Tom Silva's Techniques

Basic Use
•Take a stable stance, and clear away scraps of wood that could upset your footing.

•Wear safety glasses.

•Hold the material tight to the fence and down against the table with one hand, and work the saw with the other.

•Hold the material tight to the fence and down against the table with one hand, and work the saw with the other.

•Push the saw blade steadily down into the wood.

• With a saw that slides, pull it all the way forward before you lower it into the wood and push to cut so the saw's force works with you to press the wood in and down. Never pull the blade through the wood.

Cutting Wide Boards
•When the piece you're cutting is too wide for the saw but still less than twice the width, you can cut it in two passes. Carefully cut the piece as far as the blade will reach, then flip it over and repeat the cut from the opposite edge.

Cutting Several Pieces the Same Length
•For balusters, studs, and other lumber that has to be cut to equal lengths, fasten a stop block to the fence.

• Secure the block to the fence with screws or, better yet, adjustable locking pliers, which tighten easily and hold securely.

• Position the stop block slightly above the table surface to make room for sawdust to escape. "Otherwise, if it packs up in there, your cuts won't be accurate," Tom says.

• Butt each piece of wood against the block to cut uniform lengths. Be sure to hold down the workpiece on the block side of the blade, not on the other side.

Cutting Miters and Bevels
•When cutting compound miters on crown molding, mark not only the point of the miter (where the wood meets the corner) but also the direction of the cut. "You don't have to lay it out with a ruler, just sketch a line showing which way it goes," Tom explains. Then, when you set up for the cut, even if you have to turn the wood upside down, you'll know what has to happen.



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