Left-Tilt vs. Right-Tilt Tablesaws
What's The Difference: Both styles have pluses and minuses relating to safety and accuracy
Although on most tablesaws sold in the United States today you tilt the blade to the left to cut a bevel, a lot of saws still are sold with right-tilting blades. You’ll hear many viewpoints on this issue, and as with most debates, both sides have some valid points.
Measuring is easier on right-tilt saws
On a right-tilt saw, the arbor that holds the blade comes from the right side. This has several advantages. For one, the tape on the rip fence always reads the distance accurately between the fence and the right side of blade, whether it is a thin-kerf blade or a dado set.
For optimum safety, the right side of a blade guard’s splitter should be set tight to the actual cut line. This assumes you are using the fence to the right of the blade. With a right-tilt saw, blade thickness changes don’t alter this alignment, and the splitter remains in the safest possible position for all cuts.
The main disadvantage of a right-tilt saw is that beveled ripcuts can be more dangerous with the fence to the right of the blade. The offcut can ride up the blade’s rear teeth, or the workpiece can get trapped under an angled blade, potentially causing a severe kickback. Also, the opposite bevel gets wedged under the rip fence. You can make beveled ripcuts with the fence to the left of the blade, but some people find the stance awkward and the table support inadequate.
Left-tilt miters. A left-tilt saw, with the fence to the right of the blade, is the safest arrangement for cutting miters (above).
Right-tilt miters. To avoid trapping the workpiece under the blade on a right-tilt saw (above), move the fence to the left side of the blade (below).