4 Panel Saw Safety Tips 4 Panel Saw Safety Tips
Woodworking is a dangerous activity, and the risks are higher when you work with a panel saw. This high-powered tool can cut, form and trim all kinds of wood, but it can also inflict serious damage to a human being if not handled properly. A panel saw is hand-fed, which means the hands of an operator often come into close proximity with the blade. Follow the tips below to properly use a panel saw and safeguard yourself from danger.
1. Use a Blade Guard
There are two types of guards that you can use on the panel saw. The first mounts on the trunnion assembly and is very traditional. The second guard is placed over the arm and mounts on the extension table. Both of these guards are incredibly effective, but each has differing characteristics.
The first guard moves with the blade as it is tilted, which translates to a narrower side shield. You should also consider if the guard adjusts itself based on the size of the materials you are feeding through it. Using a guard does not mean you are completely safe from getting hurt as operator error is often a cause of injury. Not all jobs will be able to be completed with the use of a guard so when you have to remove it make sure you follow all other safety measures.
2. Height of the Guard
If you are using a guard, that does not adjust itself then you are increasing the chance of injury to yourself. You want to make sure that the guard is effective as it can be for your operating circumstances. Before you begin using the panel saw, make sure that there is minimal clearance from the guard to the top of the material being used. Doing this will help ensure that the guard is being effective.
3. Height of the Blade
Many who operate a panel saw will tend to set the height of the blade much higher than it actually needs to be. This is a dangerous practice that does not have to be continued. The blade's gullet is designed to clear the waste material. The blade will continue to function correctly with the height of the blade set to the gullet's bottom as long as it clears the material by no more than ¼-inch. Anything more than that will can lead to injury.
4. Positioning of the Hand
Just because a guard is used does not mean the machine is completely safe. Each application of the machine is different and has to be treated as such. Before starting any job, always find the right location for your hands. This will change for each job you do so you will constantly have to reposition your hands for a safe distance. Push sticks and other devices are there for your use and safety and should be used when necessary.