You’ve got the itch. You want to create something, something big. Is it time to add onto the porch? Expand the deck? Or maybe the back steps need a facelift. Whatever you plan, you’re about to bust out the woodworking tools, including your trusty workhorse, the table saw.
But before you hit that power button and start guiding wood through the blade, you need to make sure you’re doing it as safely as possible. No one wants a porch at the sacrifice of your index finger or thumb. As we certainly don’t want you regaling us with stories that start with, “Yes, I came this close to losing my eye when a piece of wood broke off…” Safety comes first, so make sure you have what you need.
Okay, so not completely naked but bare from the arms down. No long sleeves, no jewelry, nothing that can possibly get caught in the saw or on the equipment. This also includes a dangling necklace. Even if it’s a pendant of St. Joseph, the patron saint of woodworkers; even he would suggest you put the necklace away until you’re done with the table saw.
This might seem counter-intuitive but hear us out. Gloves can mess with your perception regarding where the glove ends, and your hand begins. They also cost you dexterity, something you want when your guiding wood around a saw blade. And there’s the risk that the glove could get caught on something.
If It’s Kicking Up Dust Wear a Mask
Breathing in sawdust (and spending hours coughing it up later) isn’t sexy. If you’re cutting something that creates a lot of dust, such as drywall and some types of paneling, wear a mask. Your lungs will thank you, as will those who won’t worry that you’re tying to spread the plague with your incessant coughing.
Wear Non-slip Footwear
No slip-and-fall injury is a good one, but one that involves a table saw could be especially tragic. Make sure the shoes you’re wearing allow you to take a firm stance while you’re working with the saw.
If you slip and try and catch yourself, there’s a chance you might find the blade. And even if the saw isn’t running, that still doesn’t sound like a good time. So, test the slip-factor of your shoes before you fire up the saw, make sure the floor is clean and any slippery areas are cleaned up, and if need be, change shoes.
Shield Your Eyes and Face
The fact that you know how to use a table saw is cool enough, we don’t need to see your baby browns, blues or hazels to win us over. Protect your eyes and the rest of your face with goggles and/or a face mask.
Having to explain the huge scar on your chin, the stitches in your face or the patch over your eye will erase any ground you might have made by knowing how to use a table saw because obviously you don’t know how to use one safely.
Take a Lesson
If you’re inexperienced using a table saw (or maybe if you just upgraded from a basic to a more advanced model and are confused about some of the new bells and whistles), don’t be afraid to ask for help.
Ask local contractors, check out YouTube, read the owner’s manual (I know…. I KNOW), but do what you need to do to learn how to use your table saw safely.
So, are you planning to buy a new table saw? What features are you looking for and do you have your safety gear?