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How to use push sticks to cut wood safely on a table saw.

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Sgian Dubh

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Don't wear gloves when working with machinery in the shop. That is a sure fire way to lose a finger or hand in my opinion.
In general, I'm partially in agreement with you, particularly if the gloves in question are what I can best describe as baggy fitting on the fingers, and perhaps with floppy, long and large cuffs. I've seen a few woodworkers using this type of glove whilst feeding saws, spindle moulders, overhead routers and the like, which always makes me wince and rather anxiously draw in breath.

As doctor bob mentions above, we can all do a swift self-risk assessment, and I've risk assessed feeding slippery wood (usually stuff that's been planed before, sometimes quite large) or long and heavy lumps, both of which, bare-handed, need considerable downforce to generate the necessary forward momentum on the overhand surface planer, something I especially don't like at the start of the cut, even with the bridge guard in place. Incidentally, if I was still living and working in the US where the equivalent guard is a sprung mounted kidney shaped affair that rotates horizontally anti-clockwise as the operator feeds the wood I'd like the situation even less.

My conclusion was that it was safer for me to use nitrile palmed/fingered tight fitting gloves for those situations than to use bare hands. Prior to adopting the occasional glove wearing strategy for those specific situations, I regularly found the palms of my bare hands slipped along the wood surface, and/or I really couldn't generate suitable forward momentum. So, for those circumstances outlined, gloves (of the type I've described) it is, because I certainly find it more reassuring to know that my hands aren't going to slip. In conclusion, I'd say glove wearing for specific circumstances, as I've described, is safer. Slainte.
 

Daniel2

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surely everyone does a quick risk assessment, it's just some people have different acceptable levels.
I would like to share your optimism Bob, but I don't think everyone does.
Hence the high number of easily avoidable accidents.
 

Doug71

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@Tugalis I'm just curious why you don't have a sliding panel saw considering the amount of sheets you cut, you look to have enough room?

I guess your current set up must work for you but sliding tables just seem so much easier for handling sheets.
 

Inspector

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Before the advent of sticky thin gloves the answer to slippery wood on a jointer/surface was to spit on your hands. It gives you temporary grip. :)

While I don't like the saw handle type push sticks or Grippers and don't use them myself, I think the higher rate of table saw injuries here is more of a function of using bare blades than the type of push sticks. If there were a culture of using guards, riving knives first and when a guard must be left off other means of working with the hands well away from the work including push sticks then there would be far fewer accidents for us to be discussing. Part of the reason guards are not used as much as the should be is because they are/were so poorly designed and required too much time to attach and remove so people left/leave them off. With my SawStop I can switch from blade guard to riving knife in less than a minute because of the lever you flick on and off. No nuts and bolts to fool around with. Bad design has much to do with poor practices and attitudes.

Pete
 

Jacob

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..

While I don't like the saw handle type push sticks or Grippers and don't use them myself, I think the higher rate of table saw injuries here is more of a function of using bare blades than the type of push sticks. ........
More a function of a culture of not using push sticks - which reduce accident risk close to zero, even with bare blades.
 
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TRITON

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Thanks gentlemen, never thought to use grippy gloves in that situation and I’m sure it will help so I will and future. Cheers
Sure ?, personally I'd never wear gloves in machining tasks.
Catch a finger on a blade and you damage the finger. Catch a glove on a blade and risk it pulling your whole hand into it.

The reasons are the same for sleeves up ABOVE the elbows. HSE understand and apprenticeships and trainers understand that without clothing being present your injuries will be considerably less.

Now if you do actual training in machinery, and few here will have such qualifications. There will be no gloves allowed and no rolled down sleeves.
 

Jake

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Riving knife is an aid to reduce risk of kickback, not sawing fingers off. Guards help somewhat. Pushsticks just make total sense and I cannot understand anyone who does not use them, what's the downside?
 

Jacob

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Riving knife is an aid to reduce risk of kickback, not sawing fingers off. Guards help somewhat. Pushsticks just make total sense and I cannot understand anyone who does not use them, what's the downside?
Not very macho having no scars and all your fingers?
 

Cabinetman

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Before the advent of sticky thin gloves the answer to slippery wood on a jointer/surface was to spit on your hands. It gives you temporary grip. :)

While I don't like the saw handle type push sticks or Grippers and don't use them myself, I think the higher rate of table saw injuries here is more of a function of using bare blades than the type of push sticks. If there were a culture of using guards, riving knives first and when a guard must be left off other means of working with the hands well away from the work including push sticks then there would be far fewer accidents for us to be discussing. Part of the reason guards are not used as much as the should be is because they are/were so poorly designed and required too much time to attach and remove so people left/leave them off. With my SawStop I can switch from blade guard to riving knife in less than a minute because of the lever you flick on and off. No nuts and bolts to fool around with. Bad design has much to do with poor practices and attitudes.

Pete
I see where you’re coming from Pete, but also if you’re using push blocks and to some extent the other ones with a handle you have to remove the crown guard and in some cases the riving knife, so it’s an ever descending spiral that leads to accidents. Ian
 

Jacob

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Just about as safe as I could make my table saw, you can just see on the fence the JessEm stock guides, a major contribution to safety.View attachment 108901
Looks good, but is it as safe as just having a crown guard and two push sticks? Probably not, not to mention expensive and inconvenient.
 

Cabinetman

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Whilst I agree it should stop kickbacks it appears to be not so handy having to lower the blade below the table to be able to set the stock guides to the right height and then lift the blade up again to make your cut, please do use push sticks with it though won’t you. Ian
 

MikeJhn

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Of course I use push stick's, it's not inconvenient in any way, the blade does not have to be lowered to set the stock guides, whatever made you think that, the fence can be moved away from the blade. :rolleyes:

Obviously neither of you have used the JessEm stock guides, I have them fitted to my router table as well, so well versed in using them.
 

Cabinetman

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I watched the company’s video and that’s what they said to do, obviously they’re not as bright as you and moving the fence is a lot easier. Ian
 

doctor Bob

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One of the biggest factors is saw sharpness, people tend to try to get the most out of a blade, usually well past the point it should have been changed.
 

Tugalis

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Sgian
My conclusion was that it was safer for me to use nitrile palmed/fingered tight fitting gloves
Do you mean the blue or black type medical gloves? That I can see working well and not being too much of a safety risk but always need to be careful.


@Tugalis I'm just curious why you don't have a sliding panel saw considering the amount of sheets you cut, you look to have enough room?

I guess your current set up must work for you but sliding tables just seem so much easier for handling sheets.
We had planned on picking up a Hammer K3 Winner a few years ago, business focus changed so we decided not to take the hit (£5500) then business focus changed again and then again so now we are looking for a panel saw lol. Its a big expense if not totally needed and unless we can justify it then it will take a while for it to pay for itself. The joy! Covid really put a spanner in the works over the last 12 months, we were doing a lot of work for restaurants and bars before which meant more work on the laser and CNC machine. Once that dried up we went back to timber sheet cutting and smaller private jobs....one day Ill pick one up lol.
 

RobinBHM

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I think most kickbacks are a result of wood being trapped between fence and sawblade.

If the fence stops soon after the gullets the workpiece just falls to one side.

Also the danger comes from the shape and size of the piece being cut.

As Bob says: do a risk assessment.
 

RobinBHM

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More a function of a culture of not using push sticks - which reduce accident risk close to zero, even with bare blades.
there is an added benefit of using 2 push sticks -you can use them to apply pressure just in front of the blade -which makes it much easier to ensure the timber is kept against the fence and down on the bed.

The result is more accurate work -Im talking about smaller components of course
 
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