11 Reasons Why Your Table Saw Is Binding

Hey there, fellow woodworking enthusiasts! Today, we’re diving deep into the nitty-gritty of one of the most common and frustrating problems faced in carpentry: table saw binding. If you’ve ever experienced your table saw acting up, shutting down, or worse, causing kickbacks, then you know how crucial it is to understand the reasons behind this issue. Fear not! We’ve got you covered with this comprehensive guide to 11 reasons why your table saw is binding, along with some practical solutions to ensure smooth and safe woodworking experiences.

Table Saw Binding: What’s the Big Deal?

Before we jump into the reasons behind table saw binding, let’s quickly recap why this issue is such a big deal. Binding occurs when the wood gets squeezed between the blade and the fence, leading to the saw shutting down or, in worst cases, causing dangerous kickbacks. This not only ruins your woodworking projects but also poses a significant safety risk. So, understanding the root causes of binding is essential for preventing accidents and ensuring accurate cuts.

1. Inclined Fence – A Recipe for Disaster

One common culprit behind table saw binding is an inclined fence. A misaligned fence can cause the wood to veer off its intended path during the cut, leading to pinching and binding. Opt for high-quality blades that are suitable for your table saw. For instance, a crosscut blade is ideal for cutting plywood, while a rip blade is better for ripping through wood. Remember, the right blade can make all the difference!

2. Improper Blade Selection – Cutting Corners?

The blade you choose plays a pivotal role in preventing binding. Using the wrong type of blade or one with missing teeth can lead to inaccuracies and binding. Opt for high-quality blades that are suitable for your table saw. For instance, a crosscut blade is ideal for cutting plywood, while a rip blade is better for ripping through wood. Remember, the right blade can make all the difference!

3. Misalignment Matters – Get It Right!

A misaligned blade can quickly turn a smooth cut into a binding nightmare. Make sure your blade is perfectly aligned with the mitre slot, aiming for tolerances within +- .002. This alignment ensures that the blade runs smoothly through the wood without any deviations.

4. Single Push Stick – Not Enough Support

When it comes to safety, using the right tools matters. Relying solely on a single push stick may not provide enough support for the wood during the cut, increasing the risk of binding. Consider using a featherboard or dual push sticks to keep the wood firmly against the fence and prevent it from closing up during the cut.

5. Bent Fence – Straighten Things Out

A bent fence can be a sneaky cause of binding. Even a slight bend can throw off the alignment and cause the wood to follow a triangular path during the cut, leading to pinching. Regularly inspect your fence and ensure it’s straight and free from any deformities.

6. Dirty, Dull Blades – A Double Whammy

Using dirty or dull blades not only affects the quality of your cuts but also increases the chances of binding. Friction from a dirty blade can cause it to bend, leading to kickbacks. Regularly clean and sharpen your blades to keep them in top-notch condition and prevent binding.

7. Blade Dimensions – Watch Out for Discrepancies

Table saw binding can also result from discrepancies in the blade’s dimensions. When the back dimension from the blade to the fence is smaller than the front dimension, the wood gets squeezed and binding occurs. Ensure your blade dimensions are consistent to avoid this issue.

8. Safety First – Use a Riving Knife or Splitter

To prevent kickbacks and binding, make use of safety features like a riving knife or splitter. These components keep the wood from getting pinched between the blade and the fence, ensuring a safer woodworking experience. Remember, safety should always be your top priority in the workshop.

9. Mind the Rip Fence – No Crosscutting!

Avoid crosscutting with the rip fence, as it can lead to binding and dangerous kickbacks. Crosscutting should be done using a miter gauge or crosscut sled to maintain control over the wood and prevent accidents.

10. Quality Over Noise – Choose Wisely

When selecting a blade, prioritize quality over noise. Avoid blades with blunt end expansion slots, as they belong to outdated technology and may be noisier and riskier to use. Instead, opt for modern, high-quality blades that ensure smooth and efficient cutting.

11. Work Away for Safety

Last but not least, work away from the blade line for safety. Keeping a safe distance from the blade during the cut reduces the risk of accidents and binding. Remember, safety should always be your top priority in the workshop.

Recap: Safeguard Your Woodworking Adventures

Congratulations! You’ve now explored 11 reasons why your table saw might be binding and how to address each one effectively. Remember that troubleshooting and preventing binding is all about attention to detail, regular maintenance, and using the right safety precautions.

Bonus Tips for a Smoother Woodworking Experience

To enhance your woodworking endeavors further, here are some bonus tips:

Proper Stock Preparation

Before you even turn on your table saw, ensure your stock is straight and free from defects. Straight stock will reduce the chances of binding and improve the overall quality of your cuts.

Stay Attentive

Woodworking demands focus and attention. Avoid distractions in the workshop, and always keep an eye on the blade and the wood during the cut. Vigilance can save you from potential accidents.

Invest in Featherboards and Push Sticks

Featherboards help apply even pressure against the fence, preventing stock from moving or binding. Additionally, using push sticks or push blocks will keep your hands safely away from the blade.

Keep Your Workspace Clean

A clean and clutter-free workspace ensures smooth and safe operations. Remove sawdust and debris regularly to prevent any interference during cuts.

Regular Blade Maintenance

Clean and sharpen your blades regularly to maintain their cutting efficiency and prevent binding. A well-maintained blade not only cuts better but also lasts longer.


We hope this extensive guide on the 11 reasons why your table saw is binding has been insightful and valuable. Armed with this knowledge, you can now troubleshoot and prevent binding issues in your woodworking projects, ensuring safety and precision every step of the way.

Happy woodworking and may your table saw cuts be forever smooth!