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Bench top/contractor saw vs. Cabinet saws

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Forum topic by Scot posted 05-10-2012 04:33 PM 2146 views 0 times favorited 25 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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Scot

344 posts in 2143 days


05-10-2012 04:33 PM

Since I have been a member here there have been a lot of discussions about table saw safety. Recently I read an article on this subject (for the life of me I can’t find it now) that had some very interesting statistics.

The article was based on accident statistics, which were broken down into categories of the type saws involved in the accidents.

Not surprisingly the most dangerous were the light weight bench top models and the new light weight contractor style saws.

A very, very, distant third was the old style contractor saw. You know the type, the ones that took two men and a boy to move and all three ended up with hernia’s.

And even farther down the line, I believe it was some where between 8-10 percent were the cabinet saws. It was stated that part of the reason these numbers could possibly be lower, was the people using these saws tended to be working in professional capacities and had better training and better maintained equipment.

But the two biggest contributors listed, besides human error, were weight and stability or I should say lack of. Neither of which bench top saws or the new lightweight contractor saws have.

The article did factor in the the use of splitters, riving knives and the sawstop. Surprisingly the numbers were not effected very much over all when these were used. I will say this, the stats they used started in the 60’s,
and though they did account for the number of woodworkers increasing over the years, I don’t believe the saw stop has been around long enough for a completely fair evaluation.

The heavier the saw was, the lower the number of accidents. Easy to understand, heavy = more stability and less vibration.

The bottom line was stability and vibration, these two appear to be the biggest contributors to table saw accidents.

I didn’t need to read the article to find this out, over the years I’ve seen it first hand. But I never really thought about the stats involved.

Here are just a few contributors to accidents or near misses I’ve witnessed over the years

Light weight saws with flimsy legs
Bench top saw not anchored properly
Under powered saws
Saws with too small of a foot print that always wanted to tip over

Lot to be said for almost 600 lbs of Unisaw or Powermatic.

-- If the old masters had power tools, they would have used them. So get off your damn High Horse.


25 replies so far

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Scot

344 posts in 2143 days


#1 posted 05-10-2012 04:46 PM

Darn I almost forgot the biggest contributor IMO of all, DULL BLADES!

-- If the old masters had power tools, they would have used them. So get off your damn High Horse.

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cabmaker

1311 posts in 1555 days


#2 posted 05-10-2012 08:32 PM

Boy Scot, I appreciate your time on this post, however you left out the single biggest contributor : Lack of experiance

View ShipWreck's profile

ShipWreck

536 posts in 2499 days


#3 posted 05-10-2012 08:55 PM

Where did you read this Scot? The article not accurate. You can get hurt just as quickly on a 700 lb. tablesaw as you can with 50 lb. saw. Anyone can work just as safely with a Ridgid/Dewalt/Bosch portable as they could with a heavier saw.

Here is a report from the National Product Safety Commission from 2011.

http://www.cpsc.gov/businfo/frnotices/fr12/tablesawANPR.html

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Bill White

3581 posts in 2707 days


#4 posted 05-10-2012 09:15 PM

Is there a question, or a statement?
I have a Grizz 0444Z with cast wings. Heavy as can be, accurate to a fault, and it works for everything I’ve thrown at it. I still (as of today) have all my fingers. I also use every safety feature available.
IMO, money and design can’t cure stupid.
I’ve hurt myself more with a hammer.
Bill

-- bill@magraphics.us

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Scot

344 posts in 2143 days


#5 posted 05-10-2012 09:20 PM

All the article was addressing was statistics on which type of saws had the most accidents and the root cause. It did not say there were no accidents on the heavier cabinet saws, just fewer. The point of the article was that heavier well made saws are safer but not fail safe.

-- If the old masters had power tools, they would have used them. So get off your damn High Horse.

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Scot

344 posts in 2143 days


#6 posted 05-10-2012 09:31 PM

You’re right Cabmaker, I kind of glossed over that one.

-- If the old masters had power tools, they would have used them. So get off your damn High Horse.

