Table Saw Knee Switch

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Project by screwge posted 05-25-2009 11:37 AM 8532 views 17 times favorited 17 comments Add to Favorites Watch

The magnetic on/off switch that came on my table saw is so small that it is a safety hazzard to turn it off. The last thing I need while cutting a large sheet of plywood or whatever… to divert my attention from the blade to fumble around with the on/off switch…..oops! there goes a finger!

I thought I would be able to find a replacement with one of those nice large knee pads, but look as I might, there were none to be found.

The next best thing…. Build my own.

I went to a local hardware store and found the same type of phenolic plastic that is on the fence.

I then cut the basic shape on the band saw then…

I drilled the hole for the hinge rod on the drill press then…

I cut out the mounting plate from the knee pad on the band saw and rounded the edges with a sander (should have used a round over bit on the router, the sander left tiny “hairs of plastic” hanging)

I then re-bored the holes on both sides of the knee pad to be just a little bit bigger than on the mounting plate, so that the knee pad would swing easily and not bind.

I removed the face of the switch cover (after unplugging it – of course) drilled the mounting holes and mounted the plastic with 4-#6 stainless machine screws, bolted on from the back using lock washers. NOTE: you must make sure that no part of the bolt comes near any electrical connection inside the switch cover – preferably before any holes are drilled, as this could be very dangerous.

I then cut the hinge rod for length and tapped it into place.

Now, when I cutting anything on the saw I have a convenient and safe way of shutting it down with my knee so I don’t have to divert my attention and lose a finger. I do still have all my fingers! thank GOD!!!!

Hope this helps

-- Imagine It... Build It... Enjoy It!

17 comments so far

View jockmike2's profile


10635 posts in 3333 days

#1 posted 05-25-2009 12:40 PM

Very imaginative and right on. Maybe someone else will pickup on the idea and you will have saved a finger somewhere. Good job.

-- (You just have to please the man in the Mirror) Mike from Michigan -

View Vince's profile


1059 posts in 2516 days

#2 posted 05-25-2009 12:50 PM

I like it…great idea.

-- Vince

View spanky46's profile


991 posts in 2477 days

#3 posted 05-25-2009 01:05 PM

Nice job! All those digits are important, lets keep them all!

-- spanky46 -- Never enough clamps...Never enough tools...Never enough time.

View Splinterman's profile


23059 posts in 2448 days

#4 posted 05-25-2009 02:56 PM

Good OH&S practice here.

View PurpLev's profile


8522 posts in 2735 days

#5 posted 05-25-2009 03:20 PM

very nicely done! a most important reason, and very well executed.

where did you find the UHMW material ? which local store held it in stock?

-- ㊍ When in doubt - There is no doubt - Go the safer route.

View lew's profile


10691 posts in 2842 days

#6 posted 05-25-2009 04:08 PM

Very well engineered!

Thanks for posting this!

-- Lew- Time traveler. Purveyor of the Universe's finest custom rolling pins.

View Jerry's profile


221 posts in 2625 days

#7 posted 05-25-2009 04:42 PM

Looks great and more importantly…...Safe
thanks for sharing!!

-- Jerry - Rochester, MN *Whether you think you can or you can't, you are probably right* - Henry Ford

View a1Jim's profile


113818 posts in 2664 days

#8 posted 05-25-2009 06:36 PM

another professional looking jig nice design and clean build thanks for the informative help

-- Custom furniture

View Christopher's profile


573 posts in 3007 days

#9 posted 05-25-2009 06:42 PM

Thats frikken ingenious!

View SCOTSMAN's profile


5784 posts in 2672 days

#10 posted 05-25-2009 06:46 PM

A great Idea I made one like this and it fell off so I eventually bought ( an industrial footswitch cut off switch )and added it to my saw as well as a hand punch stop switch.Good thinking sir well done my friend Alistair

-- excuse my typing as I have a form of parkinsons disease

View screwge's profile


80 posts in 2377 days

#11 posted 05-25-2009 09:35 PM

PurpLev – the UHMW phenolic plastic is 1/2” thick and I purchased it at a local independently owned ACE hardware franchise store. However, there are also plastic supply stores in our area that will sell retail. Tap Plastics is one source that has locations across the U.S.

-- Imagine It... Build It... Enjoy It!

View Dusty56's profile


11781 posts in 2775 days

#12 posted 05-25-2009 09:49 PM

This is the nicest shopmade stop switch activator that I’ve seen . I worked in a “professional” shop and they just had a piece of plywood hanging from a piece of wire to do the same thing. VERY crude , but somehow it worked. I believe that you’ve just solved my only issue with my JET cabinet saw for me . I Thank you , and my fingers thank you as well : )

-- I'm absolutely positive that I couldn't be more uncertain!

View Wade Putnam's profile

Wade Putnam

108 posts in 2816 days

#13 posted 05-28-2009 03:31 PM

Great design and workmanship.
I will build one of these for my Jet this week end.
Thanks for sharing

-- Wade, Nashville,

View Grumpy's profile


20717 posts in 2938 days

#14 posted 05-29-2009 05:44 AM

Great idea Screwge. I have a factory made one on my TS, comes in very handy.

-- Grumpy - "Always look on the bright side of life"- Monty Python

View Dusty56's profile


11781 posts in 2775 days

#15 posted 05-30-2009 05:34 AM

MLCS is having a sale on Safety Switches right now : ) 110V and 220V

-- I'm absolutely positive that I couldn't be more uncertain!

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