The table saw is perhaps the most widely used woodworking tools. Due to its excellent power and efficiency, this tool works as the main machine in most workshops and is used every single day. This is undeniably a dangerous tool you get to handle, and statistics show that in addition to being one of the most dangerous woodworking power tools, table saws also cause more debilitating injuries. This is why following proper safety measures while using table saw is of extreme importance.
Fortunately, since the table saw is one machine that has been in use for several decades now, most of the safety issues that you are likely to come across can be prepared for and avoided at all costs. To protect yourself from potential injuries, here are some safety measures to follow while using a table saw:
Safety Measures: Before Using the Table Saw
Before you start using the table saw, there are a few important steps to do:
- Read the owner’s manual thoroughly and carefully.
- Make sure that you fully understand the given instructions before moving on to use any part of the machine.
- Learn the precautions, applications, limitations, and recommendations before using the tool.
Safety Measures: When Using the Table Saw
- Always wear proper eye protection gear, and not your everyday eyeglasses, when using the table saw, to protect them from potential damage. Choose between a face shield, safety glasses, and goggles.
- Proper hearing protection is essential, as you could be affected by hearing loss at any point in time, without any warning. It could be too late to prevent yourself from losing your hearing ability.
- Avoid using gloves when using the table saw because you could lose your grip or tactile sense, or both. Also, if the gloves are loose, the rotating blade can easily get hold of it, leading to injuries.
- Do not wear a tie or any dangling jewelry when using the tool. Also, avoid wearing loose clothing, because all of these items can easily get caught in the blade, snatching you in before you even know it. Wear short sleeves and fitted clothing.
- Wear protective, non-slip footwear during the process.
- Make sure that the surface in front of the table saw is clean, free from sawdust and cut-offs. This will help avoid sliding or tripping into the saw blade, running or otherwise, which can lead to severe injuries. Not to forget, even hitting against the table saw’s cast iron table can cause heavy injuries.
- Stand comfortably yet firmly on the floor at all times and avoid any awkward positions, so you don’t lose your balance while operating the machine.
- Position your body in such a way that it is not aligned with the blade. This helps prevent injuries from flying woodchips, sawdust, and other particles.
- In general, maintaining a 6-inch distance to the blade is known to be safe; therefore, if the width of the stock to be cut is 6 inches or less, use a push stick to cut the same.
- When you set the blade’s height, make sure it is slightly higher than that of the stock to be cut, without exceeding 6mm. This helps prevent major injuries to your hand in case you slip while working on the saw.
- Never talk to someone, attend a call, or encourage distractions of any kind while cutting with the table saw. Concentrate only on the job at hand.
- When you have to crosscut short lengths, always use a stop block by mounting it on the fence.
- Do not reach over or behind the blade until it stops turning completely.
- Never adjust the table saw before the blade stops turning completely. This is because even a slowly turning blade can cause damages you never foresaw.
- If you want to change the blade or carry out any other operation on the machine, disconnect the power before anything.
- Before turning on the power, always spin the blade a couple of times to make sure that it runs smoothly and no tool or other elements is touching it.
- The tabletop should be really smooth and polished at all times, because when you work on a dirty table, you will be required to exert more pressure to push the stock via the blade. This can cause you to lose balance at any time.
- Before cutting the wood, make sure that there are no stones, screws, nails, etc. in the stock, because such items can turn into projectiles, causing injuries.
- Do not adjust the fence when the table saw is running.
- Release the work only when it gets past the blade. If the stock gets tilted or lifted above the table’s surface, it can get disturbed by the saw, as a result of which you could lose your grip. Also when you lose your grip, your hand can straightaway slip toward the blade or can cause kickback of the work.
- Never make free-hand cuts on the machine.
- Any anti-kickback tool, splitters, blade guards, etc. should be easily accessible and functioning smoothly. Make sure that these items are functioning properly before beginning work.
- Use a feather board to make sure that the stock is kept firmly pressed against the surface of the table and the fence. This will provide you with a more accurate cut and minimize the chances of a kickback while also reducing burning.
- Use zero clearance inserts, an item that helps to attain a cleaner cut by supporting the workpiece through the edge of the blade. Besides, they also perform the job of preventing the smaller workpieces from getting stuck between the blade.
- Avoid cutting long stock on a table saw because it can hinder other operations and can be hazardous to you and other workers as well. Instead, use a radial arm saw or pull saw for the job.
Finally, when it comes to knowing the safety measures to follow while using a table saw, there is a lot of information you can keep learning. Therefore, do your research and keep yourself updated on any new safety feature and procedure to stay safe during your woodworking projects.