I can only answer for my three kids and the hundreds at our school, where
there is no splitter on the 50's Unisaw. Nope. But middle school shop
classes don't use it.
The real answer is never let a kid use a tool unsupervised, until you're
convinced they're capable. They convince you at length, not at a session.
There are some who were never allowed use of the tablesaw, because they
couldn't pass the first safety test, that of reaching beyond the blade
I never saw Swingman's original response, so I'll tag on Tom's to address
Swingman. That's just an absolutely foolish position and one that speaks to
open mouth before engaging brain. It is in fact the blind reliance on what
is purported to be a safety device rather than relying on proper safety.
Your implied logic Swingman is likely what causes the near accidents that
you credit the "safety" devices for having prevented becoming full fledged
disasters. A little practical thought and you can completely avoid most of
what you spread as fear-uncertainty-and doubt when it comes to proper and
safe use of tools.
In short - when I allowed my kids to use the power tools it was only after
they had worked for a long time with me in the shop. In the beginning they
were just helping hold things or were just sort of around the shop. They
began their indoctrination process by seeing the way things are safely done,
coupled with a bit of explanation. As they showed interest in using tools
they received a lot more instruction. They also received a lot of
demonstrations, and a lot of help. Lo and behold in no time at all they
were pretty well qualified to use my tools on their own at early ages. It
didn't take a lot of time and effort to get them to this point and they
actually understand the tools. That makes for a far more educated and
qualified operator than one who relies on scare tactics.
Know your tools, not just marketing and newsgroup claims.
My saws have neither a splitter nor a guard so the answer is no, I don't use
a splitter. Not because I'm opposed to them, but because I began using
tools like this at a time when nobody used splitters and guards were a
complete joke. They were a joke because nobody manufactured one that was
really workable. They were put on for some reason yet unknown by
historians, woodworkers of the era, and anyone with a thinking mind, 'cause
they certainly never worked. So - just about everyone threw them away
immediately and working without those devices was just the norm.
Did anyone say rely on a safety devise, It saves your butt when you make a
mistake "most of the time". Anyway, while your brain is the best safety
devise, the safety devise on your tools are more reliable than depending on
your brain all the time. We as human beings can become side tracked or
loose attention. Safety devices regardless of how lame they may be do not
loose track of what is going on.
If "you" think you may become reliant as a safety device to protect you from
harm, there in lays the problem. How many sane people will repeatedly pull
the trigger on a loaded hand gun aimed at their head with out fear of being
harmed because they know that the gun has a safety? I think a 10 inch saw
blade spinning a t 3800 rpm may have a similar effect of keeping the fear
It is what comes out here. Look how often you see phrases like "if you
don't use a splitter you are a fool", or "surely you'll end up with stubs
for fingers if you don't use the super deluxe gadget-device". The advocates
of devices or death clearly see it as the ultimate safety device. My point
is only that your own common sense and knowledge is the ultimate safety
device, and that allowing yourself to feel that you're doing the right thing
just by having that gadget in place is sheer folly. As I mentioned - you
hear more complaints of accidents and near accidents from those with all of
the gadgets than from those without them. There is a greater harm in simply
accepting everything that is posted in a newsgroup or is marketed by a
company and taking refuge in that than there is in what might otherwise seem
to be a more dangerous approach that is guided by knowledge and practiced
Precisely .. Mike seems to imply that "knowledge and practiced awareness"
will always protect you from harm. Yeah, right ... in the ADD generation and
the ones who spawned it ... for sure.
My point all along has been that you can't rely on commodities that are
demonstrably in such short supply these days.
"patriarch email@example.comDOTnet>" <<patriarch> wrote in message
And apparently Tom's brain is primary and perhaps his only safety devise. I
wonder if Tom has ever made a mistake doing something that he has been doing
for years? Have you ever been in a car wreck? Your brain should be a
primary safety device but absolutely not the only one. I will also note
that I DO NOT use a guard but do use a splitter. And yes I know that it
will probably be my fault when I get hurt AGAIN. I am not foolish enough
to think that it will be "if" I get hurt again, I know that it will likely
happen again. It took me 1 year to realize how I was injured as I was not
cutting wood when my accident happened on the TS.
One of the things that I haven't seen mentioned is acknowledgement of the
fact that brains and nervous systems and muscle reactions are subject to
deterioration with age. The last people to acknowledge it and recognize it
are those that are in their 50's or later (I'm there). I ran naked without
a guard and splitter for a while. I liked the freedom and total view it
gave me of what was happening. I liked having the crappy factory
guard/splitter out of the way. I also noted that my number of "near misses"
was going up. One day, my right hand involuntarily flinched while holding a
push stick and tossed the push stick onto the top of the running table saw
blade, while my son-in-law was watching. I felt like an idiot. It was time
to acknowledge I needed some help, but quitting woodworking was not my
answer. I may have gone overboard but I have not had any near misses since
doing a few things - GripTite magnetic featherboards with steel fence,
GRRrippers, and small splitter installed on every zero-tolerance insert.
Funny thing - quality and consistency of my cuts went up - probably because
I was working much more confidently and able to raise my skill level.
I'm not a seasoned pro. In fact I think being a pro is not a testament to a
person's particular woodworking skill and knowledge, but more a testament to
their ability to run a business and make a living with it. I'll leave it to
the pros to argue this issue further.
Exactly, no one is perfect and exempt from making a tragic mistake. NO ONE.
GripTite magnetic featherboards with steel fence,
I tried that system about 4 years ago, I did not like the set up and
especially did not like the steel fence. I do use the Bench Dog feather
boards on occasion when ripping narrow pieces.
I use the green splitter in the zero clearance insert.
That and IMHO the splitter keeps the wood away from the blade if it bows at
all during the cut resulting in a cleaner cut. If I purchase s4s I see
little difference but it makes a great difference when using s3s.
Only if they've finished sweeping the chimneys from the insides.
And Daisy the cow probably needs reaming again too. No playing with
the hazardous tools until they've done their chores.
We're too soft on our kids. Prince Charles is right. Teach 'em some
respect for the machinery.
Another wonderful work of art. You do have a way with words.
It's funny, how often I find myself forgetting the little simple facts of
life when in the shop ... such as:
Just HOW fast could a piece of wood kick back on me? ( Given your 10" /3450
RPM saw ... about 102 MPH)
Will it hurt? (Yes, anything and everything in its path)
Thanks for passing along some wonderful wisdom obtained by calculation and
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