Of the power tools that craftsmen and women use, the table saw ranks high in the number of injuries it causes despite it taking a stationary position than others. Working with this power tool will always come with the danger of inflicting injuries, but that does not mean that they are inevitable. The necessary precautions must be taken seriously, even if we are short in time and power. We would not want to have mutilated hands as a cause of a minor misstep now, would we?
To reduce the chances of untoward events, there are safety tips that must be remembered AND employed every time. As a professional, you would not want your neglect in observing these to be used against you if you happen to be in an accident. Meanwhile, being an enthusiast also does not excuse you from winging it. We detail them below so that you remain injury-free and regret-free every time you operate your table saw.
Prepare and wear the recommended safety equipment
This step, which is among the first things you will be educated about on table saw safety, should be non-negotiable. Wearing the prescribed equipment would be your first layer of protection in using table saws. If you still don’t have a table saw, please check our buying guide: https://www.sawinery.net/best-table-saw/
You can approach your attire from the head going down. For your eyes, it is recommended that you wear safety glasses or goggles for a shield against debris. Meanwhile, your ears should have some form of protection from the loud sounds the tool may emit. A dust mask can also be used to prevent inhaling toxic elements from the materials. Your clothes, both your top and your bottoms, should be comfortable but not loose. Believe it or not, your footwear also matters in this regard — make sure that your shoes are not prone to slipping.
It’s that simple, but there are also things to avoid. This goes without saying, but your workshop is not the place for your jewelry, regardless of where you wear them. Things that dangle from your body, such as neckties, should also be avoided as these can be caught by parts of the table saw. Wearing gloves is not prescribed when using the power tool.
Maintain a clean working area
Keeping your work area clean should not only be a priority after your work with the table saw is done, but it should also be observed before you dive in with your project. It is only practical as debris can get in the way of smooth operation. Particles on the table saw can also have you exerting more effort when using the blade. If you’re using wood, make sure that the material is free of any screws, nails, or any materials that can have the potential to be projectile once these touch the blade.
Maximize the safety features of your table saw
The table saw is not the entirely dangerous machine that our warnings may seem to be. Like its users, manufacturers are also concerned about ensuring the safety of their products. Check and take advantage of the safety features installed in your power tool. Some of these include an anti-kickback pawl and a saw blade guard. Configuring these should be done even before powering your table saw.
Keep a solid stance when using the table saw
The way your body is positioned against the table saw matters for your safety. For one, you should not be directly in line with the blade so that any projectiles from the material of choice being in contact with the blade will not fly towards you. Maintain a good balance in such a way that the movements of the table saw would not affect you. Avoid bending over, especially when the blade is moving. Any adjustments should be made only after the blade has come to a complete stop. Also, one should remain focused on the tool and avoid engaging others in conversation while operating the table saw.
Have push sticks and blocks handy
Push sticks and blocks provide a buffer between your hand and the blade. This is especially helpful when the material being cut is only six inches thick or less. Blocks are used particularly when doing cross cuts on short materials. Push sticks and blocks can be purchased separately or made in your workshop.
Have the blades spin at full speed
Before subjecting your material of choice to the table saw’s blades, you must make sure that there is nothing preventing the blade from spinning freely. The blade should also always be checked every time adjustments have been made on the blade.
Observe the following to prevent kickback
Many power tools, including table saws, are installed with an anti-kickback device. But besides that, there are things that must be observed to prevent kickback. You must make sure that certain parts, such as the blade guards and spreaders are working as intended. You should not use the rip fence and miter gauge at the same time. The wood that will be fed to the blade should be straight and flat, as emphasized earlier, and should not put in contact with the table saw freehand. For large sheets of material, a sliding table can be used to cut it into more manageable sizes.
Having zero clearance inserts also keep projectiles from hitting your body while ensuring precise cuts. Check the saw’s blade: it should be appropriate for the material being used. Don’t force the blades beyond what they’re capable of. Feed it with the material at an acceptable pace as doing otherwise will also likely cause kickbacks.
Remove the table saw from its power source when changing the blade
While working with the power tool, you will most likely have to do adjustments every now and then. To prevent accidentally starting the saw while you are changing the blade, you should remove the table saw from its power source. This should also be observed in circumstances other than cutting your material of choice with the table saw: when you’re about to put your power tool under maintenance, ensure first and foremost that it is unplugged.
There is no need to be nervous with the table saw so long as these precautions are taken to heart. It may be a lot at first, but like any other woodworker, you will eventually get the hang of it. You may also seek the assistance of someone more experienced with the table saw. Building something with a table saw is fun and fulfilling, but it should not come at the cost of your safety.
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