Safe use of a Tablesaw

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    Just to start a topic which is important for all. Having taught High School kids for 40 years and not have one student lose a finger is something I am proud of. If you have any questions concerning Table saw use please feel free to ask.


    Retiredpal, that is quite an accomplishment! I’d be interested in knowing what part of table saw safety was the easiest to forget for your students? Was there one step that a lot of students just seemed to have a hard time remembering?


    Hello Baro,
    The most important step is to constantly remind them a hand never passes over the blade. Buy the way I never used the guard over the blade when working. Guards give a false sense of security and when the moving blade cannot be seen they think they cannot be hurt. In teaching the safe use of a table saw the primary objective is to relate something on the table saw to something a teenager can relate to. Very simply that is Miles per Hour. The edge of a 10″ blade moves at 108mph and no one can stop that. Some time I will tell you what kickback can do and how I demonstrated it in the classroom.

    Gilberts, Illinois

    I think one great safety rule is the KEEP A SHARP BLADE ON THE SAW!
    We all know that a dull blade requires more pressure to push the piece through the saw. That can result in slipping and possibly catching the blade.

    I was working with my then 12 year old son on a school project and he went to grab a piece from the blade while it was spinning,
    I grabbed his hand just before it went into the blade. After reminding him of what I told him many, many times we noticed
    blood on the table. It was MY knukle!!! All is well but I remind him often “Hey,I shed blood for you,son.” When I ask him to do something
    for me. 🙂



    How about the top three safety tips – or top five?

    ~ Rob at http://www.ConcordCarpenter.com


    That is a good question. There are alot of them and some tips will be more important to some than others. This makes the old brain go back in gear.

    1. Never stand in direct line behind the fence and blade
    2. Always move your hand around the blade, never over it.
    3. Use a push stick when cutting thin pieces. (Design to follow later on)
    4. No loose shirt cuffs over the cutting area.
    5. When cutting multiple pieces the same length, use a stop block.
    6. Ignore people around you when you are working, focus on the blade.
    7. Long stock, Use and auxiliary table or roller.
    More to come later- Got to go to Danbury, CT now

    halifax, nova scotia

    dont run your hand past the blade on anything narrower than 4″, use a pushstick

    dont run sheet goods through the saw solo if its wider than 24″ have a buddy help with it

    have a outfeed table or person to catch stock thats longer

    know the tool, where the switches are on it if you get in trouble you can kill the power without looking

    make sure the tool is setup on flat ground or inside, never use the tool when tired

    heres a tip, dont fart in a space suit


    Along with a sharp blade, i always suggest dry coat. (silicon spray)
    Clean the saw then spray it on the surface. It makes the material slide smooth so you aren’t fighting the material, which can help prevent binding.

    If you are blessed with a sliding table saw, your fence position is key as well. In rip cuts keep the fence with the front of the blade or just a slight amount in. So that after your rip cut is done, it will push away on its own, with out the help of a hand.


    That’s a great help
    I’m always extra carefully when using a table saw
    Even a circular saw


    Best Advice I ever got was from my dad.

    “Remember the table saw is one of the most dangerous tools you’ll use. Treat it as though it’s going to hurt you. Never stop thinking about how dangerous it is regardless of how many years you’ve used it.”

    I’ve never forgotten his words and so far knock on wood I’ve kept my fingers as well.


    great wisdom todd. i am afraid to even be near one haha

    John S


    That’s very true. It’s usually when you start becoming complacent about the dangers of using power tools that you are more likely to get injured. If you keep a healthy fear of them you’re better off.



    halifax, nova scotia

    what about guards guys, do you use them or not.. i personally dont.. i find they get in the way for freehand cuts too easily and their a hastle to take off and put on.. as long as your paying attention to what your doing and know what your doing you should be fine

    heres a tip, dont fart in a space suit

    Eastern shore of, Pa

    I still have the guard from my TS…. somewhere

    What about table inserts ? I made a selection of zero clearance inserts


    I don’t use the guard on my saw, like you said Jeff it just gets in the way. There are some aftermarket guards that are supposed to work better but the ones that come with the saw are pretty much useless I find.

    Charles, I made a selection of zero clearance inserts as well for different blades and setups. They give you a better cut and are safer to use.




    Great comments from everyone. Table inserts made from 1/4″ tempered masonite or heavier if the table insert is deeper also works well. After you have made the insert turn the saw on and slowely raise it as it cuts its way through the insert. This is also a great idea for dado heads.

    If you are the only person in the shop and you have a long board, a roller works well only if it is real parallel to the table other wise the stock will wander away from the fence. If you are not cutting real precision stok and the piece is real long, you can flip it over and run the other end in.

    Another way if you have a heavy wide board and are ripping strips and no one is around to help and you have no extension table then you get the board to the middle where it balances on the saw, walk around and pull it out looking only at the fence, not the blade. The board must remain tight to the fence at all times for a great cut.


    I use a large outfeed table in my shop which works great. An alternative to a regular roller stand is the ball roller stands which don’t have any directional bias so you don’t have to worry about setting it perfectly parallel.

    I don’t know that I would attempt leaving a half cut board on the saw while it is running and walk around to the back. There would be a lot of potential for the board to shift over just a bit and catch on the blade and send it flying back.



    Honesdale, PA

    I have used the walk around technique at times. It is by no means ideal, and not the safest, but in a pinch it works.

    halifax, nova scotia

    the walk around method works but you have to do it slowly and pay attention to your every move so that it doesnt bind up

    heres a tip, dont fart in a space suit



    Great advice. You should write an article on table saw safety. If interested I will post it on my site!!

    ~ Rob at http://www.ConcordCarpenter.com

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