Table Saw Safety

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Hey all, going to be buying a table saw soon, and I haven't used one since Highschool woodshop. I remember getting some stinging fingers from a kickback, but it's been so long I don't really remember what caused it. I do remember that using the table saw after that was quite intimidating.
What are the main things I need to be careful of when using a table saw? As a software engineer, my fingers are important to me. :)
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Locutus wrote:

This has been addressed in a number of places online. Some places to read:
http://www.cariboo.bc.ca/hsafety/procedures/list/tablesaw.html http://www.woodcraft.com/articles.aspx?articleid17
You may wish to consider looking at some books at the library as well.
Finally, you might consider the "Sawstop" saw. It costs more, but will bring the saw to a stop very quickly if the blade touches part of your body. There are some caveats though, a google search in this newsgroup will give some discussion threads.
Chris
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Thanks, I did some looking and turned mostly the information that is in the first link you gave, information that anyone with common sense should know. I am looking for more specific information about what can cause kickbacks and obviously how to prevent them.
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Locutus wrote:

Kickbacks are caused by the blade teeth catching in the work, grabbing it, and flinging it at you. Generally this occurs when the teeth at the back of the saw catch on the cut.
This in turn can be triggered by any number of things:
1) not holding down the back of the board (helps to use a push block, not just a push stick, can also use a featherboard on the fence to hold the wood down) 2) the wood warping and pinching the blade at the back (use a splitter/riving knife the exact width of the blade, or even a hair wider) 3) offcuts catching on the back (don't use the mitre guage and fence together--if the offcut pivots slightly it can catch between the fence and blade and get flung)
Chris
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Locutus wrote:

Grab one of the taunton books from your local library and read up a bit.
kickback can occur when a piece is wedged between the blade and the fence. or it can occur as the density of the wood changes which i think happens when wood is not fully aclimated to its new environment. I think its more likely in solid wood than plywood.
But hey im new too.
--
Thank you,



"Then said I, Wisdom [is] better than strength: nevertheless the poor
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Locutus wrote:

A Google search of "table saw safety rules" yielded this site: http://www.cariboo.bc.ca/Hsafety/procedures/list/tablesaw.html
They have a lot of rules listed. The ones I remember from high school were:
- Never use rip fence and miter gauge together (kickback) - If it feels dangerous, don't do it - Use a blade guard
I've heard varying arguments regarding the height of the blade. The URL I cited says keep the blade just slightly above the workpiece to minimize injury if you slip. Other sources I've read say raise the blade as high as possible. This makes the cutting action *downward* onto the table versus *sideways* into the direction of the cut. I tend to keep the blade high. Good luck, have fun and be safe. I used to be a software engineer, now I'm just overhead :-) But I *do* have all 10.
~Mark.
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I'm a develoepr also. The table saw scares the daylights out of me. I'm considering getting a full face shield for the table saw just in case of a kickback.
I experienced a kickback from my benchtop saw when I had it. It was a piece of laminate floor maybe 12" long, 6" wide, and 1/4" thick. I'm still not quite sure of the chain of events. The entire experience was over in a fraction of a second. The board hit me low in the chest. It caused a shallow gash that I still have a scar from. It was enough to cause me to bleed, but did nothing to my shirt. After hitting me, the board came up and smacked me in the face. It was enough force that it felt like someone was pushing the board in my face. No injuries there, but it sure felt strange.
Now I have a 1.5hp contractor's saw. I haven't had any kickback on it yet. I think the day is coming though. Here's what I do:
Use a splitter. I'm not currently using one since the one that came with the saw was so bad that I felt it was more dangerous. Boards kept hanging up on it. I have a new splitter that I just bought, but havn't put on yet.
Stand to the side of the workpiece so that if it does go, it goes past you instead of in to you. This may not always be feasible, but when cutting skinny stuff, it should keep you from getting impaled.
Similarly, have extra people in the shop not stand behind you while you make a cut.
Don't cut thin stuff. In other words, if you have a 24" wide board and you need to cut 1" off, put the remaining 23" between the fence and blade while letting the 1" fall off. If you put the 1" between the fence and blade, that's a kickback hazzard.
Don't reach behind a running saw blade to get a piece you just cut. If you bump the loose piece, it can catch the blade and force your hand into the blade on the way toward you.
Always wear eye protection. I think it's far more likely that you'll have a little cutoff piece propelled back at you than the entire workpiece.
Use a zero-clearance throat plate. If the opening is too big, the little pieces can cat caught and thrown back.
If it's taking too much force to cut, stop.
If it feels wrong, stop.
Dado blades add to the danger so be extra careful when using them.
Board buddies or a power feeder probably help the situation a lot.
I'm sure other people can suggest other things.
brian
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Brian, thanks for the exccellent reply, this kind of info is what I was looking for.
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Only one thing to add. Put your "other" hand behind your back. This will help stop the impulse to try to grab if something goes wrong.
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Proper cure for that problem was not to remove the splitter, but to adjust it so that boards would not hang up.

