You are here

Should I upgrade my tablesaw's motor?


I have trouble ripping thick hardwood boards with my 10" contractor-style tablesaw. Assuming the motor mount would fit, can I replace the existing 1½-hp motor with a 3-hp motor?
—Rich Clayton, Ames, Iowa


Swapping motors won’t double your saw’s cutting power. And it could cause more problems than it solves, Rich. Unlike a cabinet-style saw that’s designed to handle a 3- or 5-hp motor, there’s no guarantee any added power could be delivered to the blade by a contractor saw’s belt drive. And because the motor’s weight provides tension on the drive belt, a hefty 3-hp motor could apply more strain to the arbor bearings than they were designed to handle.

A better—and cheaper—way to boost the cutting efficiency of your saw is to rip with a blade designed for ripping. For example, replace your 40- or 50-tooth general-purpose blade with a 24-tooth ripping blade. A thin-kerf blade requires still less muscle because it takes a smaller kerf out of your stock. Thin-kerf blades can deflect in thick stock, though, so consider adding a pair of blade stiffeners even if they reduce your maximum cutting depth. With that done, make certain your saw gets sufficient electricity. If it trips a breaker under the strain of ripping thick stock, rewire the saw for 220 volts to handle the added amperage draw.

Read more about

Tip of the Day

Proportional scale makes changing dimensions easy

Changing the size of a project leads to cumbersome math at times. Say you're enlarging a piece... read more