Repair & Care
Table saws are often used on jobs that may require more rip cutting along the sides of hardwood planks. My opinion is they are a handy tool if you plan on a larger installation that runs continuously from one room to another. Continuous meaning the installation is not broken up with trim moldings commonly found in laminate floor installation specifications.
If you're handling a glued or nailed/stapled floor there is no need for breaking up the installation, although it will be more difficult to do it the right way. In the illustration shown below I've taken a simple diagram showing this effect. The center area is our starting point and considered a hallway. I prefer this as the starting point as it will be the focal point when coming through the front door (bottom center).
Typically you want to center the boards so each wall will receive the same width board. Our example is a 36 inch hallway using 5" wide plank boards. The diagram isn't perfect science but only getting the point across. Once the area is complete and the installation moves left or right into other rooms, boards will not fall into place as a single 5" wide plank. This is where the table saw is likely to come into play at all numbered areas.
Other uses for the table saw include creating custom trim moldings if you're handling an unfinished installation that gets sanded and finished on site. The table saw should not be used for end cuts on flooring with the T-square included. They are very susceptible to binding with the blade and wood causing kickback; creating a dangerous situation.
What's the difference between a bench table saw and an ordinary table saw?
Bench saws are more portable, allowing easier movement from one location to another. Many installers simply do cutting work on the floor itself, but it does not rule out a stand at an additional cost shown above. Ordinary table saws are much larger; possibly something you've seen in high school wood shop if you're an old timer like me. Some are portable, but not necessary for this kind of work.
The advantage of using table saws also includes making the same size rip cut if you have several boards with the same measurements along parallel wall lines. The fence guiding system can be set up for any size rip cut along the length of the boards.
What kind of table saw to buy? Once again as mentioned in our articles on jig saws and miter saws it may depend on what type of hardwood you are cutting and what kind of money you want to invest. Many of the power tools mentioned can also be rented at home improvement centers. Rates run four or 24 hour periods. However, if you keep it too long your rental cost sometimes pays for the cost of a new saw.
What kind of blade to use?
All power tools sold these days come with their own saw blades. It's been awhile since I looked into it, but lower priced tools often have lower quality blades. Meaning they will not last long unless you're cutting soft woods in the likes of pine. It's best to find what kind comes with the package.
With table saws, the preference is a thin kerf (thickness) blade. Thin kerf blades cut through hardwood more easily, placing less strain on the saw and operator. For this kind of work, I rarely buy an additional blade sold for table saws because they're expensive and can wear out quickly, especially if you're doing laminate floors.
Most table saw blades are 10 inch diameter with some smaller. It is not a requirement to use the same sized saw blade as long as the arbor (the connecting blade mechanism) is the same size. Pick up some DeWalt 7 1/4" circular saw blades for ten bucks and you're all set.
This applies to all power tools. Always keep the work area unobstructed and organized. With table saws, always try to keep the blade adjustment height to a minimum or high enough to cut through the material. This will cut down on serious injury if hands or fingers get in the way of cutting.