Using a table saw can be fraught with danger if you don’t use the correct ripping techniques. It is very important to be aware of the safest way to make all kinds of cuts and how to use the equipment safely in order to protect yourself from being injured. Every table saw comes with standard safety equipment such as a blade guard and anti-kickback pawl and using these is essential to your well-being. By keeping the blade guard assembly on your tablet saw, and by ensuring that it stays in good working condition, you will ensure that it is able to cut safely.
Use A Blade Guard Assembly
A blade guard will protect your fingers from the dangerous sharp blade while also deflecting any flying debris while you are cutting. A splitter will keep the board from kicking back at you and this hazard will also be prevented by the anti-kickback pawl which will stop the board from rushing towards you should the blade bind or pinch while cutting.
Using A Push Stick
To rip boards safely, the first step is to adjust the blade height properly. The smaller the amount of exposed blade, the safer your sawing will be. It is also essential to keep your hand well away from the spinning blade. If you lose your concentration for just a second or accidentally have a slip of your hand, it is very easy to have a serious accident.
If you use a push stick or push shoe your hands will remain a safe distance away from the saw’s blade even when ripping through skinny pieces. A push shoe features a handle which ensures a better control over the wood while reducing the chances of your hand falling off.
However, if you would prefer to use a push stick you should use plywood to make it, since other types of lumber may split or fall apart during pushing. Using a push shoe or stick is really the only safe way in which you can guide thin boards past a spinning blade. A push stick is essential for any rip which is narrower than six inches.
Supporting The Board
Ripping a long board can be difficult since the board tends to fall of the back of the table and this tempts the user to reach over the blade. In order to achieve this safely it is vital to support the board’s end when it comes off the saw’s back end.
It is possible to purchase a stand which has incorporated rollers or other devices which can support the lumber. Alternatively, you could construct a table to match your saw’s height or an outfeed platform to support the outfeed lumber.
Ripping Thin Strips And Odd Shapes Safely
While a table saw represents the optimal tool for cutting narrow strips like plywood edging, often the blade guard interferes with the fence and doesn’t allow adequate room for a push stick. You can rip thin strips safely by building a fence extension.
If you want to rip straight edges on crooked boards you can achieve this by attaching the workpiece to a straight piece of plywood and then running the straight edge of the plywood against the fence and this will create a straight edge to the odd-shaped board. Although this technique works well with boards that do not have straight edges, it is no use with boards that are cupped or twisted as they could kick back or bind in the blade.
Some Key Rules For Table Saw Safety
There are some key rules which you should follow when using a table saw safely:
- Avoid wearing gloves as you need to have good tactile sense when using a table saw
- Ensure that the floor in front of your table saw has no sawdust accumulation or cut offs
- Wear appropriate protection for your ears and eyes to guard against flying projectiles and loud noises
- Always wear short sleeves, and never wear a tie or dangling jewelry when using a table saw
- Always stand comfortably, and keep your feet apart to ensure good balance. Wear non-slip shoes
- If you are cutting crosscut short lengths always use a stop block
- Keep your body positioned so it is not in line with your saw’s blade as this will keep you out of the way of any kick back
- Never reach behind the saw’s blade or over it until it isn’t turning any more.
- Disconnect your saw’s power supply before you change the blade or perform any other kind of maintenance operation
- Ensure that the blade is not moving before you make any adjustment to your table saw
- Ensure the blade turns freely before switching on the power
- Ensure your table top is polished and smooth
- Ensure your rip fence remains parallel to the saw’s blade to prevent the stock binding on the blade and kicking back
Best Table Saw For Beginners
If you are new to using a table saw and need one for your next DIY project, you should ensure that you look for one that is suited to the needs of beginners. The Bosch GTS1031 could possibly be the best table saw for newcomers to woodworking.
This lightweight, compact table saw is easy to use for a beginner yet it doesn’t compromise on power. Its 15 amp motor is capable of ripping hardwoods up to a depth of 3 1/8” at a right angle. The all steel base is incredibly durable and the unit comes completely with a Squarelock rip fence which requires no adjustment and yet delivers a consistent and smooth cut.
The onboard storage is useful for storing all of the accessories and with its 18” capacity it can handle quite large sheets thanks to its 5000 RPM no load speed. This is also a very safe table saw with its riving knife to eliminate kickback, blade guard and an anti-kickback pawl. There is also a convenient 2 inch dust collection port, as well as a supplied miter gauge, push stick and wrenches.