Table Saw Blade Height

By Robert Robillard on Workshop tips

What is the correct table saw blade height?

The old school of thought was to keep the blade as low as possible for the cutting operation. I was taught this table saw blade height method in shop class. Since then I have always tried to keep the saw blade set approximately 1/8 to 1/4″ above the wood being cut.

New safety thoughts:

There are two competing schools of thought when it comes to properly setting the height of the blade for sawing.
The first is what I was taught: Having the blade set low keeps the cutting edge of the saw blade at a minimum and could possible help prevent the loss of a finger in case of a sawing accident.
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The other, competing view is that the saw functions at its best when set high above the wood being cut. When the angle of the blade teeth arc relative to the top surface of the workpiece, facilitating chip removal and shortening the overall distance through which the teeth cut through the wood.

Proponents of the higher blade height believe that a low blade height will increase heat buildup and drag on the motor. We all know that heat is bad for the blade, and drag on the motor makes it work harder, all of this increases the likely hood of the wood kicking back at the user.

My Opinion:

Everybody wants to know the correct blade height, but there really isn’t any. Different cuts operations often require different saw blade heights.

Test it for yourself. The cleanest and most efficient cuts occur with the blade raised to its maximum height but not many people, myself included are willing to trade this for safety. Too high a height increases the risk of a body part contacting the blade.

I prefer to keep the saw blade lower and use a block plane to clean the saw cut marks.

A reasonable compromise is probably somewhere in between the two schools of thought. A saw blade height of 1″ to 1.5″ showing above the wood being cut is a nice compromise.

What height do you use?

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About the author

Robert Robillard

Carpenter / Remodeler / Editor

Rob Robillard is “The Concord Carpenter” Rob is a builder, general contractor, carpenter, woodworker, and editor of Concord Carpenter and ToolBoxBuzz As a General Contractor and carpenter, Rob owns and operates Concord Carpenter LLC. A full-service remodeling and construction company. Rob is a recognized leader in home building best practices and a source for how-to information for building professionals. On this website, Rob covers all aspects of home construction, building science, home improvement, woodworking, remodeling, and some of the best product and tool reviews. Rob is in charge of our Tool and Product Review series - Concord Carpenter Videos where we post all of our tool reviews and video tutorials. Rob approaches remodeling and building construction with a pragmatic and problem-solving approach. He enjoys using his knowledge and experience to help and educate building professionals as well as DIYers on best practices in the construction and remodeling industry. He's a strong advocate for "raising the bar" in the construction trades and promoting the trades to youth. #BeAMentor #Green2Great Craftsmanship, quality, and pride guide his journey on this channel The Concord Carpenter's motto: "Well done is better than well said!" : Read more about Rob

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