A concern of safety. - Woodworking Talk - Woodworkers Forum
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post #1 of 34 Old 10-03-2012, 03:48 AM Thread Starter
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A concern of safety.

SO

As many of you know, I am a student in high school and am active in the shop very often. (every period the whole semester) As a result, I see everything that goes on and I pay careful attention to everyone and basically administrate the shop and make sure that everything is in order alongside my teacher.
My problem currently is this.

My woodworking teacher has given authority to another teacher in class that I do not know really personally.

The new teacher that I do not know claims to be making a spiral staircase for his in-law daughter. As a result, he needed to do a tapered cut on some plywood panels. My woods teacher told the other teacher to make a Jig for the tablesaw, or use a Skill saw.

The teacher disregarded these two options and told him he would do it freehand on the tablesaw.
My woods teacher shrugged, and I told him he was crazy.
He gave me the stink eye.

And he did, and the cuts came out inaccurate, and I told him they would. he said it didn't matter if they were accurate (this is true)

Now I respect that I am a new up and coming woodworker. I know that in the industry, almost nobody uses a guard on the tablesaw, and many preemptive measures in a school's woodworking shop are much more strict than that of a real full fledged cabinet shop, but this is just a big no In my book, as well as my father's who has had experience in cabinet shops for 20 years. And who just had an incident doing a commission less than two weeks ago where they needed to cut a top flush to a side using a flush trim router bit, but instead his partner ran the cut freehand, the board grabbed the edge, ripped a corner off and flung it completely ruining the panel. I don't think I've heard my dad vent like that in years.

Was I in the wrong to question him making a freehand cut on the tablesaw?
Should I just drop it and turn a blind eye?
At this point, I'm concerned for his safety as well as the safety of myself and my peers.

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Last edited by Calzone; 10-03-2012 at 04:34 AM. Reason: cleaned it up a bit
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post #2 of 34 Old 10-03-2012, 04:52 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Calzone View Post
Now I respect that I am a new up and coming woodworker. I know that in the industry, almost nobody uses a guard on the tablesaw, and many preemptive measures in a school's woodworking shop are much more strict than that of a real full fledged cabinet shop, but this is just a big no In my book, as well as my father's who has had experience in cabinet shops for 20 years. And who just had an incident doing a commission less than two weeks ago where they needed to cut a top flush to a side using a flush trim router bit, but instead his partner ran the cut freehand, the board grabbed the edge, ripped a corner off and flung it completely ruining the panel. I don't think I've heard my dad vent like that in years.

Was I in the wrong to question him making a freehand cut on the tablesaw?
Should I just drop it and turn a blind eye?
At this point, I'm concerned for his safety as well as the safety of myself and my peers.
You are concerned about shop safety, and wonder if you should speak up, but...

You make the statement: "I know that in the industry, almost nobody uses a guard on the tablesaw, and many preemptive measures in a school's woodworking shop are much more strict than that of a real full fledged cabinet shop, but this is just a big no In my book, as well as my father's who has had experience in cabinet shops for 20 years."

It seems you have mixed views as to what constitutes shop safety. You want to take a stand on what you think is wrong, but accept what you think is not a norm for using safety equipment that is designed to be on the saw.

BTW...Is the reason for not using the saw guard more important than protecting yourself from injury?






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post #3 of 34 Old 10-03-2012, 05:21 AM
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Just because few people "in the industry" use it doesn't mean it's right to not use it. In fact, if absolutely nobody uses it, that doesn't mean it's right to not use it. Questioning someone's actions is never wrong. If you feel as though something is dangerous, you're morally obligated to speak up and try to correct the situation before someone is hurt. If you know it's dangerous, and you don't speak up, you're at fault too.

Though your instructor may have years of experience that help to keep him safe, none of the students have that. He should teach you the safest way to do things instead of teaching you what he normally does. The only time a safety device should be bypassed is if it is physically impossible to make the required cut with said safety device intact. There still should be adequate protection in place for whatever you're doing.
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post #4 of 34 Old 10-03-2012, 06:00 AM
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+1 Itychytoe

If you are the shop administrator, it is your responsibility to point out something that appears not safe to you. Even if you weren't, you should still point out an unsafe move. The teacher is using shop equipment in a shop class with a bunch of students. They are there to learn and he should be setting a good example. Here's a good read.

http://www.popularwoodworking.com/te...&rid=233353904
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post #5 of 34 Old 10-03-2012, 08:27 AM
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To freehand cut on a table saw is occasionally necessary but should be avoided if possible. It was extremely inappropriate for a woodworking teacher to do this where students can see and should only be done by someone with many years experience. As far as the saw guard, I have never worked in a shop that used one including my own. With changing the blade to a dado often and cutting narrow parts it’s too time consuming to take the guard on and off so it is just left off. Now having said that when I had woodworking in school the students were not allowed to use a table saw so I didn’t get any real experience until I went to work for a shop. Fortunately I went to work for a man that took the time to train me how to work with the saw and keep my fingers out of it. Too often a shop will hire someone off the street without experience and put them on a saw without knowing if they are accident prone or giving them any training at all. My brother-in-law was one of these people and went to work for a louver door company which put him to ripping wood the first day. Within two weeks he managed to cut his hand up the middle up to his wrist. I think for osha to insist on the saw guards is reasonable giving the lack of training some of these shops give.
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post #6 of 34 Old 10-03-2012, 08:41 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Steve Neul View Post
To freehand cut on a table saw is occasionally necessary but should be avoided if possible.

