First Time Ever Using A Table Saw...

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Forum topic by John Steffen posted 05-03-2010 01:44 AM 4540 views 0 times favorited 16 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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John Steffen

218 posts in 3591 days

05-03-2010 01:44 AM

Topic tags/keywords: table saw

I decided some time at the end of last year that I wanted to get into woodworking as a serious hobby. My Fiancé gave me the go-ahead to buy woodworking tools with the money I got from selling my car (still have my truck). The first of the year I finally got my car sold, took the $2700 straight to, and ordered up a Jointer (G0654), Planer (G0689), Drill Press (G7946) and Table Saw (G1023SLWX). I finally got everything to my garage last weekend (table saw was at my dad’s since he had the means to unload the 400some pound saw from the delivery truck). We finally wired a 220 outlet in the garage for the saw last weekend. Today I got to spend most of the day cleaning out my total mess of a garage (I still can’t believe we moved from a 1300 sq/ft house with a less-than-one-stall garage to a 2100 sq/ft house with a full usable basement and attic and a 3 stall garage and we can’t find a place for all of our crap).

I decided that my planer needed a stand, and the junk microwave cart in the garage seemed to be at about the perfect height, but it had a slightly recessed top. I figured some 3/4” 2/3’ ply I have laying around would be the best solution.

I’m scared to death of table saws, but figured this was the perfect opportunity to get my feet wet. My soon to be brother in law has a missing ring finger from a table saw, and I got to witness first-hand the aftermath of my former boss getting friendly with a table saw. I fired up my HF 2hp dust collector and my saw and made my cuts. The board worked great and I got my planer mounted with a few lag screws.

So, I’m pretty excited that I finally used a table saw. I know it’s not a big deal to anyone here, but I feel it’s a worthy milestone to share. I have to thank Lumberjocks for being such a fantastic resource of information and inspiration. It was due to the videos here and the woodwhisperer that I felt confident in knowing what to expect, and the dangers involved.

I hope I never lose the fear of working with my power tools, and the safety consciousness it brings.

-- Big John's Woodshed - Farmington, IL

16 replies so far

View Mogebier's profile


170 posts in 3569 days

#1 posted 05-03-2010 01:57 AM

Always pay attention to where the business ends of your tools are in relation to your body parts and do not ever let anyone distract you and you will be fine.
I wish I had a place for my tools, but I have to share a room with the laundry and the dog :)

-- You can get more with a kind word and a 2 by 4, than you can with just a kind word.

View Roper's profile


1389 posts in 4249 days

#2 posted 05-03-2010 01:59 AM

rule number 1 of woodworking, keep your fingers away from the sharp spinning thing. if you always remember that you will have no problem.

-- Roper - Master of sawdust-

View Chelios's profile


568 posts in 3602 days

#3 posted 05-03-2010 02:04 AM

Congrats on the first step, take your time thinking through what you are about to do so you don’t suffer the consequences like many of us have.

View Lenny's profile


1639 posts in 4063 days

#4 posted 05-03-2010 02:12 AM

Congratulations John; the first of many cuts to come. Always remember, safety first! I recommend using guards when the operation allows it. Use pushsticks when appropriate and if your saw doesn’t have a riving knife, install a splitter. I wish you years of enjoyable use of your new saw.

-- On the eighth day God was back in His woodworking shop! Lenny, East Providence, RI

View rockom's profile


134 posts in 4407 days

#5 posted 05-03-2010 02:34 AM

I too fear the beast but, I’m working on it.

I see your just up the road from me.


-- -> Malta, IL -<

View PurpLev's profile


8552 posts in 4185 days

#6 posted 05-03-2010 03:00 AM


as long as you don’t get too comfy with ANY tool that you become neglectful you’ll do just fine. like said before – I always made sure I keep an eye contact with where my hands are – and make sure they are NOT anywhere over the TS insert – that’s what I defined to myself as the RED zone (not surprisingly they make the inserts RED by default) and if a cut requires me to have my hand go in that zone – I stop and rethink how to make the cut with my hands NOT there (push blocks, sliding jig, etc).

-- ㊍ When in doubt - There is no doubt - Go the safer route.

View Abbott's profile


2570 posts in 3840 days

#7 posted 05-03-2010 03:02 AM

John I have always found safety in table saw operation by using a push stick. It’s much more comfortable to slide a small stick of wood or plastic near the blade then one’s fingers. I usually cut my own out of a piece of scrap wood but I picked up an orange plastic one from Harbor Freight the day for about $3.00 and it works great. I’m pleased to hear of your new found interest in woodworking and your new machinery sounds like a heck of a good start. Keep your fingers away from the sharp spinning stuff! :)

Purplev knows his stuff, he’s a good guy to listen to.

