Why is my table saw bogging down?


Table saws are fantastic power tools to own and use for a variety of projects and reasons. However, you may start noticing your table saw slowing down or losing power with time and use. There can be myriad reasons for this. So why is your table saw bogging down?

The most common reason for table saws bogging down is blade or power related. If you have not sharpened or replaced your saw blade, try this first, as it can be a relatively easy method to fix a bogged down saw. If you moved your table saw recently and connected it to a new power source, make sure that the extension cord or power source is compatible and rated correctly for your table saw.

A bogged-down table saw can be a real hindrance to any DIYer’s work process. If neither of the solutions mentioned above has solved your table saw issues, read on to discover additional causes and solutions. We will also discuss troubleshooting methods to determine precisely what the problem might be and how to go about fixing them. Remember, however, it is always better to contact the retailer or manufacturer for professional repair services in the event of complicated electrical or mechanical issues.

Reasons, why your table saw is bogging down

As mentioned above, there can be a wide variety of causes for your table saw bogging down. Below we will discuss the most common causes, along with some of the more unlikely issues that may be plaguing your table saw. For both, we will recommend tips, tricks, and solutions that can prevent or stop your table saw from bogging down.

The wood you are attempting to saw is pinching the blade

This usually happens when your table saw is missing its riving knife accessory. Some woodworkers and DIYers remove the riving knife for particular reasons, like making dado cuts or using a smaller blade. However, the riving knife has a few essential functions that can protect you and solve your blade pinching problem.

First off, the riving knife is there to protect you from kickback, a widespread occurrence on a table saw that can put your life in dangerOpens in a new tab.. Secondly, the riving knife prevents the wood from pinching the blade as it cuts through it by keeping the wood divided in two.

You are overfeeding your table saw

Overfeeding refers to forcing a piece of lumber or wood through your table saw blade at too rapid a pace. This will cause the blade to bog down, the motor to scream, and a violent kickback. Going slower is better when using table saws as you can control the cut better while maintaining a better degree of precision.

A good gauge of how much pressure to apply when cutting wood is to be aware of its grain structure. Hardwood requires you to take your time and move at a slower pace to prevent bogging down. Softer woods can be carefully fed with a bit more speed.

You are using the wrong type of blade

This is a common mistake amongst novice woodworkers and newer DIYers. We will discuss four different types of table saw blades with three different tooth styles, and each has a specific purpose and function. The different tooth types are ATB or Alternating Top Bevel, FTG or Flat Top Grind, TCG, or Triple Chip Grind.  Below you will find the different blade types and their recommended uses.

Ripping Blades

This type of blade will Remove large amounts of material from the grain of lumber or wood. They commonly have a smaller amount of teeth styled in FTG or flat top ground on the blade, with larger gaps or gullets in between.

The reason behind the more significant gaps is to facilitate the removal of larger pieces of material with each pass of the blade’s teeth. Ripping blades typically have 20-30 teeth and make faster cuts. 

Cross-Cutting Blades

Cross-cutting blades are commonly used for more defined and accurate cuts. For this reason, the blade has more alternating top beveled teeth, and the gullets or gaps between teeth are smaller. This also means that the amount of material the cross-cutting blade removes will be a lot less than with a ripping blade.

Cross-cutting blades can have up to 90 or more teeth than a regular ripping blade. This also means that you have to be more careful when feeding wood through the table saw as the blades heat up faster and bog down quicker if the recommended load of material is exceeded.

Combination Blades

Combination blades bring the best of both ripping blades and cross-cutting blades to the table saw. Most are considered the best everyday use blades when it comes to table saws in general.

These types of blades usually have between 45-90 teeth in groups of five between each gullet. Four of the five teeth are alternating top bevel teeth, while the last tooth is flat top ground.

They are neither great nor awful at ripping and cross-cutting but are considered a good middle ground for when both are needed for small projects.

Composite Blades

Composite blades are specialized blades made for cutting veneered plywood, medium-density fiberboards, or melamine. These blades typically have more alternating top beveled teeth in the range of 60 to 80 per blade.

This is to ensure that the amount of splintering and chipping is minimalized when cutting highly anti-ferrous materials. They are handy for making cabinets or when pursuing cosmetically sensitive projects. These blades are usually made from specific metals like high-density carbide but should not be used on more rigid ferrous materials.

The transmission belt of your table saw is slipping, causing the blade to bog down

This might sound disastrous, but it can be easily diagnosed and fixed. The best method for this is to consult your table saw’s manual to see where the drive belt is located. Once you have located the drive belt, inspect the quality and state of the belt. If the belt looks like it’s about to fall apart, you have found your problem.

To replace the belt, you can order the part from the manufacturer or do a little research and opt for a segmented link belt if possible. These belts generally last longer and are easier to install in line with the correct tension requirements.

Your table saw blade keeps bogging down because of accumulated sawdust and splinters

This happens more than anyone likes to admit and is a widespread problem that often gets overlooked. Not many DIYers or woodworkers have dust collectors in their workrooms, which causes sawdust and dust to collect on and in their power tools.

When the sawdust mixes with the grease or oil located in your table saw, it can become a gunky mess that will impede your table’s cutting ability. A simple solution to this is either connecting a vacuum cleaner to your table saw or vacuuming your saw after use to prevent sawdust build-up.

The carbon brushes on your table saw motor needs to be replaced

Worn-out brushes can cause the motor on a table saw to run weakly or not turn on at all. As such, this part needs to be replaced now and again. Primarily if you use your table saw regularly.

This might seem intimidating, but depending on your skill level, it can be relatively straightforward. If you have any doubts, the best practice is to enroll a professional or the manufacturer’s help.

The drive motor on your table saw is dying

The drive motor is the part of your table saw that makes the blade spin. Although uncommon, it does happen that you outlast your table saw drive motor. Particularly if your table saw sees regular use or if it’s an older model. Most users opt to replace the saw complete in this event. However, if you are willing and skilled enough to do the work, you can replace the drive motor yourself. Alternatively, we recommend you have a professional do it to avoid future issues.

Conclusion

There are many causes for your table saw to bog down and lose power. Most of them are easily fixed or preventable by regular maintenance and cleaning your workplace. There are instances where you will need to contact the manufacturer or a professional to fix your table saw, mainly when repairing or replacing mechanical or electrical parts. Ensuring that you use the correct accessories like a riving knife and the correct corresponding blades for cutting materials will help prevent your table saw from bogging down.

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