Let's say you notice a cut starting to "go bad." What should you be
looking for in order to safely stop the cut/saw? Is it ever safe to
completely let go of the workpiece while the blade is still in it?
I realize there's a large number of possible scenarios, but let's focus
on just a few:
1. A large workpiece (like plywood) completely covers access to the
switch, so shutting the saw off mid-cut requires ducking under it.
2. A long workpiece begins to close on the blade, requiring reaching over
the piece to hit the switch. (Avoidance would include using a
splitter/riving knife and not placing the work between you and the
3. A feather board is set improperly and will not allow the work to pass.
The error is not realized until after the work has been introduced to the
All of those are resolvable by making one of those PVC frames that allow
you to hit it with your foot from anywhere and shut the saw.
But that leaves you unbalanced.
It may wind up getting hit inadvertently while passing a piece through
making the second start up dangerous.
Stop all movement and then try to shut off the saw with out moving the work.
Full 3/4" sheets I try to break up with my track saw or have my wife on
hand to turn the TS on and off and to help me keep the edge against the
fence. Typically the work is too heavy to cause a serious kickback
should you bind the blade. the blase most often creates a burned wider
kerf. IME the small pieces are the ones that can cause the most harm.
Not sure what you are describing here but typically the switch is on the
left side of the blade. The work is always between me and the fence.
Some thing to consider about the safest place to be during a cut. I
know a lot of people that want to use the fence to help protect so they
stand with the fence between them and the work. IMHO it is far better
to stand in a position that affords you maximum control over the cut vs
one that may not necessarily be ad protective as you think.
If the board takes flight no where is necessarily a safe place to be.
You need to plan your feather board placement better. The feather board
should not allow a start of a cut at all if properly placed, meaning the
feather board is always in front of the blade.
Table saws could be the nose under the tent for the lawyers... if they enjoy
success there other power tools will join the party. In the future I can
A lock-out device on table saws that will not allow them to start if there
is no fence or miter gauge installed (the flooring guys would hate that and
other fixtures would be a problem without corresponding sensors (e.g.,
sleds, tenonning jigs)).
A lock-out device on drill presses such that if the work is not clamped down
the drill press will not start (I'd be surprised if anyone "always" clamps
the work down).
A lock-out device on bandsaws such that if the space between the upper blade
guide and the wood exceeds say 1/4" the saw will not start.
A laser activated kill switch with brake on jointers if your hands get
within say 3" of the knives (a brake on a fly wheel like a chainsaw...
non-destructive unlike SawStop).
I'm sure we can all think of various tools and "dangerous" operator
practices that could be technologized to make them "safe," and thus become
retro-active targets for the lawyers.
I'd think chainsaws would be the most dangerous power tool out there...
perhaps the day will come that a mandatory training and certification class
is required to buy or operate one... YouTube is full of good examples of
bad practices and older saws that lack all the "modern" safety devices could
be easy targets.
Ugh... the Mommy State is to be dreaded...
Witness the current texting/driving issue. Idiots feel safer when in
their padded, mobile cocoon; and when people feel safer they take more
chances, so the total level of actual safety remains relatively constant.
Actually there is an instance when they are quite useful, If you are
plowing a grove and or not making a through cut.
I do this all the time when cutting groves for drawer bottoms.
Anything "through" should not have an out feed feather board.
And I sit here typing this while listening to the flooring guys cutting
the hickory wood treads for our stairs using a bench top Skil TS with
out benefit of miter gauge or rip fence. They have insurance.
Um, it's the lawyers pushing this (and their former lawyer colleagues
in various public offices), not the "state".
Regardless, it's all pretty silly, and nobody is talking about banning
all the power tools on the secondary market, are they?
Just look at all the houston-based law-firms advertising class action
suits on TV (asbestos, birth control pills, vaginal mesh, ad infinitum).
Quite bothersome and a good reason to have a Tivo or equivalent that allows
The eastern district of texas is quite well known for gullible juries;
which is what makes it the preferred venue for patent trolls and
"United States District Court for the Eastern District of Texas"
This is a FEDERAL court overseen by a FEDERAL judge, not a TEXAS court.
The Feds are the ones who fucked up the patent system to start with.
... and that's "Texas", with a capital "T"! ;)
Yes, of course. That was the context of the conversation... he said
I believe those thing are responsible for probably 90% of TS accidents.
I was helping a friend finish out his studio space and his other friend
was doing most of the work with his own power tools. He had one of
those Skils, which should never be referred to as table saws... they are
so freakin tiny. Anyway, no guard, no miter gauge, no splitter, and the
thing was sitting directly on a smooth concrete floor. I made one cut
on the thing while experiencing an instant cold sweat and that was my
last cut with it. I refused to do any more.
I told my friend that this guy was going to hurt himself, not a matter
of if, but when.
He called me about 6 months later to say the guy was in the hospital
recovering from reconstructive surgery on his hand.
"Playing is not something I do at night, it's my function in life"
I think there's other methods to improve Table saw safety without
destroying the blade. How about a sensor (like on Saw Stop) that releases
a latch on the arbor and drops the blade below the table top? Pulls the
blade away from your finger/hand/etc, turns off the saw, doesn't destroy
the blade - all you do is reset the latch.
You'd be surprised how many are transplants from the East and West
coast. Damn few second generation Texans left down here.
But that is beside the point. Jurors much decide theses cases, with
great influence from the Federal judges, on FEDERAL law.
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