury.
    • Turn on the saw before bringing the blade into contact with the work.
    • The saw should be placed on its side on the workbench when not in use, to prevent damage to the blade.

Drill Press

The drill press is used for drilling holes in things. Its advantages over a hand-held drill are that you can get more consistent results, and you can easily replicate the position of a hole on a piece, including depth and angle. Certain kinds of drill bits (forstner bits) should only be used in a drill press, not in a handheld drill.

  • Safe use
    • Position the table and adjust the feed stroke so there is no chance of the bit hitting the table.
    • Make sure the table and head of the drill press are secure.
    • Clamp the workpiece down securely.
    • If drilling completely through your piece, put a piece of scrap below it, to prevent drilling into the surface of the table. This backer board will also reduce tear-out on the back of your work piece.
    • The drill bit must be secure in the chuck, centered, and true.
    • Immediately after tightening the bit, remove the chuck key.
    • Do not touch the drill bit immediately after finishing your work; it may be very hot.
    • When removing a drill bit, make sure the bit does not strike the metal table of the press or fall to the floor.
    • Always ease up on the feed or drill pressure as the drill begins to break through the work-piece. Heavy feed pressure will cause the drill to dig in, and could damage the material being drilled, break the drill, or cause the work-piece to spin.
    • When drilling large holes, drill a pilot hole with a small drill such as 1/8 inch and then step up in sizes to prevent drill chatter.
    • Use a slower speed when drilling large holes. Some of our drill presses have size/speed guides under the belt cover; refer to those to choose the best speed.
    • Be sure the drill press is stopped before removing the work-piece, or clearing chips or cuttings.

Manual and parts list for our floor drill press.


The jointer is used to create one milled, flat surface on unmilled or rough milled wood. It is usually the first machine that will meet wood, and it creates the one milled face which most of the other wood milling operations require. The jointer creates the milled face in reference to the fence, which is generally perpendicular to the cut. The piece runs over the jointer from right to left and cutting occurs on the underside of the piece. The jointer has two tables: the right table is the infeed table and the left table is the outfeed table. Between infeed and outfeed is a rotating drum with cutting blades that performs the actual milling operation; this drum spins in a clockwise direction. Infeed must be set lower than outfeed for cutting to occur, and the amount of wood milled away in each pass is controlled by the height of the infeed table.

  • Safe use
    • Kickback can occur. Before beginning operation, ensure that there is no one standing to the right of the jointer, in line with the piece being jointed.
    • Secure the fence.
    • Ensure that infeed table is set to less than 1/32" depth.
    • Do not joint any lumber less than 12" in length.
    • Use push sticks for narrow stock.
    • Use paddles for thin stock (particularly stock that is too thin to engage the safety cover on the jointer.
    • Make sure wood is free of metal and other foreign materials and has been brushed clean of dirt. Do not run sanded pieces through the jointer. Dirt or sanding grit embedded in wood can damage the jointer blades and put the machine out of commission until the blades can be resharpened.
  • Effective use
    • Check angle between fence and table before each major operation. Even minor deviations will become amplified in the course of subsequent milling operations.
    • Run wood through the jointer in the direction of the grain to prevent tearouts. (Particularly for coniferous woods and ring porous woods)
    • Do multiple light passes rather than one single major pass.
    • Apply pressure selectively over a board to reduce the number of passes needed.
    • Hand planing with a block plane to remove very high spots may reduce loss of wood from jointing.
    • When dealing with a warped piece of wood, set it concave side down, start in the middle of the board and work towards the ends. This way you are always cutting towards the "high point", and you'll avoid chipping and tearing

Manual and parts list for our jointer.

Thickness Planer

Like the jointer, the thickness planer uses a powered rotating drum fitted with cutting blades to remove wood from a board surface.

Commonly, the thickness planer is used to produce a second flat, milled surface, on the opposite side of a board, parallel to the surface previously produced with the jointer.

The planer uses motor-driven rollers to move material underneath the cutter head at either of two speeds (delivering 96 or 179 cuts per inch to the material). The drum rotates to produce cuts from the front (infeed) toward the back (outfeed) side of the planer.

  • Safe use
    • The planer is particularly loud. Use hearing protection.
    • Keep hands away from the underside of the cutter head carriage.
    • Never plane material which is shorter than 12 inches.

Manual and parts diagram 1 and 2 for our thickness planer.

woodworking/other_tools.txt · Last modified: 2015/09/10 18:02 by jbill
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