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After reading Ocelot's thread(kickback incident on table saw) and gfadvm's (Andy's) post(#22) I started wondering how many of us are still using a table saw without a guard or a splitter?
I see all these table saw accidents with gory pictures and the most common advice to the injured operator usually is,:" get a sawstop and save the rest of your fingers",or "invest in an aftermarket blade guard and riving knife/splitter".
I admit I don't use my table saw as often as I could because of not having these basic safety features BUT, I found out I don't always have to use a table saw as my first" go to" tool to do most of the cuts.there are other ways around using it.

I have invested on a few other cutting tools ,tools like circular saw with a shopmade track,straight edge clamps,bandsaw,jigsaw,etc. but still there are times that I must use a table saw,those times I rehearse the cut with the saw off a couple of times,then very carefully do the cut using my push stick,make sure every move that I make during and after the cut is a calculated/ deliberate one :
Gesture Baseball glove Wrist Personal protective equipment Brick

Of course I would love to own a sawstop or even a batter TS with all these safety features but if I eliminate the number one cause of table saw accidents(operator error) I think I can go on using my good old table saw.
There's nothing more demoralizing or deflating than shop accident for me,I know I had a minor mishap last year with my router (My fault),but I'm not sure a blade guard is the answer.
A splitter,maybe.
 

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I ll throw my self under the bus. I dont and wont have either. In my mind they distract from the cut and make things harder to see. Not to mention a false sense of security. I have never used a knife or guard for any prolonged period of time. One of the first thing I did to my Dewalt 12" chop saw was remove the guard because I kept using my thumb to keep the darn thing out of the way.

Still have all 10 digits. I am sure there are guys with knives and guards cant say that. Its called paying attention. If I get too scared I ll take up knitting as a safer hobby.
 

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I've never been much of a fan of most stock blade guard assemblies and splitters/riving knives, but I usually had at least a riving knife in place (or splitter if that's what I had). My current riving knife is a "BORK" that's retrofit to my 2008 Shop Fox W1677….since the BORK blade guard (BBG) is small and allows me to see the work piece, so that's usually in place too. Even before I had the BORK, I had a custom made splitter in place for my Cman 22124 hybrid.

At a minimum, I'd suggest folks use at least some sort of splitter/knife. Splitters like the Microjig work well, are affordable, and don't get in the way. It's pretty easy to make a basic fixed splitter too.

BORK:


Microjig:
 

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I do not have any of those items in place either. The blade guard holds no interest to me, looks like it would block site lines and be in the way of certain cuts. However, upgrading to a saw with a riving knife seems logical. Is there a reason not have a riving knife? Kickback seems to be more frequent than blade to skin contact.
 

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Not using a splitter or a riving knife is asking for trouble, IMO. Only time my splitter comes off is for non-through cuts or when I use my crosscut sled.
 

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I have to admit that I do not currently use either as well. I have been looking at the microjig splitter and will most likely install that on my zero clearance insert soon. Because of not having a splitter, I keep a wedge near by. I wedge any long rip that seems to want to close in on the blade. I am very careful doing this, but it does not feel safe and I dont like that.
 

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Nodda for me, 30 years and have only cut off 3 fingers and a thumb in 4 accidents, so I really don't see the need for any of those. LOL

J/K about the fingers and accidents. Still have all 10.

I believe in the "operator error theory".

Experience is the thing that keeps you safe.
Knowing what your cutting and expecting what can happen as you cut, and being prepared for it if it happens.
Again experience is the key. I can't remember the last time I have had a kickback.

I think the biggest reason for kickbacks is that people let go of the wood at the first sign of anything going on, and they don't push the wood completely past the blade before letting go.

When something happens, wood vibrating or shuttering or hitting knots, I have learned to pause for a millisecond and determine what has happened before just letting go.

If you don't let go and keep pushing how does the pc kickback?
Unlike Ocelot's mistake of pushing the off cut into the blade, (just a careless mistake).
 

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TS gets used when possible. Blade guards and anti-kickback pawls are a PITA, and are immediately removed. Since using a TS with a riving knife, I won't use a saw without one. Wood just has a way of sometimes releasing stresses the wrong way when ripped, and a riving knife deals with it very well. Knife stays in place even with a sled. Not a single kickback with the riving knife while several occurred without one. Now, a knife won't completely protect idiots, but dothey need protecting….......something about survival of the fittest
 

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In the past I have had a legit reason where a splitter would not work. Raised panels for the ends of cabinets. We would cut a 45 degree where the toe kick would tie in. Well the saw tilts only one way then you have to actually have two guys, one on the operator side and another on the saw in front of the blade. The guy on the saw would feed the raised panel backwards towards the guy in the operator location. Very, very, very slowly.

Sure, this was rare. Happened once a month.

Does this negate having a splitter? No. But old dawgs and new tricks and all that. I grew up on old saws and if I got one with a splitter I may use it but I wont go out of my way to get one.
 

