Q: Somewhere along my pathway of woodworking, I was told that a table saw blade should be limited to 1/8th inch above the wood being cut. In pictures in different magazines, I have seen saw blades raised as much as 2 inches above the wood. Is there a rule for this? And if so, why?
Chris Marshall: Our own master woodworker Ian Kirby sums up the issue of how high to set your blade quite well in his book The Accurate Table Saw (Cambium Press, 1998) p. 70:
“Everybody wants to know the correct blade height, but there isn’t any. Test it for yourself. Start with the gullets a little above the surface of the workpiece and make a cut. Then raise the blade to full height and cut again. Compare the two cuts and decide which is better … The cleanest and most efficient cutting occurs with the blade raised to its maximum height. However, having that much blade exposed above the workpiece might make you nervous. The correct blade height is somewhere in between. For the cleanest cut, raise the blade; if it rattles you, lower it.”