A simple push stick comes standard with most saws. If you don’t have a push stick, it’s easy to improvise one by cutting a strip of plywood with a notch cut into one end that will enable you to press the wood down as you feed it through with the stick. While push sticks are very common, they are not the best tool for the job. This is because they don’t give you much directional control. You can ask any experienced carpenter and they’ll tell you that a push handle is far superior. A push handle allows you to press down on the wood that you’re cutting with the force of your hand, giving you much better control.
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First off, consider how often you’ll put your table saw to use. If you work in the fields of contracting or carpentry, there’s a chance you’ll be using your new machine pretty often—so you may as well invest in a more expensive, heavy-duty table saw that’s sure to last longer than the average model. On the other hand, hobbyists and weekend woodworkers won’t need a pricey piece of machinery—a more compact and inexpensive model should do just fine, especially if you’re only working on smaller projects like birdhouses and DIY wooden models.
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Often called benchtop, jobsite, or worksite saws, portable table saws are typically made of lightweight materials, such as an aluminum table top, so that they’re easy to move from place to place. Sometimes they’ll have wheels attached to make shifting them around even easier. The motors on portable saws are also much smaller than on other types of table saws, and are typically less powerful.
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Along with thinking about how the table saw will be used now, it is important to also consider how you will be using it in the future. Will your usage increase or decrease? Many woodworkers may turn a hobby into a fulltime profession if they are talented at what they do. Why are these considerations important? Because they will give you better insight into the kind of money you should spend on your table. If you are going to go into business for yourself in a year or two, spending the money for a high-quality table now is a good idea. It will save you from having to buy another table in the future to accommodate your new needs as a business rather than just a hobbyist.