Safety Notice! - Cross cuts on the table saw

In the last few months, we have come across a couple of instances where people were making unsafe cross cuts on the table saw. In both of these cases, the individual was making a cross cut without a sled and using the fence as a guide for the cross cut. This is a dangerous way to make a cross cut. Using the table saw improperly to make a cross cut can result in a serious kickback injury. The Sawstop has a great safety feature with the blade brake, but that only protects your fingers. Injuries from kickback are still all too possible.

Kickback is where the saw blade catches the material and tries to launch it out of the saw. In a rip, it may take the offcut and launch it straight out the front of the saw. On a cross cut, it can actually launch up into the air, towards you. Without a sled or miter jig, the two parts of the workpiece do not stay straight, and can catch the blade. In a cut using the fence, the off-cut piece can twist as it separates. If it then wedges against the fence and the blade, it can become a projectile.

When you make cross cuts on the tabel saw you MUST use a sled or the miter jig. You MAY NOT place the fence against the end of your material.

There are ways to safely use the fence for set length repeat cuts. You can set up a rip fence offset block, as shown in this video.

If you need to make a cross cut and you do not understand how to set up the sleds, or how to set up an offset block, please ask for assistance.

If you want more information on kickback, here is a good video discussing the dangers. Actual Kickback (in Slow Motion), & How to Prevent It - YouTube

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yeah this is no joke. I took one to the gut when I was dumber and didn’t think it was a big deal/didn’t understand the danger. Luckily I was only bruised but depending on your projectile it can be quite nasty.

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Happened to me too when I was also dumber.

Would it be possible for Asmbly to offer a Table Saw course at some point? I know that it is covered in the wood shop safety course required for using the wood shop, but I’d love some more time devoted to the table saw in an optional course.

As a novice wood worker, I’ve been wanting to use the table saw for a bunch of my projects but have felt intimidated about using it (even after watching many safety videos about how to make safe cuts). I’ve worried that I would make unsafe cuts because of lack of experience.

Things I’d love to see in the course:

  • supervised practice making different cuts and experience changing out blades
  • advice about how to make jigs
  • can we use dado stacks at Asmbly?

Just a thought! Thanks

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That’s a great idea @ksavietta! @torchedguitar has mentioned really wanting the same as well (and we watch TONs of videos on woodworking). I think there would be a lot of demand for a class like that.

CC @David

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I too would be interested in the table saw class. Switching out blades, angle cuts, and a discussion of blade height related to wood height. I see some people using a really high blade. I was taught to keep the blade just above the wood - but are there circumstances where that general guidance changes? Tips and tricks on angled cuts.

I just want to convey to the people that are scared or antagonized by any of the power machines, that is OK to have that feeling. I have almost 40 years of experience and I’m still scared of most of them. That feeling keeps me on my toes to check and double check safety and proper procedures when I go to use them. So I am glad that you are not afraid to express that feeling and asking questions but unfortunately you cannot master the dumb powerful machines without doing or using them. So continue to be safe, ask questions to other people that are present (most will help you). If you want a one on one extended safety/operation class on the table saw, shoot me a message. I’m available almost anytime through Saturday. Is free and would take at a minimum half hour of your time.

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You were taught correct. A tooth above is all that’s generally required, or advised. “Enough for stitches, not amputations” (saw stop notwithstanding)

I do often see people using the full blade height on the table saw at Asmbly. I advise them to take it down to just below a tooth. They’re often not aware of that guidance, or just needed to be reminded.

That said, there are times that I use a taller bade height. Primarily when making cross cuts in plywood on a well tuned sled to reduce tear-out.

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I agree. I would definitely be interested in an “all things table saw” class. I’m with Jose–my caution level increases the longer I spend working with a tool. I could use a couple of hours concentrating on the table saw.