Table Saw: The Missing Shop Manual - Book Review
by J. Norman Reid
This little book—a good-size to keep handy in the woodshop—is exactly what its title says: the missing table saw shop manual. In less space than many power tool manuals require, this book manages to cover everything you need to know about setting up and using your table saw safely, effectively and accurately.
The book starts with an excellent section on setting up and adjusting the saw for accuracy and peak performance and it lays out a good maintenance routine. While you may need to refer to your saw's owner's manual for the location of adjustment screws and the like, most of what you need to know is presented here.
Most of the book focuses on actually using the saw in woodworking. There is good treatment of making all kinds of cuts effectively and safely, including rip cuts, crosscuts, angles, bevels, dadoes, rabbets and grooves. This is supplemented by a review of specialized joinery that can be done on the table saw—half lap joints, box joints and bridle joints. Making moldings and cutting coves is covered as well.
The book's coverage doesn't stop with the saw itself. An important section addresses building a variety of work supports, such as roller stands, an extension table, a table for a benchtop table saw and an outfeed table.
The book's emphasis throughout is on building accessories for yourself rather than buying them. This is enhanced with a useful section on table saw jigs. These include a board-straightening jig, tapering jig, crosscut jig, miter jig, panel-raising jig, cove-cutting jig, tenoning jig and an adjustable tenoning jig. Elsewhere you'll find a plan for a shopbuilt blade height gauge and other accessories that will help you get the most and best from your saw.
The book's coverage extends to about all you'll need to know to keep your tablesaw in top condition and get the most workmanlike results from it. It is written in a clear, straight-to-the-point fashion. Though I'm an experienced table saw user, I learned some things to use in my own shop. My only quibble is a small one--the tapering jig will cut at only a fixed taper angle, when a jig that allows a variety of angles would have been more useful.
For experienced woodworkers, this little book is a helpful review and useful shop companion. If you're just getting started in woodworking and are new to the table saw, don't start without this book.
Purchase your own copy of
Table Saw: The Missing Shop Manual
for 33% off for June 2013!
The author is a woodworker, writer and photographer living in Delaplane, Virginia, in the
foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains with his wife, four cats and a woodshop full of
power and hand tools.
He can be reached by email at