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Byrnes Table Saw Tips (requested)

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Hi all,


I have decided I am not using my table saw particularly well and was wondering whether anyone could give practical reasons for changes/improvements. Some of the issues are due to bad practice on my part that i have recognised but with a few I am not sure of the best way to adjust too best practice.


I - The first is that I have tended to use both fence and mitre (incorrectly assuming this meant more accuracy). On re-reading the instruction guide recently I noticed it said use one or the other but never both. Here I am merely curious as to the logic and what damaging effects this could cause thougb probably explains the blade locks I get frequently enough.


II - The second is that I have some difficulties with the blades. I seem to settle (consistently) on a slitter blade (so thin) as when I attach a more normal wood curring blade it does not cut nearly so nicely. It might be that I am not secuting the blade correctly which might explain this.. Anyway using the slitter blade I tend to get a lot of blade 'stick' which I guess is due to overheating/inability of the blade to extract the wood shavings it is cutting and the overheating causing the blade to flex. Are there any recommended blade types or tips to making a better job of attaching them in the first place. In another thread I noticed some comments on the line of 'attach a steel ruler to the fence just prior to the central point of the blade so that the wood can deviate more freely' - but this seems an extreme solutuion and I would prefer to utilize the saw correctly to avoid this if I can. I have also seen comments that perhaps the fence is not 'set' but the other 'bad' use points probably explain this better so I fully expect this to be how I use it as opposed to the machine itself.


III - When looking at the instructions I also (re) noticed the - tighten the forward locking bolts of the fence 'first' - I cannot  guarentee I have always done this but will in future and this might also explain some of the blade sticking which is dangerous beyond anything else. I am curious as to why this makes a difference.


IV - Changing blades - I tend to find this difficult and the wrench on the locking bolt sometimes gets 'stuck'. I wonder now if I am securing the bolt on the blade with too much force (I am purchasing some more imperial wrenches to ensure the fit is correct as my 'pick a wrench and see if it fits' approach might cause some slight gaps especially if its a metric wrench close in size to the imperial wrench sizes required 3/8 and 11/16 respectively )



Anyway for all those table saw experts I would be delighted with any explanations/improvements advice. This saw is a wonderful piece of kit but also the one I am most wary of for 'danger' and taking practical steps to do things correctly /better will both reduce (but never eliminate) that danger and ensure the quality of work produced improves.





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One wants as thin a kerf as can be had, and a smooth a surface.  This points to using a thin slitting blade whose teeth have no set.

The problem comes from the physics of this process.  The blade is removing wood.  If the gullet of each tooth fills with wood when at the top of the stock being cut it cannot remove any more wood.  What is left is friction and heat.  I do not remember the exact number, but it is something like 4-6 teeth in contact with the stock at any one time.  Too many fine teeth,  gullet fill and motor strain and heat and binding.  Too few teeth and there is chatter or some stability problem.  The blade TPI needs to be matched to the stock thickness.  There is a tech PDF here that covers blade choice.

Fence and miter gauge together puts force on the stock from two competing directions.  Twist and torque produces side pressure on the blade.  I foresee a kickback problem that is worse than normal, as well as a binding problem wanting to stop the blade.

A sliding table is the solution to whatever problem is wanting you to use the two together.

Jim's new AL table is the RR choice,  but a thin synthetic floor with pieces riding in the two channels and a fence at both the front and back edge of the floor that is higher than the blade can rise made from scrap will do the job. An addition at the bottom fence to cover the blade as it comes thru is a very, very good idea.

Edited by Jaager
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Joss; the above solutions should help a great deal.  I agree that the sliding table would help  but you should be able to use the saw correctly without one.


Not sure how you’re using the saw but using both the miter and the fence at the same time can cause serious kickback if there isn’t proper clearance between the fence and the blade.