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dbhost

5387 posts in 1979 days


#7 posted 05-10-2012 09:41 PM

I seriously doubt the assertion that Riving Knives haven’t had an effect on table saw safety. Maybe none on blade contact accidents, but overall safety such as kickback, I highly doubt it… Having said that, yes more mass means the saw is more stable. Which would matter if you are ripping say an 8’ long 6” wide 4/4 piece of oak, but maybe not so much if that board is 18” long…

Wobbly legs on a table saw IMHO are inexcusable. Although certain bench top class saws are far better than others, overall, they leave a bit to be desired…

There is a GOOD reason a lot of guys that own bench top, and contractor type saws end up building a table saw workstation around the saw. I’ve seen it done with a wide variety of everything from Powermatic contractor saws, all the way down to a lowly Skil bench top saw. (No joke, a guy on another board build a nice workstation for his red Skil table saw, and added a fence that probably cost more than the saw!).

I think the biggest contributor is pushing a machine beyond its capacity… Cross cutting plywood on a benchtop saw is just asking to have digits removed you know?

-- My workshop blog can be found at http://daves-workshop.blogspot.com

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Scot

344 posts in 2143 days


#8 posted 05-11-2012 05:15 AM

dbhost, I agree with what you say. The article was mainly geared towards pointing out the instability of small light weight machines using statitistical data starting in the 60’s. I don’t see how the numbers can not be skewed against riving knives, spliters and other safety devices since those have only recently been added as standard items on a lot saws. Splitters didn’t become standard until the late seventies/early 80’s and riving knives are still not standard on all saws. So I can see where they would say that they were basically a non issue in their study.
Again the study was more about how weight and stability affect the safety of table saws, with mentions of power (HP) and experience levels.
I’m not presenting an argument for or against any one saw or another. I just thought it was interesting at how much the numbers changed as the weight and stability of the saw went up.

Common sense should tell us that would be the way it is. I look at it as a reminder for all of us to be careful because lightweight or heavyweight, they can all bite.

-- If the old masters had power tools, they would have used them. So get off your damn High Horse.

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dbhost

5387 posts in 1979 days


#9 posted 05-11-2012 04:04 PM

Totally agreed…

-- My workshop blog can be found at http://daves-workshop.blogspot.com

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NiteWalker

2710 posts in 1323 days


#10 posted 05-11-2012 10:35 PM

Scot, not much to add to the article other than I wish I had a cabinet saw, but your sig line is 1 billion% truth.

-- He who dies with the most tools... dies with the emptiest wallet.

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patcollins

1004 posts in 1612 days


#11 posted 05-11-2012 10:39 PM

It uses the incorrect terminology, a contractor saw is not the little popup saw on wheels. A contractor saw has a big cast iron top, motor hangs out the back, and it will run of 115V (in the US).

They probably mean jobsite saws when they say contractor saw.

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BruceCM

11 posts in 991 days


#12 posted 05-11-2012 10:51 PM

I suspect the difference between the injury rate on the inexpensive protables and the cabinet saws has to do with the experience and expertise of those using them. That is to say, those new to woodworking usually don’t start out with a cabinet saw :-)

BruceM

-- cut once, measure once and......dam I'm good!

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ShipWreck

536 posts in 2499 days


#13 posted 05-11-2012 11:02 PM

Scott? Do you have a link this this article you are talking about?

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Scot

344 posts in 2143 days


#14 posted 05-12-2012 05:39 AM

Shipwreck I’ve been trying to find it, I thought I had it book marked, but haven’t been able to locate it.

-- If the old masters had power tools, they would have used them. So get off your damn High Horse.

View Scot's profile

Scot

344 posts in 2143 days


#15 posted 05-12-2012 05:56 AM

Pat, I agree with you to a certain extent, when you say contractor saw, what you said is what I think of. However, there are companies out there making cheap light weight saws with aluminum tops and trunnions and slapping “10” professional contractor saw” stickers on them and selling them as such.

But again, the bottom line was that the heavier the saw, the more stable it tended to be and less accidents tended to happen.

And I did distinguish between contractor saws and bench top saws, which the stats in the article showed a substantial difference in the number of accidents between those two.

-- If the old masters had power tools, they would have used them. So get off your damn High Horse.

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