Table Saw Safety

Like almost everything in life, learning to cut with this type of machine requires experience and is perfected with practice, but I will try to show you some basic premises for those of you who are just starting out.

To begin, I will talk about the correct height of the disc. It should protrude about a centimeter above the height of the piece to be cut. In addition to improving safety, the piece to be cut will suffer less damage from its lower part, at the exit of the disc teeth.

With pieces of the size as the one in the photo, at the beginning of the cut we push towards the parallel guide with the left hand and towards the front with the right. When necessary we withdraw the left hand trying at the same time to press diagonally towards the guide with the thumb of the right hand, so that the piece does not separate from it.

With narrower pieces, the start would be the same and we finish pushing with the pusher , and it is here that unfortunately a quite frequent and dangerous problem can arise, called kickback.

As you can see, the piece can be separated a little from the guide, so the rotation of the disc itself can end up lifting it. The effect can be seen better in the video, when starting the cut, the rotation of the disk presses the piece downwards, therefore there is no risk.

But at the start, the disc can hook the piece and lift it, dragging your hand towards the disc or hitting you with the piece itself when it is fired. Here you will find a great article about this problem, where you will see videos of people who have tried it with the machine on.

This problem can be aggravated when cutting wood that is not dry, due to the torsions it undergoes when cutting it and the forces and pressures that it can exert on the blade, or also if the blade is not well aligned with the parallel guide and with the rail. guide or T-track .

To avoid this dangerous problem, the circular ones have a security system known as a dividing knife , a metal plate located just behind the disc that maintains the same thickness of the cut at all times and prevents the wood from pressing or forcing the disc.

In my case, I bought my second hand circular and it did not bring it. I have bought a used one that does not fit exactly in my circular so I will need to adapt it. I am going to reform it to make it at the same height as the disk that I use regularly, so I can continue making cuts. I will also have to calibrate it a bit because it is thicker than my disc.

We mount it on the circular and check with the ruler that it is aligned to the disk. I will also need to enlarge the slot in the quick access cover. I’m going to use a sheet for metal, because it works better than wood on plastic materials like methacrylate.

If your circular saw already has the dividing knife, I recommend you leave it, and if it is not the case, installing one will not take long, so I strongly recommend that you install it.

To finish, and as it is closely related to this topic, I will try to answer a question that you usually ask me about the stability or movement of the Workshop Portable cutting guide on the opposite side to its clamping to the table.

When we are cutting with the disc, at the height of the disc we stop making force against the cutting guide, so this movement should not influence the cut at all.

This is not the case when we use the guide with the milling machine, in this case as we press the entire length of the cutting guide, I recommend using a tourniquet on the opposite side to the tightening of the guide.

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