Make sure the fence is equal distance at the front of table and the rear using the left miter slot as the guide. Also check      

thr distance from the front and back of the blade to the fence. They should be equal. If the measurement at the back is les than the front this may cause burn marks on the wood  or serious kickback. I’m sure someone can explain this better than me.


You may want to consider using a push-stick when ripping.


Also, I always use a face mask and hearing protection.


Not sure if you hook-up a vacuum to the dust port. This MAY reduce blade clogging.


There are several good books available that cover table saw basics and safety. There may also be some videos available. I’d also check utube.


I’ve never heard of putting a ruler on the fence and it scares the hell out of me.


i hope this helps. My typing on my phone is terrible.

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One more point:  a table saw is - any size -  not an optimal choice of tool for ripping stock when simulating what a mill does to produce lumber.  The tool for this is a bandsaw, but it needs to be big enough and powerful enough to handle the job.  With its limited throat depth,  a bandsaw gets beat by a table saw for most cross cutting.  For turning a log into planks, or planks into model size thickness stock, there is no contest in efficiency, ease or safety between  a bandsaw and a table saw.   With table saws  I started with a 6.5 inch  Sears and have a 10 inch Ryobi  as well as a Jarmac 4" and a Dremel 4" ( both essentially junk ) and also a Byrnes table saw which is a superb quality machine and can't be beat for doing which it is meant to do.  

The Byrnes table saw is excellent for the final cut:  model thickness stock into planks of scale width,  or beam thickness, or keel moulded dimension, etc.

For most scales 1:48 or smaller,  these cuts are often thru thin enough stock that the finer toothed blades can do the job,  Deck beams, maybe not so much with a slitting saw.  Anyway,  getting the stock thickness to begin with,   any table saw will likely fight you. . 

A bench top 9" or 10" bandsaw will mostly frustrate you in a ripping function.  For rough scroll cutting, one of these with a 1/8" blade and a Carter Stabilizer will equal a dedicated scroll saw without the chatter.  But the blade is course with significant set - not good for close to the line cutting.  I prefer using a disk sander and sanding drum to finalize a curve shape.

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I use a mask and a dust extractor (and have several filters running) being a bit paranoid about wood dust. I also use push sticks and am very aware of the dangers of the saw.


I would like a band saw but don't have the space. On the other hand I tend to spend more on pre-planed thinner stock to avoid having anything too large to handle.


That does mean that in some circumstances the table saw has to cope with more than it should, as an example I was cutting the lid off a box at the weekend and it did not like that. The 12mm sides were no problem at all but naturally when it reached the sides it had to cope with a lot more and naturally did not cope. For that specific problem I plan on making a 90 degree jig so that the saw does not have to cope with too much wood than it wants. That's not ship modelling related naturally..


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8 hours ago, Matrim said:

III - When looking at the instructions I also (re) noticed the - tighten the forward locking bolts of the fence 'first' - I cannot  guarentee I have always done this but will in future and this might also explain some of the blade sticking which is dangerous beyond anything else. I am curious as to why this makes a difference.


Nobody has spoken to this question, so although I don't have a Byrnes table saw, I'll give it a go.


Most table saw fences share the feature that they at least try to square themselves to the table when tightening the front clamping part of the fence against the front slide rail (looks like it's a round bar on the Byrnes?).  Of course, some saws do this better than others, but from the reviews of the Byrnes on this forum I'd guess it does a pretty fair job of it.  But you need to do this first, while the outfeed end can move freely.  If you tighten the outfeed end first, you will restrain it and introduce a bit of a bind when you then tighten the front.


Just my US$0.02 worth,



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There are some fantastic resources on YouTube re table saw safety, I thoroughly recommend you have a look at them.


I have never used one, but having watched the videos and even after watching those videos I would never go near one, I am too much of a daydreamer to use one safely.


There are models out there (probably high end commercial machines) which can sense a hand coming into contact with the blade which then causes the saw to brake immediately. However its not just your hands which are in danger if you misuse these machines.

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I find a blade that spins so fast you can hardly see it tends to concentrate the mind wonderfully. 


