basic saw safety, newbie question

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Forum topic by cpd posted 08-21-2012 09:08 PM 1302 views 0 times favorited 6 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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5 posts in 2131 days

08-21-2012 09:08 PM

Topic tags/keywords: safety blade guard splitter

I just picked up a used rockwell 10” contractors table saw off craigslist. it is in pretty good shape and I plan to use it for some projects. my table saw experience is limited to shop class in high school, so I’m taking the cautious route and reading up a lot about techniques and safety before making cuts with it.

one immediate issue is that it doesn’t have the blade guard or splitter. it seems that nearly everyone recommends using a splitter, even if they prefer not to use the guard. buying a replacement from delta seems like it will be expensive or perhaps impossible (backordered?), and I also don’t think I have the necessary mounting bracket for the rear mounting point of the original splitter/guard assembly (pictured here:

I’m interested to hear people’s thoughts about

1) making my own splitter with an aluminum ruler like this one:

2) whether I actually need a splitter if I’m using the saw for crosscutting shorter boards of various sizes using the miter guage

3) if there is a generic/aftermarket splitter/guard that would work well and is less expensive than ordering the delta part. (for example, at the bottom of the above link there is a picture of the powermatic model 66 splitter which looks almost identical to the delta/rockwell one)

4) other necessary safety accessories (in addition to push stick and glasses).

6 replies so far

View DIYaholic's profile


19623 posts in 2702 days

#1 posted 08-21-2012 09:51 PM

Welcome to LJ’s CPD.

Zero clearance insert (shop made, of course), with shop made splitter, would be my suggestion. Low cost alternative to replacement splitter. I’m sure an LJ or google search will yield numerous plans/solutions.

Good luck with your saw & keep all you digits where they are!!!

-- Randy-- I may not be good...but I am slow! If good things come to those who wait.... Why is procrastination a bad thing?

View CplSteel's profile


142 posts in 2191 days

#2 posted 08-21-2012 09:55 PM

The role of the spliter is to prevent the back of the cut from creeping up onto the back of the blade, where, it would turn the piece, pinch it between the blade and fence and shoot it back at you, a process affectionately known as “kickback”

It is hard, if not impossible to achieve kickback if you are not using a fence. If you are making miter cuts you should not be using a fence. Therefore, a splitter won’t do anything for you if you are making proper miter cuts.

Others may have their own say, but, if you are not gong to rip on the saw then don’t worry about a spliter, I would remove the fence as well so you do not get tempted to try a rip cut before you replace the spliter.

View crank49's profile


4032 posts in 2998 days

#3 posted 08-21-2012 10:31 PM

Kickback can easily happen without a fence on the saw. Where did the notion that the workpiece had to be pinched between the fence and the blade come from. I strongly dissagree.

I once let a 2×4 get away from me and the saw threw it into the basement wall with enough force to penetrate the face of the concrete block.

Splitters can be made from aluminum flat bar, but I’d recommend steel if you have the capability to work with it. When aluminum is clamped under a bolt it tends to deform and get loose. Big washers would help if you need to go with aluminum.

If a factory splitter is available I’d rather have it, myself.

View DIYaholic's profile


19623 posts in 2702 days

#4 posted 08-21-2012 10:33 PM

As CplSteel said the splitter is for rip cuts. I was suggesting the splitter for that reason.

Hearing protection is another “safety” devise that is highly recommended.

-- Randy-- I may not be good...but I am slow! If good things come to those who wait.... Why is procrastination a bad thing?

View CplSteel's profile


142 posts in 2191 days

#5 posted 08-22-2012 05:33 AM

@crank49 I need more details. I believe it happend, I jsut want to know how.

As it is a newbie question I should give a more complete answer… on a table saw you should use a fence, miter gauge, OR sled/jig to make all your cuts (don’t use all three at once, just pick one for each cut). If you are using a miter gauge or a sled/jig and not a fence, it is hard, or impossible, to get a kickback. The cut off end is free floating and won’t ride up the blade, and the braced piece can’t be pushed into the blade by catching an edge because there is no edge on the opposite side of the blade to push the wood into the blade.

If you are freehand cutting on a table saw without a fence, miter gauge, or sled/jig then you can probably get all sorts of stuff to happen.

View gfadvm's profile


14940 posts in 2717 days

#6 posted 08-23-2012 03:18 AM

Since no one has commented on ‘push sticks’, I feel compelled. Push ‘sticks’ are very dangerous in my opinion for several reasons: they have too small a contact area to provide any control but more importantly, they do nothing to hold the workpiece down against the table (thus helping to prevent kickback). I use “push shoes” which both hold the workpiece down and advance it through the blade. A 10” piece of 2×4 with a sacrificial heel on the back edge make a good push shoe.

-- " I'll try to be nicer, if you'll try to be smarter" gfadvm

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