Put it on before you use the saw again. Using a TS without a splitter is just asking for trouble.
--
Regards,
Doug Miller (alphageek at milmac dot com)
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If you want to avoid kickback, watch David Marks work on DIY with his home made cutting sleds. The work is held or clamped firmly on the sled and the whole assembly slides nicely through the blade. . . . and NUMERO UNO! Always have safety glasses on. Ripping should be done with guide rollers or home made featherboards clamped in place to control the board. Always use a push stick and auxiliary roller stand for long boards. Bugs
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All good advice, and I'll add one more to your "wear eye protection": there are other things on your face besides your eyes that need protection, e.g. your nose and your teeth. That's one reason I *always* wear a full face shield when using any of my big power tools. Other reasons are: - it's more comfortable than goggles - it's easier to put on - it doesn't fog up, ever - it fits easily over my prescription eyeglasses, much better than goggles.
--
Regards,
Doug Miller (alphageek at milmac dot com)
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Locutus wrote:

Speaking from experience, be absolutely certain that any wood that you use does not have a foreign object in it - such as a nail.
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You've had and will have some good responses. However, here is my rule of thumb (So I can keep mine!) Have respect, not fear of the machine. Learn how to adjust it and how to know when it needs adjusting. Keep the wood down and tight against the fence. Don't have anyone help you control the feed or support the outfeed. (Make or buy an outfeed table.)
Dave An old solid oak tree is just a nut that refused to give up.
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See the first chapter of Ian Kirby's book "The Accurate Table Saw" for discussion of how to keep extremities attached.
One simple additional way to get a kickback- workpiece and waste not completely separated, and pinch the blade. (Lotsa ways that can happen, and when the "kick" causes them to pinch tighter, bada-bing ...) Definite tummy-tucker.
J
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Locutus wrote:

Yep, mine too as a Sysadmin/Programmer. Depending on the kind of woodworking you want to do, you might want to consider a bandsaw. I sold my tablesaw, mainly because of lack of space when we bought a new car. I now have a bandsaw and really love it. Don't miss my table saw at all. Have to find different ways to do some things, but I am going more neander (hand tools) all the time. Course, you can still get badly hurt on a bandsaw. But I love the added versatility.
HTH
jim
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Locutus wrote:

Yep, mine too as a Sysadmin/Programmer. Depending on the kind of woodworking you want to do, you might want to consider a bandsaw. I sold my tablesaw, mainly because of lack of space when we bought a new car. I now have a bandsaw and really love it. Don't miss my table saw at all. Have to find different ways to do some things, but I am going more neander (hand tools) all the time. Course, you can still get badly hurt on a bandsaw. But I love the added versatility.
HTH
jim
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Jim, thanks for the advice. I can't imagine ripping stock with a bandsaw?
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Let alond trying to do a rabbet or a dado.
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wrote:

Ripping with a bandsaw is actually a lot easier than with a table saw, and much safer too. You just have to clean up the edge afterward, either with a jointer or a hand plane.
--
Regards,
Doug Miller (alphageek at milmac dot com)
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