How to Use a Table Saw

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The table saw is an essential workshop tool, but it is also very dangerous. Make sure you know how to use it safely.


  1. Read the manual. Make sure that you are using the right blade and that its correctly seated and tightened securely. Always wear safety glasses and always use sharp blades because dull blades will bind in the wood and can cause the material to kick back.
  2. Check the blade guard. Is it functioning properly? Periodic checking for loose bolts is a good idea too. Always use the blade guards when you can. If you do not have one, take additional safety precautions.
  3. Make sure the blade and fence are square. You can test this by drawing a perfecty straight line on a scrap piece of wood parralel to its edge and then cutting the line with the saw.
  4. Keep a high blade height. A low blade may seem less dangerous, bu in reality it has more kick back potential. The higher the blade, the fewer teeth are in the wood at any time, causing less friction and less heat and hence less potential kick back.
  5. Look for knots and nails or staples in the wood before you begin. Avoid knots if possible; if they cant be avoided, be cautious when cutting through them.
  6. Start the saw and let it reach maximum RPM before beginning the cut.
  7. Stand to the side in case the wood is kicked back, and be sure the wood is supported on the other side.
  8. Have a push stick close at all times to keep your hands away from the blade. Never over-reach or try to cut a piece that is too long or too wide to be managed easily. Do not push the wood into the blade, just feed it into the blade with a little pressure. Forcing the wood causes extra friction and it could kick back.
  9. Keep the wood firmly against the guide fence as you make the cut. Use an outfeed table, rollers or an extra person to assist you if you need it.
  10. Wait for the blade to come to a full stop before removing it from the wood, if you are not cutting all the way through the length of the wood.

Sources and Citations

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