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Table Saw

Tool Safety and Operation

  1. Wear proper personal protection equipment. Safety glasses or face shield are required. Wear hearing protection that is appropriate for the level and duration of noise in the tool room. A dust mask is recommended. Do not wear gloves.
  2. Wear proper apparel. No loose fitting cloths or neckties. No loose jewelry. Long hair must be covered or tied back. Non-slip footwear is recommended.
  3. Keep the work area clean. Cluttered areas and benches invite accidents.
  4. Only approved faculty, staff, and student technicians are permitted to use the table saw.
  5. Never use the rip fence as a guide if the distance between the blade and the fence is greater than the length of stock against the fence. Use the cross-cut saw instead.
  6. Never cut freehand on the table saw. Use the rip fence for ripping. Use sliding crosscut fixture for cross-cutting.
  7. Before cutting, make sure the fence is locked and all fixtures are secure.
  8. Use saw guard as much as possible. Some operations cannot be done with the guard in place, however. If standard guards cannot be used, use other safety devices such as a push stick, feather board, holding jigs and fixtures.
  9. Use the anti-kickback splitter whenever as possible. Some operations, such as dado cuts, rabbits, and angles, cannot be done with the splitter in place, however. If the splitter cannot be used, use other safety devices such as a push stick, feather board, holding jigs and fixtures.
  10. Make sure the blade is sharp and is properly mounted. Dull blades are dangerous. They are more likely to cause kickback. Dull blades also require more pushing. This increases the chances of your hand slipping.
  11. Make adjustments with the saw at a dead stop. Adjust the saw so that the blade clears the top of the stock by 1/8" to 1/4".
  12. Thoroughly check all stock before cutting. Stock must lie flat on the table. Never cut warped or twisted stock on the table saw. Edges placed against the rip fence or against the sliding cross-cut fixture must be straight. Make sure that there are no irregularities in the stock that could prevent the material from being fed through the saw smoothly. Check for any foreign materials in the stock. Also check for knots that could become dislodged and thrown by the saw blade.
  13. Pay close attention to the positioning of your body. A comfortable, well-balanced stance, with both feet firmly planted is essential to safe operation. Avoid standing in line with the spinning saw blade. Standing to one side of the blade reduces your chance of injury in the event of a kickback.
  14. Make sure that no one is standing behind you where they could be harmed in the event of a kickback.
  15. Allow the saw to come to full speed before engaging the blade.
  16. Maintain firm control of the material as it is fed through the saw. Never remove both hands from the material during a cut.
  17. Keep your fingers away from the line of the cut.
  18. Use a push stick whenever ripping down stock to less than 5".
  19. Keep the material tight against the fence during a rip cut. Apply sideways pressure to the stock on the in-feed side, never against the side of the blade or on the out-feed.
  20. Never reach over the saw to pick up a piece of stock. Walk around. Never clear scraps away with your fingers while the blade is still spinning.
  21. If the saw resists in feed of the material, do not force the stock into the machine. This can cause a kickback. Carefully turn the machine off while firmly holding the material in place until the blade comes to a complete stop. Examine the operation and the stock to determine the cause. Is the material tight against the fence? Is the material warping as it is cut and pushing or pinching the blade or splitter? Is there a knot that was missed during material inspection? Is the blade dull?
  22. Use all of your senses when operating the table saw. If you see that the material has moved away from the fence, feel resistance against in feed, hear any unusual noise or the motor lower in pitch, or smell burning wood, then halt your operation to avoid a potential kickback.
  23. When ripping large stock, have someone assist you to support the material where it is not held by the table. Never allow the assistant to pull or tilt the board as it is being ripped. The operator must always be in full charge.
  24. When cutting is complete, turn off the power and stand to one side until the machine comes to a complete stop. Remove all special setups and any waste stock. Set blade to square. Lower blade so that teeth are below the table surface.

Safety Rules Specific to the Cross-Cut Table Saw

  1. Make sure that the fence is set at the proper distance from the blade so that the measurements on the fence are accurate. Tighten both levers to lock the fence and prevent it from sliding.
  2. Check that the cross-cut fence is set square to the blade or at the desired angle. Tighten the knob on top of the fence to lock it in position and prevent it from pivoting.
  3. Set the stop at the desired length. Lock it in position. Then flip it down. For long material, use the extension stop and lock it at the desired length.
  4. Always keep the majority of the stock on the fence side of the blade. This may require that you measure and mark your material, align it with the blade, slide the stop to your material, and lock it in place.
  5. When cutting material less than 28" wide (in the dimension parallel to the blade), the fence should be mounted on the near side of the sliding table. During the cut, use one hand to hold the material down to the table and to pull it tight to the fence. Use the other hand to steadily push the sliding table forward.
  6. For material larger than 28" wide, the fence must be reversed and mounted on the far side of the table. During the cut, use one hand to hold the material down and to push it tight to the fence. Use the other hand to pull the sliding table toward you. Balance this push and pull to steadily feed the material forward into the blade. When cutting pieces wider than the table, use the extension handle to pull the table.
  7. Setting the saw for a bevel cut angles the blade toward the fence. You must move the fence away from the blade to avoid cutting into it. Before making any cut, always make sure that the table slides freely and that the fence will not contact the blade.
  8. When cutting long pieces, it may be necessary to have another person support the far end of the material so that it does not drop below the extension stop.
  9. After making a cut, turn off the saw. Then, flip the stop up and pull the material away from the blade before sliding the table to the front of the saw.

DOWNLOAD PDF - Table Saw Safety Sheet