9 Table Saw Safety Tips for Woodworkers

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What is a Table Saw and How Does It Work?

A table saw is the backbone of any woodworking shop. It has a circular blade that is powered with the help of an electric motor; the round saw blade that is mounted on an arbour pierces from a table on which is placed the material to be cut. The latest types of table saws allow woodworkers to maneuver the extent of the cut by varying the position of the blade.

Higher the position of the blade, higher it is above the table and deeper is the incision made by it; likewise, lower the height of the blade above the table, shallower is the cut made by it in the material being worked on. Why table saws are preferred by all woodworkers alike is because of the diverse number of features they offer—from ripping to crosscutting.

They can be used for jobs as lucid as building a storage box or as intricate as designing and structuring a vessel and renovating a house. Table saws are available in the market in a deluge. Workers, these days, even have the option to buy saws online.

List of Useful Tips to Use a Table Saw Safely

Out of a majority of workshops, related accidents reported every year, an alarmingly huge percentage of them are caused by table saws. What more? A thumping majority of these are caused by the sheer negligence on the part of the workers. Discussed below are tips to use saws safely so as to avoid meeting with accidents:-

  1. Gloves Are a No

As the most general rule, as opposed to a lot of other industrial and workshop related tasks, using table saws safely mandates that gloves not be worn by the workers at all. Table saws are instruments that primarily work and rely heavily on the craftsman’s tactile sensibilities.

Also, sawing is one task that requires an immense amount of hold and grip on the instrument; nobody would want to imagine what would happen if a loose glove were to get caught in the rotating table saw blade?

  1. Maintaining Cleanliness

Keeping the workspace clean is important too—from the floor the woodworker will stand on to the table the saw is attached to. Sawdust or stray chunks can easily fly and get caught in the rotating blade, hitting the operator or anybody standing in close proximity in the eye or other places.

Moreover, the operator might just slip or trip over something as tiny as a little wooden chunk on the floor; the repercussions of accidentally striking a table saw in operation could be fatal.

  1. Protecting the Eyes & the Ears

Any equipment that has rotating component commands that eye protection gear is worn as an imperative and indispensable safety measure; this is because projectile related accidents are commonplace in such instruments. A tiny splinter can at times render an eye irreparably damaged. Any machine that is too noisy in operation can damage hearing ability surreptitiously.

Often people don’t realize that their hearing ability has been affected till the time it is too late or has caused irreparable damage to the eardrums. Earplugs and safety glasses must be worn by woodworkers every time they get down to using the table saw machine.

  1. Using the Right Blade

As obvious as it may sound, but it is very important that we keep our blades razor sharp and use the right blade. A large number of accidents are reported wherein woodworkers, on purpose, decide to switchblades; a woodworker may get tempted to use a blade meant, say, just for ripping to crosscut.

This only leads to accidents in almost all the cases because of the blade breaks and results in projectile related accidents. Keeping the saw blade sharp is good practice. A blunt blade will only waste time and require more effort to perform the same job; the end results of product finished with a blunt blade will not be as good either.

  1. Setting the Blade Height

Depending on the type of blade being used, their height above the saw table has to be changed—flat-ground blades should be at the most a quarter inches above the wood; planer blades, on the other hand, should be kept as high as possible above the table so as to prevent any binding from happening.

  1. Ripping Carefully

Kickbacks are instances where the saw blade catches a twisted piece of stock and flings it back at the worker. These occur very often while ripping a workpiece. Blades that are not sharp enough or improper blade heights above the tables often result in kickbacks.

Using poor quality wood is also one of the most overlooked reasons responsible for kickbacks. Woodworkers should try not to be perfectly in line with the blade. Also, in order to keep the wood-feeding hand from getting stuck in the table saw blade, the woodworkers can rest a couple of their working hand fingers against the fence.

  1. Using Feather Boards

A feather board serves multiple functions. It clasps the stock tightly against the saw surface and the fence, reducing the chances of kickbacks from occurring simultaneously.

  1. Using Blade Guards & Splitters

Splitters are placed directly behind the table saw blades. They protect against binding by not allowing the stock to close in on the table saw blade.

  1. Using Push Sticks

Push sticks are ideal for keeping a check on the distance between your pushing hand and the circular table saw blade. They prevent injuries that result from the hand accidentally getting fed to the rotating circular blade of the table saw.

Final Words

Table saws must be used by workers only after they ensured their safety and stricken every item on the checklist mentioned above off. Woodworkers must buy quality table saws to ensure that their purchases, besides being safe, last long enough and are a complete value for money. Some brands of repute selling table saws are Bosch, Makita, and Metabo to name a few.

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