How to Safely Use a Table Saw, the Most Fearsome Power Tool of All


If you’ve decided to upgrade your power tool game and get a table saw, there are several things you should know before you crank it on and slide your first pieces of wood through.

Don’t get me wrong; all power tools should be wielded properly and safely, but none more so than the almighty table saw. To give you some perspective, a typical table saw rotates the blade at around 4,000 RPM, allowing the teeth of the blade to make a cut approximately every 370 microseconds (that’s around 2,700 cuts every second). Furthermore, according to one study, 78% of injuries involving stationary power saws (this includes table saws, band saws, and miter saws) were from table saws.

With that said, it’s extremely important that your table saw is used properly and with extreme caution. Here are some things you should know about operating a table saw safely and correctly.

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Use All the Safety Equipment When Starting Out

When you buy a new table saw, it will most likely come with a blade guard, a riving knife (aka a splitter), and some anti-kickback pawls. This may all seem like overkill, but they’re crucial for your safety when you’re just starting out and learning how to use your table saw.

When you become more experienced, you can slowly begin to remove certain safety equipment in order to make complex cuts (at your own risk, of course). However, always have at least the riving knife installed, as this will prevent kickback and prevent major injury.

Kickback is when your workpiece turns, twists, or binds in the middle of a cut and therefore is no longer parallel with the blade. This causes the teeth of the blade to grab onto the wood and fling it violently back towards you. Since the blade spins at an incredible speed, you can image how much force is used to fling that piece of wood.

The riving knife prevents this from happening and keeps the workpiece from turning, twisting, or binding during a cut. Anti-kickback pawls sort of act as a failsafe to the riving knife, digging into the workpiece if it does start to kickback and stop it in its tracks before the blade has a chance to fling the wood back at you.

Invest in a Good Push Stick

88% of all table saw injuries involve contact with the blade, so it’s important that you…

Sasha Harriet

Sasha Harriet

As content editor, I get to do what I love everyday. Tweet, share and promote the best content our tools find on a daily basis.

I have a crazy passion for #music, #celebrity #news & #fashion! I'm always out and about on Twitter.
Sasha Harriet

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