Hard lessons #1: Missaligned splitter = blown switch

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Blog entry by mhawkins2 posted 08-30-2008 05:25 AM 774 reads 0 times favorited 1 comment Add to Favorites Watch
no previous part Part 1 of Hard lessons series Part 2: Carbide Is Sharp »

I was eager to start the day as it was dedicated to making sawdust in my garage to make some built in shelves and drawers for my wife’s storage closet. These are very long shelves so they are 3/4” birch with back support along the full length and radiata pine edging on the front to prevent sagging. I started ripping my first sheet of plywood to length and my plywood blade bound in the cut about half way through. I can’t back the piece up a to free the blade because the anti-kick back finger have dug into the wood. I can’t reach the switch because I am too far back. Luckily I was using my in feed support so I could let the ply wood rest on that and turn off the switch. Unluckily it was to late!

The saw did not start again. Check the circuit breakers, and they’re all fine. Check the extension cord: it has power. Reset the circuit breaker on the saw: still nothing. Next apologize to my neighbor for the rather harsh language I was using as they passed my garage. Sorry, Rhana. Check the voltage supply to the motor: even the battery on the VOM is dead. And sure enough after replacing the battery, there is no power going to the motor. So now I take the switch apart and it is toast! Fortunately I live in a large city so its off to the Delta / Porter Cable parts supply unfortunately on the other side of town. On the way I stop at my favorite sawdust store. They have switches just not quite that one. He also informs me that the switch is probably the most frequently broken part on table saws.

Anyway an hour and a half to get the new part. A little more time and it is installed. Now back to the important question of why did it blow. My stock splitter / blade guard was installed (so I can still count to 10), but the splitter was slightly to the left of the blade particularly at the front closest to the blade. So the kerf closed, the blade bound, the motor got to hot and the switch blew. So I shimmed the splitter and will start tomorrow instead.

Lessons learned the hard way

1) Misaligned splitter → closed kerf → bound blade → hot motor → blown switch → unproductive day

2) And switches blow easily

3) Always use your splitter and always check the alignment

Thanks for reading.

-- mhawkins2 - why does my wife keep parking her car in my shop :)?

1 comment so far

View Bigbuck's profile


1347 posts in 3664 days

#1 posted 08-30-2008 06:19 PM

Well at least you still got all your digits and it didn’t harm the motor or anything else that would be to expensive to replace.

-- Glenn, New Mexico

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