Table saw is one of the most dangerous power tools. That is why the safety features are very important for the users. Before purchasing the right table saw for you, you must look for the safety features that come with the tools, as well as the optional extensions. The manufacturers are completely aware of that and they offer different types of table saw safety features. There are some features those are available in all the basic table saws by the market leading manufacturers. There are some advanced features that are available in only high-end table saws. We will be discussing here in this article about some table saw safety features that you will like to have in your tool to avoid any kind of serious accidents.
— Table Saw Safety Features —
- Blade Guard: This is the most basic, most common and probably the most important safety feature that you will find in almost all type of table saws. This will make sure that any of your body part; especially your hand does not get in touch with the blade. Usually, the guard is made of plexiglass or something transparent. Because if that is not transparent, you will not see the cutting line and proper measurements. There are few complaints about the blade guard since it must be uninstalled if you want to change the blade. So that takes more time. Well, these were the two complaints about the blade guard by the users. Since the models are coming with transparent blade guards, the viewing problem is solved. And the second one is also solved in newer models since the mechanism has been made very flexible and uninstalling the blade guard has been very easy. Talking with many users and reading the reviews online, I have found, there are no more arguments about the blade guard nowadays.
- Splitters & Anti Kickback Pawls: Before we talk about this feature, you need to know what kickback is. Kickback is the most common reason for accidents for any power saw. When the workpiece get ejected unexpectedly at high speed and this can cause serious injury. It is suggested not to press the wood towards the blade with excessive force, to avoid kickback. Also when the wood is bound between the fence and the blade and then gets caught by the teeth. Usually, to prevent kickback, most of the table saw comes with a splitter, that is a vertical blade made of plastic or metal, it holds the kerfs open behind the blade of the table saw. This is a simple solution to the problem, well, up to a certain level. With the splitters there come two anti-kickback pawls. They prevent the wood from catapulting during kickback since they stick their teeth in it. While making the cross cut you need to remove the anti-kickback pawls since they get in the way.
- Riving Knife: Riving knife do the same job like the splitter, it prevents kickback. But this is considered a better solution than the splitter. Although they do roughly the same job, there are few key differences. The splitter is set fixed, it does not move along with the blade. As we have mentioned earlier, during the cross cut, dado cuts splitters need to be removed. This is considered a drawback for the splitter. Because we found many times when after the cross cut the user goes back to rip cuts, they forgot to reinstall the splitter and that leaves a serious risk of an accident. The riving knife, on the other hand, is attached to the blade with the same mechanism. This assures that the user can move along the riving knife with the blade. This also makes sure that any body part of the user does not come in contact with the teeth of the blade. Since the riving knife is mounted close to the blade, the workpiece has much less place to get caught. Also unlike the splitter, it does not come in the way of other features like the blade guard, dust collector etc.
- Sensors: The previous three features are available in almost all the table saws by leading manufacturers. But the sensor is available in high-end table saws. They put a sensor and when it comes in touch with human skin, the blade stops working in 0.02 seconds. That may cause a scratch at max. SawStop has come up with such sensor first. How does it work? Since wood is a very poor conductor it does not trigger the sensor. Human skin has much better conductivity than wood, it triggers the sensor and that activates the aluminum brake that stops the blade and drops it below the table. This unique safety system saves lots of fingers from being disappeared from the body. Once the brake activates, you need to replace the blade afterward. Well, this is far better than losing your finger or any other accidents.
- Magnetic Switch: This is very important safety features that stop the motor in case of overload. Also if in case of any power outage is set the saw in ‘off’ position. Just imagine the power comes suddenly back and the blade immediately starts spinning, might be a nightmare if you are not aware of it. A magnetic switch makes sure that it never happens. You need to turn on the machine manually after the power comes back.
— Conclusion —
Apart from the safety features that come with the table saw, there are add-ons you can use for enhanced safety. Like there is push stick. When you need to slide the wood or the workpiece through the blade, a push stick can be really handy. This will assure that your hand does not get close to the blade. You must be careful about the table saw safety features. Even before you purchase one, to be aware of the table saw safety features will be handy in long run to avoid serious accidents. Some features might be expensive, like the sensor, but focusing on the job and using the table saw with your common senses is not expensive at all. Make sure you are careful at the workplace to avoid all unnecessary hazards.