Table Saw Books

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Forum topic by Ezra posted 06-04-2008 11:21 PM 4978 views 0 times favorited 5 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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52 posts in 4230 days

06-04-2008 11:21 PM

I am looking for recommendations on the best table saw book that people may own or have read. I am new to woodworking and am looking for the most comprehensive book that addresses everything from set-up to safety. I have a brand new Ridgid TS 3650 and have to admit I haven’t used it yet as I am a bit intimidated by stories of kickback etc I have read. I have Bill Hylton’s Router Book so I am looking for something of that ilk regarding table saws.

-- Ezra in Brew City

5 replies so far

View johnjoiner's profile


160 posts in 4435 days

#1 posted 06-05-2008 03:43 AM

Hi Ezra.

Table Saw Techniques by Roger Cliffe is a classic. I’m sure many of the others are good too. But I haven’t looked at them.

-- johnjoiner

View Loren's profile


10477 posts in 4190 days

#2 posted 06-06-2008 12:52 AM

There are a bunch of books. The one I have is quite
old and the writing is sort of dry… but it does emphasize
building your own jigs because at the time there wasn’t
a lot of aftermarket stuff available. I think it’s by R.J.
Christoforo – the dean of workshop writers in the 1960s.

I never bought the book “Table Saw Magic” by Jim Tolpin
but I have a couple of his other books and he always
writes with a lot of common sense informed by many years
of professional experience in woodworking.

“Mastering Woodworking Machinery” by Marc Duginske
is another good resource. It covers how to align tools
and make accurate jigs to get professional results in the
most demanding work – how to cut dovetails on the table
saw for instance.

The Ridgid is said to be an excellent saw. You may want to
replace the trunnion bolts with higher-grade bolts and lock
washers. I don’t remember Bolt terminology offhand… but
if you change out the galvanized ones for the gold-colored
ones with more lines on the bolt-heads you’ll be making
an improvement (if memory serves).

Kickback from a contractor’s saw… well, I have had it happen
and it hurts but it’s not likely to break any bones. I’ve
been hit in the stomach a couple of times. The 1.5 HP
motor on that saw isn’t nearly as dangerous as the 5 HP
motor on a big 14” cabinet saw.

If you are freaked out about tablesaw safety (and maybe
you should be – it’s mostly complacent pros who get hurt
the worst) – get a knee switch or even one on the floor
you can trip with your foot.

View jcees's profile


1078 posts in 4341 days

#3 posted 06-06-2008 12:58 AM

“Tablesaw Magic” by Jim Tolpin, you’ll be glad you did. “The Tablesaw Book” by Kelly Mehler is fine too. The latter also has a great video/DVD on “Mastering The Tablesaw”, good stuff.

As to being intimidated, you should be. The tablesaw can remove your finger faster than you can blink. So don’t blink! I haven’t suffered any lasting damage from any of my power tools I believe because I always ask myself one question before firing one up, “Where are my fingers?”


-- When one tugs at a single thing in nature, he finds it attached to the rest of the world. -- John Muir

View Rob 's profile


216 posts in 4210 days

#4 posted 06-06-2008 01:37 AM

I’ve read Roger Cliffe and Jim Toplin and I’ve re-borrowed the latter from the library a few times if that tells you anything. Toplin tells you how to get a lot of things done on the TS that you would think you would need other tools for (resawing, jointing, cutting circles etc.) It would be a good resource to have on hand. Oh and he covers more than jigs; he gives lots of info on maintenance and basic practise as well. Two thumbs up from me!

View Ezra's profile


52 posts in 4230 days

#5 posted 06-06-2008 02:36 AM

Thanks alot for the feedback. I have heard of Toplin’s book and Mehler’s before, but wanted to see if there was one preferred over the other.

-- Ezra in Brew City

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