Safety or Nuisance?

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Forum topic by RussellAP posted 10-20-2012 04:33 PM 1095 views 0 times favorited 7 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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3104 posts in 2284 days

10-20-2012 04:33 PM

If a piece of safety equipment gets in the way of doing whatever the tool is suppose to do, can it be rightly called safety equipment?

How much safety equipment have you removed or not installed because it interfered with the normal operation and you felt more at risk because of it whether or not it actually protects you?

-- A positive attitude will take you much further than positive thinking ever will.

7 replies so far

View Dallas's profile


3599 posts in 2485 days

#1 posted 10-20-2012 05:07 PM

Oooohhh Scary question!
Not because of the question itself, but because of the repercussions if anyone tells online what they remove!

I’ll start.

I have a BT3100 in excellent condition for a table saw. When I bought it used it had a riving knife and an early Shark guard that continually got in the way of the work I was doing which was making thin strips out of thick pieces of hard wood.

I removed both the riving knife and the Shark guard and have never looked back.

At first I had a couple of (Heaven Forbid), kickbacks that could break your neck or put you eye out or maybe even prevent you from making any more babies.
Since my back is already broken, I cn’t see that well and I don’t like raw kids anyway, (I think deep fried with a nice speckled gravy is much better), I wasn’t worried. Besides, I’m left handed and work as such.

I use feather boards and push sticks and never push the saw beyond it’s abilities. My miter gauge, miter sled, (Ryobi Has those), and fence true to .01”

Since I learned what to look for I haven’t had a kick back in 3 years cutting green Oak, Bodark, Bodark and fruitwood.

Also since I’m left handed, I’m never directly behind the blade but still get a straight push.

Maybe all of you right handers should learn to do something like this left handed, like us Southpaws had to learn to do Right handed stuff.

-- Improvise.... Adapt...... Overcome!

View MonteCristo's profile


2099 posts in 2186 days

#2 posted 10-20-2012 05:40 PM

Interesting question. I can just hear the safety police getting ready to pounce . . . But you make a good point – if it blocks vision or whatever, it may actually be safer without it. Your best piece of safety equipment is your own brain.

-- Dwight - "Free legal advice available - contact Dewey, Cheetam & Howe""

View Tootles's profile


808 posts in 2500 days

#3 posted 10-21-2012 08:21 AM

I could give you a long answer about risk management and the heirarchy of control actions, but I’ll keep it simple.

If the consequence of the incident that is most likely to occur with the safety equipment on is less severe than the consequence of the incident that is most likely to occur without the safety equipment on, then the safety equipment should stay on. Otherwise you are better off without it. When considering the most likely incident, consider yourself as a part of the equation – it is not just about the mechanical equipment.

-- I may have lost my marbles, but I still have my love of woodworking

View kizerpea's profile


774 posts in 2365 days

#4 posted 10-21-2012 12:34 PM

the best safety equipment you have is your brain…you wouldnt pick up a snake by the head would u??so why would u push your hand into a spinning blade…the big bonus is to learn from some elses mistakes….


View teejk's profile


1215 posts in 2682 days

#5 posted 10-21-2012 01:30 PM

there is an old joke about the most efficient dust collector in the shop being the splitter that came with older table saws. the one that came with my old Delta contractor saw is one of those. unless perfectly aligned I find it to impose more risk than it eliminates.

View Nicky's profile


695 posts in 4090 days

#6 posted 10-21-2012 01:58 PM

+1 on the brains.

I bought my dream saw in 2005, a left tilt Unisaw. After a few weeks it became apparent that the blade guard was just too cumbersome to use, so off it came. I just recently gave it away in hopes that it will work for someone else. I do use a splitter, and I’m very comfortable using the saw. Safety glasses, push sticks and feather boards seem to work just fine. A riving knife would be a nice addition.

-- Nicky

View Jim Finn's profile

Jim Finn

2656 posts in 2920 days

#7 posted 10-21-2012 02:35 PM

I have removed the hold down on my scroll saws. They do get in the way and most everyone removes them. I understand they are required in the US but not elseware…..On my table saw, in order to stay out of the line of fire of a kickback I put my fence on the left side of my blade and reach over the fence with my right hand to push with my push stick.

-- Website is No PHD just a DD214 and a GED

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