I can't think of a procedure that has to be done free hand. Any cut will be...or should be a straight line, and some type of guide can be set up.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Steve Neul View Post
As far as the saw guard, I have never worked in a shop that used one including my own. With changing the blade to a dado often and cutting narrow parts itís too time consuming to take the guard on and off so it is just left off.

As you sit in an emergency room for a few hours while you are holding a towel on your hand to stop the bleeding, you might be asked how that happened. You can then tell them that it was too time consuming to replace the guard.





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post #7 of 34 Old 10-03-2012, 09:37 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cabinetman View Post

As you sit in an emergency room for a few hours while you are holding a towel on your hand to stop the bleeding, you might be asked how that happened. You can then tell them that it was too time consuming to replace the guard.









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These discussions are getting old and really lack a lot of detail, short comments with sarcasm, such as these don't help.

IMHO, a table saw is the 2nd most dangerous piece of equipment in a fully equipped shop and training, training, training, firm rules and where applicable guards are all part of a long list of items and discussion.

I'm curious, CM, have you and will you never do anyting on a table saw without a guard?

Pure mathematics is, in it's way, the poetry of logical ideas. - Albert Einstein.

Last edited by WillemJM; 10-03-2012 at 09:47 AM.
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post #8 of 34 Old 10-03-2012, 09:50 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cabinetman View Post
I can't think of a procedure that has to be done free hand. Any cut will be...or should be a straight line, and some type of guide can be set up.


As you sit in an emergency room for a few hours while you are holding a towel on your hand to stop the bleeding, you might be asked how that happened. You can then tell them that it was too time consuming to replace the guard.










.
I never will understand why I have to have the cabinetman seal of approval to post my opinion here.

You say you can't think of of a reason to make a freehand cut on a tablesaw, if you have actually been doing woodworking for 40 years like me I can't believe you have never done it. I don't like it but it beats spending hours building a jig to make one cut. I can and have no trouble cutting a straight line freehand on a table saw.

I wouldn't know about the emergency room. I've never been there on a woodworking accident. I have more close calls and been injuried due to safety devises on these tools than not using them.
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post #9 of 34 Old 10-03-2012, 09:56 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by WillemJM View Post
These discussions are getting old and really lack a lot of detail, short comments such as these don't help.
I totally disagree. Many users don't realize the probability and actual hazards concerning "accidents". It's the attitude of "I'm careful, and don't stick my fingers where they don't belong", comments that create a feeling of complacency. I feel it's the duty of those with experience to tell it like it is. If the discussions are "getting old. "lack detail", and "short", you are entitled to your opinion. Real life incidents happen.

Quote:
Originally Posted by WillemJM View Post
I'm curious, CM, have you and will you never do anyting on a table saw without a guard?
Yes I have and it's plain stupid and not safe to do that.





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post #10 of 34 Old 10-03-2012, 10:56 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cabinetman View Post
I totally disagree. Many users don't realize the probability and actual hazards concerning "accidents". It's the attitude of "I'm careful, and don't stick my fingers where they don't belong", comments that create a feeling of complacency. I feel it's the duty of those with experience to tell it like it is. If the discussions are "getting old. "lack detail", and "short", you are entitled to your opinion. Real life incidents happen.



Yes I have and it's plain stupid and not safe to do that.









.
It's OK to agree to disagree.

From your post, it appears you limit your table saw only to activities which are possible with a guard in place. Am I right?

From many of your previous posts you offer advice to use the table saw with the blade fully extended above the table, when it is not necessary. I believe that is unsafe, so do most authorities on the subject, even with a guard, but again, it is OK to agree to disagree. Let's remain civil though, respectful and not use sarcasm and words like "stupid"

Pure mathematics is, in it's way, the poetry of logical ideas. - Albert Einstein.
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post #11 of 34 Old 10-03-2012, 11:15 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by WillemJM View Post
Let's remain civil though, respectful and not use sarcasm and words like "stupid"
I didn't call you stupid, or anyone else. An act can be stupid, without referring to the person committing the act. IOW, a non stupid person, can do a stupid thing. So, with all due respect, I don't see a problem with using that word in that context. But, if you are offended by the use of that word in any context...I will refrain from using it.




