Using a table saw, you can get a very clean and accurate finishing. However, like every other good thing in the world, it has some demerits as well. If table saws are not set up properly, or if you don’t take the necessary precautions, they can turn into very dangerous tools.
The most common danger people face while working with a table saw is the danger of a kickback.
A lot of people do not properly understand the term kickback and therefore cannot take the necessary precautions to avoid it. Therefore, in this article, I’ll explain to you all the necessary details you need to know to prevent yourself from getting a serious kickback injury.
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What Is A Kickback?
A kickback is what happens when a piece of wood flies towards the worker at great speed, while he is cutting it across the table saw. Two types of damage can occur from this-
The wood hits a body part of the worker and causes injury
The wood moves very quickly, giving the worker no time to react and results in his hand-drawn to the blade
Table saw kickbacks can occur for a number of reasons, including dull blades, imperfect alignment with the rip fence, and not using push handles, etc. Kickbacks usually occur when a piece of wood reaches the last part of the saw blade and gets caught, therefore propelling in your direction at lightning speed.
Preventive Measures You Can Take
Although some people claim that kickback is just a risk that you have to accept while working with table saws, there definitely are some precautions that you can take to prevent it. Such as-
Think Before Cutting
Before you start doing your woodwork, take some time to think exactly how you are going to cut it, where do you need to position the wood, what kind of safety equipment you will need to use and so on.
Use A Sharp Blade
A sharp blade will do the work with more precision than a dull blade would and will also reduce the chances of injury. If your blade is not working properly, replace it with a sharper one.
Align the Rip Fence Properly
One of the common reasons for kickback includes when a fence is placed unparallel with the table saw blade. Measure the distance of the fence from a particular blade at the starting point, rotate the blade backwards to the ending point, and then measure and compare.
This will help to make the measurement accurate and ward off any chances of it being unparallel.
Use Push Sticks or Jigs
One of the most idiotic things people do while cutting small pieces of wood is not using push sticks. Using a push stick can help keep that little extra distance between your hand and the blade. So, even if a kickback does occur, you might be able to save your fingers.
Using a push stick will also help you to apply the appropriate amount of pressure needed. Inadequate pressure can often result in kickbacks too. Make sure to use jigs on any board less than 6 inches wide.
Use A Riving Knife or Splitter
A riving knife or splitter does wonder in terms of preventing kickback. It helps in keeping the wood from getting stuck in the saw and resulting in a nasty kickback. However, a riving knife is better than a splitter as it moves along with the blade.
Most table saws nowadays come with anti-kickback devices that make sure the board stays on the table instead of flying off.
Even though you cannot be sure whether a kickback will occur or not, it is always better to stand in a manner that even if it does, it will not hurt you. Try to stand to the side of the workpiece so that you can minimize direct contact if it comes off flying.
No to Freehand Cut
Even though it seems like common sense, there are some actual people out there who do not follow this. My only advice – Do not be one of them.
These are all the tips that would help you go on with your work without being stressed about the chances of an injury. Remember, following these don’t cost you much, but the benefits you get, or the injuries you won’t get are certainly worth it.