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How to Use a Table Saw Safely and Avoid Injury

A table saw can be used for a wide variety of projects, making it an essential tool in your home workshop.

When you use a table saw, you need to remain aware of the fact that these machines can easily remove fingers and cause major injuries, if you are not careful. Before you start cutting, you should ensure that you know how to use the saw and follow all safety precautions.

The Basic Parts of a Table Saw

You should know the basic parts of a table saw before you turn it on. While these tools may seem simple, knowing how the parts work together ensures that you can follow the remaining safety suggestions.

Table saws are comprised of a saw connected to a table top. The typical size of the table is 3 x 3 feet. However, larger sizes are available. The table is often made from aluminum or steel and designed to sit on a metal cabinet or stand.

The fence is a part that you will hear mentioned frequently in instructions and safety tips for table saws. The fence is a guide that runs parallel to the blade to keep the material that you are cutting at an even distance from the blade.

The blade is used to cut various materials, while the blade insert determines the gap on each side of the blade.

Table saws are also equipped with a blade height adjustment wheel and a blade angle adjustment lever for adjusting the type of cut.

Wear Proper Clothing and Protective Gear

The clothing and protective gear that you wear is just as important as knowing the various parts of the table saw. Wear short sleeves and avoid any baggy clothing or jewelry that may get caught in the blade.

You should also wear proper protection for your eyes and ears. Wear protective goggles to protect your eyes from pieces of flying debris. Wear earplugs to protect your ears from the high decibel levels of the saw, especially if you’re going to be cutting for several hours.

While wearing gloves may seem like a good method for protecting your fingers, gloves can increase the risk of injury. Wearing gloves can reduce your gripping power and your ability to sense exactly what you are doing with your hands.

Maintain a Proper Stance and Clean Work Area

When using a table saw, keep the floor in front of the machine clean. Sawdust may create a slipping hazard, increasing the risk of falling into the blade.

You should also stand with your feet slightly apart to increase your balance. Maintain a comfortable stance and avoid locking your knees.

Safety Tips for Operating the Table Saw

Once you have the right clothing and stance, you can start cutting. Make sure that the material is not touching the blade when you turn it on. Guide the material toward the blade, while keeping the material flat against the table.

You should also use the proper fence. When making rip cuts, use the rip fence. When making crosscuts, use a miter gauge.

Along with these tips, you should read the instruction manual comes with your table saw. Review the parts, guidelines, and safety instructions provided by the manufacturer, as some of the details of operating a table saw can vary based on the model.