Using a tablesaw – the basics

I must admit to not being a fan of the tablesaw, but it does have its place in the DIY workshop.  I’m not sure if it’s the exposed blade, the loud noise, or the fact that you have to be so close to it, but I prefer to use any other tools possible to avoid using my tablesaw.


However, there are going to be times when you need to use it and it helps to know the basics for using a tablesaw safely and correctly, so let’s get down to it.

As with any power tool, the tablesaw has a set of procedures – or guidelines – for correct usage:

1. Switch off the tablesaw when making any adjustments to cutting depth, height and especially when changing the blade. If you have just finished using the machine and need to make adjustments, wait until the blade has come to a complete stop.

2. Stand comfortably to be able to work at a safe distance and do what needs to be done without putting yourself in harm’s way.

3. Always ensure that the blade guard is engaged. Too many DIYers tend to think they know better or are experienced enough to do it like the big guys. Just remember that the big guys also end up in hospital on occasion, and normally from doing something stupid or careless with power tools.

4. Wear all the proper safety gear: safety goggles, dust mask if you are cutting SupaWood and gloves if working with timber.

5. When you purchase a tablesaw it comes with push-sticks. They give you these for a reason and not to store away in a drawer somewhere. Push-sticks keep your hands well away from the cutting edge of the blade.

6. When cutting you will find that offcuts sit down one side of the blade. If they are not in the way don’t be tempted to reach over and grab. If the offcut catches and impedes the board you are cutting, use the push-stick to push to the side or out of the way.

7. You are only finished cutting once the timber or board has passed the edge of the blade. Only then will you switch off to remove cut pieces and clear away the top of the tablesaw.

8. Make sure that the area surrounding your tablesaw is free from debris at all times.


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