Quick Poll

Welcome to Wood Workers Safety Week 2012!  Woot!

I know, you have heard EVERYTHING about shop safety, right?  You’ve heard it all, seen it all, tried it all and you can’t stand to see something else about it.  Sure. But, it never hurts to have a refresher to help remind you about how to prevent painful, disfiguring and costly injuries.

While all tools pose a potential safety risk, the table saw remains the number one culprit in shop injuries. Accidental blade contact and kickback are two of the common ways that people can be injured.

Of course, there are a number of safety devices included in your table saw.  Whether it’s flesh-sensing technology or a simple splitter and blade guard, each of these gadgets works to help prevent mishaps. While they are useful, some woodworkers see them as non-essential add ons that just slow them down.

This week, look at your table saw setup and let us know how much safety equipment you use on your table saw. Is it the whole shebang, or do you get rid of those safety devices?

7 thoughts on “Quick Poll”

  1. I definitely hold the most respect for my table saw out of all my tools.

    I’ve had a couple of close calls and have tried to re-arrange my safety equipment on it to keep my hands and fingers attached, while still trying to make cut as easy as possible.
    My saw came with what I think is a pretty dismal safety system design.
    A small splitter behind the blade, and paying close attention has been the ticket so far.

    It never hurts to review safety procedures no matter how long you’ve been woodworking.

    Thanks Tom.

  2. I use a loaner table saw I got from a friend… it belonged to his dad, is about 20yrs old, & has been stripped of all safety equipment.
    A new saw is on my “must buy” list (along with a Gripper) & it will damn sure have all basics covered…
    I’m kind of attached to my fingers & would like to keep it that way.

  3. The only injury I have sustained was from a poorly designed blade guard on my father’s table saw. The guard encountered the blade and threw slivers of steel into my face and neck, thankfully I was wearing safety glasses. Since that incident, I view all safety accessories with suspicion and usually remove them.

    When I inherited that saw, I removed the offending guard first, then carefully set up the trunnion and fence to be in alignment and avoid any binding. Every time I reach for the ON switch, I remind myself that a razor sharp blade is spinning at 3450rpm and that no piece of wood is worth losing a finger. Also, I stand to the left of the blade and always use a push stick if necessary to keep my fingers away from the blade.

    The best safety accessory is between your ears….I use that.

  4. Table saw safety used to be an after thought. I never used the guard on my table saw because it was hard to take on and off, plus the anti kickback pawls scratched the hell out of the wood. Newer versions of my saw have a much nicer guard that’s easier to replace.

    I just made a new splitter/riving knife for my tablesaw out of some 12ga steel. Besides making my saw a whole lot safer, I actually get better cuts.

  5. My opinion is that patience is the biggest part of safety. You can have all the safety equipped tools in the world, but if you are in a hurry your chances of getting bit by a blade are so much higher.

    Now in my own shop with the table saw, using push sticks for narrow pieces and keeping the blade only 1/8″ above the thickness of the piece your are cutting are my biggest safety points!

  6. I agree that patience is the number one safety guard for a table saw. I haven’t seen an effective safety guard that doesn’t damage the boards. Since I only use the saw for hobbies I make sure I am well rested and never if I am tired, hungry or have had a drink. I also make sure to set the blade only as high as it needs to be for each cut and always have eye and ear protection.

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