Using the right tool for the job (correctly) makes any tools vastly more useful. On a non hospital related angle you can use a different sized screw driver on a screw and get it screwed in but if you use the exact sized screwdriver it will go in easier with less damage to the screw head. I am aiming to use the saw more like the second example. Admittedly using a mis-sized screw driver wont cause serious injury (slipping and impaling it inside an eye ball as perhaps the only contender) so the analogy is not that good....

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7 hours ago, mtaylor said:


Will this help?   It's the page on sawing tips from our former (retired) wood supplier that owned and operated HobbyMill.   I'm having a senior moment and have forgotten his name.


Byrnes Saw Operation.pdf 



Jeff Hayes is the name you’re looking for Mark. A thorough gentleman who has always been willing to share his knowledge and experience. His document is probably the best advice going for using this saw optimally.

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Because the Byrnes saw lacks a splitter or riving knife, binding and kickback is always a possibility when ripping using a zero kerf blade, something these blades are not designed to do. The procedure described by Jeff Hayes whereby the fence is set at a slight angle is one way to minimise binding. Another technique that I have used for many years is to use an auxiliary fence. This is simply a short length of aluminium angle held against the Byrnes fence using two spring clamps. The end of the aluminium is set just short of the back edge of the saw blade as shown in the following image.


This arrangement seems to work well for most straight grained timbers. Binding will still occur in difficult timber such as ebony and boxwood (Buxus). In these cases, I simply insert a wedge to relieve the pressure.


There is one other use for the auxiliary fence. If you require a number of small identical pieces to be cut from stock, simply move the fence so that it sits short of the leading edge of the saw blade. The stock is then held against the mitre attachment and slid forward into the saw. The cut pieces (mostly) accumulate beside the spinning blade.


I hope this information is of some use.


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  • 3 weeks later...

Dave that's a nice solution.  What I've done is set the front lock first, then push out the back side of the fence a bit to the right to help avoid the binding.  I believe Jim told me to do that and it works very well.  I'm wondering if another solution would be to have a shorter fence that does not run the full length of the table - I'm wondering if a fence that stops a bit past the blade would help alleviate the issue.


I have to say, first time I used the table saw and had the binding issue really freaked me out.  

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For relatively short pieces being crosscut, a sliding table works for me.  A topside hold down can be easily used what with the bottom fence.

I had already made my own before Jim provided his Rolls-Royce version.  Mine is made up of left over material.

It is ripping that I wonder about.  Is a GRR Ripper too large to use on a Byrnes saw?

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My home made sliding table showing a positive stop to the right of the blade to make repeated same size cuts.  Mine is also made from left over materials from the shop.  Not as fancy as the Byrnes model but it gets the job done.

For repeated same width cuts use an adjustable fixture to the left of the blade.  Set it to the width wanted and after each cut move the fence so the sheet is against the fixture and make repeated cuts.  This avoids the cut off piece being trapped between the blade and the fence and no push stick is required for the strip itself like it would be if cut to the right of the blade between the blade and fence.  Fixture shown is also shop made from materials on hand.




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  • 2 weeks later...

I just wanted to thank everyone that has contributed to this and the many other threads on Jim Byrnes table saw.  I have found them to be be extremely helpful and on the back of this I have taken the plunge and ordered a table saw from Jim and Donna.  These threads will no doubt make my first uses much more productive and a lot more safer too.  I hope to make some contributions once I'm up and running.

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Hi Bob I must confess that the cost of shipping to the UK is very high and then of course we have to pay import tax too. So I thought the best thing to do was order one of everything and just get it done. So I’ve basically ordered everything.  I thought that my wife would have a fit but she’s been the complete opposite. No doubt this will cost me many pairs of shoes as recompense but I’m fine with that. Wait till she finds out I want the thickness sander too!

