Highland Woodworking Wood News Online, No. 135, November 2016 Welcome to Highland Woodworking - Fine Tools & Education Learn more about Highland Woodworking View our current woodworking classes and seminars Woodworking articles and solutions Subscribe to Wood News
Safety Tip: Check List for Tablesaw Safety

In my many years of working with table saws , I've had my share of scares, but still have all my fingers and eyes. I've made a check-list for table saw safety:

  1. Wear good safety glasses all the time in the shop no matter what you are doing. I keep several pairs lying around. The first thing I do when entering my shop is to don a pair.
  2. Consider a worst case scenario before making a cut. Think about all the things that could go wrong. Kickback is the most common problem.
  3. Stay out of the line of fire of a flung cutoff. I always position my body so as to not be where a cutoff could go.
  4. Use push sticks . Think where your hand would go if the push stick slides off the wood.
  5. Don't cut small pieces of wood. If I have to cut a small piece and can't do it on a band saw , I tape the small piece to a much bigger piece using double stick tape and/or masking tape. I want to have the two pieces joined together tight enough that they will stay together throughout the cut.
  6. Use the safety devices that come with the saw such as the blade shroud and kick back pawls.
  7. Don't force a piece of wood through the cut. If you are applying a lot of force, something is wrong and you are asking for a problem. Dull saw blades, an out of true miter gauge, or an out of true fence are common causes of balky cuts.
  8. Excessive vibration can move a cutoff into the saw blade and result in a kickback. Find out why the saw is vibrating and fix the problem.
  9. Disconnect the saw from the power outlet before changing blades. Just using the power switch opens you up to a potential fault in the switch.
  10. Don't use power tools (or any other tools) when tired or distracted. You could make a mistake that could end up badly.
  11. Don't mix drugs (even legal drugs) or alcohol with power tools.
  12. Trust your gut. If you feel uneasy, step back and think about alternatives.

If the worst case happens, keep a first aid kit in your shop and have a cell phone where you can call for help. Keep a fully charged fire extinguisher handy.

The bottom line is, to steal an old IBM motto, "THINK."

Atlanta, GA

Do you have a safety tip you always keep in mind when you are in the shop? Share it with us , and you could get a $25 Highland Woodworking gift card if we feature your tip in a future issue.

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