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Table saw safety PSA

Discussion in 'The DIY Tool Shed' started by Peegoo, Jan 19, 2021.

  1. Peegoo

    Peegoo Poster Extraordinaire

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    The thread about losing parts of one's hand is a sad reminder that a table saw has no sympathy for body parts.

    I've been using these saws for many years and only last year did I install a riving knife on my saw for most of the cuts I make these days. I never used one because yeah--they do get in the way sometimes and they're inconvenient to remove and reinstall.

    What changed my mind? I had a small stick of wood turn into a spear and do a carrier launch straight into the wall behind me. Luckily I was not in the way when it happened. First time--and hopefully the last time now that I use the riving knife behind the blade. And I thought I was being super safe. I wasn't.

    Here's a really good recap of how a riving knife can prevent a hand injury. This might be the best table saw safety vid on the innerwebz; it is worth the 30 minutes it takes to roll.

    Remember the absolute best safety gear is the thing between your ears.

    Be safe in your shop.


     
  2. Fretting out

    Fretting out Poster Extraordinaire

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    You ever see one of those saws that retracts when it hits meat?

    That’s what I thought of


    The biggest part is to respect the tools and the power they have, and as peegoo says work smart

    Knowing a few basic rules of what not to do helps too
     
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  3. Mark the Moose

    Mark the Moose Tele-Afflicted

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    Good word. I find I’m really safe with tools and motorcycles 99.9% of the time, but it’s so easy to make a quick decision that ends poorly. That’s when air bags, helmets, riving knives, sawstop tech...are all good to have backing you up.
     
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  4. guitarbuilder

    guitarbuilder Telefied Ad Free Member

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    All it takes is a major kickback in the groin to change your saw type.....I used to be a fan of a table saw....not any more. My tablesaw hasn't been used in years. All my instrument building is done with a compound sliding chop saw and a bandsaw with 24" fence rails. I still have all my parts intact after 45 years of woodworking.
     
  5. CapnCrunch

    CapnCrunch Friend of Leo's

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    Bottom line is that all tools are dangerous, including non-powered tools. Self awareness in how you use your tools, and evaluation of the tool and its danger zones or especially dangerous functions is essential to remain as safe as possible. Taking steps that make you feel safer and more secure are wise steps to take when you use tools.

    I try to rehearse each process in my mind before I try it with a running tool. That way I'm alert and prepared. It's really not all that hard to position your body out of the path of a potential kick back. Also, I'd be curious to know the comparative percentage of the people who have lost fingers, or parts thereof, to a table saw versus a band saw. I've had much closer calls with my bandsaw, and use it only when I have to.

    The only actual finger into a spinning blade or bit accident I've witnessed was on a router table. Knock on wood, I don't ever want to see another on any tool.
     
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  6. Informal

    Informal Tele-Afflicted

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    I had a buddy years ago, who worked for a formica countertop shop, He was a driver for 2-3 years..
    Decided he was worth more money, so went to a competitor across town.

    All he put on his application, That he had worked for Countertop shop ABC.. for 3 years... That was good enough for them,
    They handed him some measurements, pointed to the stock and the tablesaw.

    I don't think this guy had ever used a screwdriver, but he gave it go... First pass took off 3 fingers.

    They were able to successfully reattach them, but it still looked like hell, even years later.
     
  7. johnny k

    johnny k Poster Extraordinaire

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    I would rather be a bum and able to play guitar than being employed using one of those power tools.
    2 of my guitar playing friends lost fingers with those. I hope it won't happen to me. I am not django. Same with butcher jobs.
     
  8. Henley

    Henley Tele-Holic

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    ...at first I clicked on this thread with one eye open. Happy to read differently.
     
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  9. jkingma

    jkingma Super Moderator Staff Member

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    Like Marty, I seldom use my table saw for guitar building. But I still build some furniture, and I use it a lot for that.

    I'm one of those guys who removes the riving knife and guard before I ever use the saw. After almost 45 years of hobby woodworking I've never injured myself.

    Except for when I sanded some skin off the end of my finger. But I knew that was going to happen going into it. I just didn't have a better way to hold that little tiny piece of wood at the time. A dab of CA fixed me right up.
     
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  10. O- Fender

    O- Fender Tele-Afflicted

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    "There's not much point in building a guitar if you end up with only 6 1/2 fingers to play it with. "

    my dear other half.

    Keep in mind all tools, even hand tools, need proper handling.

    I am taking a safety course. They start off by giving you a questionnaire. One question was "do you know anyone that has been injured or killed on the job. " I started thinking about it. There are a lot of people I could list with a long list of close calls. There are also a few gruesome tales to go along with a few.
     
  11. fasteddie42

    fasteddie42 Tele-Afflicted

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    I work construction..


    I hate tablesaws.
     
  12. Mr. Lumbergh

    Mr. Lumbergh Poster Extraordinaire

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    This guy. Great safety feature.
     
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  13. Fretting out

    Fretting out Poster Extraordinaire

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    Exactly!

    My father used to go to woodworkers conventions years ago, around the time these were coming out there was a guy that did the hotdog demonstration with one, apparently it works just as advertised

    I’m not sure about that full force hit though, that would definitely do some damage, maybe not cut-off damage
     
  14. Danny B.

    Danny B. TDPRI Member

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    Please, everyone be careful and educate yourselves on the proper ways to use power tools. I know this sounds obvious, but if people hadn’t shown me proper and safe table saw techniques, I probably would have learned the hard way. The same applies to motorcycles, firearms, electricity, mountain climbing etc. knowledge is key.
     
  15. Gene O.

    Gene O. Tele-Holic Gold Supporter

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    I was watching some episodes of Home Town on Hulu the last few nights. In one of them the big guy and his brother were building some stuff in their shop and there was no blade guard or push stick to be seen. Made me think of this thread right away.
     
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  16. t-ray

    t-ray Tele-Afflicted Gold Supporter

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    I had an experience launching a missile from my saw as well. Scared me half to death, and I was very thankful neither of my kids had snuck in to watch me in the shop. I also had an incident with the same saw in which the clear plastic blade guard somehow got disrupted, and it wobbled into the blade with explosive contact, shreds of plastic flying everywhere. Had I been hurt, I would have hired one of those ambulance chasers to sue the manufacturer. The reason I liked the saw was that it made very accurate and near perfectly flat cuts. It was not necessary to use a jointer to glue up panels. But every time I used that thing, I was ultra cautious and careful - and always happy when the cutting was finished. And, yes, I did use the riving knife, though I was skeptical it would do much. Well, I retired from my woodworking hobby about ten years ago, with all my digits and both of my eyes. At the time, I did enjoy cutting large pieces of wood into smaller ones and glueing them together, but I can live without it now.
     
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  17. David Meiland

    David Meiland Tele-Meister Silver Supporter

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    I replaced my job site saw with a Sawstop saw recently, and I’m going to replace my shop saw next. At this point in life I’ll make any safety improvement that’s remotely affordable.
     
  18. Frodebro

    Frodebro Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

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    Tools are only as dangerous as the operator allows them to be. :)
     
  19. hnryclay

    hnryclay Tele-Meister

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    I use a riving knife but sometimes you have to make a cut that will not allow it, i installed splitters onto the throat plate for this purpose. Kickback scares me more than anything in a shope except a grinder or shaper.
     
  20. David Barnett

    David Barnett Doctor of Teleocity

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    Don't forget to protect your ears and eyes as well as your fingers.
     
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