Talk:Table saw

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Safety Features - Sawstop[edit]

I wonder if a new modern technology designed to prevent injury is worth mentioning. There is a saw that can recognize tissue and within milliseconds lock and retract the sawblade thus preventing a user from losing a finger or some other serious injury. The actual company that produces the technology does sell a table saw and I have heard they are in negotiations to license the technology to others as well. Their website is

I didn't add any information because I didn't want it to sound like an advertisement. Perhaps a general statement about the technology would be beneficial if the specific name wasn't mentioned? If anyone has suggestions please discuss. -- 15:13, 14 June 2006 (UTC)CostnerM

Your caution about advertising is to be commended. However, I believe Sawstop is the only recent major technology change to table saws since the invention of t-square fences (Biesemeyer, Unifence) and does deserve a mention in the article. So go for it. Come & join us at the Wikipedia:WikiProject_Woodworking. Luigizanasi 15:10, 15 June 2006 (UTC)
I added a brief paragraph and a direct link to SawStop - hopefully this won't come across the wrong way but I do feel (as you mentioned) that this technology deserves a mention in the article. Sorry it took so long, but I finally got some time to register and came back to this article which refreshed my memory about all of this. Costner 20:40, 4 December 2006 (UTC)
Added reference to Sawstop back after it was removed by The reference should not be confused as spam and if someone disagrees that it should be there please feel free to discuss. Costner (talk) 19:46, 17 July 2008 (UTC)


I rated this article as B-class... however, I think it is a wonderful article at a glance. I think it should be scanned and proofread, and possibly suggested for peer review. It would be great to have some woodworking articles up for peer review and this one is doing excellently. Erk|Talk -- I like traffic lights -- 03:04, 20 November 2006 (UTC)

Notice of import[edit]

A copy of this article was moved to wikibooks using the Import tool (with all revisions). If this article was marked for copy to wikibooks or as containing how-to sections, it can now be safely rewritten.

If contributors are interested in expanding on the practical information that was in this article, please do so on the wikibooks side. For pointers on writing wikibooks, see Wikibooks:Wikibooks for Wikipedians.--SB_Johnny|talk|books 15:33, 2 December 2006 (UTC)


While I might not be the greatest woodworker in the world... It sure looks to me like the image at the head of this article is of an Electric Tile Saw (even though the contributor labeled it as petrol powered table saw) while it DOES have a circular blade, and it DOES have a "table," I'm not really sure that this is what the article is trying to convey as a table saw. This image might be useful, however, over at the Ceramic tile cutter page. (talk) 21:49, 27 June 2008 (UTC)


As a relative woodworking newbie I find myself unsure what the "front" and "rear" of the blade are. Are these in relation to the position relative to the operator, or relative to the motion of a point on the blade through time? Bernd Jendrissek (talk) 22:07, 12 January 2009 (UTC)

Weasel Wording[edit]

There is a lot of de-weasling to do. Look for "most" or "many" or other overly-general statements. The bit about what kind of fence is most common is an example of weaseling. neffk (talk) 05:50, 24 September 2009 (UTC)

Safety Section[edit]

Wow. I was a manager in a small manufacturing plant, then a manager at a Home Depot, now a manager at a Rona. I can tell you, anectodally anyway, that the table saw is by far the most dangerous common woodworking tool. I've overseen accident investigations at two companies where employees have lost fingers or otherwise been injured by table saws. I vote we keep the safety section as it is, unchanged - I learned *a lot* from it and will be implementing these sage guidelines in our operating procedures. Incorporating it in a Wikibook is good, but the weekend warriors who buy table saws and get hurt need all the exposure to the safety rules that they can get. Good job. I vote this an exceptionally informative article - chances are, if someone is looking up "table saw" on Wikipedia, they're considering buying, borrowing, or using one, and aren't really familiar with the tool. Safety should come over editorial constraints of "this reads like a how-to article!". (talk) 02:45, 24 October 2009 (UTC)

The table saw is not the most dangerous common tool around. Anecdote is not fact and the plural of anecdote is still not fact.

I agree with the editor that the safety section should be removed. That is out of scope for wikipedia. Richard Andrews (talk) 06:47, 18 July 2010 (UTC) —Preceding unsigned comment added by Richandrews (talkcontribs) 06:34, 18 July 2010 (UTC)

I think safe operation is highly relevant to tablesaws. However the section did need a rewrite, I've now done so and hope its much better (Deleting useful information wrongly presented would not be constructive imho.) Tabby (talk) 10:43, 24 July 2010 (UTC)

Opinion given as advice is dangerous[edit]

I take issue with quite a lot of the safety issues mentioned in this article, and two in particular.

The first is the assertion that the blade guard can be dangerous and should be removed for short cuts. This is simply a reflection of a very American attitude towards safety. You would not find this attitude very widespread in Europe, for example. It is true that is is dangerous to cut a short piece of wood (3" is given as the example, or 75mm to the rest of the world), but the answer is not to remove the guard, making a dangerous operation even more dangerous. The answer is not to use the table saw for this operation, but find an alternative method, such as the bandsaw, which is much safer.