-- Ohh mann...pancakes and boobies...I'll bet that's what Heaven is like! ♣ ♣ ♣ ♣

View knotscott's profile


8343 posts in 3912 days

#8 posted 05-03-2010 03:16 AM

Congrats on the new tools. A healthy dose of caution and respect is a good thing. If you get that saw aligned and setup well, and equipped with a good quality blade, it should serve you extremely well. There are a few really good books about table saws that I’d suggest taking a look at…Kelly Mehler’s book, and Jim Tolpin’s Table Saw Magic are both well regarded…your library might even have one.

I know your Griz doesn’t come with a stock riving knife, but there’s an aftermarket riving knife from fellow woodworker Bob Ross from Walnutacre Woodworking called the BORK (Bolt On Ripping Knife), that fits your saw and works well. I’ve had one on my very similar Shop Fox W1677 since 2008 and have been happy with it.

-- Happiness is like wetting your pants...everyone can see it, but only you can feel the warmth....

View Gregn's profile


1642 posts in 3519 days

#9 posted 05-03-2010 04:28 PM

Respect of any tool is healthy, it keeps you aware. Always remember the number 1 rule if you don’t know ask. Everything else will follow. You already done the first step, doing your research to understand what your doing. As long as you abide by the safety rules you’ll be fine. Most accidents in the shop are operator error for one reason or another. If by some chance you should hear that little voice say this going to hurt, stop and check things out before proceeding. Hope you enjoy your Grizzly tools as much as I do mine.

-- I don't make mistakes, I have great learning lessons, Greg

View NewPickeringWdWrkr's profile


338 posts in 3549 days

#10 posted 05-03-2010 04:34 PM

I like Matt’s mantra (from Matt's Basement Workshop) which I chant every time I fire up my TS.

“Fingers and Thumbs. Don’t be dumb!”

Corney enough to laugh about, but sticks so easily in one’s head and keeps me safe!

-- Mike - Antero's Urban Wood Designs

View davemoorefurniture's profile


16 posts in 3515 days

#11 posted 05-03-2010 06:15 PM

This is why I use my bandsaw for as many things as I possibly can. Table saws are dangerous but can be used safely. Bandsaws are without doubt the most versatile machine in the shop and many times safer than a rotating blade. Table saws are useful, but they cannot cut curves whereas a bandsaw is capable of cutting perfect curved and perfect straight lines.



View John Steffen's profile

John Steffen

218 posts in 3591 days

#12 posted 05-03-2010 11:08 PM

I debated with myself for the better part of two weeks about which to get first (table saw or band saw). I don’t regret my decision, but still wish I had that band saw.

-- Big John's Woodshed - Farmington, IL

View nick21's profile


1 post in 3481 days

#13 posted 05-04-2010 09:18 AM

Bandsaws can be scary too. Like that kid in high school shop class who lost that finger ….... LOL!

-- Nick,

View dmorrison's profile


151 posts in 3798 days

#14 posted 05-04-2010 06:26 PM

A note about push sticks.

I NEVER use a push stick made out of plastic. When you push the wood with the plastic push stick and it hits the saw blade, the difference in density of the plastic causes the push stick to be thrown back at you and out of your hand. I’ve had this happen a couple of times. So no more plastic push sticks. When the blade catches the plastic push stick all the force of the motor is transferred to the push stick and it will be forced out of your hand. So I ALWAYS make my push sticks out of wood. As you advance the piece to be cut the push stick is also cut ( if it hits the blade, it normally is positioned not to go thru the blade plane ) )but it is cut at the same rate as the wood and actually does it’s job. Keeping your hand and fingers away from the spinning blade.
The push stick does not have to be made into some fancy shaped tool. A rectangular stick with rounded edges will work fine. Round the edges to prevent a corner from being forced into you hand if the blade catches the push stick wrong.
The Vega fence on my table saw does have a sliding push stick that works quite well and I use that as often as possible. But some times a wooden one is necessary

Congratulations on using your table saw. Read as much on tool safety as you can. Being new to the tools, take a careful approach to your tools.


View juniorjock's profile


1930 posts in 4301 days

#15 posted 05-05-2010 02:58 AM

Dayyyummm…..... some good tips here.
- JJ

showing 1 through 15 of 16 replies

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