12 Golden Safety Rules for Using Your Table Saw
Whether you are using it for pleasure (e.g. making birdhouses, making a workbench) or for work (e.g. cutting wood flooring boards, building a ramp), table saws are one of the most useful tools that you can have.
However, like all tools, table saws can be dangerous and must be used properly. Here are a few tips for using your table saw.
1. Never start your table saw with the wood piece you are planning to cut positioned up against the saw blade. Instead, start you saw and let the saw blade reach its full speed before you move the wood piece against the saw blade for cutting. Use light pressure to move the wood piece against the blade. Never force the wood.
2. Never reach around or over the saw blade! Fingers, hands, and forearms are no match for a spinning or non-spinning saw blade.
3. Invariably, wood slivers or cut off pieces of wood will become jammed or wedged between the saw blade, the anti-kickback pawls, and the table top. Before you attempt to remove any of these jammed pieces of wood, turn off the power to the table saw and wait until the blade has completely stopped spinning.
4. Always wear safety glasses when operating your table saw.
5. When cutting long or wide pieces of wood, use an adjustable saw horse or supportive device to rest the wood on that is not resting on the saw’s table top. Otherwise, the unsupported weight of the board may cause the wooden board to shift or buckle on the table and create safety and cutting problems.
6. Many table saws’ “OFF/ON” switches now come with lockable latch holes. If you have kids, always keep your table saw locked when you are not using it. A padlock or cable lock can be used to lock up the “OFF/ON” switch. If you cannot lock your “OFF/ON” switch, always keep your saw unplugged when it is not in use.
7. To keep the wood piece from moving when you are using a miter gauge, cut to shape and glue a piece of sandpaper to the face of the miter gauge. The sandpaper will help keep the piece of wood from moving while it is being cut. Also, make sure that you have your miter gauge locked in place before you begin cutting.
8. Do not try to cut more than one piece of wood at a time!
9. You can use a combination square to double check your saw blade’s 45 degree and 90 degree bevel adjustments. You can also use a combination square to make sure that both ends of your saw blade are properly aligned/positioned.
10. When using the table saw do not stand directly in front of the saw blade – instead, stand to either side of it. This will help keep you from getting hurt if the back of the spinning saw blade catches a piece of cut wood and throws it forward during cutting.
11. Turn your table saw off and remove the table saw’s electrical cord from its power source before you change blades, install or remove accessories, make repairs, or perform any sort of cleaning or maintenance on your saw.
12. Never operate your saw without the throat plate (or table insert) being in place. Also, before you start using your saw, make sure that you have adjusted your plate/insert so it is flush with the table top surface. You can do this by tightening or loosening the plate’s/insert’s adjustment screws.
Resting a ruler cross-wise over the throat plate/table insert after it has been inserted into its position on the tabletop will allow you to see which screws you need to tighten or loosen to make the plate/insert level with the tabletop.
I hope these tips and safety reminders will be of help to you!