Table saw paranoia

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b4man

New User
Barbara
It seems that The dreaded Woodguy disease is not the only disorder or illness effecting many of our members:eek:. After reading some old posts about request for recommendations on splitters and guard use, I realized that I am not the lone sufferer of this dreaded disorder TSP!

I went searching for some info about replacing my old Jet contractor type blade guard/splitter. I removed it a long time ago because I could never get it aligned properly so that it didn't serve as a 'stop' for my work to pass through. What I read made me stop and think about the different schools of thought about what is the safest way to rip stock. Blade lowered to just above the stock so if you do find your fingers inline with the blade it won't cut to the bone or a raised blade that takes pressure off the back side of the cut and insures amputation if you slip or loose track of where your fingers should be!

If I understood what I read, the lower blade position increases the chance of kickback where the higher blade setting reduces that chance.

Personally, I don't like either choice. I don't use my table saw a lot but when I do I would like to feel better about my safety than currently with the guard removed. I think I've been very lucky so far. Based on the injury reports posted here I am not going to push my luck any farther. So, now, finally to the point....

Is a splitter like the MJ (?) with a featherboard enough to get the job done safely? Is there another product I've missed?:help:
 

DIYGUY

New User
Mark
I use a ZCI with a splitter I made out of 1/8" x 1-1/2" bar stock. For much/most of the little ripping I still do on my TS I use this combo. The splitter is about 1-3/4" proud of the table which covers much of the stock that I would rip. Nowadays I almost always use my BS for all ripping operations. I cannot tell you what a difference it makes to have this tool, from almost any perspective - safety, convenience. ease of use, etc.

You are correct IMHO that lowering the blade increases the risk of kickback. For my purposes having the blade around 2-3" above the surface seemed to work well. I think it is false that lowering the blade somehow minimizes the impact of an injury occuring or the severity of one. Using a splitter and blade guard is no guarantee either, only common sense and careful operation can reduce, but not eliminate the risk. I know this sounds a little impractical, but get yourself a bandsaw - you won't regret it.
 

b4man

New User
Barbara
'I know this sounds a little impractical, but get yourself a bandsaw - you won't regret it.'

Mark,
I do have a bandsaw:wconfused:
Your suggestion is going to open up a can of worms, to me!! I need to explore the bandsaw option more I guess.:embaresse

Barbara
 

adowden

New User
Amy
Barbara,

You make an excellent point about how there is not one school of thought on blade height. As someone who cut her finger on the TS a couple of years ago, I vote for the 1/8" above the wood. I am sure I would had totally severed the finger if it was higher. Now I also have to mention I was doing something I shouldn't - I was ripping instead of crosscutting plywood so I wouldn't have to measure. There was not enough wood against the rip fence and I rolled my finger in the blade trying to keep the wood against the fence. Since then I have tried to be much safer. Weighing cost and safety I really like this splitter (and it is on sale until the 31st) http://www.hartvilletool.com/product/12457
It is the MJ pro splitter. It has steel in the center and a kerf keeper so that if a board tries to bind on the blade it will come out and hold the cut open (I can varify that it works!). I have this system on my ZCI. It takes some time to make the hole drilling jig, but I think it is worth it.

Another tool that I feel makes it much safer is this push stick. http://www.hartvilletool.com/product/11506
It isn't cheap, but it is much more reasonable than a $700 ER bill. I wasn't sure about this tool when I bought it because it goes against traditional teaching, but it works great.

My next WGD wishlist item is one of the magnetic featherboards. I have a regular one that I made, but I can never get clamps where I need to so it is secure.

Amy
 

Bas

Recovering tool addict
Bas
Corporate Member
I've been very happy with the MJ splitter. It greatly reduces the chance of kickback, and I can install/ remove it in 2 seconds. I've only had two instances where the splitter was pulled out of the ZCI. Both times, I was ripping Southern Yellow Pine that had a lot of internal stress. Everything else - no problems. For the money, it's probably one of the best safety investments you can make.

It's still not perfect, in that I don't have a blade guard. I'm thinking about supplementing the MJ splitter with the PSI table saw guard.

Featherboards are good. I also like my GRR-Rippers, I have two of them and would buy them again in a heartbeat. I also have a jig for ripping thin stock and a variety of push sticks. Finally, I have a roomy outfeed table. All those help reduce TSP.
 

Mike Davis

Mike
Corporate Member
I am the wrong one to ask about this, although I've never had any problem at all not even a slight kickback.

I hate guards and run my fingers within fractions of the blade all the time. No excuses, I know it is not the safe way, but that is how I do it. If I have to change I will quit using a table saw. I can't see what I'm doing with guards in the way and I don't feel confident trying to hold a board with a notched stick.


