A table saw is a powerful tool, and it is also hazardous.
Learning by trial and error is not advisable with a dangerous and powerful machine like a table saw. This is why this detailed guide has been written.
Important Safety Tips On The Use Of A Table Saw
1. Always wear safety equipment
Wear hearing protection and safety glasses. Using a table saw, you should also avoid loose-fitting clothes, jewelry, and necktie.
2. Keep your work area clean
Always keep your work area free from sawdust, cutoffs, and stock. A clogged table will hinder your ability to make accurate cuts, and you could step on cutoffs and fall while working.
3. Study and learn about your equipment’s safety features
Every piece of heavy equipment has its safety features, and you may not be able to take advantage of them if you don’t study them properly. So, it is crucial to check the safety features of your table saw before using it.
Anti-kickback pawls, riving knives, and blade guards are all meant to protect users. So, they should be adjusted appropriately.
4. Disconnect from power before changing the saw blade
Whenever you want to remove the blade or fix anything in your table saw, it is necessary to disconnect the equipment from power totally because you could mistakenly hit the power button and switch it on.
5. Ensure there is no obstruction before starting the table saw
It is also necessary to ascertain that nothing hinders the blade’s spinning before starting it.
6. Other miscellaneous safety tips
Always maintain a good standing position while working. You need a good balance, and you should not stay in the way of kickback so that you won’t be hit if it occurs.
Use a push stick to push the board through the blade instead of your hands when necessary. This will protect your fingers from the blade. Most importantly, it is essential to make your first cut under the supervision of a pro.
7. Major types of Cuts
In woodwork, only three major kinds of cuts are done with a table saw. These cuts are dado cut, ripping cut, and crosscut. A crosscut goes across the narrower direction of the board.
It is done with the use of a miter gauge. A ripping cut goes through the length of the board, and a dado cut is a wide cut used in joinery.
Making Your First Cut
1. Check all the safety features
Before you do anything, ensure that your table saw’s safety features are in place. Ensure that the fence guide is set to the correct position for the size of the cut. It has to be parallel to the blade. The blade cover has to be firmly placed. What about the anti-kickback system? Is it in place? You need to confirm that too.
2. Set the blade height
After confirming that all the safety features are in place, the next thing is to set the height of the blade to suit the depth of cut you want to achieve.
Your supervisor should advise you on the suitable height for your cutting project, but don’t let him set the height for you. The earlier you do things yourself, the quicker you will get the hang of it.
3. Position your piece of wood
Now, you can set the position of the wood that you want to cut. Consider its angle and place it so the blade will cut through it much easier.
4. Make your cut
Gently push the piece of wood through the blade, and don’t rush it. Position yourself very well too. Although there is an anti-kickback mechanism in table saws, kickbacks still occur. So, don’t stand in the way of kickbacks.
Position yourself so that if the material is kicked back, it won’t hit you. While cutting, you should also keep an eye on the cut line to avoid deviation. If you are cutting small objects, use a push stick. Your fingers should never get too close to the blade.
5. Little maintenance
The table saw has low maintenance. You only need to check the drive belt for wear and the blade teeth for chips. When you notice any of the two, you need to start planning for a replacement.
6. Necessary precautions in the use of a table saw
While it is environment-friendly to use recycled wood, nails and other metals could be in it, so you need to check and ensure that the wood you want to cut does not have any metal.
It is needless to remind you that metal will damage the blade of your table saw. Always retract the blade when not in use. Someone may trip and fall on the table in your workshop.
Always use push blocks and sticks when you have to push the wood you are cutting through the blade. Don’t be in a hurry not to use one. Never risk losing any of your fingers. Clean up your workshop after every cutting session.
Working on a cluttered table can hinder your accuracy. Instead, use either a miter gauge or the fence. Don’t use both simultaneously, as it could increase the risk of a kickback.
Don’t force the wood into the blade, which could damage the motor. If the blade does not cut wood as fast as it used to cut them, it most likely means that the blade is dull. Get it professionally sharpened, or replace it.
Now that you have gone through the article. You already know the basic steps on how to use a table saw. The more you practice, the more you will improve. Apply all the safety tips and never work in a hurry.