How to Use a Table Saw Safely – Do’s & Don’ts

Last modified on September 11, 2021
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How to use a table saw safely – Do's & Don'ts

When used correctly and following certain basic rules, a table saw is highly safe equipment to operate. This article is prepared broadly and should be relevant to the usage of most table saws, both portable and stationary. Portable table saws are best for fine woodworking and are also best for beginners.

Table saws are critical tools for woodworkers, and the majority of potential issues may be anticipated and avoided. Wear safety goggles at all times, pay attention to what you’re doing, and respect this massive equipment. Don’t be scared to use it, but use caution.

Parts of The Table Saw

The following components are found on both portable and stationary table saws.

  • Table – The flat top part of the table that rests on top of the base.
  • Insert- The blade is inserted into a narrow insert on the table.
  • Fence- The lengthy guide that runs parallel to the blade is known as the fence.
  • Power Button- The power button is used to turn the saw on and off.
  • Height adjustment wheel- You may raise or lower the blade using the blade height adjustment wheel.
  • Angle adjustment wheel- The blade angle adjustment wheel allows you to alter the angle of the wheel.
  • Fence dog- The lever that keeps the fence in place is known as the fence dog.

Types of Cuts Possible

A table saw is often regarded as the most flexible of saws, and it is frequently the workhorse of any carpenter. You can perform the following using a table saw:

  • Miter cut
  • Square cut
  • Rabbet cut
  • Dado cut
  • Rip cut
  • Crosscut

Aside from all of the numerous cuts you can make, a table saw is arguably the most accurate saw for all of them. The band saw is the only saw that comes close to matching the precision of the table saw.


Table saw blades are typically 1/8th of an inch and 8-12 inches in diameter. Carbide is fused to the tips of the teeth on the better ones to keep them sharper for longer. To increase the life of your saw blades and ensure that they are safe to use, look for missing carbide teeth.

Dado blades are used to cut the material into grooves or trenches. The faceplate screws on the wobbling blade are adjusted until the mark lines up with the required width. The conventional saw blades are on the exterior, followed by two toothed blades in the center. Between each blade, you must insert a shim, and there are thicker shims that go between the ordinary blades and the inner blades.

Blade Height Adjustment

When it comes to blade height, there are two types of thinking. The first is to place the blade only a fraction of an inch higher than the top of the material to be cut (about 1/8 inch). This is done for your protection since if you slide, you will most likely just get a cut. Because the teeth are contacting the wood at a horizontal rather than vertical angle, this setup may produce somewhat more tear-out on the bottom of the board and may increase the likelihood of kickback. This is the approach we recommend.

The blade height should be positioned considerably above the top of the material to be cut in the second type of thinking. This can minimize fraying and rip out on the bottom of the workpiece marginally, but it is also more hazardous. If you slide, you’ll have a lot more disc exposed, which means you’ll be able to inflict a lot more damage.

Blades & Inserts

The table saw’s regular insert may be used for cross and rip cuts as long as the debris is large enough to avoid falling into the gap and jamming the machine.

When the debris is thin and might fall into the gap and jam the normal insert, a zero clearance insert must be utilized.

The last insert is a model with a large gap. This insert is only for dado cuts and should be used with the dado blades.

Fence Adjustment

The front of the fence is adjusted by the dog or a lever. Lift the lever to alter the width of a cut, and the fence will swing side to side. The fence will become unsquared to the blade if the lever is all the way down. Lowering the lever helps to alleviate some of this.

A table saw’s fence does not always keep square to the blade. Make sure the measurements for the front and rear of the fence are the same. Place one hand on top of the fence to keep it in place while the other firmly tightens down the lever.

Making the Cuts

You can produce specialty cuts like angles, rabbet cuts, and dado cuts with a table saw using attachments like clamps, stops, and jigs, but most woodworkers rely on the table saw for two basic cuts. The most popular application of a table saw is ripping, which entails cutting material to a specified width. Cutting material to a specified length is referred to as crosscutting. You can find some instructions for making each of these typical cuts with a table saw here.

Maintaining Your Table Saw

The table saw will require relatively little general maintenance. Check the drive belt in the back for wear and the teeth of the blade for chipping before beginning. If the belt is worn or the blade has a few carbide teeth missing, it does not imply that the saw is dangerous to use, but it does mean that these parts may need to be changed soon. Vacuum or sweep any sawdust from the top of the table, and check the sawdust collecting bucket at the rear to ensure it is not overflowing.

Table Saw Safety Tips- Dos and Don’ts

A lot of injuries each year happens due to unsafe handling of table saws. Here are a list of excusive tips to follow for safely operating a table saw:

  • When using a table saw, do not wear gloves. The decrease of tactile sensitivity and maybe the loss of grip strength are the most likely causes.
  • Cut-offs and piled-up sawdust should be kept off the floor in front of the saw.
  • You should wear adequate eye and ear protection. Ears must be protected against projectile injury. Hearing loss occurs without notice and frequently without symptoms until it is too late to reverse the process.
  • Wear short-sleeved shirts, leave your ties at the office, and ditch the hanging jewelry.
  • You should wear shoes with traction if you want to chop wood for an extended period of time.
  • Avoid any potentially uncomfortable procedures. If performing a cut makes you feel like a kooky idiot, don’t do it that way.
  • Using a push stick, cut 6″ or less wide stock. A hand that isn’t in close proximity to a blade will not be cut.
  • When crosscutting small lengths, use a stop block. Install a fence stop block, which can be as basic as a clamped-on board that stops right before the saw blade.
  • Make sure your body isn’t directly in line with the blade.
  • Never reach behind or above a spinning blade unless it has come to a complete stop. This appears to be safe at times. It’s virtually never the case.
  • Before you switch on the power, check sure the blade is turning freely and that no scraps or tools are contacting it. Before replacing the blade or doing any other maintenance, always turn off the power.
  • Before replacing a saw’s blade or doing any other maintenance, always turn off the power.
  • Maintain a gleaming and smooth surface. When pushing stock through the blade on a filthy or rough table, you’ll need to use greater power.
  • The miter gauge and the fence aren’t designed to be used together.
  • Before cutting, inspect the stock. Examine the area for nails, screws, or rocks.
  • Blade guards, splitters, and anti-kickback fingers should all be in place and working properly. Before you begin working, double-check that these components are in working work.
  • To prevent narrow cuts from falling into the bottom section of the blade, use zero clearance inserts on the table saw blades.
  • Always use a table saw with the throat insert in place. Wood fed into a gaping hole has a tendency to fall down and get stuck on the blade. If the throat plate is in place, this will not happen.
  • To avoid blade binding, keep the rip fence parallel to the blade.