Do you always unplug your saw?

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Forum topic by DavidTTU posted 07-15-2015 01:59 PM 2575 views 0 times favorited 68 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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150 posts in 2558 days

07-15-2015 01:59 PM

Topic tags/keywords: plug tablesaw

First a story.

Last night I was working on a bookcase with a friend when a very strange thing happened. I was cutting dados in the side assemblies and flipped the saw on, made my cut, and went to flip the saw off but nothing happened. I felt the switch “Click” like it always does but it did not turn the saw off. I calmly went and unplugged the saw. I checked the switch, cleaned it out, made sure everything looked correct (and it did) and plugged the saw back in. As soon as I plugged it in, the saw kicked back on. The tablesaw is a Delta contractor 36-979. The switch is the basic stock Delta mechanical paddle switch. I ordered another switch last night and believe that will solve the problem.

The only part of this that really bothered me was thinking about how often I change tablesaw blades with the saw still plugged in (yep, let me have it). My train of thought is if I unplug every time I change a blade or a bit on a machine, I wont ever get anything done. And before, I had no reason to doubt my switch. Things changed last night.

I work in the outdoor industry and am very familiar with the term risk management. Obviously, unplugging the saw is the best practice. Before last night I knew there was a potential risk but it felt so insignificant that I felt comfortable not unplugging my saw during blade changes.

What I would like to know is your thoughts and what you personally do in your shop. I’d love to hear some personal stories so that I can make a more educated thought process.


-- -David -- Lubbock, TX

68 replies so far

View Murdock's profile


158 posts in 3406 days

#1 posted 07-15-2015 02:09 PM

I always unplug my saw anytime I am changing blades or checking the angle on the blade.

I also unplug it when I am done for the day. Unplugging when I am done is more about not being surprised the next day than anything to do with thinking it will come on when I am out of the shop.

Not sure how often you are changing your blade, but I find it only takes a few extra seconds to unplug and it potentially saves fingers/hands…

-- "Anyone who has never made a mistake has never tried anything new." - Albert Einstein

View Richard H's profile

Richard H

490 posts in 2603 days

#2 posted 07-15-2015 02:13 PM

There is very good logic behind the lock out tag out rules in the industrial space for working on electrical machinery. They have evolved over the years not from paranoia but from a understanding of the risks involved in assuming something is in a certain state without confirming it is. I’m not sure I would ever trust anything short of a physical disconnect switch as like you experienced magnetic switches can and do fail. It’s also not that difficult to accidentally start a lot of switches with a good bump while you are digging around in the cabinet either. You might go your whole life and never experience a single issue but one incident could change your ability to woodwork forever. I’m not sure the 10 seconds it takes to unplug a tool is that big of a tradeoff.

I remember one time I left my dust collector with a wireless switch on by accident. I was woken up in the middle of the night by the sound of the thing turning on which was very discerning. I rushed down to the garage and powered it off to no ill effect but I had to wonder what would have happened if we had been gone on vacation and that happened? Since than I have been very religious about unplugging everything at the end of the day.

I have magnetic cord holders on all my power cords now and when I’m either done for the day or when I change a blade I will unplug it and stick the cord to the top of the tool to remind me it’s there. Also keeps me from stepping on them.

View Soonerdg's profile


12 posts in 3307 days

#3 posted 07-15-2015 02:23 PM

Yes I unplug when I change blades. but the motor on my saw can be unplugged from the switch so it pretty convenient being right there on the saw.

-- "Life is a matter of luck and the odds of success are in no way enhanced by extreme caution." - Erich Tropp, German U-boat Commander, 1945

View DIYaholic's profile


19921 posts in 3597 days

#4 posted 07-15-2015 02:29 PM

I always unplug the cord, for blade changes and adjustments….
& I can still count to 10….

-- Randy-- I may not be good...but I am slow! If good things come to those who wait.... Why is procrastination a bad thing?

View ChuckV's profile


3338 posts in 4449 days

#5 posted 07-15-2015 02:31 PM

I always unplug the saw before doing anything around the blade. I unplug other machines too whenever an accidental start would be dangerous. I got into this habit from a faulty switch on my Delta(!) drill press. Sometimes, it would not turn off. Then I would have to clean up the contacts on the switch. I have since replaced the switch with a paddle switch from Rockler.