Now, a router...

I hate a router, it is the most dangerous thing you could ever pick up. :no:
 

adowden

New User
Amy
I forgot to mention one other tip. If I am working with a board longer than 3' on the TS, BS, or router I like to set up a roller on the infeed (and outfeed where needed). I find that I can concentrate on watching the fence and cut without having to muscle the board. I error on the side of feeding the work into the fence (slightly turning the roller so it feeds into the fence) and just a hair on the high side.

Amy
 

Gotcha6

Dennis
Corporate Member
I can't offer you any advice on a TS guard or it would be hypocritical of me. I don't use one. My school of thought is similar to Mike's. I'm old school and I was taught at an early age that ALL WWing tools are omnivores and not vegetarians. They'll eat meat just as well - or better - than wood, SawStops notwithstanding.
Having said that, I do plan to devise some kind of riving knife on my TS out of some very thin spring steel I happen to have.
 

b4man

New User
Barbara
Thanks Amy! Your post (s) needs to find a permanent home in the How To library! I'll work on that.

Bas, your archive post was what got me thinking about the MJ.

Points taken, order about to be made, gloat to come.

Mike, you and Gotcha are what I used to aspire to be just like. But now I'm just chicken :confused_

I guess I'm going to need to address my bandsaw issues next:gar-Bi

Barbara
 

Mike Davis

Mike
Corporate Member
You should NOT aspire to be like us, we learned back in the old days when safety was less of a concern and wanton endangerment was seen as a sign of manhood or machismo.

There is a better way, and we are just too stubborn to learn it.

Strive to be more like Amy. Take the time to set up, plan out and properly execute each and every cut on every piece of equipment in your shop.
 

Travis Porter

New User
Travis
A splitter is good, but it's measure of effectiveness decreases as its distance from the blade increases. Personally, I like Amy do not want the blade much over 1/8" above the wood. An overarm or ceiling mount blade guard helps if you want to run the blade full height. Still, having a splitter is better than not, and even a home made wooden one is a plus.

My suggestion is to do something that increases your level of comfort. Ask questions, and get comfortable with what your options are so you can make an appropriate decision for you.

FWIW, my current saw has a riving knife. It's distance is consistent no matter what the height. I didn't realize how much this mattered compared to a splitter until I had one.
 

Gotcha6

Dennis
Corporate Member
You should NOT aspire to be like us, we learned back in the old days when safety was less of a concern and wanton endangerment was seen as a sign of manhood or machismo.

There is a better way, and we are just too stubborn to learn it.

Strive to be more like Amy. Take the time to set up, plan out and properly execute each and every cut on every piece of equipment in your shop.
I'll echo that. I just started wearing safety glasses on a consistent basis a few months ago. If my son or daughter were to take an interest in WWing I'd have to advise them as Mike says. We're just too old school on some things. I was raised BITD when a first aid kit was a bottle of turpentine or kerosene. Don't wanna go back there either. It's just that with a TS I'd feel like a blindfolded man in a room with a loose copperhead. I'd rather see where the snake is and behave appropriately.
 

Trent Mason

New User
Trent Mason
I'm with Mike and Dennis and I am fairly young. I have never owned or operated a high dollar/quality TS, so the factory splitter has always gotten in the way and I hate them. I do usually put the blade just a fraction above the height of the wood and generally don't use a push stick. I'd rather take one to the chest than lose a finger. Haven't really had any kickback issues in a long time though. I just pay VERY good attention to what I'm doing. :icon_thum I do agree with Mike though, I'm much more afraid of the router than the TS. That thing is like the Tasmanian Devil! (with sharp blades) :swoon:
 

BobN

New User
Bob
I'm with Mike and Dennis on the table saw. I'm old school, when I purchased the saw I have now I never took the guard out of the box, it and the splitter went to the dump with the box. But I do use a push stick, not one of these fancy ones from the store, but a homemade one that was in America Woodworker back in the early 90's, back when America Woodworker was a good magazine.

I've never been cut by the table saw, I run the blade just about 1/4" above the wood I'm cutting and plan my cut ahead of time. Now just about every other tool with a edge on it in the shop has at one time or another got me. The lathe got me the worst, took the tip of a finger off just at the top of the nail. Believe me, that hurts!

You just have to be careful and plan your work and above all, "Don't get in a hurry!" That's what happen to me on the lathe, I got in a hurry and was pushing things.

