Wood Whisperer Safety Series #1: Wood Whisperer Miter Saw safety Video

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Blog entry by tooldad posted 05-27-2008 05:33 AM 3182 reads 0 times favorited 9 comments Add to Favorites Watch
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I am a shop teacher in the St Louis area and I am in the process of previewing the safety week videos. The videos from the early 90’s that I use are still valid, but they are certainly fashion dated. I too have learned a lot and enjoy showing the Marc Adams videos to all of my classes. However on the miter saw, I strongly recommend a persons hands not being anywhere on the metal table surface of the saw. The reason for this is a person gets comfortable with their left hand on the left side of the table. That is great for 90 degree cuts. However when a 45 degree cut to the left needs to be made, the operator holds the board in the same manner with their hand on the left side of the saw and unfortunately the blade can come in contact with the thumb or more. I have a safety video of 2 injured persons telling their stories, and that was the case in both situations. I require that the clamp be used and no exception to the rule about hands on the metal area. If it can’t be clamped, then it is too small to cut, use the band saw instead.

At one point in the video, Marc clamps the wood and makes a cut. Big NO-NO when he puts his left hand between the clamp and the blade. There is a minimum of 3” margin of safety (danger zone). His left hand was definitely in violation of this.

Another good reference for power tool safety is the Power Tool Institute. They offer a free DVD for power tool safety. It is mostly geared for instructors and safety officers of companies.

9 comments so far

View Todd A. Clippinger's profile

Todd A. Clippinger

8901 posts in 4064 days

#1 posted 05-27-2008 05:44 AM

Thanks, I will have to check this out and see how many violations I have been making as I work. I will be thankful to be counting them up on all ten fingers :)

-- Todd A. Clippinger, Montana,

View Eric's profile


875 posts in 3749 days

#2 posted 05-27-2008 05:57 AM

Where is the list of Safety Week videos that you’re using as your reference? I didn’t know they were all in one place. Thanks!

-- Eric at

View tooldad's profile


660 posts in 3680 days

#3 posted 05-27-2008 06:08 AM

Just having to read the titles. Most of them are pretty current in his list of videos

View Napaman's profile


5526 posts in 4042 days

#4 posted 05-27-2008 06:26 AM

thanks…i just learned something valuable!!! I was using my miter saw today and was holding down the wood with my left hand—-the cuts were 90 degrees so I am safe by your comment—-but it makes sense to use a clamp…especially in my case—-as I learn I am not moving that fast…and it would only take a few extra moments to be safe…

-- Matt--Proud LJ since 2007

View Betsy's profile


3391 posts in 3861 days

#5 posted 05-27-2008 03:26 PM

The 45 degree cuts are dicey for sure. It’s best to clamp them and keep your hands out of the way. Most good chop saws have accessory clamps that you can buy to use as hold downs. They are a good investment.

-- "Our past judges our present." JFK - 1962; American Heritage Magazine

View Matt (Upper Cut)'s profile

Matt (Upper Cut)

264 posts in 3778 days

#6 posted 05-27-2008 05:00 PM

I bought the Irwin Miter Saw Laser-in-a-nut today. $24 at Lowes. I think it will increase my safety as a woodworker. If the laser shines anywhere near my hands, I’m being unsafe. I used it yesterday and it worked really well.

-- Matt Gradwohl, Upper Cut Woodworks,

View tooldad's profile


660 posts in 3680 days

#7 posted 05-27-2008 06:56 PM

Be careful depending on the laser for your cuts. I took off the laser at school because kids forget which side of the line the saw cuts on. In theory, the blade would not remove any material when cutting just separate, in reality, you lose 1/8” of your material for each cut. The double laser saws are the best to ensure exaclty where the saw will cut and what will be removed.

View thewoodwhisperer's profile


604 posts in 4149 days

#8 posted 05-27-2008 11:04 PM

Thanks for the info Tooldad. I certainly can’t disagree with your logic. And as a shop teacher, I imagine you just can’t be too safe with those kids.

I would like to clarify something though. I realize how the camera angle made that cut look, but in reality, my hand was about 4” away from the blade. I really should have positioned the camera better, but that part of the shop presents a difficult shot for me. For reference, the clamp on that saw is a little over 8” away from the blade. I do always try to adhere to the 3-4” rule.

-- For free video tutorials and other cool woodworking stuff, check out

View tooldad's profile


660 posts in 3680 days

#9 posted 05-28-2008 01:29 AM

Fair enough explanation. I will be sure to point that out when showing the video to any students. Thanks again Marc.

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