As many of us build a tool arsenal that is primarily intended for working with wood, we occasionally come across projects involving metal. Many of these could benefit from the speed and precision of our woodshop equipment, but you might be unsure if it’s safe to work metal with your woodworking tools.
One of the common questions that comes up is whether cutting aluminum with a table saw is safe. Thankfully, the answer is a qualified yes. Non-ferrous metals such as aluminum can be cut safely on a table saw as long as a few precautions are taken.
Blade selection. Cutting aluminum with a table saw requires a blade designated specifically for cutting non-ferrous metals. Choosing the right blade is important because you want to produce the cleanest cut possible on metal, without requiring excessive cleanup.
Lubrication. When you are cutting aluminum with a table saw, it is important to provide lubrication so that the aluminum doesn’t stick to your saw blade.
Dust collection. Because there is chance that the aluminum could become quite hot when cutting it, it is a good idea to leave your dust collection system turned off for this operation so that a hot piece of aluminum doesn’t land in your dust barrel and ignite a dangerous fire.
When cutting aluminum with a table saw, be sure to follow all of the standard rules for table saw safety, such as wearing safety glasses and hearing protection, standing out of the line of kickback fire, refraining from wearing jewelry, etc.
Now that you’re familiar with cutting aluminum with a table saw, you can find creative ways to incorporate this and other non-ferrous materials into your woodworking projects to make them more beautiful as well as offer some additional strength.