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SketchUp Guru

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Nikki's thread regarding the raising of panels on the tablesaw has got me to thinking about the difference in approach to the tool between the UK and the US (and I presume Canada).

Before I dive in please note: I am not telling anyone to do something with a tool if they aren't comfortable with the process. I'm not belittling anyone's methods or their desire for safety. I'm not advocating anything.

If you don't feel an operation with a power tool is safe you probably shouldn't do it and that's all there is.

If anyone gets their knickers in a twist over this topic, that's your problem and you should probably go have a nice lie down in a darkened room. Again, I'm not attacking or questioning your approach to using the saw. I only made the above statement because I've seen it happen elsewhere.


In the US it is common practice to use a tablesaw to make raised panels of the kind Nikki showed as well as with a coved raising in which the material is run across the blade crosswise. Tablesaws are used to make tenons--saw manufacturers even offer tenoning fixtures for this purpose. This operation also requires that the guard be removed.

Because of the way OEM blade guard/splitter assemblies are designed, they must be removed for dadoing and rabbetting operations. (I would like to see the Euro-style riving knife on saws in the US and I believe they are better. They wouldn't need to be removed for operations where the blade doesn't cut completely through.)

In the US one can find any number of examples in books, magazines and on TV of tablesaw operations which require the blade guard be removed. There are many jigs designed for the tablesaw which don't allow the guard to be in place. I bet even Norm has raised a panel or two on the tablesaw in his life. (I don't watch much TV so I can't say I've seen him do it.)

The candle holder I posted before Christmas has a cove down the center which I did on the tablesaw. I couldn't use the guard in that operation.

My tablesaw has never had the blade guard installed. I have a hardwood splitter installed in the ZCI throat plate which works just fine. The only injuries I can blame on my tablesaw have nothing to do with the saw blade and, in fact occurred with the saw turned off (in one instance the blade hadn't even been installed). I've shed more blood at the teeth of my Japanese pull saw!

Anyway, I think it is interesting that we look at the tablesaw differently here in the US than you folks do in the UK. I don't think either is wrong. Just different. And these are just my observations.
 

RogerS

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You raise a very interesting point, Dave.

Out of curiosity does this approach apply equally to 'professional' workshops as it were or do you have safety legislation that prevents this. If it does apply equally then I have to say I'm puzzled as one impression given over here of the US is that of being a highly litigious society and so one might expect there to be a strong groundswell towards the "European' way of working to minimise potential lawsuits.

It would be interesting to know or compare injury statistics between the two continents.

I'm too recent to this game to be able to explain why we do things the way we do over here in Europe but my perception is that, as far as 'pro' workshops are concerned, the main driver in the UK is our Health and Safety Executive but I could be way off the mark.

Reading this forum is a huge help as it does give the opportunity for different ways of working to be discussed and also to raise the potential dangers. Certainly for my part I had to do some table-sawing without either guard or riving knife (as I did not have any other safer methods at my disposal where I was working) and this site highlighted the potential dangers for me and they were ones that 'gut feel and common sense' wouldn't have necessarily alerted me to.
 

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Roger, my thoughts were geared more toward the hobbyist woodworking shop although I know of professional woodworkers who use their tablesaw for panel raising, coving, tenoning, etc. Generally they are working in one or two person shops. If one were to dig through a year or two worth of Fine Woodworking Magazine they would find articles by a number of professional woodworkers demonstrating these methods of work.

As far as regulatory agencies, we do have OSHA but it has no jurisdiction over the hobbyist's shop. I don't know all their rules and regulations but I know they do require guards on tools as well as other safety practices such as two start buttons that must be pushed simultaneously on some machines and lockouts to prevent a machine from running if certain doors or panels are open. They also frown on people changing lightbulbs while standing on a wheeled office chair. Again, these sorts of things don't apply to the hobbyist, even if they are smart ideas.

I guess I, like you Roger, would have thought that in our litigious atmosphere there would be at least a great trend toward some of the safety features found on European style saws (riving knife, again). One rarely hears of anyone even trying to sue the manufacturer after they've given themselves a manicure with their dado set.

Seems like it is probably more likely you'd get sued for selling hot coffee than for making a power tool that could remove the users hand in record time.

Somewhere there is a website that lists cases of injuries during the use of various tools, woodworking or otherwise. In many cases there doesn't appear to be any blame placed on the manufacturer.

I would certainly advocate using safe practices in one's shop however I think the number one safety device is not a blade guard or a riving knife. It is your brain. Thinking about something before doing it is always a good idea. If you even have the slightest doubt about your safety or the safety of others in the shop, you need to stop and figure out how to improve the safety of the situation.