Bob
 

mshel

Michael Shelley
Corporate Member
Barb,

All good suggestions and I'll offer another, I have a PM66 and have never used the stock splitter / guard. I instead opted to get a Sharkguard for my saw and now the splitter (one of three that came with the system) lives in my saw unless I am doing not through cuts. That is the only time it comes out.
That being said, the only kickback I have had didn't come from the area between the blade and the fence, it came from the offcut side; hurt like heck too.:realmad::realmad: Blade height didn't have anything to do with the KB, the offcut just happen to catch the backside of the blade and Wamo, it came flying. Normally, I like to set the blade hgt. to about one tooth above the top of the piece I am cutting, but that isn't always the case. Sometimes I get lax and just set the hgt. to clear the board. I respect all my tools and since I work by myself, I don't take chances. Still have all ten and plan on keeping them.:gar-Bi Common sense goes a long way and I'm sure you will know when that little voice in your head tells you; "better safe than sorry".

Be safe always and keep kickin dust.

Mike
 
M

McRabbet

Like several other members of the "old school", I have always removed the [so-called] blade guards from my table saws. I do enough dado work that it is just in the way. Except for dado work, I use a zero clearance insert and although I have a MJ splitter, I rarely use it -- instead, I prefer using a set of Board Buddies mounted on my fence on each side of the blade and a feather board pressing the stock to the fence on the infeed side.

http://www.ncwoodworker.net/pp/data/175/medium/TS_Safety_Outfeed.JPG


There are two key things that must be correct in any ripping setup. 1) Your fence must be parallel to the blade so their is no "pinch" front to back of the blade; and 2) You must have an outfeed table (or support) to keep the stock from "drooping" beyond the cut. I also always use a push stick.

Over the past few days, I have been ripping a bunch of 8/4 Cypress and I mounted a new ripping blade for the work. It is a scary blade -- 10 tooth Delta Rip Blade -- the gullets are 3/4" deep and the teeth are 3" apart! It does not make sawdust, it makes 1/8" wide shavings! The whirr or whistle of the blade is much lower frequency that the 60-tooth crosscut I took off, but it ripped very smoothly and there was no evidence of kickback.
 

novice99

New User
Mike
Barbara-
something not mentioned in this thread yet which I like very much for ripping are these board buddies


http://www.amazon.com/Woodstock-Int..._m=ATVPDKIKX0DER&pf_rd_r=06FS4A8DV7YCB49RPV3Z

if my camera was working, I would take a picture of them on my fence. They come off only rarely. Having taken several hunks of wood in the belly or chest over the years, I have been very pleased with the security that a hold-down behind the blade brings. Safety First!:icon_thum
 

JohnW

John
Corporate Member
Barbara,
As someone who has been bitten twice by serious kickback I'd like to offer what I did to correct my bad table saw technique and overcome TSP.

First I'll say I agree and did almost word for word what Amy has posted here. Gripper, MJ Splitter, Zero clearance inserts, eye protection. On many cuts using the Gripper the blade can't be extended very high above the board or it would cut the expensive Gripper. So I adjust the blade to be about a half a tooth above the board.

I also invested in a Woodworker II blade (just got a 2nd one today) and keep it sharp. And I've learned to stand a little off to the side.

Both of my accidents would have been prevented by the MJ splitter. And both came at a time when I was making what is typically a very safe type of cut. So routine in fact that I was not paying close enough attention.

So my last bit of advice...I don't use the heavy machinery when I'm too tired or have life's problems weighing down on my mind. The best safety tool we have is our minds and if it is off somewhere else we shouldn't be using sharp objects connected to big motors.
 

FuzzWuzz16

New User
Jim Fossler
Barbara,
The bandsaw suggestion works very well.:icon_thum

When I started woodworking, I only used a bandsaw and jointer instead of a tablesaw. It got me through many projects, some of which were fairly complex. About the only thing you can't do is dadoes and rabbets on the bandsaw.:no:

Today I use a Delta Unisaw with ZCIs, feather boards, guards or whatever will make that cut as safe as possible. However, if I feel the least bit squeamish about a cut:swoon:, I retreat to the bandsaw.

Lastly, this may sound bizarre, but if I do not know exactly what I am going to do on a specific cut, I will walk through it as a dress rehearsal with the saw blade retracted. This way I know where/how to position my hands and body to keep them out of harms way. It also allows me to test the featherboard or other safety item to see that it will work.

Jim
 

Tarhead

Mark
Corporate Member
I tried the original plastic version of the MJ splitter and it did not fill me with a sense of safety. Hope the new version is more dependable and stays seated in the insert.

I'm still happy with the "Shorty" steel splitter from here:
http://www.leestyron.com/sharksplitter.php
It is super easy to install onto your existing splitter mount. Takes about 15 seconds to remove or replace with a ratchet handle and works with all of my inserts. I need to fabricate a longer version but this is sturdy enough for most of my needs.


Here are some pics of it on my Unisaw:










 
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