A sliding table saw is designed for making cross (perpendicular) cuts of large materials. Sliding table saws can be stand-alone machines, but are often offered as attachments to standard table saws.
Safety First, Last And Always!
Like any saw, a sliding table saw can be a dangerous tool if not handled properly. Following basic power tool safety guidelines is a great first step for a successful project.
Avoid loose clothing or loose long hair, which can easily be caught in a sliding table saw's blade. Tuck in shirts and button long sleeves. If you have long hair, tie it back or pin it up so that it is out of the way. Although it may seem counterintuitive, gloves can do more harm than good. Gloves can get caught in the blade and reduce your "feel" for how the wood is moving on the saw.
Wear safety glasses, but also ear and breathing protection. Sliding table saw generate flying debris and a lot of noise, but they also create a large amount of fine sawdust. A breathing mask or respirator is necessary to protect your lungs.
Setup And Maintenance
Make sure blades and fences are adjusted regularly to be parallel and perpendicular as required. The owner's manual that came with your sliding table saw will detail blade, fence and guide alignment.
The sliding table saw blade should be adjusted so that no more than 1/8 inch projects above the material. A blade set too high is a target for fingers and loose items.
Leave plenty of room around the sliding table saw. You'll be working with larger material, and the extra room will keep you from tripping or stumbling around the saw.
Using Your Sliding Table Saw
Start with a clean trim cut-the factory edge of most material will not be as straight as a cut from your sliding table saw. This reference cut will help square your finished piece.
An adjustable height rolling table makes loading and unloading material easier. When you can't get a helper, a rolling table is a good substitute.
When making cross cuts with your sliding table saw, never use the rip fence to guide the material. You should only use the sliding table saw's cutting guide to avoid kickback.
As your woodworking skills increase, you may decide to tackle larger or more complex projects. A 10-inch portable table saw provides a great step up from your trusty circular saw. Portable table saws bridge the gap between hand-held circular saws and full sized table saws.
Upgrading your table saw rip fence will improve the precision and consistency of your table saw.