Equipment SAFETY tips: The Table Saw

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Forum topic by MsDebbieP posted 01-18-2011 12:57 PM 3501 views 0 times favorited 44 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View MsDebbieP's profile


18618 posts in 4362 days

01-18-2011 12:57 PM

Topic tags/keywords: safety table saw

Safety in the shop tips; for the table saw.

What are some tips to work safely on and around a table saw?


-- ~ Debbie, Canada (, Young Living Wellness )

44 replies so far

View ellen35's profile


2739 posts in 3634 days

#1 posted 01-18-2011 01:35 PM

Never, EVER, lose your concentration!

-- "Don't let the perfect be the enemy of the good." Voltaire

View rance's profile


4266 posts in 3362 days

#2 posted 01-18-2011 01:52 PM

1) Don’t touch the spinney thing.
2) Keep the blade, miter slot, and fence exactly parallel.

-- Backer boards, stop blocks, build oversized, and never buy a hand plane--

View Uncle_Salty's profile


183 posts in 3275 days

#3 posted 01-18-2011 02:05 PM

Raise blade height to 1/4” taller than the stock to be cut.

Never, ever cut “freehand” on the table saw.

When ripping, use a push stick on stock less than X” (depends on your comfort level; I tell my students to use a push stick if the stock is less than the width of your hand with the thumb extended, but my safety test reads 6”).

Always use a Splitter/kickback pawl when ripping.

In general, never use a miter gage and the rip fence together to cut a piece of wood (There are exceptions to this… thus the term “in general”).

View stefang's profile


16133 posts in 3536 days

#4 posted 01-18-2011 02:19 PM

2. Always use a splitter when possible
3. Stand to the side of the workpiece so if it does kick back it won’t hit you.
5. I agree with Rance on the fence being parallel with the blade, but I leave the far end a little off (further away from the blade by a very small amount). This reduces the chance of kickback as the workpiece comes away from the saw blade at the end of the cut.

There are other rules, but for me the above are the main ones.

-- Mike, an American living in Norway.

View Dez's profile


1166 posts in 4279 days

#5 posted 01-18-2011 02:28 PM

Never wear loose fitting sleeves/clothing. (applies to almost all equipment)

Don’t work when you are tired. (applies to almost all equipment and personal experience)

Never reach across the blade. (personal experience)

-- Folly ever comes cloaked in opportunity!

View knotscott's profile


8148 posts in 3577 days

#6 posted 01-18-2011 02:31 PM

- Use the right blade for the job, and keep it sharp and clean.
- Feather boards and push sticks are your friends!
- Use a splitter or riving knife (the guard is a good idea too).
- Pieces that are flat and straight are easier to control.
- Keep the saw well tuned and aligned.
- Keep the table waxed.
- Think each cut through before cutting.

-- Happiness is like wetting your pants...everyone can see it, but only you can feel the warmth....

View helluvawreck's profile


32087 posts in 3068 days

#7 posted 01-18-2011 02:35 PM

Probably the one I violate most often is never operate a table saw when you’re not concentrating on anything else but what you are doing with the saw. I’m always busy and always have a lot of things on my mind. This has been the way it is for 40 years. However, so far I’ve never had an accident that hurt me in any way. I realize that this rule should neverr be broken.

-- helluvawreck aka Charles,

View Roger's profile


20952 posts in 3006 days

#8 posted 01-18-2011 02:47 PM

always, always, unplug the power before touching/changing blades. “a good tuned saw is a safe saw” – me

-- Roger from KY. Work/Play/Travel Safe. Keep your dust collector fed.

View HorizontalMike's profile


7770 posts in 3116 days

#9 posted 01-18-2011 03:06 PM

Some may argue that this is not a safety tip, BUT how about using Bostik Dricote on your TS blade regularly. It made such a difference in cutting resistance that I almost couldn’t believe it, especially when I was ripping 8/4×9” x 10ft Ash using a 24-tooth Rip Freud blade. It’s not cheap but all I can say is WOW. Anything that minimizes the pushing effort on big lumber has my vote.

-- HorizontalMike -- "Woodpeckers understand..."

View NH_Hermit's profile


394 posts in 3298 days

#10 posted 01-18-2011 03:21 PM

Good question, Debbie.

and good responses. I really like Rance’s first rule. I’ll try to remember that one.

We can never be reminded too much to keep our wits about us.

-- John from Hampstead

View Kirk's profile


116 posts in 4256 days

#11 posted 01-18-2011 03:42 PM

If you don’t know what your doing, don’t use it.

One thing has helped my Table Saw, the table surface is slick. That has meant more to me than anything except for dust collection. I had my table Blanchard ground, because it’s surface was rough to the point it was like sandpaper. Next to impossible to slide the wood across the table.

-- W. Kirk Crawford - Tularosa, New Mexico

View biglarry's profile


76 posts in 2890 days

#12 posted 01-18-2011 04:16 PM

As Ellen said “Never, EVER, lose your concentration!”

Working one evening doing a lot of repetitive cuts I was one the last cut and started to thing what the next step was and somehow put my left thumb in the blade. Luckily it only cut part way through but if you look at an x-ray you can see the blade kerf.

Also if you are doing a ton of ripping get a power feed. It can also be used when making moldings on a router table.

-- "When the going gets tough, switch to power tools." - Red Green

View cornflake's profile


36 posts in 2892 days

#13 posted 01-18-2011 04:20 PM

i have two:

1 always wear eye protection

2 never make push sticks out of plexiglass

View Chris 's profile


1879 posts in 4193 days

#14 posted 01-18-2011 04:33 PM

As someone that has suffered the amputation, and reattachment, of a digit I have to say ALWAYS err on the side of safety. Also, Until recently I have never really used an out feed table or support but have become convinced of their value as a safety device. It keeps me from reaching near or past the blade the blade. I just give the piece an extra little shove with the push stick and it slides onto the table.

-- "Everything that is great and inspiring is created by the individual who labors in freedom" -- Albert Einstein

View canadianchips's profile


2613 posts in 3199 days

#15 posted 01-18-2011 04:48 PM

Have the floor area in front, side and back of table saw CLEAR.
Avoid tripping on something laying on the floor.
If it is a portable table saw, make sure it is sitting on SOLID table, avoid a rocking or tippy table saw, same goes for outfeed table.
Avoid stacking materials on side of table saw top as you are cutting. Very tempting, use another table to stack your work.
Avoid loose clothing while working on any power tool with spinning blades !
Never use your cast iron table top as a hammer pounding surface !

-- "My mission in life - make everyone smile !"

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