August 27, 2015
There are a number of reasons that a table saw will leave burn marks on wood. The easiest to fix is when you put the saw blade on backwards. Yes, I did that. Brand new saw and it's pouring smoke. I felt like an idiot. But I know you've already checked that. In general, burn marks are caused by the blade spending too much time rubbing against the same part of the board for too long. I know that sounds obvious but stay with me here. If the blade and motor and everything else is perfect but you are feeding the wood too slowly, it will burn. If the blade is dull so it can't cut fast enough, it will burn. If you are feeding the wood at an angle (not perfectly straight with the blade), it will not cut fast enough and it will burn. If you are cutting deeper than the machine will handle for that particular wood species, it will burn. If you are using a cross-cut blade for a rip cut, it will burn.
The trick here is to find out why it's cutting too slowly and correct that issue.
First, check for alignment and environmental causes:
Are your blade and fence and miter slot all parallel? If not, adjust the fence to the miter slot and then adjust the arbor to the fence.
Are you using the right blade for both the material and the type of cut?
Is there something in the outfeed blocking/dragging the wood as you feed it through? I use roller stands and occasionally they will get gummed up and slow me down.
Have you tried a thin kerf blade? The kerf is the width/thickness of the blade. A thin kerf blade is thinner and therefore removes less material when cutting, so the motor doesn't have to work as hard. The thinner blade has more flexibility in it, so it comes with a trade-off. It's not the solution to every problem, but it potentially could help here.
If everything is perfectly aligned and you have the right blade for the material and the right blade for the type of cut, and if you are still seeing burn marks, it might be that you are trying to cut too deep for the machine in that particular material. If that is the case lower the blade almost halfway and make the cut in 2 passes. That should eliminate the burn marks. If you find that making 2 passes doesn't give you as clean of an edge as you want, you can make your 2 passes and leave a little extra material (less than the thickness of the blade) and then follow-up with a 3rd pass at full height to remove the remaining material. It takes more work, but if you are beyond the limits of the machine, it's a possible solution.
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