Table saws are
excellent tools, but
require careful use.
Diedra Gee displays
her antique hobby-size version.
Ouch! Equip your hobby knife with The
Pencil Grip handle cover and it won’t roll
off of your work table.
A table saw is one of the most useful machines that a workshop can have. If you build anything,
from Peanut size to Giant Scale, you’ve
had an occasion where a table saw was
just the thing to use.
Anyone who owns a table saw will tell
you that these tools are among the most
inherently dangerous gadgets around,
though. No added-on safety feature can
guarantee protection from that spinning
blade. It’s all up to the user.
The popularity of radial-arm saws is
partially in response to this unforgiving
hazard, but some woodworking tasks
can only be done with a properly set
up table saw. As a child, I watched
my father build a large addition onto
our house, and almost every piece of
material in the project was cut with his
trusty table saw. Today, my modeling
gadgets live in wooden cases made with
the use of this same versatile tool.
My pal, Gary Hinze, is not an
inexperienced youngster. He knows
“I was cutting a piece of basswood for
my propeller pitch gauge on the table
saw. I used a push stick to slide it along
the fence 1/4 inch out from the blade.
The cut was complete, and it was time
to reach down with my right hand and
turn off the saw while holding the work
in place with my left.
“Suddenly there was blood all over
the place and pain in the first two
fingers of my left hand. I turned off the
saw and looked at the fingers. [There
was] a deep gash diagonally across
the pad of the index finger, and the
entire pad of the middle finger was
macerated. Things looked bad.
“I unplugged the saw and went into
the kitchen, shaking a little bit. I washed
the sawdust off my hands with water,
dried them, and wrapped the cut fingers
in paper towels. [There was] much less
blood by that point. I ate a cookie and
drove over to [the] emergency room.
“They took X-rays, injected pain
killer, and the doctor sewed it up.
Luckily, there was no bone or tendon
involvement. After a tetanus booster and
a surprisingly painful antibiotic shot in
my butt, I was off.
“After I got home, I reconstructed
the scene of the crime, with the saw
unplugged, of course. It turned out
to be a line-of-sight problem. I was
standing with the fence nearest to
me, and the saw blade on the other
side away from me. The blade
extended about 1/2 inch above the
“I intended to hold the work
piece against the fence with the
left hand, while I turned the saw off
with the right hand, as I had just done a
half-dozen times before. I could clearly
see the part of the blade above the
work, but could not see what was on the
other side, away from me.
“The blade goes down on a long arc.
As I brought the fingers down to grip
the work, the index finger got just into
the arc of the blade. The blade grabbed
that finger and pulled the hand across,
putting the adjacent finger right across
the top of the saw as I jerked it back.
“I had recently replaced the hollow
ground planer (said to be excessively
81 Model Aviation MAY 2016
SAFETY COMES FIRST