The second is the implication, and illustration, of a full-length rip fence being used for ripping. Whilst it is true that this is common practice, it is not good practice. The rip fence should extend no further than the actual cut, i.e. it should go beyond the front teeth but not as far as top dead centre of the blade. This leaves room to the right of the blade for the workpiece to move into if it bends as a result of stress relief during the cut. It cannot get trapped twixt blade and fence. Again, this illustrates the difference between attitude and common practice on either side of the Atlantic.

I would be happy to modify the article if it would be welcomed. My credentials are that I have been a woodworking journalist for 15 years and have written articles and produced training videos specifically on the subject of tablesaw safety. [1]

Steve Maskery, UK. Stevemaskery (talk) 14:54, 20 October 2011 (UTC)


  1. ^

Panel saws[edit]

Could someone add the difference between an ordinary table saw and a panel saw? Jim Derby (talk) 01:15, 11 February 2014 (UTC)

"Materials cut on table saws" content moved here for rewrite, if possible[edit]

The content of the "Materials cut on table saws" section reads like an instruction manual, so I am moving it here for a rewrite, if possible. --momoricks 21:46, 12 September 2016 (UTC)

Cutting plastic sheet[edit]

When cutting sheet plastic, a new or recently re-sharpened carbide blade that has never been used to cut any other type of material (such as wood) should be used. For best results, the blade should be of a "Triple-Chip" design.

When cutting acrylic sheet (or other brittle plastic), the preferred rake angle (or hook angle) of the blades cutting edges should be 0°. These blades have cutting edges that "scrape" the plastic instead of "scooping" the material like most other blades which help prevent cracking of the cut edge. These type of blades should NOT be used to cut any other type of materials.

Special mention is in order, regarding the cutting of polycarbonate sheet (or other "tough" plastics). Polycarbonate sheet, used in bulletproof glass and safety shields, has the tendency to stretch instead of cut. When cutting polycarbonate sheet, it is absolutely essential to have a new or recently re-sharpened carbide blade. Using a dull blade can lead to very dangerous kickbacks and destruction of the workpiece. The preferred rake angle (or hook angle) of the blades cutting edges should be 10°-15°. Although, when cutting very thin material (less than 1/16 inch), a negative rake is preferred for the best cuts. When using these type of blades on the very thin material, the cutting edge breaks out (or knocks out) the material instead of cutting it, producing a cleaner cut. Using a normal blade that cuts, causes excessive vibration in the thin material, producing a very rough cut. In this case, a plain steel, fine tooth panel cutting blade (also known as a OSB/plywood blade), can be mounted in reverse (providing a negative rake) and used to cut the very thin material.

Cutting aluminum sheet[edit]

When cutting sheet aluminum a new or recently re-sharpened carbide blade be used. The preferred rake angle (or hook angle) of the blades cutting edges should be 5°-10°. Care should be taken when handling the aluminum, since the cut edges can be extremely sharp.

Cutting small pieces of aluminum and plastic sheet[edit]

When cutting small pieces of aluminum and plastic sheet (pieces that would be normally require push sticks to be used), push sticks should NOT be used. The pieces are too thin and smooth to maintain full control of them, likely resulting in a severe kickback. Small pieces should be securely clamped in a sliding-clamping jig (mentioned above).

Ugh, I now see that the "Safety practices" section is written in the same way. I'm going to tag the article as needing a rewrite of certain sections and more references. --momoricks 21:54, 12 September 2016 (UTC)

"Safety practices" content moved here as well[edit]

I'm not comfortable with leaving this content in the article. Table saws can cause serious injury, even death, and including advice on how to use this tool in the article is inappropriate. There are two nice photos that were included in the section. I've put those links here in case they can be used elsewhere in the article. --momoricks 19:22, 14 September 2016 (UTC)

Safety practices[edit]

Avoiding personal injury[edit]

One way to prevent injury is to use push sticks on medium-small pieces that would require the pieces to be held close to the blade.

When cutting small pieces that are shorter than the diameter of the blade, special attention is required. These pieces should not be cut "free-hand" using push sticks. Rather, a sliding-clamping jig is used to securely clamp the piece, then the jig is moved past the blade making the cut. This is particularly true when cutting very thin, very smooth pieces such as sheet aluminum or sheet plastic. Even when using a well designed push-tool, these small, smooth pieces have a tendency to rotate once the cut is being made, producing a poor cut at best.

Another way to prevent injury is to use springs, feeder wheels or featherboards to apply pressure on the side and top of the lumber when ripping. Traditionally they are clamped to the saw's table top to apply side pressure and to the fence to apply top pressure.

These featherboards and push sticks are substitutes for fingers.

