foot switch

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Forum topic by OldWrangler posted 01-29-2014 03:16 AM 1885 views 0 times favorited 50 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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731 posts in 2133 days

01-29-2014 03:16 AM

I am looking for a reliable foot switch for table saw, band saw and belt sander. I want some kind of foot or treadle switch that will lie on the floor near the machine that I can tap to turn on and tap to turn off. On most of my older tools the locations of the on/off switches are in places that are hard to find quickly, like my table saw switch is under the table where I have to feel around to find it. It is no help if the saw needs to be turned off quickly. Price is a consideration since I want to buy 3-4 of these…..hoping to find something for $20 or less.

Who’s got my answer?

-- I am going to go stand outside so if anyone asks about me, tell them I'M OUTSTANDING!

50 replies so far

View REO's profile


929 posts in 2613 days

#1 posted 01-29-2014 04:38 AM

I would suggest against a foot switch. opportunity for accidental activation is to high. things falling onto the switch or stepping on it while during setup or when something is laying on the saw. If you guard the step switch you have the same instance of fumbling around to operat it. I would suggest moving the current switch to a better location or upgrading to a paddle switch.

View Loren's profile


10477 posts in 4187 days

#2 posted 01-29-2014 05:35 AM

I use one for a router table sometimes, but in general I recommend
against it for machinery… here’s why: if you get in trouble you
may not have enough spatial awareness to remember where
the switch is and locate it with your foot. A kill switch that
stays in the same place strikes me as a better way to go.

This switch is not the one I have, but it is rated to 15 amps
at 110v just like mine.,240,41065&ap=1

Here’s a replacement standard switch with a big off paddle:

View Gerald's profile


51 posts in 2325 days

#3 posted 01-29-2014 06:04 AM

There’s been a plan for a kill switch bump frame that mounts to the rip fence rail, made of PVC tubing floating around from one of the publications that could easily be adapted to most tools with on/off buttons. You might also think about something like this – also taken from one of the pubs – can’t remember which. A mod of this works for me on the motor controller mounted on my TS stand.

-- Gerald, Rural North Central Arkansas

View OldWrangler's profile


731 posts in 2133 days

#4 posted 01-29-2014 10:48 AM

You guys are amazing. Your answers are well thought out and always helpful. In looking for convenience I overlooked the safety considerations. You make good points which I hadn’t thought about. I really appreciate your replies. This forum is packed with super knowledgeable woodworkers and is a very valuable resource. Thanks to all of you.

-- I am going to go stand outside so if anyone asks about me, tell them I'M OUTSTANDING!

View Wildwood's profile


2757 posts in 2673 days

#5 posted 01-29-2014 11:10 AM

I would not use a foot switch for anything other than dust collector or shop vac.

I do run my DC with a foot switch.

-- Bill

View b2rtch's profile


4897 posts in 3587 days

#6 posted 01-29-2014 11:20 AM

I have been using this one for many years ans I am very happy with it:

Contrary to other people on this post, for me a foot switch is an additional safety device as it free the hands and add a “dead man” safety. ( if the man dies , the tool stop)
I recommend to use it on every tool possible.
Use the temporary switch , not the permanent one

-- Bert

View JuniorJoiner's profile


497 posts in 3979 days

#7 posted 01-29-2014 11:29 AM

I use a footswitch on my drillpress, it is a Linemaster brand Hercules model. not sure i would run other machines with it though

-- Junior -Quality is never an accident-it is the reward for the effort involved.

View OldWrangler's profile


731 posts in 2133 days

#8 posted 01-29-2014 11:39 AM

b2rtch, never say “dead man” to a 76 y/o woodworker. Losing fingers is enough of a safety concern without having to think about dying or even passing out at a table saw. Your idea of the momentary switch rather than a permanent one is well taken and worth consideration. Thanks

-- I am going to go stand outside so if anyone asks about me, tell them I'M OUTSTANDING!

View MalcolmLaurel's profile


300 posts in 2162 days

#9 posted 01-29-2014 11:57 AM

I would not advise using a maintained contact (“tap on, tap off”) foot switch on any machine that has the potential to injure. However, a foot switch that you have to keep your foot on (momentary contact) is useful for some things… I use on with my flex shaft tool and find it extremely convenient. Whenever you have a foot switch, there should always be another switch that you can turn off when you’re not using the tool to prevent accidental activation. I leave my flex tool turned off at the speed controller at all times when I’m not using it.

McMaster-Carr has a good selection.

-- Malcolm Laurel -

View Bluepine38's profile


3387 posts in 3624 days

#10 posted 01-29-2014 03:23 PM

A friend has his switch on his unisaw mounted under the top on the left hand side, and setting just in front
of the fence rail. At first I would tend to accidently bump it and shut the saw off, but after I got used to
it, it worked great, All you had to do was bump it with you thigh to shut the saw off. I have mounted paddle
switches in this position on both of my table saws, they are easy to turn on and off, no searching.

-- As ever, Gus-the 80 yr young apprentice carpenter

View oldnovice's profile


7505 posts in 3907 days

#11 posted 01-30-2014 04:38 AM

I had a foot switch on my router table and I removed it.
When I changed position, while routing longer boards, my foot would come off of the switch and the router would turn off. If I had my shop vac operating I couldn’t hear the router drop out and have an incomplete routing job.

Ideally the foot switch should have operated both but it could not handle the current of both tools at the same time.

-- "I never met a board I didn't like!"

View Nicholas Hall's profile

Nicholas Hall

352 posts in 2645 days

#12 posted 01-30-2014 12:24 PM

This is a really interesting post. I had never considered a momentary contact footswitch before. I can see those coming in handy for a variety for applications.

-- Outside of a dog, a book is a man's best friend. Inside of a dog, it's too dark to read. -Groucho Marx

View b2rtch's profile


4897 posts in 3587 days

#13 posted 01-30-2014 02:15 PM

Often you use both hands to position a piece of wood just rigth to do something.
Then you have to release one hand to start the machine and the piece of wood moves.
With a temporary foot switch you can keep both hands on the piece of wood to hold it securely.
In addition when your hands are on the piece of wood they are not in contact with the blade or the router bit.
I never stepped on the switch by accident.
If you are concerned that it could happen, it i s easy to build a small box to install the switch in to prevent any accidental start up.

-- Bert

View OldWrangler's profile


731 posts in 2133 days

#14 posted 01-30-2014 02:54 PM

Y’alls comments seem to get better. This reply from b2rtch make an excellent point. I think this is the answer I want to go with. Now where to find the right switch. Suggestions?

-- I am going to go stand outside so if anyone asks about me, tell them I'M OUTSTANDING!

View b2rtch's profile


4897 posts in 3587 days

#15 posted 01-30-2014 03:23 PM

showing 1 through 15 of 50 replies

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