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Saws 101: Common Saw Types and Safety

Saws 101: Common Saw Types and Safety

Whether you’ve been doing DIY projects for a long time or have just gotten your first power tools, it’s important to remind yourself of basic safety precautions and check in to make sure you follow them. Sometimes, the few seconds you take to unplug a saw or adjust your footing are the difference between finishing your project and ending up in the emergency room. This guide will cover basic saw safety as well as go into specifics for a few different types of saws you’ll probably come across.

Saw Safety

When using any type of saw, follow these basic precautions, no matter how quick the cut or how small your piece of wood is:

● Wear safety goggles or glasses. You will undoubtedly have times when your piece catches on the saw and chips fly up unexpectedly. It’s easy to find comfortable and inexpensive safety glasses, so there’s no excuse for not having a few pairs on hand.

● Don’t wear anything that could get caught on the saw blade.

● Pay attention and keep your eye on your work. Don’t lift your gaze from a saw in operation even for a moment.

● Unplug the saw before changing the blade or maintaining the saw.

● Don’t stand anywhere slippery or use excessive force that could make you lose your balance. Reposition yourself to make sure you’re firm and secure where you’re standing.

● If you work where children and pets live, make sure you have a way to check that no small creatures have crept up on you while you’re working. Saws are loud, and while many kids will be afraid of the noise, some may be curious and come to see what’s happening. If you don’t have a shop you can lock, check around yourself periodically to look for children or pets that may have wandered too close for comfort.

With those safety guidelines in mind, you’re ready to explore some of the most common types of saws you’ll run into as you increase your collection of power tools.

Chop Saw
One of the most inexpensive saws for the home-based repairman, it’s easy to stay safe using a chop saw if you follow the above safety precautions. Additionally, if your saw guard seems to be returning to the correct position too slowly, turn it off immediately and adjust it. Keep your hands away from the path of the blade and allow the blade to come to a complete stop when finished before you move away.

Table Saw
One of the most common types of saws for home projects, table saws can be one of the safest saws since they stay in place and you control the movement of the wood. Still, follow the precautions above, and make sure you use guides and the rip fence properly, always push your piece with a push stick, and set your workspace up to avoid kickback.

Jigsaw
Jigsaws can be a little more dangerous since you are moving them around. In addition to what’s already been mentioned, never use a jigsaw in a wet work area since they can shock you if water gets inside. Make sure you are using a sharp blade to reduce the chance of kickbacks. Finally, don’t try to force your jigsaw through a stubborn piece. If you can’t get the saw through a section, reverse and try again.

Following these basic safety guidelines will help you prevent many of the avoidable injuries that happen to people doing home-based repairs. In addition to these guidelines, you should always consult your user manual and make sure you’re following any additional safety precautions specific to your equipment. Never cut corners here (pun intended) – it’s never worth the potential cost!

We’d love to hear from you! What safety advice do you give to people who are new to using saws for their home-based projects?

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