Avoiding kickback[edit]

Kickback happens when the blade catches the workpiece and violently throws it back to the front of the saw, towards the operator. It can be thrown very hard and can injure the operator. It is not uncommon for the object to have high enough velocity to become embedded in a wall or to cause other damage or injury. For safety, the operator should never stand in a direct line between the blade and the fence when ripping narrow stock. A kickback can be fatal.

Kickback happens when ripping if:

  1. The wood pinches the blade because of internal stresses. This is difficult to predict and can be impossible to control when using fingers to hold the wood down. Many times the board pinches the blade and is thrown back before the wood reaches a splitter. This type of kickback never happens when a board is not cut all the way through (dado). By starting a cut with a dado and then raising the blade to leave a splitter tab of uncut wood, this type of kickback can be avoided, but raising the blade during a cut cannot be done unless anti-kickback hold downs are used, so it is safe to raise the blade with a free hand.
  2. The wood is allowed to raise up or moved sideways during a cut, then pushed back down, taking too big a bite at the top of the blade. This can be prevented by using feeder wheels very close to the start of the blade and hold downs after the blade to control the wood all the way through the cut. The right feeder wheels are very effective for both dados in plywood and for rip cuts on boards as narrow as 1/8". Feeder wheels can be powered or unpowered, clamped or held magnetically, and replace fingers near the blade so a hand can be free to turn off the saw during a cut.
  3. The board is pinched between the rear of the blade and the fence. The fence should be parallel with the blade, for the best cut on both sides of the blade. The fence can be set with the rear farther from the fence for safety, but at the expense of upcut marks on the "waste" piece. Never allow the fence to be closer to the rear of the blade than the front.

Kickback can also happen when crosscutting boards with internal stresses. A chop saw or circular saw is the best preference for cutting poor lumber.

The risk of kickback is reduced by certain practices:

  • The blade must be kept sharp and clean, something novice users may not recognize. The buildup of pitch on a blade greatly increases friction and increases the probability of kickback. It also decreases the quality of the cut, causing the edges to burn and turn black.
  • The saw must be aligned, adjusted so that it is parallel to the miter grooves, with the rip fence should angled minutely. If the blade is parallel with the fence you will notice the marks made by the back of the blade on the wood. It is possible for the workpiece to be pinched between the blade and the rip fence, which will cause violent kickback if the fence is closer at the back of the blade. The correct relationship for the fence is minutely spread which means that the angle is different depending on the side of the blade the fence is set.
  • The blade guard should be used whenever possible. Typical table saws incorporate a riving knife, a spreader which helps prevent the cut from closing on the back of the saw blade. Natural tension can exist in wood that causes the cut to close. Some blade guards have anti-kickback devices that allow only forward travel past the blade called anti-kickback pawls.
  • Push the workpiece past the blade. Do not release a workpiece until it is past the blade and removed from the saw. Turn the saw off before removing small cut off pieces.
  • Always maintain control. Do not execute a cut where you do not have complete control of the situation. Make sure there are no obstructions. Do not cut a workpiece that is too large to handle.
  • Do not use the rip fence as a guide during crosscuts. If you need to make a series of equal length crosscuts, use a stop block in front of the blade so the workpiece is not in contact with the rip fence during the cut. It is easy for the workpiece to twist out of perpendicular at the end of the cut and thus get caught by the blade and thrown.
  • Check for flaws in the wood. Cutting through a loose knot can be dangerous. Cutting a warped or twisted board along the rip fence is dangerous because it can get pinched between the fence and blade.
  • When making beveled rip cuts on narrow workpieces, the workpiece should be above the angled blade and the fence. NOT below the angled blade and the fence. When the workpiece is below the angled blade, it is confined between table top, fence and blade. It can be shot out of the saw at a high velocity like a pitching machine. When the workpiece is above the angled blade, and a bad spot in the workpiece is encountered, the workpiece is not confined and may just "pop-up" into the air.

Miter Slot Feather Board[edit]

Hello, I'm adding an entry under safety for Miter slot featherboards. The majority of table saws sold have aluminum tops which are incompatible with the magnetic featherboards already in the article. While this information may be inconsequential to experienced woodworkers a safety conscious newcomer to the craft will find this quintessential information.

Also, I'm making this edit as part of an assignment for a university course, Digital Media Literacy 425, Arizona State University.

Thank you!Fosterdan (talk) 21:56, 22 September 2018 (UTC)

Removed "Rudimentary Table Saw" Img[edit]

I've removed the image subtitled "Rudimentary Table Saw" ( I don't think this is a good image for the article. It doesn't really show a "rudimentary" table saw, but what appears to be an unfinished homemade table saw. The picture doesn't contribute to the article, featuring unsafe operation that is so egregious that it doesn't accurately reflect how table saws are generally used.

I've replaced the image with another one.

Nuvigil (talk) 03:56, 17 December 2018 (UTC)