Body Positioning at the Table saw

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Forum topic by CharlieM1958 posted 11-03-2009 06:05 PM 5654 views 2 times favorited 31 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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16274 posts in 4218 days

11-03-2009 06:05 PM

A few comments in another topic about cutting on the left or right of the blade got me thinking about this. Below is a photo of Norm ripping a piece of lumber, standing as I assume most right-handers would stand.

As a leftie, my body positioning is more like this:

Standing to the right of the blade with my left hand guiding the work feels very natural to me, and seems inherently safer than standing more in line with a possible kickback like Norm is doing in the first photo. If I was a rightie, I feel like I’d be tempted to use a right-tilt saw, and keep my fence to the left of the blade.

I’m just interested in hearing other’s thoughts on this.

-- Charlie M. "Woodworking - patience = firewood"

31 replies so far

View PurpLev's profile


8535 posts in 3649 days

#1 posted 11-03-2009 06:11 PM

being a lefty has it’s benefits after all…

the thing with right tilt tablesaw, is that the table saw is still “left tilt constructed” and the majority of the table is on the right of the blade. so if you have the fence on the left side of the blade – you are limited with your width of cut.

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

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John Gray

2370 posts in 3886 days

#2 posted 11-03-2009 06:16 PM

I’m right handed so I stand as far as I can safely to the left by the saw switch.

-- Only the Shadow knows....................

View CharlieM1958's profile


16274 posts in 4218 days

#3 posted 11-03-2009 06:17 PM

Yeah, absolutely, Sharon. I guess my point is that if I were designing a saw for a right-handed world, I would desing it in the mirror image of the way most saws are made today. It’s kind of the same thing with a standard circular saw…. they seem (at least to me) to be better suited to us lefties.

-- Charlie M. "Woodworking - patience = firewood"

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3902 posts in 3698 days

#4 posted 11-03-2009 06:37 PM

I tried both ways and it works fine for me, but I am both left and right hand.
Driving nails, playing ball or hockey I use both left and right hand, the only thing is circular saw it does not work well.

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1699 posts in 3787 days

#5 posted 11-03-2009 07:40 PM

I am right handed. I am not sure which is safer but I do both when cutting with the fence to the right of the blade. I do not like to reach across the blade so I stand to the right of the fence (picture 2) when ever I can make the cut without compromising accuracy. I believe it to be the safest position for cutting. I have been hit with kickback when standing to the left of the blade with the fence on the right.

When cutting with the fence to the left of the blade I stand to the left of the fence.

-- Terry Roswell, L.A. (Lower Alabama) "Life is what happens to you when you are making other plans."

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Scott Bryan

27250 posts in 3822 days

#6 posted 11-03-2009 07:42 PM

Charlie, it does look like your body position is a better approach but most righties would have a difficult time with a push stick in their left hand. I stand like Norm is pictured. I have had a sheet of plywood come back on me when I was cutting a 45 degree bevel in it and this taught me a healthy respect for staying out of the path the wood could take.

By the way is that a new saw that you are using? I don’t seem to remember seeing this one in any of your posts.

-- Challenges are what make life interesting; overcoming them is what makes life meaningful- Joshua Marine

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Dick, & Barb Cain

8693 posts in 4300 days

#7 posted 11-03-2009 07:47 PM

A good point Charlie, you do have an advantage over us righties.

-- -** You are never to old to set another goal or to dream a new dream ****************** Dick, & Barb Cain, Hibbing, MN.

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16274 posts in 4218 days

#8 posted 11-03-2009 08:22 PM

Scott: that’s not me or my saw…. I just did a quick google image search to find photos to illustrate my remarks.

-- Charlie M. "Woodworking - patience = firewood"

View Gary's profile


9331 posts in 3433 days

#9 posted 11-03-2009 08:37 PM

I’m a righty and always stand like pic 2. It just seems natural. Maybe I’m a confused leftie and don’t know it

-- Gary, DeKalb Texas only 4 miles from the mill

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18271 posts in 3676 days

#10 posted 11-03-2009 08:43 PM

I’m a righty too. I stand more like #2. I keep well out of the way of any possible kick back. When I was an apprentice, I was taught to turn on large switches left handed :-)) Save your right if it’s defective!!

-- Bob in WW ~ "some old things are lovely, warm still with life ... of the forgotten men who made them." - D.H. Lawrence

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154 posts in 3141 days

#11 posted 11-03-2009 08:58 PM

Both of these threads got me to thinking, and I realized that my on/off switch location makes me reach my body directly in the “kickback” path of the blade to turn the saw off….meaning I stand to the left of the blade, but my switch is located on the right side of the blade. If I had an immediate need to shut the saw off, I’d be in trouble.

Thanks for posting this – I will be moving the location of my switch immediately when I get home today!

-- Life is a one lap race.

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2656 posts in 3527 days

#12 posted 11-03-2009 09:13 PM

I’m the same as Gary, I stand to the right of the blade and fence using a left tilt saw. On my General TS I have to relocate the switch so its on the right side. It gets a bit tiring to lift up my left foot and hit the off switch. when its on the left side, (and I am not getting in front on that spinning blade until it comes to a complete stop). ; )

-- Never board, always knotty, lots of growth rings

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James Austin

27 posts in 3180 days

#13 posted 11-03-2009 09:47 PM

I’m right handed, use Norms approach. but more to the left…I have never used my fence to the left of the blade…

-- Some people have a shop so they can build things, the rest of us build things so we can have a shop...

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117095 posts in 3577 days

#14 posted 11-03-2009 09:51 PM

They both work as long as your out of the path of kick back. I’m left handed but can make either work for me. Good post Charlie.

-- wood crafting & woodworking classes

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13604 posts in 3341 days

#15 posted 11-03-2009 10:07 PM

i’m a righty ,
but stand to the left ,
and push diagonal ,
to the fence and forward .
with my right small finger hooked over the fence ,
and only let go of the work when it is way clear of the blade .

-- david - only thru kindness can this world be whole . If we don't succeed we run the risk of failure. Dan Quayle

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