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How to Safely Use Power Saws

by Kaye Morris

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Table saw

If you like doing home-improvement projects but still want to have free time to enjoy the finished product, a power saw is an essential tool to speed up your projects. Whether you have a circular saw to cut planks for a new deck or a jig saw for fine woodworking, knowing how to use your saw safely is of utmost importance. Fortunately, running your power saw like a professional doesn't take much time.

Using a Power Saw Safely:

  1. Familiarize yourself with your saw. Read the operating instructions thoroughly before attempting to use your power saw. Also, know what everything on the saw does.

  2. Wear the right clothes for the job. Do not operate power saws while you're wearing ties, gloves or hooded jackets with strings in the front. Do not wear jewelry such as watches, bracelets or rings. If you have long hair, place it in a ponytail and pin it on top of your head or place it under a hat. Essentially, make sure nothing on your body can accidentally enter the path of the saw blade. And always wear safety glasses and ear protection. Consider wearing a mask if you are allergic to sawdust.

  3. Change the saw blade only after the blade has stopped spinning completely and you've unplugged the saw. Never operate the saw with a dull blade. Dull blades cause wood to kick back toward you while cutting, which can result in injury.

  4. Ensure the blade guard is in place and secure before operating a power saw. Most large-scale power saws, such as circular saws, table saws and miter saws, come equipped with a plastic guard that falls over the blade and prevents you from accidentally catching your hand in the blade while cutting or after finishing a cut when the blade is still spinning.

  5. Get in a good position. Place both feet firmly on the ground, at a comfortable distance from each other, when making a cut. Never stand directly behind the saw blade when cutting; kickback may result in an injury from being hit by a piece of flying wood, or the saw itself can launch back into your face. Stand to the side so that you are out of the line of fire in the event that kickback occurs.

  6. Adjust the saw blade to the appropriate height for the cut. Too much or too little height on the blade can result in kickback. Allow the saw blade to reach full speed before beginning a cut. Never look away from the wood when making a cut.

  7. Use accessories. Utilize clamps to hold wood in place when cutting with a circular saw or jig saw. Use guides and push sticks to direct wood across a table saw blade. Never make close or narrow cuts using your fingers to hold the wood in place. Never use your fingers to push wood across a table saw if your fingers will come within three inches of the blade.

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