Last week we discussed SawStop, a company that makes highly specialized table saws that use unique technology to greatly lower the risk of serious injury for any carpenter or woodworker using one. If you don’t have one of these specialty table saws, however, then you need to take some extra precautions to keep yourself safe while working with this potentially dangerous tool.
There are several ways to prevent kickback while working with your table saw.
A kickback pawl should always be installed to prevent a type 2 kickback. The pawl’s job is to keep your stock from lifting during a cut so that the saw doesn’t take a chunk off and send it flying at you. If the piece is trying to lift and the pawl catches it, there is a chance that the stock will be damaged. However, this is a small price to pay for your safety.
A splitter is a stationary blade of comparable thickness to the rotating saw blade mounted behind it, which is used to prevent some dangerous kickbacks. A riving knife works the same as a splitter, but it is considered superior because it can move up and down with the blade, while the stationary splitter cannot. If there is too much space between the blade in use and the splitter, it simply isn’t able to do its job as effectively. Since the riving knife moves with the blade, it can always prevent dangerous kickbacks from happening effectively.
Even with every possible kickback-prevention feature, you should always avoid standing in the line of the cut. Make it a habit of standing off to the side of your table in case a kickback does happen. Kickback will usually be pushed down the line of the cut by the momentum of the blade, so standing to the side will give you the best chance of avoiding contact with the flying stock.
Install the Blade Guard
Always make sure your blade guard is installed. It prevents your hands from touching the spinning blade while also serving as a reminder to keep clear of the area. It can seem like a silly thing—as if you need to be reminded not to touch a sharp blade that is being used to cut through materials tougher than skin and bone, but when all of your focus is on the project, accidents can happen in a split second.
Use Push Sticks and Blocks
Push sticks and blocks should always be in use when using a table saw because these keep your hands well away from the blade while you push your material forward for cutting. There are fancy push sticks and blocks that can be purchased to make things better and easier, but you can also use basic sticks and blocks that are made of wood or metal to ease your stock through the blade.
Any time you need to service, adjust, or change the blade on your table saw, make sure you unplug it. Don’t stop at simply turning it off—it could be accidentally turned back on while your hand is on or near the blade, which puts you at risk. With the table saw unplugged, you can safely get your hands around the blade without the worry that it might be turned on.
Hardwood Flooring from Jason Brown Wood Floors
At Jason Brown Wood Floors, our commitment to quality installation is clear in all that we do, which is why our customers consistently rate us as one of the top contractors in the region. We have been awarded Baltimore Magazine’s Best of Baltimore Award 4 times and have been proudly serving the Baltimore Area for over 16 years. If you’re ready to speak with someone about your hardwood flooring project, we want to hear from you! Contact us at 410-668-9131 or send us a message here.
Jason Brown Wood Floors is also your convenient dealer of high-quality, professional-grade power tools. We offer brands that tradespeople trust most for the job. Come check out our Abingdon showroom to browse the in-stock selection of products and tools by Festool, Freud, Diablo, Shaper, Mirka, Makita, Saw Stop, and Grex.