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I was the one who asked about why it is rare to see blade guards used on table saws, especially seasoned people and pros (and on PBS and YouTube).

One difference is that as an unpaid amateur woodworker, I can trade time for safety. The seasoned pros have to make a living, so they must find a reasonable balance where cost considerations come into play.
TA, its not really whether you’re a production shop or not, I’m simply saying there are tasks where you either cannot use a guard, or a guard become an impediment to passing the wood through the cut. That’s why I don’t use them. If I’m dragging a guard out only for rio cuts wider than 2” that kind of limits them, what am I missing?

Proper use of push blocks and feather boards, and having a splitter are key. Honestly the rest is experience, just like driving a car, you learn to anticipate situations. Kickbacks are an often overlooked danger, No, it’s not losing a finger, but a bad kickback can be pretty awful. I’ve only ever had two in my life and they were both b/c of my stupidity. I’ve also had a couple loose knots fly by my head.

So the question becomes if its not on every time you pass a board over a blade….isn’t that kind of like of like wearing a seatbelt only part of time? Grooving boards and making dado cuts without a push block is just plan dumb IMO you make a mistake where the blade is going to emerge and it the ER.

To be clear, I’m not advocating not using a guard. I’m actually much more cognizant of where my hands are without a guard. Seeing that spinning blade is saying to me “danger Will Robinson”. And having A SawStop is the ultimate anyway.

My personal opinion is every table saw ought to come with a lock, and the buyer gets the key after taking and passing a safety course.
 

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Who are the few? Are you talking about professionals?

Save your blade guard? Many shops in my era had tablesaws so old they disappeared.if it's not put in the office it wont exist in the shop.
No, not "the professionals". I am referring to the one-and-gone people who appear here (and elsewhere) every once in a while, looking for a blade guard for their XYZ table saw that they bought used. Admittedly, more people are looking for original splitters and riving knives, but there are "a few" who want that original blade guard and are willing to pay a high price to get one.
 

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There are such a variation to how woodworker view their safety.

The arguments are endless..

I went to apply for a cabinet job one time and when I got there a girl was spraying lacquer on doors laying on the grass. When I looked at the tablesaw, it was a 10" portable Craftsman tablesaw mounted in a huge bench to cut sheet goods.

I said thanks and walked away

I've seen some pretty risky shops
 

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TA, its not really whether you’re a production shop or not, I’m simply saying there are tasks where you either cannot use a guard, or a guard become an impediment to passing the wood through the cut. That’s why I don’t use them. If I’m dragging a guard out only for rio cuts wider than 2” that kind of limits them, what am I missing?

Proper use of push blocks and feather boards, and having a splitter are key. Honestly the rest is experience, just like driving a car, you learn to anticipate situations. Kickbacks are an often overlooked danger, No, it’s not losing a finger, but a bad kickback can be pretty awful. I’ve only ever had two in my life and they were both b/c of my stupidity. I’ve also had a couple loose knots fly by my head.

So the question becomes if its not on every time you pass a board over a blade….isn’t that kind of like of like wearing a seatbelt only part of time? Grooving boards and making dado cuts without a push block is just plan dumb IMO you make a mistake where the blade is going to emerge and it the ER.

To be clear, I’m not advocating not using a guard. I’m actually much more cognizant of where my hands are without a guard. Seeing that spinning blade is saying to me “danger Will Robinson”. And having A SawStop is the ultimate anyway.

My personal opinion is every table saw ought to come with a lock, and the buyer gets the key after taking and passing a safety course.
You are 100% right, and I think we agree on nearly everything you said.

I choose the appropriate push blocks, "push pads" (?), GRR-Rippers, and on rare occasions when nothing else works, push stick. I know what causes kickback and how to avoid it. So far, I have been lucky in that department. I know that one will come for me someday, so I position the table saw so that kickbacks that don't strike me will hit a cinder block wall.

Frankly, the only thing that we do different is that I actually take the time to go through cycles of removing and replacing the blade guard. It may be on a per cut basis if that's how it works out.

Many cuts cannot be made with a blade guard installed, and I make them without hesitation or concern. A surprising number of cuts can be made with the blade guard, and not just rip cuts. I use my large sled with the blade guard, but must remove it for the small sled.

A SawStop table saw is a joy to use, and it is much faster and easier to swap the blade guard compared with my previous jobsite saw.
 

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Say I want to rip 1/4" strips from stock, I always do a outboard cut for safefty reasons and change the fence for the next cut, others swear by a inboard cut for a constant cut, which do you prefer?
I also use outboard using a rip guide for thin rips (1/2 inch or less).
I have done 16ft rips this way and find this method safer with less chance of binding and kickback.
For thicker rips I use the fence with feather boards.
 

