A table saw is the center of a woodworking shop and the table saw blade is at the center of a table saw. table saws are an essential tool that can be used for an unlimited number of woodworking tasks.
Your table saw is a versatile piece of equipment that provides endless variety depending on the blades you use with it.
Together, the table saw and correct blade for the task at hand save you time and effort whether it’s making long vertical cuts, called rips or short angled cuts, called crosscuts.
Most table saws work with a 10-inch blade, but some of the more expensive cabinet saws employ a 12-inch blade. Either one is useful for the majority of woodworking projects.
But can a 10-inch table saw cut a 4×4?
Cutting a 4×4 with a 10-inch blade is a strong ask and you have to consider the rip capacity of your table saw, some are better than others.
Pros and Cons
There are benefits and disadvantages to anything and also to the 10- inch and 12-inch table saws. Let’s look at some of them.
The sizes 10 and 12 inches typically designate blades for table saws. However, the designation also applies to the actual size of the blade, its framework, power consumption and capabilities.
As to be expected, the 10-inch saw costs quite a bit less than the 12-inch saw. The 10-inch saw is more affordable, comes in a wider variety of styles and is more easily available.
For the hobbyist, the casual woodworker and small workshop the 10-inch saw is more than adequate. It’s lighter than the 12-inch saw and runs on less power.
Most 10-inch saws run on 110 power supply while the 12-inch saw typically runs on 220 volts.
Accessories or Lack Thereof
In some sense, you could call the 12-inch blade the poor cousin of the two as it comes without all the accessories available for the 10-inch blades, like Tenon jigs. Twelve-inch blades are also harder to find.
The availability of accessories for 10-inch blades is much better. You can find an almost exhaustive range of saw blades for 10-inch saws at just about hardware store or lumberyard.
One major downside to owning a 12-inch table saw is finding good quality blades. The local hardware outlet usually only stock thin-kerf blades geared toward miter saws.
But the 12-inch makes up for that in pure force of power. It is heavy and large, so it’s better suited to cutting large pieces of wood and plywood.
Due to its cast iron body, the 12-inch is more stable to use when working with heavy or large pieces lumber.
But the throat plate on a 12-inch saw is farther from your body, which makes it uncomfortable for many people to work with
The 12-inch table saw is a powerful tool suitable for industrial purposes. The extra blade height and extra power allows it to slice through large, thick sheets of lumber easily.
The 10-inch saw is the popular choice – most people work with one and might acquire a 12-inch saw in due time.
One thing is for sure though, the 12-inch will outlast any 10-inch saw in a year of Sundays. It will do the heavy work for you year in and year out.
In addition, it comes with special, usually magnetic switches that perform better than traditional switches.
A Look at the Actual Blade
While it’s true that 12-inch saws cut smoother due to the increased number of teeth and its stability, none of that would mean much if you disregard the importance of the quality and finish of the blade.
The advantage of the bigger size blade diminishes with poor quality and as mentioned before, you have to search to find good quality 12-inch blades.
Can a 10” Saw Cut 4 x 4” Wood or Will Only a 12” Saw Do the Job?
As you can imagine, you can’t hope to simply push a 4 x 4-inch block through a 10-inch saw. The saw in all likelihood will simply get bogged down. But is there is a way.
To start with, have your blade as high as it will go. Carefully push the wood at a slow and steady pace through the saw. The wood won’t be cut through completely.
Next, turn the wood over, turn the blade down, just enough to make the rest of the cut. Line the cut up with the saw blade and put the wood through the saw again.
You may be left with a bit of a ridge which you can work off afterwards with a router. Here is a great video to show you exactly how to cut thick wood on a 10-inch table saw.
If you’re planning to do a lot of heavy work, it’s probably best to get a 12-inch table saw.
If you might come up against a really thick piece of wood only occasionally, with the right technique, the 12-table saw will do the job for you along with everything else it does so well.