Edited to add: For those who might think it takes to long to improve the safety in a situation, consider the time spent waiting in the Emergency Room to have those stitches put in and the time it wll take you to clean up the blood in the shop and shop time lost because your trigger finger is so heavily bandaged you can't operate your tools.
 

Scrit

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Dave R":v9nq5dro said:
If anyone gets their knickers in a twist over this topic, that's your problem and you should probably go have a nice lie down in a darkened room.
As you may well need to if you've just amputated a finger :lol:

Dave R":v9nq5dro said:
In the US it is common practice to use a tablesaw to make raised panels of the kind Nikki showed as well as with a coved raising in which the material is run across the blade crosswise. Tablesaws are used to make tenons--saw manufacturers even offer tenoning fixtures for this purpose. This operation also requires that the guard be removed.
Dave, maybe so, but that doesn't make it safe and they wouldn't be able to work that way over here. The tenoning devices were common enough here until outlawed by the 1974 Woodworking Machinery Regs on the grounds of safety - too many amputations amongst trained wood machinists, apparently. Sawing a board to a narrow edge introduces the possibility of the board dropping into the gap between the blade and the table and jamming or worse being ejected unless the saw can be fitted with a zero clearance insert. The other danger is of a board twisting in cut, or warping through stress release and picking up on the rising teeth of the blade - kickback. It is also very difficult to field a tall narrow panel using this technique. A much safer way to machine field a panel is to use a spindle moulder (US: shaper) or router table which can be very easily guarded and gives a much better quality cut into the bargain as well as offering the possibility of having profiled fieldings.

Dave R":v9nq5dro said:
The only injuries I can blame on my tablesaw have nothing to do with the saw blade and, in fact occurred with the saw turned off (in one instance the blade hadn't even been installed). I've shed more blood at the teeth of my Japanese pull saw!
Fine, so you've been fortunate so far. Insurers regard wood machining as a hazardous occupation. I think they must have a very good reason for that.

Dave R":v9nq5dro said:
I would certainly advocate using safe practices in one's shop however I think the number one safety device is not a blade guard or a riving knife. It is your brain. Thinking about something before doing it is always a good idea.
Without any training, which can be as simple as reading a book on safety or the HSE pamphlets (available for free download on their web site), your brain is like that of a learner driver. You may do well, or badly, "driving" your woodworking machinery but you really don't have any benchmark to compare your competence (and safety) to, and if you get into a 'situation' it can all go horribly wrong. It doesn't take much time or effort to read up a bit on safe machine operation a and to put the theory into practice. After you've had the accident it is too late to correct the problem, and from personal experience reconstructive surgery on one's hands isn't a 100% cure-all and is to say the least ruddy painful.

I'm sure that some of the hand woodworkers out there are laughing their socks off over this discussion. They know you can field a panel with little more than a pencil, a straight edge and a jack plane - and even the straight edge is optional!

Scrit
 

CHJ

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Scrit":3l34xk76 said:
...major snip...I'm sure that some of the hand woodworkers out there are laughing their socks off over this discussion. They know you can field a panel with little more than a pencil, a straight edge and a jack plane - and even the straight edge is optional!

Scrit
A much slower process though, although speed is not normally a factor for non commercial use.

Funnily enough Scrit, the only accident I had to report on in the woodshop I was responsible for, for 5-6 years was from a guy taking the tips of his fingers off with a wooden block plane! (took a quick swipe along a batten held in his hand)
 

RogerS

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I came across this site for the UK and comes from RoSPA (Royal Society for the prevention of Accidents). They have a searchable web based database for 2000,2001 and 2002 and each year has a staggering 5.5 million (yes..million) accident entries.

http://www.hassandlass.org.uk/query/MainSelector.aspx?Reset=T

I've not been able to find the search criteria for 'death' as searches based on that criteria, in a macabre sort of way, would be interesting.

No specific entry for table saw unfortunately.

Happy searching!
 

Scrit

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Hi Chas

I agree that accidents aren't that common, but as you know they do happen. Personally I've never suffered an accident at a table saw (my bete noir has been the pin router :oops: ), although I know a couple of places where the wood machinists have finger joints missing, Dave Allen style. My pet hate at the moment is MF-MDF/MFC which can slice your hands to shreds if you forget to put on gloves - done that a few times in the last couple of years and surprisingly it probably hurts more than a serious trauma (no kidding).

Scrit
 

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