Stay safe when using a table saw with these tips
Table saws can be an enormous help when it comes to crafting and construction projects. However, they are a dangerous piece of machinery and should be used with the utmost caution. Whether you’re young or old, a longtime use of table saws or just learning, here are ten table saw safety tips that every woodworker should follow.
1. Always Read the Instructions
This tip may seem obvious, but it’s astounding how many people go straight to using a table saw without first reading the instructions. Invest the full amount of time it takes to read a table saw’s instruction booklet before using it. In doing this, you’ll learn where all the safety features are, as well as any precautions you should take when using your table saw.
2. Wear Protective Eyewear
You may think it’s a nuisance, but protective eyewear is essential when using a table saw. Because table saws can kick back so much sawdust and debris, you’ll want to make sure that your eyes are protected at all times. A little sawdust might not appear to be hugely dangerous, but a splinter in or around the eye will not be a pleasant time.
3. Make Sure the Table Area Is Clean
It’s easy for a table saw to rack up sawdust in the area, and while sawdust might not seem like any kind of imminent threat, it’s best to always keep the area clean and clear. The best way to steer clear of an accident is to make sure that everything in your workstation and on your table is visible and easy to spot.
4. Position Your Body to the Side of the Blade
While the table saw’s blade isn’t likely to get free from the table and come after you, standing directly in front of the blade does make you subject to sawdust kickback, which can be harmful to the eyes. Additionally, in the case that you trip or faint, you’re less likely to hit the table saw’s blade if you’re standing to the side of the blade.
5. Disconnect the Power When Finished
When you’re done using your table saw, it’s a smart idea to always disconnect the power cable. This will help prevent any treacherous accidents from occurring in your workspace. Additionally, always be sure to disconnect the power before changing a saw blade. Doing this will kill the chance of the blade inadvertently beginning to move while you’re changing it out.
6. Always Begin a Cut With a Free Blade
You should never start your table saw with the blade touching the stock. Rather, your blade should have a free spin circumference before having the stock pushed through it. Along with keeping you safe, this technique will also help prevent the blade from getting stuck in the wood by allowing it the momentum it needs to cut properly.
7. Never Make Free-Hand Cuts
No matter how experienced you are, you should never attempt to make a free-hand cut with a table saw. Instead, always guide the wood through the blade using the fence or the miter gauge. However, remember that you shouldn’t use the rip fence and miter gauge at the same time, as you don’t want the piece of wood to get stuck against the fence.
8. Check the Wood for Obstructions
Before cutting a piece of wood with the table saw, you should give the stock a thorough check for obstructions. Nails and staples can quickly turn into dangerous projectiles if they aren’t removed before using the table saw. Additionally, it’s also a good idea to check the stock for any loose knots in the wood or cracks that might lead to a sudden snapping of the wood.
9. Use a Push Stick When Necessary
You never want your hands to get too close to the table saw’s blade. For this reason, if the wood is less than six inches away from the blade, use a push stick to push the stock through the blade. Doing this protects your fingers, as well as keeps you safe in the case of any slip-ups. Most types of table saw come with a push stick.
10. Keep the Workstation Floor Clean
Messiness isn’t just an eyesore. When you’re working with a table saw, it’s a hazard. Be sure that the ground surrounding your table saw is always swept or vacuumed clean and remains clear while you’re working. All it takes is one small trip to lead to a painful accident.