Right tilt, left tilt? Is there really a difference?


Table saws usually come (so it appears to me) with left-tilt mechanisms. However, you can opt with many manufacturers to buy a right-tilt version.
Many of the left-tilt models will present the left-tilt as a "safety feature" - implying somehow that the right-tilt is less safe. I saw some writeup on this but it didn't make a lot of sense. However, there must be something to it because so many manufacturers seem to bias towards the left-tilt.
Can anyone explain this in simple terms to me? I realize that in theory, one should be able to make a mirror image table saw, and that this would require doing things (like ripping) in a mirrored-image fashion.
Is this simply a matter of preference or are there legitimate reasons for getting a left-tilt over a right-tilt?
Jack
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"mywebaccts (at) PLUGcomcast.net" <"mywebaccts (at) PLUGcomcast.net"> wrote in

Without going into a long explanation, assuming that your fence is to the right of the blade, when the blade is tilted to the right, any wood being cut is essentially trapped between the fence and the blade causing it to be more prone to kick back if you're not careful. For the same cut with a left tilt blade, the wood is not trapped in the same way, although kick back is still entirely possible. As well with a left tilt blade, you're always able to view the entire top side of the board being cut. With right tilt, whatever is passing underneath the blade is hidden from view.
That being said, I believe it's mostly a matter of preference and whatever you're most comfortable using. My preference is a left tilt saw.
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You really wanna open this can o' worms? Search this newsgroup for "right tilt vs.left tilt", and prepare to read for awhile....Things like threading of the arbor, distance from the fence when using dado blades, space freed up under the table, etc.. It'll all become clearer then! Tom
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You will run into a lot of opinions regarding benefits of left vs. right tilt. The most prevalent probably being the characteristic of a right-tilter to trap material between the fence and blade. This is probably valid but the worst kickback I have experienced in 30 years of woodworking was on my present left-tilter (probably because of more power).
I used a right-tilt machine for about 24 years and fretted over buying a left-tilter, which was all that was available, in the saw I wanted, at the time of purchase. After using the left tilt-machine for a couple of weeks I forgot about the difference.
RonB
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"mywebaccts (at) PLUGcomcast.net" <"mywebaccts (at) PLUGcomcast.net"> wrote in message

It is mostly the orientation of the fence to the tilted blade that makes the left inherently less likely to trap wood. If a right tilt had as much fence travel from the left side of the blade as does the left tilt does from the right side of the blade and you used your fence on the left side of the blade 99% of the time there would be no difference between the two when considering wood being trapped. From there, there are several things to consider which may or may not be the case with all saws.
;~) The single most asked question in this group that I paste this rubber stamp answer to. Both saws will make all the same cuts. Some easier on the left tilt, some easier on the right tilt. Strictly personal preference. But if you need to be steered one way or the other, Advantages: Are you right handed? Get the left tilt. 1. Commonly the Left tilt has the bevel wheel on the right side and is easily turned with your Right hand. 2. Left tilt can rip a narrow bevel with out having to move the fence to the left side of the blade. 3. Left tilt allows the blade arbor nut to be removed with your right hand. 4. Left tilt allows your to remove the arbor nut and turn it in the direction that you would expect. 5. With a Left tilt, when both edges of a board are beveled, the sharp point of the bevel is up on the fence when cutting the second bevel as opposed to the bottom of the fence where it might slip under. 6. RIGHT tilt if you are left handed. The bevel wheel is commonly on the left side of the saw. 7. RIGHT tilt if you "must" use the fence distance indicator when using a stacked dado blade set. The blades stack left, away from the fence. The indicator remains accurate. On the left tilt, the blades stack towards the fence and makes the indicator inaccurate. In this case use a tape measure to set the fence distance. 8. RIGHT tilt allows you to remove the arbor nut with your left hand but the nut must be turned clockwise to loosen. Bassackwards to normalcy. If considering a cabinet saw, with wide 50" rip capacity. The Left tilt will most often afford you the most storage room under the right table extension. The RIGHT tilt has an access door in that location that will demand room to open. The left tilt allows you to have access to the motor and or the insides of the cabinet from the more open left side of the saw with out having to crawl under the right extension table. Very nice if you ever happen to drop the arbor nut inside the cabinet. If you are considering getting a replacement saw and considering going to the opposite tilt this time consider that the miter slots may not be the same distance from the blade when comparing a left to right tilt saw. This may or may not be of concern but something to consider.
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Thanks! This explains a lot to me. Looks like the left-tilt is the best choice for me.
Jack
Leon wrote:

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"mywebaccts (at) PLUGcomcast.net" wrote:

There's the usual prattle posted in many responses re: trapping material between the fence and the blade...the answer is--put the fence on the other side, whichever tilt one has. I have and never will understood why people get hung up over this--it's a relgious thing imo.
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Duane Bozarth wrote:

Yep. But there isn't as much table there for the fence; consequently, rip widths are limited...left tilt fixes that, wish I had one.
-- dadiOH ____________________________
dadiOH's dandies v3.06... ...a help file of info about MP3s, recording from LP/cassette and tips & tricks on this and that. Get it at http://mysite.verizon.net/xico
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dadiOH wrote:

That depends on the shape and size of the table and orientation and length of the fence rails--all of which can be modified or by getting a well-designed saw to begin with.
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"mywebaccts (at) PLUGcomcast.net" <"mywebaccts (at) PLUGcomcast.net"> wrote in message

I won't jump into these religious wars, but will note that I think you have the above backwards. Right tilt pre-dates left tilt in most saw models. Left tilt has become widely available in the last ten years.
I don't think you will find any models in left tilt only, but you may still find some in right tilt only.
-- ******** Bill Pounds http://www.billpounds.com
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Pounds on Wood wrote:

...
PM66???? Unless it's a new wrinkle...
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Pounds on Wood wrote:

PM66 is left tilt only.     j4
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Ah, figures. There's only about two things I don't know and you had to hit on one of them. Still, isn't it true that until about 10 years ago, almost all contractor and cabinet saws were right tilt?
My first tablesaw was left tilt actually, a crapsman direct drive. And that was much more than 10 years ago.
-- ******** Bill Pounds http://www.billpounds.com
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Pounds on Wood wrote:

My Craftsman Flex drive is left tilt and it was made well over ten years ago, more like 20yrs+.
I think it is getting replaced by a Rigid very soon.
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Pounds on Wood wrote:

Depends mostly on the definition of "all"... :)
The Unisaw was right-tilt until recently they introduced a left-tilt option.
I think the preponderance of other cabinet saws were left-tilt although no real data. I'd not even venture a guess on contractor or utility saws as I've never had one and don't have any experience at all w/ them as a class...
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Really? My left tilt Craftsman is at least 50 years old. It still has the original repulsion-induction motor (which were last made new in 1953). As for the controversy, what you like is the one that you use. Jim
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On Wed, 24 Aug 2005 08:38:46 -0700, "Pounds on Wood"

================================= I agree...Right tilt saws have beebn around a lot longer.... I also agree on the religious wars ....
I happen to own both a right tilt and a left tilt saw.... prefer the right because I change blades more then I rip long bevels therefor the right is more advantagous "for me"...
But honestly it really makes no difference which way the saw blade tilts...
Bob G.
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On Tue, 23 Aug 2005 22:00:44 -0600, "mywebaccts (at) PLUGcomcast.net" <"mywebaccts (at) PLUGcomcast.net"> wrote:

I carried a nice bruise on my right side for about three weeks from a kickback when I was too lazy late one night to switch my unifence to the left side on my right tilt saw before making a bevel cut.
That's the primary reason I would prefer a left tilt. However, although I have no experience with it, I'm told that you get more chip out making bevel cuts on laminate with a left tilt.
I believe more left tilts are sold than right today, particularly after Delta introduced a left tilt Unisaw about 10-12 years ago.
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On Tue, 23 Aug 2005 22:00:44 -0600, "mywebaccts (at) PLUGcomcast.net" <"mywebaccts (at) PLUGcomcast.net"> wrote:

Generally, it's a matter of personal preference and you won't be unhappy with whichever you choose. I will however, note the following: For years Delta's Unisaw (and Jet's clone of same) were only available in right tilt. Ten or so years ago, they started making their saws available in left tilt. Powermatic has always been left tilt and do not offer a right tilt. Make of that what you will.
--
LRod

Master Woodbutcher and seasoned termite
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On Tue, 23 Aug 2005 22:00:44 -0600, "mywebaccts (at) PLUGcomcast.net" <"mywebaccts (at) PLUGcomcast.net"> wrote:

SAFE:
__________\_____||_____
__________||_____/_____
NOT AS SAFE:
__________/_____||_____
__________||_____\_____
The diagrams in the "Not so safe" configuration traps the wood between the blade and fence which can result in an unsafe kickback situation. I have a left-tilt blade so I keep the fence on the right side when making beveled rip cuts. I'm right-handed, but that probably makes little differnce. You want the top of the blade to tlit away from the fence.
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