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post #12 of 34 Old 10-03-2012, 11:52 AM
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all of my saws came with a guard

None of them are wearing one at the present time.
The newer saws, a 22124 Craftsman and the Bosch 4000 have a quick detach system and I have the guard within reach. However, some of my operations involve a 2 cut rabbet which is impossible using the guard on either of those. Saws with a riving knife allows those types of cuts. My other saws have a splitter, again a partial depth cut not possible. I always use the splitter when ripping and even when cutting large panels since it prevents the piece from rotation away from the fence. My older saws Craftsman 12" and 10" attached the guard to the splitter, which I found to be a problem, so I detached it. I also like to use overblade dust collection so I mount the dust port to the splitter and it extends out in front of the blade to act as a warning. It too has some issues when ripping narrow stock that prevent the fence from getting closer than 1" to the blade.
There is no easy answer.
After about 50 years of table saw use, occasionally I still find it intimidating, but I have learned what may happen and sometimes does when using it. Experience, I believe it's called. I've done a few things that gave me pause, but took precautions and all went well.
I too have cut a straight line on the table saw without a fence, but there was no other choice. The worst thing that could have happened is a kickback but the sawblade had a decent set to the teeth leaving a wide enough kerf to allow a slight misalignment.

Safety means different things to users with different levels of experience. When I taught shop class, the college age students were not allowed to use the table saw. That doesn't mean that more experienced operators will not have a mishap however....as some folks here know too well.

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; 10-03-2012 at 04:04 PM.
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post #13 of 34 Old 10-03-2012, 12:05 PM
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Here is a linky to Woodcraft, since this subject comes up so often:

I can think of a lot of items to add to their list, the one thing on their list I ALWAYS obey, is the 6" rule.

http://www.woodcraft.com/Articles/Ar...?articleid=317

Pure mathematics is, in it's way, the poetry of logical ideas. - Albert Einstein.
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post #14 of 34 Old 10-03-2012, 12:17 PM
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there are 2 reasons in our shop when guards are removed - cutting thin strips of wood, and using the dado blade. if the guard will fit in the process it makes it unsafe to do so.
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post #15 of 34 Old 10-03-2012, 02:39 PM
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Back to the original question:
"Was I in the wrong to question him making a freehand cut on the tablesaw?
Should I just drop it and turn a blind eye?
At this point, I'm concerned for his safety as well as the safety of myself and my peers."

Welcome to the real world, there will always be situations like this, unfortunately if you are one step lower in the pecking order all you can really do is state your piece and walk away.
Perhaps another teacher in the same situation would have made it a class project to make a jig to do the cuts, this particular person obviously has no respect for the instructor, you or your peers.
The best lesson you can learn from this is to not become a person like him.

Wise men speak because they have something to say; fools because they have to say something -Plato

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Last edited by FrankC; 10-03-2012 at 06:19 PM. Reason: typo
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post #16 of 34 Old 10-03-2012, 05:07 PM
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Make sure everyone is safe. If someone wants to do something fine but only a bad teacher teaches unsafe practices. Safety is above all else.

You where totally right, at the end of the day if someone loses a finger they will wish they where more careful so it's best to see it in black and White. Safe or not safe.

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post #17 of 34 Old 10-03-2012, 06:14 PM
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Never!Never! Take shortcuts! Freehand? Your looking for trouble!
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post #18 of 34 Old 10-03-2012, 08:08 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by WillemJM View Post
Here is a linky to Woodcraft, since this subject comes up so often:

I can think of a lot of items to add to their list, the one thing on their list I ALWAYS obey, is the 6" rule.

http://www.woodcraft.com/Articles/Ar...?articleid=317

Excerpts from the link you posted:

Do not make free-hand cuts on a table saw. Guide the stock through the blade using the rip fence or the miter gauge.

Keep the blade guards, splitters and anti-kickback fingers in place and operating freely. Check the action of these items before starting work.





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post #19 of 34 Old 10-03-2012, 08:21 PM
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Wow, this thread has exploded. There are two opinions here.

The first is simple. Safety first. Use the guards. You're right to question it.

The second is simple. Nobody else does it, so why should you?

One of those opinions is logically grounded. One of them is a prime example of multiple logical fallacies rolled into a single, simple sentence. Can you tell the which opinion is which?

*FYI I listed them in that order because that is the order they are found in the thread; not because I'm trying to be impartial.
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post #20 of 34 Old 10-03-2012, 10:16 PM Thread Starter
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Yes, I never really took that much thought on the issue that any large group of people can be wrong. That was a poor judgement on my part.
I don't know, I mean the least the guy could have done is use a miter gauge and line up the fence and plywood with the lines he drew, but nope. Nothing.

I hope you all know that I don't mean to troll or tease. I'm not that kind of guy. I just needed a general take from a veteran community on the subject. Whenever I have a problem or deep question from a philosophical standpoint, I always ask my peers as well as my friends about the situation. It's never failed me before, and it's not failing me now.
Thank you all for the advice on the subject. In this case, seniority does not overtake the fact that he was making a bad choice for a cut.

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