Newly developed fear of saws

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Forum topic by Rookie65 posted 08-27-2017 06:03 PM 2673 views 0 times favorited 29 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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4 posts in 1189 days

08-27-2017 06:03 PM

Hello. I make magnets, small wall decor and coffee tables. I primarily use pallet wood, pine and spruce. I was so excited when I purchased my new tools (hacksaw wasn’t cutting it!) – mitre saw, scroll saw, jig saw and circular saw. I passed the circular saw off to my husband as it was too heavy for me. I have used these tools many times. However, the first time a blade broke on the scroll saw it scared the you know what out of me! My love affair with my scroll saw has been deteriorating over time. Today, I sat down to cut about an inch off the end of a pallet board and – couldn’t do it! I froze up! I decided to use my jig saw and, if I had tippy toed any higher would have ended up on top of my work bench!

I know that fear is a good thing but this is ridiculous. Please, is there any danger to me when the scroll saw blade breaks? Will the blade in the jigsaw break and will it fly out and stab me in the gut? Will the blade somehow fly off of my metre saw and chop my arm off? Please don’t tell me to take up knitting. I know I am just a little woman but I love wood crafting. I love sanding, varnishing and painting my pieces. They actually sell!

I need to get over this fear and quickly!

Thank you.

29 replies so far

View BlasterStumps's profile


1846 posts in 1356 days

#1 posted 08-27-2017 06:25 PM

You could switch over to the use of hand tools rather than using power tools. The power scroll saw gives a much smoother cut and of course takes the labor out but you need to respect it for what it is – a power tool. You could do the same work with a coping saw or possibly a fret saw or even a turning saw. To have a healthy fear of power tools is only having common sense. Read the safety instructions, don’t take chances and don’t cut out safety rules for that particular piece of equipment and you should do fine. I might also suggest seeing if there is a woodworker’s guild in your area that you could contact and talk with. Maybe someone in the guild would give you one on one instruction.

-- "I build for function first, looks second. Most times I never get around to looks." MIke in CO

View Rich's profile


6160 posts in 1506 days

#2 posted 08-27-2017 06:30 PM

For the scroll saw, wear eye protection and keep your mouth closed. The blade won’t fly off your miter saw if it’s installed correctly, but do keep track of the location of your thumb and fingers before each and every cut. That’s my big fear with the miter saw is that my thumb is going to get in the way of the blade. I look before every cut to see that it’s out of the way, and use the hold-downs on the saw if there’s any question about the cut.

-- Half of what we read or hear about finishing is right. We just don’t know which half! — Bob Flexner

View Loren's profile


10788 posts in 4565 days

#3 posted 08-27-2017 06:36 PM

A circular saw blade coming loose on its
arbor will give plenty of warning that the nut
is loose. It will make strange sounds and
the arbor may even spin in the hole while
the blade doesn’t.

In my experience chisels are more dangerous
than power saws. I don’t think there is
much danger of a scroll saw blade becoming
a projectile, but you can wear an apron
and safety glasses.

If you’re careful enough not to cut your fingers
on a power saw the most dangerous thing
than can happen is kickback on the table
saw. It’s happened to me a few times, but
a bruise in the belly is the worst injury I’ve
had from it. With miter saws small offcuts
can fly around if the spinning blade is lifted
out of the cut, so the best practice I’ve developed
is to cut, release the switch and let the blade
spin to a stop, then lift the handle.

View Kelly's profile


3166 posts in 3861 days

#4 posted 08-27-2017 07:24 PM

I’ve been running my flesh eating monsters for nearly a half century now. I still have my original pieces of me. Much of that is because I ignore the fools who say garbage like “[y]ou don’t have to fear it, just respect it.”

My fear of my tools is what pushes my reasonable caution. If I’m too afraid of some aspect of using my cabinet saw, over-arm pin router, caver or what have you, I find a safety work around. For example:

1) I use what I call finger sticks around my bandsaw to hold the wood and to flick pieces away ( The more I use them, the more I like them.

2) I use push sticks on the table saw rarely. Instead, I use push shoes. They keep my hands well above the blade and hold the wood down near the back of the blade, where kickbacks start.

I use these in conjunction with a splitter and I’d wager the combo has stopped no less than a few hundred kickbacks.

Keep in mind, I build my push shoes with the idea I will have zero qualms about running the blade through them. Note the shelf over the tablesaw holding the push shoes, where I can grab them, if I forgot to before starting a cut:

As to the miter, there are easy ways to make operating it more comfortable, such as by holding the blade down, until it stops spinning, which reduces spits and kicks hundreds of percent. Of course, if that isn’t enough, you can make zero clearance bases and fences for it too.

You can also mark the danger zones in red to caution putting your hands past a certain point. Too, there are some pretty nice after market hold downs that replace your fingers, for those close cuts (or make your own).

