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Table Saw Blade Height

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.

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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