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On ‎11‎/‎5‎/‎2018 at 11:38 AM, No Idea said:

  I thought that my wife would have a fit but she’s been the complete opposite. No doubt this will cost me many pairs of shoes as recompense but I’m fine with that. Wait till she finds out I want the thickness sander too!


Yes, I believe it is a common problem. Whenever I catch flak for buying "another tool you'll never use," I retort that, "At last count, there were more than forty pairs of shoes in your closet, most of which you will never use." And the fight is on!


I've found the best way to get away with tool purchases is to tell them that the tools were a great deal and will be worth far more when I croak than now.  It's the greed that gets 'em every time.

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  • 1 month later...

Well I'm glad to say that at last I've managed to have a go with my Bynes saw and I'm really impressed with both the quality and power of such a little saw.  I firstly read the instructions and just generally became familiar with the saw and gave the table a good clean and a coat of wax.  I also changed the plug to a UK three pin plug as it came supplied with a two pin Euro type plug.


I had three large pieces of timber which were mahogany, pear and boxwood.  I first ran each piece through to make them into manageable widths and also to make sure that the sides were parallel with each other.  I used the supplied blade for this purpose which plowed through all of the different woods with no problems what so ever.  The finish actually was surprisingly good even with this blade and with a little sanding I think you could easily use this blade for making planks; that is of course if you could afford the waste as the kerf is wide.


I then changed the blade to a slitting saw.  I fitted the .40 - 4" blade and ran this through a zero clearance insert which was very easy to do.  I fitted the 4" blade as my timber is 13mm thick and the small .30 - 3" blades would not be strong enough in my opinion to make this cut.  After a couple of trial runs with some scrap timber I set the fence to 1.6mm which again is so easy with the micrometer adjustment.  Anyway enough chat here are pictures of my first few go's at cutting planks on my new saw, I did get a little surface burning but this is my technique which will improve and not the fault of the saw.  The planks are 1150mm (3.75ft) long, 1.6mm thick and 13mm wide and are boxwood.  The final width will be 6mm so I can get two planks out of each strip.  Wow what a machine I'm extremely impressed so far!










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9 hours ago, No Idea said:

Wow what a machine I'm extremely impressed so far!

You'll find the Byrnes thickness and disk sanders are of equal quality and usefulness. Jim Byrnes's tools are masterpieces of restrained elegance in design and broad utility. It's rare to encounter a line of products with which no fault can be found, save, perhaps, that there aren't enough of them. I'd love to see him come up with a few more!

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I have proposed that he consider a sleeveless drum sanding table,that  has reversible rotation.

If a chuck with his usual precision and quality is also supplied, all manor of cutting burrs and wood eating attachments could be mounted.


Was there ever a digital read micrometer for the table saw?  One of those would be super peachy keen.


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2 hours ago, Jaager said:

Was there ever a digital read micrometer for the table saw?  One of those would be super peachy keen.


Not that I know of, but I would expect that one that would suit could be readily sourced. I've heard of cheap digital calipers being cannibalized to create similar digital readouts. That said, it seems like a lot of trouble for little advantage. I've never had a battery go dead on a mechanical micrometer, either.


If I were going to attempt it, I'd expect the easiest way to go would be to make a mount for a digital dial indicator that mounted into the table slide slot and measured the movement of the fence or work piece.

Edited by Bob Cleek
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Hi All


I've been playing with the tilting table to try and find a reliable way of setting an angle.  I've come up with this idea of using an adjustable Vee Block which seems to work quite well.  Its simple - set the angle that you want on the Vee Block and then slide it under the table.  On the first pictures I used a small piece of 19mm plywood as a parallel to space it out, and on the second example I used a steel 3-2-1 block which worked ok as well.  This could easily be clamped in place to give extra support when the saw is in use.  I've taken pictures of a simple 45 degree angle but I guess any angle could be dialled up.  What are your thoughts?  Would this make life easier for some users or not?  Edit - Sorry the pictures are not in the correct order but I guess you get the idea








Edited by No Idea
Pictures not in order
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