Table Saw Safety

By Robert Robillard on Workshop tips

Table saw safety

Using a Table Saw Safely

The table saw is probably the biggest staple of any worthy workshop or job site.

Most table saw safety problems can be avoided by knowing how to safely operate the saw, using common sense and avoiding certain practices.

Here are a few safety concerns to consider when using a table saw:

CLOTHING

Avoid gloves while operating. Gripping power is lost to gloves and some kinds of gloves are loose enough to present an item for the rotating blade to grab and pull into the blade.

Roll up your sleeves or Wear short sleeves. Loose-fitting clothing and jewelry should be avoided while operating a table saw. Any of these items might get caught in the blade and pull you into the blade.

Wear proper eye and hearing protection. Eyes need to be protected from damage by projectiles.
Always wear footwear with non-slip soles.

BODY POSITIONING | CORE STRENGTH

Stand comfortably, with your feet far enough apart for good balance. You should be able to step back and walk toward the saw when cutting long stock. Do not lean to far forward, stand centered over your feet. Position your body so that it is NOT in line with the blade. This keeps you out of flying projectiles as a result of a kick-back situation.

KEEP A CLEAN SHOP FLOOR

Keep the floor in front of the saw free of cut-offs and piled up sawdust. Tripping, falling or sliding into a running saw blade can result from sawdust and debris.

USING THE SAW

Use a push stick to cut narrow stock. A hand that isn’t close to a blade isn’t going to get cut. Generally, a 4” to 6” minimum distance to the blade is considered safe. I prefer using a narrow push stick like the Bench Dog Pocket Push Stick. [photo right]Table Saw Safety

Use a stop block when you crosscut short lengths. Mount a stop block on the fence to avoid the cut-off piece from binding between blade and fence. A stop block can be a board clamped to the fence that stops just before the saw blade,

Never reach behind or over the blade unless it has stopped turning.

Get in the habit of disconnecting the power before changing the blade or performing any other maintenance operation.

Keep the tabletop clear of tools, fasteners and debris. A rusty, dirty or rough table requires you to use more force to push the stock through the blade. Tools, accessories or fasteners is left on the tabletop could accidentally be pushed into the moving blade causing a projectile. Check to make sure the blade is clear to spin and nothing is touching the blade before turning the saw on.

Avoid free-hand cuts on a table saw. Guide the stock through the blade using the rip fence or the miter gauge.

Push the wood all the way past the blade. Releasing work too early is an invitation to kickback.
Check stock before cutting. Look for nails, knots, screws, or stones which can become projectiles causing serious injury as well as can damage the saw blade.

SAW ADJUSTMENTS

Keep the blade guards, splitters and anti-kickback fingers in place and operating freely. Check the action of these items before starting work.

Keep the rip fence parallel to the blade so stock doesn’t bind on the blade and kick back. Many woodworkers adjust the rear of the fence out of parallel and away from the front fence position by 1/64″.

Use zero clearance inserts. These reduce the chance of slender cuts dropping into the lower part of the blade and becoming a projectile and they also reduce splintering in cuts.

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About the author

Robert Robillard

Carpenter / Remodeler / Editor

Rob Robillard is “The Concord Carpenter” Rob is a builder, general contractor, carpenter, woodworker, and editor of Concord Carpenter and ToolBoxBuzz As a General Contractor and carpenter, Rob owns and operates Concord Carpenter LLC. A full-service remodeling and construction company. Rob is a recognized leader in home building best practices and a source for how-to information for building professionals. On this website, Rob covers all aspects of home construction, building science, home improvement, woodworking, remodeling, and some of the best product and tool reviews. Rob is in charge of our Tool and Product Review series - Concord Carpenter Videos where we post all of our tool reviews and video tutorials. Rob approaches remodeling and building construction with a pragmatic and problem-solving approach. He enjoys using his knowledge and experience to help and educate building professionals as well as DIYers on best practices in the construction and remodeling industry. He's a strong advocate for "raising the bar" in the construction trades and promoting the trades to youth. #BeAMentor #Green2Great Craftsmanship, quality, and pride guide his journey on this channel The Concord Carpenter's motto: "Well done is better than well said!" : Read more about Rob If you have a building or remodeling question you can have rob respond to your answer via video. Click here for more information. https://jointruly.com/robillard Invite code: x22r2

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