Reply by lumbering_on

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Posted on Beginner Question - Tool Acquisition

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578 posts in 1166 days

#1 posted 10-23-2018 12:23 AM

I began to use a table saw as a teen, back in the early second half of the last century. I still use a table saw, and i have several nearby friends that have table saws, and we sometimes work on things together at each others shops. Not one saw i have ever owned or worked on had a blade guard in place, and non of them have splitters or riving knives. I guess I am simply lucky to have been born in a period where we learned to use the saw safely, and didn t depend on added attachments to protect ourselves.

I do think that folks that use blade guards are more capable than me. They must have determined a safe way to operate and make good cuts with a blade guard in place, partially blocking the sight lines to view the blade. I never had the mental ability to figure that out, so the blade guards never went on to the table saw in the first place.

One only hopes that everybody with a guard and a rk/splitter on the table saw also spends the effort to worry about countering the dangers of hand-held circular saws (aka kick-back machines), and routers, and routers mounted in tables. Just about everything in the shop can injure the user, often with serious consequences, not just table saws.

- jimintx

I’m not sure if you know who Jimmy DiResta is, but he’s one of the best woodworkers out there, and he’s cut his finger off in a saw. So it can happen to even the most experienced people in the business. Further, I can tell you about people I know that drove around drunk for years without so much as a scratch on their car, but that’s not something I think you’d suggest, right?

Sure, the overwhelming majority of people who don’t use a guard or a riving knife will make it through without any major issue, yet most people seem to have a story or two about the time when something happened, but nobody was injured. If you don’t like guards, or riving knives, that’s fine, but to suggest that somehow it’s safer, is just not the case, and there are thousands of people a year that prove that point.

Just as a parallel case, when I was growing up in the 70’s you didn’t even have to buckle your kids in until they were 5 years old. We used to jump around the back seat when the car was moving until our parents pulled the car over and threatened us with bodily harm. There was no such thing as airbags or anti-lock brakes, and we didn’t even own a car with three-point belts in the front seat, let alone the back, until I was almost a teen. Do you think we were safer back then? Do you think we should just go back to that time?

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