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I rip cherry 1/4" and 3/8" by 2 3/4" 10 to 15 inches long. I use outboard cut., double sided tape to 1" thick plywood. I use a Mag Switch feather board. I acts as my stop for many cuts, and keeps the material firmly against the fence. I move the fence for each new cut.
Wood Automotive lighting Automotive design Motor vehicle Hood
 

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Production dictated methods. I had to rip 75 strips 3/32 x 24”.

I happened to do that on a bandsaw to minimize waste, but had I chose to use a table saw, how tedious and inaccurate would the outboard method be?

ZCI, riving knife , proper blade height, and the right push accessory, it’s perfectly safe and more accurate simply b/c the fence stays set!

With a riving knife or splitter there is no reason to worry about kickback.

If your saw doesn’t have a riving knife, install a splitter ASAP!
 

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I rip cherry 1/4" and 3/8" by 2 3/4" 10 to 15 inches long. I use outboard cut., double sided tape to 1" thick plywood. I use a Mag Switch feather board. I acts as my stop for many cuts, and keeps the material firmly against the fence. I move the fence for each new cut. View attachment 431657
Unless I'm missing something that looks scary..
 

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Discussion Starter · #51 ·
I also use the Mag Switch feather board, I also have feather boards before and after the blade attached to the fence. On thinner stock I remove the leading feather board on the fence when there is no room for a push stick and use a disposable push block
I have no doubt that to people who know to do it safely it is not an issue, just to clarify the person I mentioned it to was at a senior center woodshop which takes safety serious, he was pushing the wood through by the outboard side with a push stick, no feather boards, and had removed the riving knife and guard
 
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I've cut to the inside hundreds of times. As noted above, I use a push shoe to push the pieces through. Only rarely have I had a launch, but neither I or anyone else was in line.
 
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It only takes one launch to cause a serious injury

THAT, is why you need to know your equipment and plan for it.

When I had to cut hundreds of 1/8th inch strips, I followed the standard rule: Don't be stupid and stand behind the cut.

I guarantee you even using my cut off jig, and moving, constantly, to the left could result in a calamity launch.
 

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It only takes one launch to cause a serious injury
@readred yes that person was operating up in an unsafe manor. I can imagine it might be a bit nerve wracking to watch.

You can make a push shoe that has a lip that engages the top edge of the fence which makes if practically fool proof. Something to consider in a community shop.

IU makes a good point - set up is step one making a safe cut. As well the machine - properly aligned, the right blade, ZCI, riving knife or splitter, Even with all that, the operator is the key. Important to follow all the way through the cut. Going through that set up, no matter what the machine, has has the benefit of a better quality cut.

@TA featherboards are great but in close quarters in order to work with a push block or shoe they have to be thin enough to allow the heel to pass over. In those situations I make my own out of thinner material. But yes, the mag featherboards are great.
 
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This suggests such cuts must always be done on the left (left tilt table) and the main piece, from which the rest of the fine cuts will come, sandwiched between the blade and fence, would never bind and become a problem. Unfortunately, this just isn't so.

Key to these cuts is, that push shoe. It goes all the way to the bottom of the piece being cut and covers at least ten inches of it, as it pushes that piece through.

@readred yes that person was operating up in an unsafe manor. I can imagine it might be a bit nerve wracking to watch.

You can make a push shoe that has a lip that engages the top edge of the fence which makes if practically fool proof. Something to consider in a community shop.

IU makes a good point - set up is step one making a safe cut. As well the machine - properly aligned, the right blade, ZCI, riving knife or splitter, Even with all that, the operator is the key. Important to follow all the way through the cut. Going through that set up, no matter what the machine, has has the benefit of a better quality cut.

@TA featherboards are great but in close quarters in order to work with a push block or shoe they have to be thin enough to allow the heel to pass over. In those situations I make my own out of thinner material. But yes, the mag featherboards are great.
 

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This suggests such cuts must always be done on the left (left tilt table) and the main piece, from which the rest of the fine cuts will come, sandwiched between the blade and fence, would never bind and become a problem. Unfortunately, this just isn't so.

Key to these cuts is, that push shoe. It goes all the way to the bottom of the piece being cut and covers at least ten inches of it, as it pushes that piece through.
Not sure what you’re talking about. The fence is to the right of the blade at 1/8”. It can’t bind if you use a ZCI.

Most important is the wood is tight to the fence. Re-jointing is necessary if stress relief causes the board to bow.
 
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