Its low price and small footprint make a job-site saw a good first tablesaw. These tips, jigs, and accessories turn your go-anywhere tablesaw into a go-to machine.
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Photo of tables and outfeed stand

A little tuning goes a long way

Photo of measuring bad for parallel with t square
To check for parallelism, use a combination square (with the saw unplugged) to measure from the miter slot to the same tooth at the front and rear of its rotation. If you see a gap, adjust the blade/arbor assembly until the measurements are equal. Check your owner's manual for details on making the adjustment. Then repeat this process for aligning the rip fence.
Photo of measuring several locations along a tablesaw blade

Any tablesaw must be set up accurately for safety and precision. That starts by aligning the blade and rip fence parallel to the miter-gauge slots (photos, above). Benchtop/job-site saws lack the robust induction motors of stationary saws, so use thin-kerf blades to reduce strain on the motor. Full-kerf blades typically cut a 1⁄8"-wide kerf, so get one that measures 3⁄32" or thinner.

Photo of applying paste wax to tables top
Coat your saw's top with paste wax (available at hardware stores and home centers) or a dry lubricant, such as Bostik GlideCote, to reduce friction. For a top with a rough texture, sand it with 150- and 220-grit abrasive to smooth it first.

Help workpieces glide smoothly across your saw's top (photo, above) to reduce the chance of burning or hang-ups.

Photo of plastic shroud around tables blade
A plastic shroud around the blade channels dust directly to the port below, where a shop vacuum can suck it out.

Keep your workspace (and lungs) cleaner by connecting your saw to a shop vacuum. Most tablesaws in this class come with a 2-1⁄2"-diameter dust port (photo, above).

No clearance is a good thing

Photo of riving knife on tablesaw
When you make a zero-clearance insert, cut a slot for the riving knife, and undercut the bottom face as needed so the top face sits flush with the tabletop. Lower the blade fully, and slide the fence over one edge of the insert to hold it down. Turn the power on, and raise the blade to cut through the insert.
Photo of hardboard set against fence
Or, to create a temporary zero-clearance cover, set the fence to the desired width, slide a sheet of 1⁄4" hardboard against it, and secure it to the saw's top with double-faced tape. Raise the spinning blade to cut the slot. (If your saw has a riving knife, cut a clearance slot for it before adhering the hardboard to the saw top.)

The wide slot in your saw's factory-supplied insert plate accommodates a full range of blade tilt angles, but doesn't support the wood around the blade, leading to tear-out.  Adding a zero-clearance insert plate provides complete support for the workpiece. You can buy zero-clearance inserts for some saws, but making your own means you always have one on hand (photos, above).

Accessorize your saw

Whether store-bought or shop-made, these products add more functionality.

Phon tablesawto of auxiliary fence o
An auxiliary fence provides longer workpiece support, zero-clearance chip-out protection at the point of cut, and space to attach stops for repeated cuts to the same length.

A tablesaw needs a dependable miter gauge for making accurate crosscuts and miters. If your saw's factory-supplied miter gauge works well, improve its support by adding an auxiliary fence (photo, above).

Photo of gauges compared side by side
Aftermarket miter gauges typically provide lock-in stops or detents for common angles. They provide screw holes for mounting an auxiliary fence, and adjusters on the bar to help achieve a wobble-free fit in the slot.

Very few of these gauges provide screw-mounting holes or slots, so drill your own holes, or attach the auxiliary fence with double-faced tape instead. But if your miter gauge comes up short, upgrade to an aftermarket model (photo, above).

Photo of stacked dado insert
A stacked-dado set requires more side-to-side clearance than the standard insert plate provides. Purchase a dado insert as an accessory or make your own.

 A stacked-dado set cuts rabbets, dadoes, and grooves quickly. Most saws in this class accommodate a dado stack up to 1⁄2" wide, so for wider channels you'll have to overlap multiple cuts. We recommend using a dado set 6" in diameter because it won't stress the motor as much as the additional mass of an 8" set. And with a dado set you'll also need a dado insert plate (photo, above). Manufacturers typically offer them as an accessory, or you can make your own, gaining zero-clearance support in the process.

Photo mad pushing tablesaw on rolling stand
When you collapse a saw's stand, you gain the ability to wheel it around the shop. And it takes up less floor space when stored in its collapsed mode.

You certainly can use one of these tablesaws on your workbench or other tool stand with great results. But a collapsible stand, often sold with the saw or as an accessory, improves portability and storage (photo, above).

Long boards or sheet goods get unwieldy when cutting on a small tablesaw. Outfeed support, in the form of a store-bought or shop-made stand (opening photo) or table, helps steady and balance these workpieces. As a bonus, use it with additional machines, such as the bandsaw, planer, drill press, or mitersaw.

Photo of weatherboard in front of tablesaw blade
To ensure a consistent rip width, position a featherboard in front of the blade so it pushes the workpiece snugly against the rip fence.

A featherboard or similar hold-down/hold-in presses a workpiece against the rip fence (photo, above) or tabletop (when mounted on the fence) to prevent the piece from shifting during a cut. Most come with anchors for mounting in the miter slot and rip-fence T-slot. Buy these in pairs; there will come times when you need a featherboard in the miter slot and on the fence.

Photo off MJ Splitter on tablesaw
The MJ Splitter (microjig.com) mounts to the factory insert plate or a shop-made insert. The included template helps you drill mounting holes perfectly in line with the blade. Although this splitter won't rise and fall with the blade, it still prevents kickback by keeping the kerf from closing on the blade.

The splitter/riving knife on your saw's blade-guard assembly not only helps protect you from injury, but also prevents kickback by preventing the workpiece from drifting into the rear of the blade, where it could be picked up and rocketed back at you. If you remove the guard and antikickback pawls, the riving knife moves up and down with the blade. If your saw did not come with a riving knife—all saws manufactured after 2012 do—add a fixed one to the throat insert with a simple kit (photo, above).

Jigs make jobs easier

Some tasks require more assistance than the rip fence or miter gauge can provide. For these jobs, a set of shop-made jigs gets the job done.

Photo of crosscut-sled on tablesaw
This crosscut-sled system expands the tabletop and nearly doubles your saw's crosscut capacity, compared to using the miter gauge alone.
Photo of small sled and work piece on tablesaw
This scaled-down sled holds small workpieces so you can make crosscuts and keep your hands away from the blade. A movable stop lets you cut multiple pieces to equal length.

Every woodworker should own a crosscutting sled, whether shop-made or purchased. With one you can crosscut workpieces wider than possible with a miter gauge (photo, above top) or too small to handle safely (photo, above bottom).

Photo of miter slid runners on tablesaw
Dual miter-slot runners eliminate any wiggle as you cut a 45° miter. A stop that fits in either arm of the sled helps you cut pieces to identical length.

And to cut perfect 45° miters, build a miter sled, such as the one shown in (photo, above).

Photo of taper sled on tablesaw
Fit the sled against the blade and lock the rip fence against the opposite edge. Then clamp the workpiece with the taper's entry and exit points aligned with the sled's edge and make the cut. Repeat for all tapers.

Cutting long tapers on any tablesaw requires a jig to carry the workpiece. Rather than buying a pricey tapering sled, make this simple version (photo, above).