A table saw is a powerful and versatile tool that can be used for cutting wood, plywood, plastic, metal, and other materials. However, it can also be very dangerous if not used properly. According to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, table saws cause more than 30,000 injuries and 4,000 amputations every year. Therefore, it is essential to know what you should not do with a table saw and how to avoid common mistakes that can lead to serious accidents.
The most important thing you should not do with a table saw is to operate it without following the safety rules and precautions. These include wearing appropriate protective gear, using the right blade and accessories, adjusting the blade height and angle, securing the workpiece and the fence, keeping your hands and fingers away from the blade, and turning off the power when not in use. By ignoring these basic principles, you are putting yourself and others at risk of injury or death.
In this article, we will discuss some of the specific things you should not do with a table saw and explain why they are dangerous and how to avoid them. We will also provide some tips and best practices for using a table saw safely and efficiently. By following these guidelines, you can enjoy the benefits of a table saw without compromising your safety.
Do not use a dull or damaged blade
One of the most common mistakes that table saw users make is to use a dull or damaged blade. A dull blade will not cut smoothly and efficiently, and it will create more friction and heat, which can cause the blade to warp, crack, or break. A damaged blade can also have missing teeth, cracks, or bends, which can cause the blade to catch or kick back the workpiece, resulting in a loss of control and a potential injury.
To avoid these problems, you should always use a sharp and clean blade that is suitable for the material and the type of cut you are making. You should also inspect the blade regularly for any signs of wear or damage and replace it as soon as possible if you notice any issues. You should also clean the blade after each use to remove any dust, resin, or debris that can affect its performance and longevity.
Do not cut without a fence or a miter gauge
Another common mistake that table saw users make is to cut without a fence or a miter gauge. A fence is a straight edge that runs parallel to the blade and guides the workpiece along the desired line of cut. A miter gauge is a device that attaches to the miter slot and allows you to make angled cuts by setting the angle of the workpiece relative to the blade. Both of these accessories are essential for making accurate and consistent cuts and preventing the workpiece from drifting or binding against the blade.
To avoid these problems, you should always use a fence or a miter gauge when cutting with a table saw. You should also make sure that the fence or the miter gauge is properly aligned and secured to the table and that the workpiece is firmly held against them. You should never use both the fence and the miter gauge at the same time, as this can cause the workpiece to pinch between them and kick back. You should also never use your hands or fingers to guide the workpiece, as this can result in a serious injury.
Do not stand directly behind the blade
Another common mistake that table saw users make is to stand directly behind the blade. This is a very dangerous position, as it exposes you to the risk of kickback, which is when the blade throws the workpiece or a piece of it back towards the operator at high speed. Kickback can be caused by several factors, such as using a dull or damaged blade, cutting without a fence or a miter gauge, feeding the workpiece too fast or too slow, or cutting warped or twisted wood.
To avoid these problems, you should always stand to the side of the blade, not directly behind it. This way, you can avoid being hit by the workpiece or any flying debris in case of kickback. You should also use a splitter, a riving knife, or an anti-kickback device to prevent the workpiece from pinching or binding on the blade. You should also use push sticks, push blocks, or featherboards to feed the workpiece safely and keep your hands and fingers away from the blade.
Do not reach over the blade
Another common mistake that table saw users make is to reach over the blade. This is a very dangerous action, as it can result in a severe injury if the blade contacts your hand, arm, or body. Reaching over the blade can happen for several reasons, such as trying to retrieve a cut-off piece, adjusting the fence or the blade, or turning off the power switch.
To avoid these problems, you should never reach over the blade for any reason. You should always wait until the blade has stopped completely before reaching for anything on the table. You should also use a stick or a hook to remove any cut-off pieces that fall behind the blade. You should also position the power switch in a convenient and accessible location, so that you can turn off the power quickly and easily in case of an emergency.
A table saw is a useful and versatile tool, but it can also be very dangerous if not used properly. By following the safety rules and precautions and avoiding the common mistakes discussed in this article, you can reduce the risk of injury and enjoy the benefits of a table saw. Remember, safety is always the first priority when working with any power tool. Happy cutting!