Table saw

Table saw.

Description and uses

The table saw is useful for ripping planed, jointed, and engineered sheet goods. It can also be used to crosscut lumber  using a crosscut gauge. The blade can be angled for beveled cuts up to 45 degrees off perpendicular. Advanced cuts like rabbets and dadoes can be performed, but require the guard to be removed (see the workshop technician if you need to perform any advanced blade functions). The table saw is chiefly used to size panels.

Ripping through material

The blade should be raised until it cuts through the top surface of the material. This height ensures the maximum cutting ability of the teeth and the most efficient clearing of chips and dust. The fence must be used and locked in place when ripping. Your hand should never be within six inches of the blade nor should you ever push the material in such a way that your hand or body could travel in the path of the saw blade. Never position yourself directly behind the work piece. Use a push stick when the path of the cut places your hands in harm's way. Start the machine with your material flat on the table, away from the blade. Move the work piece into the blade in a controlled, continuous motion, guiding the wood along the fence. Maintain the motion until the material clears the blade. Shut off saw and remove cut-offs from the table.

Cross-cuts through lumber

Set proper blade height. Mark your material and hold it firmly against the crosscut gauge. While saw is off, slide material into the path of the blade to gauge the position of the cut. Back the material away from the blade to begin your cut. Start the machine and use both hands to hold the material firmly against the crosscut gauge and feed into the blade until the material is cut through. Stop the saw and remove the material and the cut-off. The fence is not used in conjunction with the crosscut gauge.

Further considerations

  • Check the blade guard and splitter for proper operation.
  • Verify location of on/off switch and/or emergency power disconnect.
  • Check to ensure that the fence is set properly and tight if it is required.
  • Ensure that the table is clear of material, tools, and debris. The Table Saw must have a blade guard and splitter installed. Some operations require you to remove the guard: This can only be done with the approval and supervision of the workshop technician. The guard must be immediately re-installed once the special cuts are completed.
  • The fence and crosscut gauge must never be used together. Use the fence for ripping and the crosscut gauge for crosscutting. Many crosscuts can be made safely on other saws such as the mitre saw.
  • Push sticks, feather boards, hold downs, etc. must be used whenever an operation is performed that would require the operator's hands to pass within 6 inches of saw blade,
  • The operator should stand behind and slightly to the left side of the wood as it is being fed through.
  • No piece of wood that is smaller that 11 inches long is permitted. The smaller the piece the more dangerous it is.
  • No piece of wood may be cut "freehand", without a fence or crosscut gauge. This action will lead to kickback and injury.

Table saw hazards

"Kick back" can occur for a variety of reasons. It is one of the primary reasons for all table saw injuries. The most common instance occurs when the material being cut does not have at least one straight, true edge to push up against the fence. Another common occurrence arises when the wood is not flat or is warped causing the material to bind. Indeed, some woods have internal stresses that are released when they are cut, twisting the wood and causing it to pinch the blade and “kick back”.

"Dust hazards" are produced by many woods and materials when their dust is airborne and inhaled. Some woods are more toxic than others, such as cedar, pressure treated woods, and teak. The glues associated with plywoods, particle board and MDF contain formaldehyde and have been shown to be toxic. Foreign objects in the wood itself pose a threat, such as nails, screws, stones, wire etc. Not only are they potentially injurious to the operator; they do damage to the machine surface, fence, and the carbide blade.

Never start machine with blade touching work piece.