Can You Cut Sheet Metal With a Table Saw?

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Can you cut sheet metal with a table saw? If you’ve ever looked at your table saw and asked yourself this, well, you are not alone. To answer this question, we have prepared a detailed guide explaining why it is possible to cut metal sheets with a table saw and whether you should do it or not. 

Can You Cut Sheet Metal with a Table Saw? 

Yes, it is possible to cut metal using your table saw. While metal is generally more robust and harder than wood, you can use your table to make the shapes you desire. However, some key factors come into play: the type of metal, cutting speed, and type of blade you have.

It is also important to note that cutting metal with your table saw may result in multiple tears and wear on the blade. You should always keep this in mind when cutting through ferrous metals. You also need to have some skills in cutting metal to get the perfect result and avoid injuries. 

Man holding a metal cutter beside a table saw

Helpful Tips for Cutting Metal With Tables Saws

The feasibility of a table saw to cut through metal depends on a number of factors. These include:

  • Type of metal 
  • Type of blade 
  • Speed of the table saw 
  • Fence position 
  • Blade height 

Below are a few tips to help you get the best when cutting your metal using a table saw.

Know the Type and Class Of Metal

Different types of metal vary in characteristics of strength and composition. Therefore, understanding the type of metal you are dealing with is crucial. Generally, there are two classes of metals: 

  • Ferrous metals 
  • Non-ferrous metals

Ferrous metals contain iron in their composition, making them strong and ideal for reinforcements. On the other hand, non-ferrous metals have a softer matrix making them easier to cut. They include copper and aluminum.

Below we look at the properties of the three metals you are most likely to encounter in your workshop. These are:

  • Steel 
  • Aluminum 

Steel

Steel is a hydrated iron. The process of hydration involves adding carbon to pure iron. This results in a strong metal that is resistant to corrosion. The blend of iron and carbon gives birth to carbon steel, which is a lot more tenacious. Moreover, carbon steel has better qualities like hardness and resistance to heat.

Close up of a table saw blade

Such properties make the steel harder to cut with any blade. Therefore. you need to find the right kind of blade and have the right skill. It will help you avoid damaging your saw or injure yourself due to kickbacks.

Aluminum

Aluminum is a non-ferrous metal with very unique properties and strengths. It is lightweight, conducts electricity, and has the ability to amalgamate with most metals. These properties make aluminum easy to cut with a table saw.

Match the Right Blade to the Metal

One crucial aspect of cutting metal using your table saw is the type of blade you pick. If you choose the right blade, you will be able to cut through any metal. However, with the wrong blade, every aspect of your project will go south.

Ferrous metals need particular types of blades. They are more resistant and difficult to cut through. If you use regular blades, you might get rough cuts, and at some point, the blade won’t go deep. We recommend that you use blades made from Cermet or carbide material for such purposes. 

However, you can cut non-ferrous metals like aluminum with carbide-tipped abrasive cutoff wheel cut-off discs or any 7 1/4-inch blade. 

Find the Right Feed Rate

The general rule of thumb is that the faster the rate, the quicker the blade wears. For every type of metal you are cutting, it is essential to apply the right feed rate to get the best service life out of your blade and table saw.

We advise that you also consider the economic aspect of this. At times it is better to use higher speed and have to replace the blade more frequently. Higher speed will allow you to effectively maximize the cost of the scale by cutting more items within a short time. 

When cutting metal, always use the cutting speed or feed as a reference point before beginning the project. You can test and identify the correct speed by first cutting on a scrap metal.

Adjust the Fence Appropriately

The table saw fence will help you keep the metals in line when cutting it on a table saw. Always ensure that the wall does not veer off whenever you are working. Getting it to the right position and stability will ensure that you get the most accurate results and minimize injuries.

You must also ensure that your fence is smooth before you begin cutting. A smooth fence prevents the metal from catching and reduces the possibility of kickbacks.

Person adjusting the table saw blades

Set the Correct Blade Height

Different specialists and professionals give different recommendations in this aspect. The most common and effective suggestion is that you set the blade height slightly above the top of your metal.

However, this method may cause kickback as the blade rips through the metal. The techniques work well for people who don’t care if the metal tears out.

Stay Safe

Cutting metals in a table saw could cause some injuries, especially if you are unskilled. Therefore you need to keep yourself safe at all times. Some of the precaution you have to take include:

  • Avoid running your hands through freshly cut metal surfaces
  • Always have protective gear like gloves and goggles 

Related Questions

Before we wrap up this article, it’s time to answer a couple of questions about cutting metal with a table saw. 

Can I Use a Wood Blade to Cut Metal?

You can’t use a wood blade to cut metal. The type of blade for metals differs and may vary depending on the metal’s composition and strength. However, you can use a blade for more strong metals like ferrous metals to cut through less strong ones like non-ferrous metals.

How Can I Prevent Kickback when Cutting Metals?

You can use a cut-off block to prevent kickbacks whenever you are cutting metals on a table saw. The best way to do it is to clamp the block to your tables’ side and keep the fence at a safe distance from the blade.

Bottom Line

As we have seen, it is possible to cut metal with a table saw keeping in mind several factors. However, when using a table to cut metals, you must not treat it the same as you do with wood. Be careful and seek professional help if you are unsure of your skills with the table saw. 

An expert at home repair, remodel, and DIY projects for nearly 40 years. His first experience came in completely restoring an antique home. Completely redone from the inside out, and restored to its original form, the home is a featured design by renowned Southern California Architect Cliff May, considered to be the father of the California Ranch Home. Now Dennis spends his time on fine woodworking projects and tool comparisons.