Safety tips for table saw users
Following these safety tips for table saw users will help you minimize the risk.
Table saws are high on the injury list, but there are many safety tips for table saw users that will help keep you safer and new saws have safety improvements that will also help, including a few advanced saws with flesh-sensing technology that shut off and retract the blade upon contact with skin.
5 safety tips for table saw users
- Always use the fence for rip cuts. There are no exceptions to this rule.
- Modern table saws are equipped with guard assemblies that include a splitter/riving knife, overhead guards and anti-kickback pawls, all of which are surprisingly effective and easy to use. You can leave each component in place for all but the thinnest rips, or dados and rabbets. The riving knife feature can be used in all cuts and provides lots of stability and control.
- Use a push block, push stick or both to maintain a solid grip on the workpiece while keeping your fingers out of harm’s way. For extra feed stability, use a featherboard to guide wood firmly against the fence at the start of the cut. Avoid pressure at the back of the cut, however, as it pinches the kerf closed and can cause a kickback.
- Use an outfeed table or other adequate support behind the saw so the workpiece doesn’t tilt off the saw table and pull the end of the board up and out of the cut against the spinning blade.
- For cross cutting or angle cutting, always use a miter guide or crosscut sled to hold wood securely. Don’t use the fence as a stop when cross cutting because the cutoff piece can get jammed between the blade and the fence, and cause a kickback. Instead, clamp a stop block to the fence far ahead of where the wood contacts the blade to allow adequate side clearance for the cutoff.
−By Michael Springer