To me, the unplugging is just a habit like buckling a seat belt in the car.

-- “Big man, pig man, ha ha, charade you are.” ― R. Waters

View Bill White's profile (online now)

Bill White

5312 posts in 4883 days

#6 posted 07-15-2015 02:37 PM

I’m in the “un plug” camp as well.
Woke up early one AM to hear the compressor running. WHAT? The pop off valve had a leak, stuck open, shop full of smoke from the compressor body running for unknown hours.
Luckily, no damage to the comp., but I installed a power switch to the wall plug, painted the on position red.
Changed out the pop off the same day.
Back to the table saw. No way am I gonna change a blade, etc. with that puppy plugged in.
Gremlins are everywhere. They love power tools.
I even unplug all tools when I travel.

-- [email protected]

View Fred Hargis's profile

Fred Hargis

6589 posts in 3415 days

#7 posted 07-15-2015 03:03 PM

Another to always unplug. To make this a little easier, my saw is on an extension that’s long enough to hang right on the front of the saw…I only have to reach below the table to unplug it. If you want to spend the money you can get on of the switches that allow lock out and just throw it (skip the lockout part). As for not doubting your swotch, this may not be the case with your saw, but a lot of the later model Uni’s have the magnetic switch. This switch has been known to engage with a good thump….which is one of the reasons I always unplugged mine.

-- Our village hasn't lost it's idiot, he was elected to congress.

View RobS888's profile


2829 posts in 2767 days

#8 posted 07-15-2015 03:18 PM

I unplug as well and hang the cord on the fence handle.

-- I always knew gun nuts where afraid of something, just never thought popcorn was on the list.

View SirIrb's profile


1239 posts in 2153 days

#9 posted 07-15-2015 03:23 PM

What about you guys who have your saw hardwired? 3 ph is, I believe, or it can be. You flip the breaker?

-- Don't blame me, I voted for no one.

View Robert's profile


4168 posts in 2403 days

#10 posted 07-15-2015 03:32 PM

Never turned it off for blade changes in 20 years never even thought about it.

Now you all got me thinking….....

-- Everything is a prototype thats why its one of a kind!!

View AHuxley's profile


874 posts in 4244 days

#11 posted 07-15-2015 04:03 PM

What about you guys who have your saw hardwired? 3 ph is, I believe, or it can be. You flip the breaker?

- SirIrb

Most of my machines are hardwired but they all have disconnects wired in. I use air conditioner disconnects, since they are required by code for A/C units almost everywhere they are easy to find and cheap. At $12-14 at most any big box they are significantly cheaper than a quality receptacle and socket (for 240v applications) and are easier to flip off and on than plugging and unplugging. Just get the ones that have a flip switch (they look like a breaker switch but the inexpensive ones don’t have over-current protection, which you don’t need) instead of the ones that have a pull out fuse holder.

View AHuxley's profile


874 posts in 4244 days

#12 posted 07-15-2015 04:05 PM

Never turned it off for blade changes in 20 years never even thought about it.

Now you all got me thinking….....

- rwe2156

Reading this gave me the mental image of someone changing a TS blade with the saw running!

View Don Broussard's profile

Don Broussard

3963 posts in 3174 days

#13 posted 07-15-2015 04:08 PM

Another unplugged here. Every time I leave the shop, my tools are unplugged, and the cord draped over the tool. Definitely unplugged for blade changes.

-- People say I hammer like lightning. It's not that I'm fast -- it's that I never hit the same place twice!

View schnable's profile


25 posts in 3004 days

#14 posted 07-15-2015 04:37 PM

I unplug to change blades and hit the breaker at the end of the day.


-- Andrew

View hotbyte's profile


1007 posts in 3898 days

#15 posted 07-15-2015 04:42 PM

My previous Craftsman 113 saw was like this and I always unplugged at the switch for blade changes. New Delta saw is not like this and I’ve been unplugging about 1/2 the time. This has me thinking of adding an outlet box, mounted extension cord or something to saw and using for easy unplug when changing blade.

I have my router table setup with outlet box so I can easily unplug for bit changes.

Yes I unplug when I change blades. but the motor on my saw can be unplugged from the switch so it pretty convenient being right there on the saw.

- Soonerdg

showing 1 through 15 of 68 replies

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