All I can say is, "Wow".
This is my first question/post submitted to this forum and I couldn't be happier. ALL of the answers to my question were professional and helpful.
Allow me to elaborate on table saw blades. There's a reason there are so many types of saw blades, simply .... one blade won't do everything well..... well enough!
Table saw blades are like teeth on a dog's mouth....
The big canines in front can do a lot of ripping and tearing. So, when you are ripping on the table saw you want a blade with only a few big teeth for maximum efficiency. This is because a high speed spinning blade needs to eject the material it has just cut away and the faster, the better. The longer that sawdust stays spinning around within the blade, the more heat it generates and that will burn the wood and warp the blade. To prevent this, ripping blades typically have 30 or fewer teeth, or 24. They have large spaces between them called gullets, to carry away the sawdust.
Next, the thicker the blade and the wider the teeth, the more horse power it takes to make it cut. Engineers figured that out and started making very thin blades which use less HP or horse power, and they are called "thin kerf" . The good news is, you can get thin kerf blades in all numbers of tooth configurations for your table top and other "underpowered" tablesaws..... 24 tooth, 40 tooth, 50 tooth even 60 or 80 tooth. So, the more teeth the finer the bite or cut and the less tearout when cutting across the grain.
Grain direction is important to determine what blade to use. A ripping blade is used to cut down the length of a board because that grain runs parallel with the length. Those fibers are more difficult to slice off and get removed from the kerf, so larger teeth and larger gullets. Cutting across the grain is easier since the fibers are easier to cut, so more teeth and a finer cut. A "compromise" blade, or general purpose or "combination" blade will have 50 teeth or 40 teeth, and will do a pretty fair job in most materials up to 2" thick.
Anything thicker than that you would want to use a ripping blade.
Regarding the saw ...... as long as the motor is in good shape, and the power supply cord and wiring is heavy gauge number 12 or 14, that's the first concern. Next, the saw blade "must" be aligned parallel to the fence which in turn, "should" be aligned to the miter slot. If the blade and fence are not parallel, there's a "wedging effect" and that will bind the blade, overheating it, warping it and potentially causing a kickback. A properly setup table saw has both
the blade and the fence aligned parallel to the miter slot for greatest accuracy, and best operation.
Safety is the last issue. Kickbacks occur primarily because the operator fails to maintain the work registered along the entire length until the cut is completed. If for any reason the workpiece is allowed to move away from the fence behind the blade, it will go for a short and vicious ride up and over the top of the blade and will come back directly at the operator. There are two devices that come with the saw that help prevent that. The older saws had splitters a long tall metal plate onto which the blade guard was mounted. Most tablesaw owners removed them and because they didn't understand how they functioned, were victums of their own undoing. That thin plate helps keep the workpiece lightly registered again the fence to prevent it from moving away. NOW, never reach behind around or over a spinning saw blade for any reason! Not to grab a cutoff, or workpiece especially.
So, to keep the feeding movement going forward, you need a push shoe
that will press downward, inward and forward all at the same time and to insure safety by keeping your hands and fingers out of the blade path. The insert in the saw is usually painted RED and that is the Danger Zone, so keep fingers away from that area. You will note that I said push shoe, not push stick. The typical long, slender push sticks that are so common, are actually unsafe because they can only apply forward
feeding force. The inward and downward force that are so necessary can NOT be accomplished with that very small area under the tip of a push stick.
If your table saw has a lrge gap on either side of the blade where thin cutoff can slide down and get stuck, that another safety hazard. You are always tempted to grab for it before or afterwards and that will get your fingers separated from your hand very quickly. You need a "zero clearance" insert: