Safety should be a top
priority with woodworkers. A lost eye or finger will not grow
back. Working safely needs to become a habit.
TABLE SAW SAFETY By: Lou Takacs January,
are a valuable and often used tool in most woodworkers’ shops. They
are also the cause of many woodworking injuries. If you use some
common sense and follow a few easy rules you can protect yourself. You
don’t need to fear the machine but understand the design and learn
to use the machine safely.
A good checklist to
use the saw or any other power tool if you have been drinking or
on some medication that might impart your judgment.
start the saw if you’re tired. That “one more cut” could be
your safety glasses – FOR EVERY CUT!
keep your hand/fingers at least 3 inches away from any
guard or blade. Make and use a few different size and style push
sticks to keep a safe distance
have “other stuff” on the saw top when you going to make a
sure the on-off switch is working properly. A good LARGE off
switch is a good add-on if your saw doesn’t have one.
the blade for the cut you’re going to make. If you’re going to
do some ripping, take the 2 minutes to install a low tooth number
(28-40) ripping blade. It will make the ripping much easier which
means you won’t be forcing the work piece.
leads to “Don’t force the wood thru the saw”. If you have to
use a LOT of force, the blade is dull or the wrong blade.
anticipate the possibility of kickback. Don’t stand directly in
line with the blade, but off to the side a bit. Push the work
piece past the back of the blade, since it’s the back of the
blade where kickback occurs.
do a freehand cut that doesn’t use the miter gauge, is against
the fence or uses a cut-off sled. But don’t use the fence and
miter gauge together, this just sets up a nice kickback.
for the blade to STOP before you reach for that small cutoff next
to the blade.
wear gloves, have long sleeves/loose clothing, or wear rings or
watches that might hang up on a board.
sure you check your saw alignment once in a while. It can go out
of alignment. “Remember that piece of oak you force through the
saw”? There are a lot of woodworking magazine articles on
“Aligning your Table saw”, and you don’t need a lot of
special tools. Or call another club member to borrow that dial
indicator and ask if he has a good alignment procedure. We can all
help each other work safely!
last, when you’re at friend shop don’t be shy about insisting
on safety. You’re being a true friend.
Last update January 11, 2009