Tablesaw Safety Made Easier

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Forum topic by gfadvm posted 12-16-2011 05:39 PM 2381 views 5 times favorited 6 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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14940 posts in 4024 days

12-16-2011 05:39 PM

Topic tags/keywords: push shoeholddownfeatherboard for tablesaw

This is how I use my tablesaw safely. The push shoes are pretty standard. I have sandpaper on the bottom of the shoes and a 1/4” heel on the back edge. The piece of ply with the handle and the rabbits on each end serves to both keep the workpiece against the fence and hold it flat to the table. This serves the purpose of 2 featherboards and is free,no set up required, and will work on large to tiny stock of any thickness. I see too many tablesaw injuries posted and hope this will save someone a trip tp the ER (or worse). I was waiting for glue to dry this morning and decided to do my LJ community service! Thanks for all your help LJs.

-- " I'll try to be nicer, if you'll try to be smarter" gfadvm

6 replies so far

View DonnyBahama's profile


243 posts in 3865 days

#1 posted 12-16-2011 06:24 PM

Really nice post, Andy. I really like the featherboard substitute and plan to build one. One suggested improvement would be to attach a strip of UHMW to the edge that slides along the table… Unless there’s a reason you’ve got both edges rabbeted?

-- Founding member of the (un)Official LumberJock's Frugal Woodworking Society -

View rance's profile


4281 posts in 4494 days

#2 posted 12-16-2011 06:34 PM

I think we could all use some improvement in the safety dept. I like the dedicated homemade feather block, I usually just use a stick from the scrap box. I like the Duck shape of your push shoe, but I like a little more meat between my hand and the blade in case something goes awry. Thanks for the reminder Andy.

-- Backer boards, stop blocks, build oversized, and never buy a hand plane--

View TCCcabinetmaker's profile


932 posts in 3689 days

#3 posted 12-16-2011 07:22 PM

The real key to being safe with a table saw is to not obscure the blade from sight. If your blade guard is old and hard to see through, you’re going to eventually run into a point when you can’t see the blade. But as long as you can see the blade Your hand won’t go near it. The other major key is to never get too comfortable. I’m not saying you should be scared of it, but I am saying that when you get to the point where you don’t think you need to think about what you’re doing, that’s when you lop of a finger. And I have known quite a few guys with partial fingers, oddly enough, they still got too comfortable with things :/

-- The mark of a good carpenter is not how few mistakes he makes, but rather how well he fixes them.

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14940 posts in 4024 days

#4 posted 12-17-2011 03:57 AM

Hey Donnie, Good to hear from you. The rabbits on both end have a reason: the larger one gives a better grip on bigger stock and the narrow one is for thin stock. WudnHevn, I should have stated that you NEVER advance the push block past the leading edge of the sawblade. Thanks for pointing this oversight out to me. The handle is placed forward of the end so you can apply some down pressure to keep the workpiece from lifting up from the table. This isn’t necessary if you always use my style feather board.

-- " I'll try to be nicer, if you'll try to be smarter" gfadvm

View TCCcabinetmaker's profile


932 posts in 3689 days

#5 posted 12-17-2011 07:43 AM

Lol, I’ve worked on a tablesaw for over a decade now, you misinterpret what I”m saying, I use the phrase too comfortable, because that’s usually what they do, and do something they should not do because they are comfortable with something dangerous that they should not do…

Of course the same thing applies to jointers. Had a shop forman that didn’t understand that the tables on a jointer are parallel, so feeding a board from the backside, which is more comfortable and safe at least for me, has no lesser quality of turnout than feeding from the frontside. Which got me in trouble once, and probably showed I was one of the luckiest dogs in that shop, because I still have the pinky that touched the knives… just made a lil skin hang, no hospital trips for me…

-- The mark of a good carpenter is not how few mistakes he makes, but rather how well he fixes them.

View LittlePaw's profile


1572 posts in 4412 days

#6 posted 12-18-2011 07:53 PM

Most fortunately, I’ve never had an accident with my TS and am always most careful using it. Had a couple of minor kick backs, but they can be dangerous as well. I did have a band saw cut half way through my thumb – that was over20 years ago – - luckily no blood since then! The lesson I learned back then was that one does not achieve safety by accident – another pun? I do my best in practicing caution (maybe even extreme caution) every second a tool is turned on. Another safety rule most LJs practice is keep your cutting edges SHARP. Dull knives (saw and all cutting edges and blades) are much more dangerous than sharp ones. Do check your kitchen knives too and make sure they are all sharp and stored separately from all other kitchen gadgets. I prefer to have fun working w/both hands and without any injury. How about you?

-- LittlePAW - The sweetest sound in my shop, next to Mozart, is what a hand plane makes slicing a ribbon.

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