How can I rip thick lumber on a benchtop tablesaw?
I have a 1-hp benchtop tablesaw with a 40-tooth carbide-tipped blade. When I tried to rip a 2×4, I had to feed the wood slowly to keep the saw from bogging down and tripping the breaker. But the slow feed rate made the wood smoke. Am I feeding this saw more than it can handle?
—Scott Taylor, Goddard, Kan.
There's no reason that a properly tuned and outfitted benchtop tablesaw can't easily rip 2×4s, Scott. You can do a few things to improve your saw's performance, however. First, trade out the 40-tooth blade for a 24-tooth, thin-kerf blade made for ripping. Fewer teeth make for easier chip ejection and cooler cuts. A thinner blade removes less wood, putting less strain on the motor and helping it maintain its rpm. With the blade installed, adjust it and the fence parallel to the miter slot. Burning often can be traced to a misaligned blade or fence pinching the wood.
Finally, leave that splitter and blade guard installed, as shown above. Pine 2×4s may have internal stresses that cause them to pinch the blade during rip cuts—exactly the problem your splitter was meant to cure.