Table saw safety question - Woodworking Talk - Woodworkers Forum
 
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post #1 of 11 Old 08-09-2015, 08:54 AM Thread Starter
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Table saw safety question

Hi everyone,

I just bought my first table saw, a portable one by Dewalt (DWE7490x). I will only be using it occasionally, and my first project is to cut some boards for use in building a guitar amp. It took me several hours to ensure that it is set up properly, but I feel comfortable that everything is good now.

Anyway, my impression from reading the manual and watching videos online is that in general, when ripping, you should keep your body to the left of the blade, use your left hand to push the board against the fence and down toward the table, positioning the hand in front and to the left of the blade. The right hand is then used to push the board forward (with push stick for narrower rips).

My question is, if using a feather board in front and to the left of the blade to keep the board against the fence, is there anything wrong with standing to the right and almost behind the fence, using your left hand with a push stick to move the board forward and put downward pressure? The push stick I bought has a rubber grip on the bottom and spring loaded notch on the back to help with the forward push.

To me, it seems like you are even less likely to touch the blade or get hit by kicked back material as your body is entirely on one side of the blade and even beyond the fence. I do plan on using the anti kickback devices that came with the saw for the cuts I am doing, so hopefully kickbacks won't happen in the first place.

Is this a safe position? Bad practice?

Any thoughts fro folks with experience would be appreciated!
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post #2 of 11 Old 08-09-2015, 09:39 AM
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"To me, it seems like you are even less likely to touch the blade or get hit by kicked back material as your body is entirely on one side of the blade and even beyond the fence. I do plan on using the anti kickback devices that came with the saw for the cuts I am doing, so hopefully kickbacks won't happen in the first place.

Is this a safe position? Bad practice?

Any thoughts fro folks with experience would be appreciated!"


I prefer to stand on the side opposite the fence so I can see what I am doing and if the board is following the fence. In this position I am pushing the board rather than pulling the board into the fence which seems like a more natural action.

To me the most important thing is to have the material lined up with the fence when it is fed into the saw, bad things happen when this is corrected after the cut starts.

“Everything we hear is an opinion, not a fact. Everything we see is a perspective, not the truth.”
― Marcus Aurelius
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post #3 of 11 Old 08-09-2015, 10:28 AM
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Yeah, you'll lose sight of what you're doing if you stand on the right.

Another thing, I use a push stick on all my rips, not just the thin ones. Just feels right.

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post #4 of 11 Old 08-09-2015, 10:41 AM
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not what I would do.

I am right handed, so my left hand often is not doing anything except getting ready to turn the saw off.

A lot depends on the width of the piece to be cut. A large panel, say 24' wide, I will take both hands to start and go most of the way through. Depending on the distance from the blade to the fence I will use my right hand to complete the pass. I also use a splitter which maintains registration to the fence at the rear of the blade so I don't have to worry about a rotating type of kickback. A splitter or riving knife is a vital safety accessory.

A good push stick/shoe will be able to expert pressure both in towards the fence, downward on the table and forward simultaneously. There aren't many that fit that description. Some folks make their own and that what I do.

The answer to your question will only be as detailed and specific as the question is detailed and specific. Good questions also include a sketch or a photo that illustrates your issue. (:< D)

Last edited by woodnthings; 08-09-2015 at 11:10 AM. Reason: added stuff
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post #5 of 11 Old 08-09-2015, 04:41 PM
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I am right handed. It would be very uncomfortable for me to stand where my body was not left of the fence. For any board less than about 6" in width(to the left of the blade) I use a "push stick" in my left hand for guidance as well as in my right for pushing. Often use feather board also.

I do not want either of my hands close to that spinning blade.

Do not stand in any position where you do not feel perfectly balanced and comfortable.

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post #6 of 11 Old 08-09-2015, 05:01 PM
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Great advice from all previous posts! No matter if you are left-handed or right-handed, the best SAFE position when using a TS is to be on the left side of the fence when facing the front of the TS! Also ALWAYS use a push stick as TS blades do not care if its cutting wood or your fingers! When in the shop, safe operating practices are required, including safety glasses, hearing protection, no loose clothing, and knowing how your machinery works. Good shop safety is no accident. Be safe.
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post #7 of 11 Old 08-09-2015, 05:03 PM
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You stand where you get the most control of the work piece. Remember the blades not moving, you are
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post #8 of 11 Old 08-09-2015, 06:48 PM
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Safety

It is paramount for any beginning woodworker to be safe. And as we progress and get more comfortable with tools, we cannot lose sight of safe practices. When visiting some shops and watching some of the things going on with experienced workers, we might see things that would scare most of us. But just like when we get in our cars, we need to buckle up. And before we turn on our electric tools, we should keep a quick flash of the safest practice always in mind.
Most accidents happen when we rush and try to go too fast. So don't rush and be safe.
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post #9 of 11 Old 08-09-2015, 08:29 PM Thread Starter
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All, thanks for the many replies! Seems like everyone feels that body to the left of the blade is the way to go. I just initially seemed safer to me to be all on one side of the blade versus having the right arm on one side and the rest of my body on the other. However, as long as I am using push sticks along with the splitter, anti kick back pawls, and blade guard, I should be able to develop a comfortable technique that is also safe and gives good results. Looking forward to giving it a shot this coming week!

Thanks again!
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post #10 of 11 Old 08-09-2015, 09:11 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by voodoochile View Post
Hi everyone,

I just bought my first table saw, a portable one by Dewalt (DWE7490x). I will only be using it occasionally, and my first project is to cut some boards for use in building a guitar amp. It took me several hours to ensure that it is set up properly, but I feel comfortable that everything is good now.

Anyway, my impression from reading the manual and watching videos online is that in general, when ripping, you should keep your body to the left of the blade, use your left hand to push the board against the fence and down toward the table, positioning the hand in front and to the left of the blade. The right hand is then used to push the board forward (with push stick for narrower rips).

My question is, if using a feather board in front and to the left of the blade to keep the board against the fence, is there anything wrong with standing to the right and almost behind the fence, using your left hand with a push stick to move the board forward and put downward pressure? The push stick I bought has a rubber grip on the bottom and spring loaded notch on the back to help with the forward push.

To me, it seems like you are even less likely to touch the blade or get hit by kicked back material as your body is entirely on one side of the blade and even beyond the fence. I do plan on using the anti kickback devices that came with the saw for the cuts I am doing, so hopefully kickbacks won't happen in the first place.

Is this a safe position? Bad practice?

Any thoughts fro folks with experience would be appreciated!
Standing left of the blade is correct but I wouldn't use a featherboard. That would just make it cumbersome. What would help you more than anything is a catch table to keep the material level with the top. It doesn't have to be fancy. I built one to go with a portable table saw that would just fit on the saw horses I already have.
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post #11 of 11 Old 08-10-2015, 02:10 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Steve Neul View Post
Standing left of the blade is correct but I wouldn't use a featherboard. That would just make it cumbersome.
There are a few operations that I like to use a featherboard or 2 on the TS - rabbets for example. I agree, though that most of the time they're just in the way and not a replacement for good technique.

There are some other aftermarket products that can help if you want to add a little bit of a confidence booster. Board buddies is one example:


You'll also find that a lot of operations are made safer, easier and more accurate by creating jigs as necessary.
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