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Ken
I've found that having a guard has not been an option for me given that there are so many operations that the guard gets in the way and putting on and taking off a guard is just to time consuming and difficult. As far as an aftermarket splitter or riving knife I've never installed one either. I feel both riving knives and guards have their place and I would encourage those who are willing to take the time to install and or install and remove guards to use them.
An important point to be made is if you're using a table saw without a guard or riving knives is to always stand to the side of the path of any possible kick back when sawing.
I would strongly recommend purchasing a Saw Stop if your budget will allow it,so far my own budget will not allow it,but I have used them at the high school where I teach my adult woodworking class and they are fine saws,plus the fact of their safety features.
Unlike Sirirb I would never use a chop saw without a guard
 

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The most dangerous thing while cutting on a table saw. is ANOTHER PERSON involved, thinking they are helping, pulling the wrong side of the board I am cutting, offering opinions of what I am doing wrong while I am trying to concentrate on what I am doing.
I am comfortable with the saw I use. I know my limits on it. HAving someone walk in the door 1/2 way through a cut is dangerous.
My wife once came out to shop and insdtead of talking she FLICKED the lights on and off to get my attention. WE HAD A TALK about that, I explained how dangerous that really was. She meant well, things turned out okay, BUT it could have been a disaster.
Whether I use a riving knive or blade guard is my business.
Today I will buy still buy a table saw without those attachments.
Today I will NEVER buy another radial arm saw…......I thought they were dangerous.
Its all about OUR comfort zone. Don't use it if it feels wrong.
 

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I agree with the radial arm. Hate them. Guard or no. I just hate them.

Due to the circumstances involved with my previously mentioned cut involving 2 people, it was safer to have 2 guys do it who had done it before and who had worked together doing it before. But i agree with you that 99.9% of the time (then, when I did it professionally) it was all me on the saw. Now I dont have a choice, I am solo.

I hated that guard on my chop saw. It was really bad.
 

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Sorry Jim, not singling you out, but I have heard this so many times from so many different people.
I have to disagree with standing to the side. (This could actually lead to a kickback)

You have to stand wherever you are comfortable making the cut you are making.
You should not jeopardize the operation trying to contort your body to the side, just in case you have a kickback that shouldn't happen in the first place.

This is just my opinion,
I'm not going to tell anyone how they should do it, but it doesn't work for me.
I don't have kickbacks so I stand where I need to.
 

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Kickback can happen outside of user error, no? If the internal stress of the board dictates the kerf begins to close beyond the blade, that can happen in a millisecond and you got issues? I could be wrong here. I know sometimes you can feel the wood become harder to push as the kerf slowly closes. But, it would also seem that it is subject to a quick change in stress as well.
 

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Iwud4u
We will have to agree to disagree on this one. I've made standing to one side for close to 30 years and can not understand how this can create kickback,I've never found it that difficult to do.
We all have to do what we think is best for us.
 

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Kickback can happen outside of user error, no? If the internal stress of the board dictates the kerf begins to close beyond the blade, that can happen in a millisecond and you got issues? I could be wrong here. I know sometimes you can feel the wood become harder to push as the kerf slowly closes. But, it would also seem that it is subject to a quick change in stress as well.

- ShaneA
Internal stress can happen at any time.
I have had it happen several times, sometimes bad enough that it will try to stall the blade, but my experience is that I have held the board down firm enough to turn the saw off.

I've never had stress relive so fast that it throws the board out of the saw.

The biggest part of being safe is having your hands in a proper place when something happens.

It's easy enough to recognize when the kerf is closing up, I guess having experience to deal with it goes a long way compared to someone that doesn't.
Iwud4u
We will have to agree to disagree on this one. I ve made standing to one side for close to 30 years and can not understand how this can create kickback,I ve never found it that difficult to do.
We all have to do what we think is best for us.

- a1Jim
Jim, I understand, 90% of the time I am to the side of the blade anyway, but there are many times when I need to be right in front of the blade, watching the kerf or whatnot, and I don't give it a second thought that I need to move my body. To me it's just more important to stand wherever I am comfortable and not have to give it a second thought.

My theory on how this can create kick back is that a person may not have 30 years of experience and while making a particular cut may feel the need to stand to the side altering the position and flow of their hands as they push the material through, therefore could create a different direction of the pressure being applied to the fence.
 

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Iwud
I agree with you in that no matter what approach you take,that the experience you have makes a difference,but for my money people with less experience is all the more reason to stay out of the path of possible Kickbacks.It's just different viewpoints as to what you're focusing on when addressing this subject.To be honest I'm sure that there have been times I didn't stand clear of possible kickbacks, but in general that's my goal,so all said and done the only difference in our use of table saws is that you stand clear 90% of the time and maybe I stand clear 96% of the time.
As long as we both know that our approach works for us and that we both are safe in the use of our technique.
 

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Another one with no guard or splitter. About 10 years, moderate use, with still 10 fingers. Had one small piece kick out on me, but I was/always, standing a bit to the side of the cut. So it hit the wall, not me. Would like to get one of the aftermarket splitters in the near future.
 
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