There are many woodworkers who see the table saw as the primary tool in their workshops – they use it every single day of the working week. That’s why the table saw safety is extremely important for such people, since this is a very dangerous tool and one that deserves the utmost respect.
One fortunate thing is the fact that the table saws have been in use for decades, which means that most of the problems that come with them can be foreseen and avoided. Take a look at our list of the 10 table saw safety tips and protect yourself from the possible injuries.
Safety Rule #1 – Read the Instructions
Where is the user manual of your table saw? Is it in your woodworking shop, or somewhere else in the house? If you haven’t already, we advise you to find it and carefully familiarize yourself with all of the company’s precautions and recommendations.
Not everything that could put you into a problem while using this power tool is obvious – but the company that made your model has probably warned you of it in the manual’s first few pages.
Safety Rule #2 – Use the Correct Safety Equipment
Even though you’ve probably heard this for so many times, we’ll say it once more – don’t forget to always wear all the necessary safety equipment, as well as the respiratory protection. When you’re focused on work, wearing the safety equipment is a very easy thing to neglect.
But please don’t do such a thing – we’d like you to have a long, productive, and injury-free career of a DIY enthusiast.
Safety Rule #3 – Keep the Saw in Top Running Condition
Keeping the saw “tuned up” and adjusted is undoubtedly among the best possible ways to ensure both the quality of the work and the personal safety. Keeping the table saw running smooth and aligned is, actually, a prerequisite for achieving excellent results and always having a trouble-free and accurate operation.
It’s of crucial importance to keep your power tool calibrated, aligned, clean, and well-lubricated in order to avoid severe injuries during your DIY sessions.
Safety Rule #4 – Use the Right Type of Saw Blades and Keep Them Sharp
Using an inappropriate type of a blade or a blade that’s dull and of poor quality will certainly compromise the quality of one’s work. It can also turn the power tool into a real menace and lead to dangerous injuries.
That’s why it’s essential to learn as much as you can about the saw blades – like when is the time to switch to a new one and what type of it is correct for your table saw.
Safety Rule #5 – Keep the Area Dust-Free and Clean
Ignoring the debris and the dust that slowly builds up around you and your power tool is a recipe for disaster. We advise you to get in the habit of cleaning up the cut-off wooden pieces as soon as possible. You should also establish a system of dealing with heaps of debris and dust that will quickly appear around your table saw.
A dustpan and a broom are certainly better than nothing, but a better solution would be to set up a dust collection system. It will assist you in keeping the place clean while you’re working and not only after you’re done with the project. With it, you will be far more likely to put a stop to the dust issue – it’s a lot easier just to flip a switch than having to stop the project in order to clean the place up.
Safety Rule #6 – Use the Push Sticks
When it comes to table saws, a moment of inattention or a slip of the wrist can have terrible consequences. That’s why the push sticks are there – they keep the user’s fingers away from the blade.
And the best thing about the push sticks is that they’re really inexpensive, and you can even easily make a couple of them by yourself.
Safety Rule #7 – Use a Featherboard
The spring-like fingers of a featherboard have a purpose of holding the stock firmly pressed against the table’s surface and the fence, providing the operator with less burning and with a more accurate cut. A featherboard can also minimize the probability of a kickback. The fact that the stock has to follow a straight line because of the featherboard means that there’s a smaller chance of the workpiece binding between the fence and the blade, and then getting thrown back at the operator.
Of course, a featherboard certainly can’t offer complete protection from the kickback, but it can help get things running a lot more fluid and trouble-free.
Safety Rule #8 – Use Zero Clearance Inserts
This would be an item that supports the workpiece up to the blade’s edge and allows a cleaner cut. It also has the purpose of preventing the smaller pieces from getting stuck between the blade and the edge of the throat plate.
These things usually come ready-made together with the table saws, but handymen can also easily make them on their own or purchase custom-made zero clearance inserts.
Safety Rule #9 – Use Blade Guards and Splitters
The safety equipment that came together with your power tool is certainly there for a reason – it will provide you with necessary insurance against harmful accidents. The splitter deserves special praise – it is located right there behind the blade and has the job of keeping the saw kerf open. This, in turn, prevents the workpiece from binding between the fence and the blade. It prevents the kickback from occurring and does its job very well!
You should leave the one that came together with your model in place whenever you can. Those that use custom-made zero clearance inserts should equip them with the shop-made splitters.
Safety Rule #10 – Keep Learning
There’s a lot more to staying safe while using a table saw – like using the right stance or knowing when exactly to release the workpiece while cutting. That’s why we implore you to keep informing yourself as much as you can on these things – it’s the only way to stay safe and have a fruitful DIY career.