Additionally, the bevel dial is accurate to within ¼ of a degree, making ultra-precise angle cuts easily repeatable. The base of the 36-L552 is also constructed of solid cast-iron, adding balance and stability even when cutting through the toughest hardwood. An aggressive blade guard and splitter design also helps prevent both accidental contact with the blade and pinching or kickback from the kerf even on extended cuts.
The throat plate is the removable piece surrounding the blade that sits flush with the table. Removing it gives you the ability to access the blade for removal or riving knife adjustments. The narrower the blade clearance the better for two reasons. First, it helps keep material from falling into the blade area or lodging between the blade and throat plate. Second, it gives you material support very close to the cut to help reduce tearout as the blade exits the cut.
In order to measure the blade speed we used a digital laser non-contact tachometer. A piece of reflective tape was adhered to each saw blade just behind the carbide tooth, so that the tape would be just above the top of the wood cutting surface, allowing us to capture the blade speed during the cuts. We used a power-feeder to ensure that all the material was pushed through each saw at the same feed rate. In the photo above you can see our test set-up with the power feeder, a decibel meter to the left, the digital tachometer in the center, and the amp meter on the right. If you look really closely at the saw blade, the piece of reflective tape is to the left side of the blade near the power feeder.
The most critical safety feature on a table saw is the blade guard. It’s all that separates your fingers from the rapidly rotating blade. You need this to be transparent or it will make measuring awkward. The last thing you want is to be tempted to remove an unfit guard. Check closely for a clear, flexible blade guard. Safety is paramount when operating a table saw.
I decided to do the very same thing a while back. I thought it would take a few days to figure out everything about table saws and then just buy one. I was dead wrong. While table saws are simple in their construction, they are complex because there are so many factors, so many aspects, and so many different features to consider. After spending a large amount of time doing my homework, I decided to share what I learned with you, in the shape of table saw reviews and informational articles. Before you actually go and read them, let me take you on a quick walk through the website so you know what there is and where you can find it.