Table saw blades, while a totally necessary part of working with wood, can also pose quite a threat to our irreplaceable fingers. You hear about unfortunate accidents all the time – just one quick slip is about all it takes to do some permanent damage to fragile fingers.
And as clumsy as I can be at times, I definitely consider myself fortunate. I had a shop teacher way back when at high school that persistently chided us to always keep the table saw blade set just 1/8 inch above the lumber we were cutting to prevent fingers from getting cut off.
Now if this seems like a simple solution, that’s because it is. Along with proper use of table saw blade guards and the metal guides, it really does help to prevent unwanted accidents.
In fact, I have my own survival story thanks to this tip. Getting a little carried away and probably being careless, I did manage to find the table saw blade once with my finger. Thank goodness I was using this 1/8 inch technique at the time – I managed to escape practically unscathed with just a minor knick to my finger.
Of course, another tip I can offer from lots of hands on experience is to sharpen or replace your table saw blades frequently. I’ve found that dull blades bind and kick back way more than brand new or freshly sharpened blades, reducing any potential possibility of injury quite a bit. Don’t forget to use the same caution with portable saws too.
Again, I know it’s easy to get carried away or just plain forgetful of good habits when using a saw, but I’ve learned to stop what I’m doing and think for a moment each and every time I step up to the saw. I like my fingers and my eyes just the way they are, after all!