Why is My Table Saw Smoking?

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A table saw is a great thing to have in your woodworking workshop. There are various types of table saws, some better and more complex than others.

You can perform various functions like mitering of compound angles, ripping, and crosscutting.

Despite their many advantages, there are a few drawbacks to table saws, especially while using them for woodworking. In this post, we take a closer look at the particular issue of why a table saw emits smoke. We also discuss how to avoid such an occurrence.

Why is my table saw smoking?

 table saw to cut laminate counter top.

When we talk about smoke coming from a table saw, it can be from two basic sources – either the blade and the motor.

Here, we examine the reasons that the blade of a table saw could emit smoke and the remedies to prevent it from happening.

Your Blade is Dirty

Sawblades from a circular saw on a sawdust

The Problem: A dirty blade collects dust in the teeth and slows down the cutting speed. It also results in higher friction levels, which generates heat and results in the wood burning.

The Solution: Ensure to clean the blade of your table saw regularly. Keep a brush handy for brushing away the debris. You can even get commercially available blade cleaners to keep your table saw blade clean at all times. We recommend one like this that comes in an easy spray bottle.

Trend CLEAN/500 Tool Cleaner Industrial Strength Wood and Resin Remover, 18 fl oz
Industrial Strength Wood and Resin Remover (Amazon)

Misaligned Blade

The Problem: The wood that your table saw cuts burns due to misalignment between the guide fence and the saw blade. It increases the pressure on the wood, resulting in it getting overheated.

The Solution: Maintain a uniform gap between the fence and saw blade at the back and front of the saw.

Incorrect Blade Height

Circular Saw blades


The Problem: The height of the blade is not maintained correctly. If you position the blade too low, the teeth face higher friction. The result is that excessive heat gets generated which can burn the wood.

The Solution: You need to adjust the height of your table saw blade according to the material it cuts. If you have two to four teeth cutting through the wood, your blade’s height is correct.

The Blade is Dull

Machine Electronic Table Saw

The Problem: Your blade is dull which creates more friction against the wood. It results in the blade moving at a slower rate, overheating, and even burning the wood. It can cause some ugly scorch marks on the wood.

The Solution: Sharpen your blade. If you don’t have the means to sharpen it, then replace it with a new one.

Bent Blade

The Problem: A bent blade can cause a kickback which can be dangerous. Kickbacks can not only cause personal injury but also damage the wood.  You can injure your body parts and there are even cases of lost fingers due to a table saw’s kickback.

The Solution: You cannot straighten a bent blade. If a blade is bent for various reasons, you need to discard it and replace it with a new one.

Wrong Feed Speed

The Problem: If you do not feed the material at the recommended speed for a particular thickness, then the blade will not cut efficiently. Woods like cherry and soft maple tend to burn easily. If your feed speed is incorrect, it can burn the wood.

The Solution: Different types of wood of different thicknesses call for different feed speeds. Experience will teach you how to vary the feed speed of a table saw according to the type of wood and thickness that you are cutting.

Table Saw FAQs

Woodworkers have a surprising number of questions regarding table saws. Here are a few of the most commonly asked questions and the corresponding answers. Do you have any questions? Please feel free to leave your comments and questions and we will get back to you.

Why did my table saw stop working?

There are many reasons why a table saw can stop working. It could be due to a break in the power supply due to a broken cable, motor overload, or a faulty switch or plug. You need to check each of the components of your table saw and repair or replace them to restore the functioning of your table saw.

Which blade should I use?

A nest of Circular saw blades of different sized teeth

For best results, you need to select a specific blade. You can get specific blades meant for particular jobs. For most woodworking jobs, you can use an all-purpose blade like a general-purpose blade or combination blade.

There are four main types of blades that we generally use with a table saw. The blades differ according to the nature of the job and the material being cut. You can get blades for ripping, joinery, crosscutting (cutting against the grain), and cutting composite woods like MDF or OSB.

How can I align the guide fence and saw blade of my table saw?

Measure the distance between the fence and the blade. Ensure that the distance is equal on all sides. Using a ruler for added precision is a good idea. You will also find relevant information in the user manual of your table saw.

What is the best way to clean the blade of a table saw?

Before you touch the blade teeth, unplug the machine. You can clean the teeth of your table saw with a brush. There are also commercially available blade cleaners that you can get to clean your table saw blade.

What precautions should I take if I notice my table saw starts to smoke?

Do not touch the blade because it will be extremely hot. Avoid manually feeding wood by hand; instead, feed the wood using a pusher. If smoke starts to emit from the machine, switch it off and once the blade stops, identify the source of the smoke and deal accordingly.

Should we use extension cords with a table saw?

electrician plugging two extension cords

You can use an extension cord with your table saw. But ensure to use a power cord of a sufficient power capacity. Ensure that the connections are secure and adequately insulated. Refer to the owner’s manual for further information.

Is it mandatory to use the table saw stand?

You can also mount our table saw firmly to a work surface. You will need to have a square opening of 11 inches below the saw blade. It helps the sawdust to exit the cutting platform and onto the ground. If you do not create this exit point for your sawdust, it could clog and damage the motor and possibly cause a fire.


The primary reason for a table saw to produce smoke is heat that results from excessive friction. You should not take smoke emission lightly because as you know, where there’s smoke there’s fire. You could be moments away from starting a fire.

Now you have seen the various reasons why a table saw can emit smoke. We have also discussed the solutions to the specific problems that you may face concerning smoke from a table saw.

Follow the precautions and best practices that we have provided here, to get the best out of your table saw in all your woodworking projects.

Happy Woodworking!