Of course, it could go without saying it helps to wear protective gear. I feel much more comfortable wearing a plastic shield during turning, for example. I even like the quieter environment I experience running my bandsaw, tablesaw and routers with earmuffs on.

As to the scroll saw, I just remind myself it likes to scare you, but is FAR less dangerous than my miter, band or table saw.

View Rookie65's profile


4 posts in 1189 days

#5 posted 08-27-2017 07:31 PM

Thank you! Your tips and advice are really helpful!

View Gilley23's profile


489 posts in 1299 days

#6 posted 08-27-2017 08:15 PM

I’ve been hurt WAYYYYYY me by hand tools than power tools. Probably 20-1 rato

View Markmh1's profile


115 posts in 1360 days

#7 posted 08-27-2017 08:18 PM

If you spend any time on a scroll saw forum, you’ll find breaking a blade is just part of the process. Any time vendors offer something by the gross, it’s safe to say it’s an example of perishable tooling.

Maybe you simply used the blade until it was too dull. My guess is that’s not the last blade you’re gonna break.

In all my years as a hobby woodworker, and my 25+ years as a tool and die maker, I have never seen a cutter fly out of a machine. I have seen work pieces airborne, but that was a result of bad machine shop practice.

IMO, as long as your work piece remained under control, you have nothing to worry about.


View MrRon's profile


5955 posts in 4160 days

#8 posted 08-27-2017 10:08 PM

I’ve had blades on scroll saws and bandsaws break and when they do, they just break; no flying around, no nothing; they just stop. I have never heard of a saw blade coming off of a circular saw or a carbide tip flying off a saw blade, becoming a missile.

View Redoak49's profile


4957 posts in 2906 days

#9 posted 08-27-2017 10:18 PM

I break fewer blades on my scroll saw now than when I was a newbie with it. I change blades when they start to get dull as I can cut more accurately with a sharp blade. Main causes of breaking blades is pushing too hard, pushing from the side and cutting with a dull blade. Also, you can break a blade if you do not get it put into the clamps properly.

You just have to get used to it. I have never been hurt with a scroll saw blade.

View Kelly's profile


3166 posts in 3861 days

#10 posted 08-28-2017 01:17 AM

I agree with everything, but know of a single carbide missile incident. Of course, that was just a little four foot diameter blade . It peppered the cedar block the sawyer was bring up to it.

I ve had blades on scroll saws and bandsaws break and when they do, they just break; no flying around, no nothing; they just stop. I have never heard of a saw blade coming off of a circular saw or a carbide tip flying off a saw blade, becoming a missile.

- MrRon

View wichman3's profile


99 posts in 1538 days

#11 posted 08-28-2017 01:32 AM

In addition to the other advise here I would add, consider getting a foot switch for your scroll saw.
One like this: ”":
You want the momentary type switch, press down saw runs, take your foot off the switch saw stops, no fumbling around for a power switch while the saw is making all that noise.

View sawdustdad's profile


379 posts in 1802 days

#12 posted 08-28-2017 01:57 AM

Wear a full face safety mask when using power tools. Gives a lot more protection for your face and eyes. Keep fingers away from the cut, using clamps to hold the wood (saber (“jig”) saw) or push sticks (table saw). Scroll saws are the safest of all. Blades break frequently, the face mask will protect you.

-- Murphy's Carpentry Corollary #3: Half of all boards cut to a specific length will be too short.

View Lazyman's profile


5954 posts in 2304 days

#13 posted 08-28-2017 03:13 AM

Is your scroll saw variable speed? My first one was not and it could get a little scary when trying to do a delicate cut on a small piece with the blade moving at warp speed. I have since traded up to a nice variable speed scroll saw and it is amazing how much more comfortable it is to use. Being able to adjust the speed downward makes a huge difference and I highly recommend trading up to variable speed.

-- Nathan, TX -- Hire the lazy man. He may not do as much work but that's because he will find a better way.

View Redoak49's profile


4957 posts in 2906 days

#14 posted 08-28-2017 11:13 AM

If you are that afraid of a scroll saw, perhaps you should give up woodworking as there are sharp edges and splinters everywhere.

View Kirk650's profile


680 posts in 1665 days

#15 posted 08-28-2017 05:09 PM

I think Kelly covered it pretty well. I’ve broken blades on bandsaws, scroll saws, and jigsaws and haven’t yet shed a drop of blood. More use of various saws, and careful use, should ease the fears of the OP. Just use safe practices and wear protective gear. Always wear safety glasses. That’s one thing I always do.

As for fear in general, I do fear the power tools. Routers used to worry me most, followed by the table saw. I think a little healthy fear is a good thing.

I’ll tell you what really scares me. My chainsaws, large and small, are something to fear.

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