8 Tips To Keep Your Fingertips Safe When Using Your Table Saw

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Posted by Siphesihle Hato in Tips & Tricks

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Table saw safety is extremely important to woodworkers because most woodworkers who use power tools use table saws as their main shop tool. Add to that the power of the saws and the dangers it presents, and we quickly understand that lots of personal damage are possible.

Injuries due to table saws far outnumber injuries by other power tools in your typical workshop. However, the table saw has been in use for many, many years, so most of the problems possible can be easily foreseen and avoided. The eight tips below should help you avoid most, if not all, problems.

  • Do not wear gloves while operating a table saw. There are several reasons, but a loss of tactile sense is probably foremost, while a possible loss of gripping power is also close to the top. And some kinds of gloves are loose enough to present an item for the rotating blade to grab. 
  • Keep the floor in front of the saw free of cut-offs and piled-up sawdust. Tripping or sliding into a running, or even stopped, saw blade can create problems, but even slipping and banging your head against the cast iron table can bring on a bad injury. 
  • Wear proper eye and hearing protection. Eyes need to be protected from damage by projectiles- and no, standard eyeglasses will not do the job. Hearing protection is something every woodworker should start with, and continue. Hearing loss creeps up on you without warning, and often without symptoms until it’s too late to reverse the procedure. 
  • Wear short sleeves, leave the ties at the office, and junk your dangling jewelry. Get rid of other loose-fitting clothing while operating a table saw. Any of these items might get caught in the blade and yank you into it before you can react. 
  • Stand comfortably, with your feet far enough apart for good balance. This is always important, but more so when you’re cutting stock long enough to require several steps toward the saw to keep the feed going. Then, you build up momentum and want to be able to stop easily. Wear footwear with non-slip soles.  
  • Avoid any awkward operations. If you feel like a gawky fool doing a cut, then don’t do the cut in that manner. This helps you avoid losing your balance and possibly falling into the blade or table. 
  • Use a stop block when you crosscut short lengths. Mount a stop block on the fence–this can be as simple as a clamped board that stops just before the saw blade so that cut-off pieces cannot bind between the blade and fence. 
  • Position your body so that it is NOT in line with the blade. This keeps sawdust feeding back through the slot of the blade out of your face, and much more important, it keeps you out of the line of most kickbacks. 


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