Do you ever Free hand on the tablesaw?


Tpt life
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I've seen wood fly like a rocket from a table saw and a miter saw when doing it right. It's happened to me at the TS...the force is shocking. The blade didn't cut me the board did when it was ripped from my grip and thrown past my head and dented the wall 15 feet behind me. I was near a guy who had a board ripped to shreds and his finger nearly ripped off when a miter saw blade broke.

When you experience that kind of power in a nanosecond ... well, the last thing you do is free hand a board through one of those machines.

Because you know damn well that in the blink of an eye your hand could be gone...and where I live I'd probably bleed out before help got here.

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Guy I was working with had been shaping 18" pieces of vinyl trim all day. Twenty minutes before the end of the day a piece kicked. It tumbled up over and caught his gut. He did not eat solid food for a week. I think so many do not realize that the danger is not limited to being cut on the blade.

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The only time I got a cut from a table saw was when a kickback hit me in the gut.

The kickback doubled me over and dropped me to my knees and as I fell, my thumb hit the blade. I was on my knees holding my stomach thinking that the board must be stuck in me when I saw the blood dripping. As it turned out, the blood was from my thumb and it was only the tip of the thumb that was cut so, I was lucky. Just lost a small bit of meat and it healed well and faster than the bruise on my gut. I was back in business in the shop in about two weeks as far as the thumb  goes but, the bruise was very visible for over a year.

Lesson learned, never stand directly in line with the blade, keep a firm grip on the work piece with both hands (using pushers) , watch for pinching on the work piece, keep an eye on the off cut,  and install a knee operated "KILL SWITCH" for the off switch.

 

Rog

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I love it and watch every episode...well, not entirely true...I kind of delete the last couple in each series when it's all interior decorating and homeowner gloat.  But I like all the guys and they do top-notch work.  I learn a ton from them.  Just like everything else...you have to use your common sense filter and simply not do something that seems moronic or that you don't have the skill to do.  I wouldn't try jacking up a three-story, 170 year old Greek Revival house...but I watched them do that just last night.

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Eric, when did the show get good then?   I have never watched TOH but tried watching an older season...I think it was the first season post-Bob.   I can hardly stand to watch it...basically the host goes off and tours some nonsense to "get some ideas" for the entire freaking episode.   They show Norm/Tom do work for like 30 seconds at the beginning and the end that's it.  If 80% of every episode is touring some place, it's worthless to me.  I want to see them actually doing the work and talking about the techniques and whatnot...

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I posted because I obviously watch. It is nice because they work to feature new trends in HVAC and plumbing. They have the strategies for every fix in any home age or style. They take time to make things correct. This is why a faulty procedure bothers me. I do watch online so that I can FF when I want.

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Well maybe it's not for you then.  That's okay...not everyone likes everything.  I kind of like the little "tours"...some of them.  And you can't expect them to be able to cover every detail of every aspect of every project...there simply isn't the time for that.  It's just like Rough Cut.  People give Tommy so much flack for going too fast...as if he has a choice.

 

They cover elements of projects that are of no use to me...stuff I already know or things like how to stucco a house.  I'm not moving to San Diego anytime soon so that's essentially worthless to me...but I still enjoy watching it.  I like the guys, you may not.  Doesn't matter.

 

Edit: this post in response to Vyrolan...

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Maybe I just need to stick with it until later in the season then. I really like the parts of the work they show...it's cool to see them do those things and learn about it even if I'd never do those things like you said. I just wish more of the show was the work instead of touring some place with the host gushing over this and that.

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Nope, never, no-way.  When I first started WW I had a kick back off an old craftsman that launched a chunk of pine THROUGH the steel siding of my garage (luckily I was standing off to the side like I should be)..   

 

I've since taken a shot to "the boys" (not standing where I should be) and now that I'm running a 5hp saw; there isn't a chance in hell of free-handing that bad boy :D

 

With more tools comes more options for making a particular cut.  I'll take cautious over brash actions any day of the week (now) B).

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Personally, I wouldn't, but I don't care that someone else does.

 

What if we think of this situation as that table saw being a circular saw cutting to a scribe line? Granted, he could have been using some type of blade guard, I think the idea is pretty close. You "free hand" with a circular saw making cuts that are not guided by a fence. With a job site saw like he has, it's again pretty close to what you can hold in your hand.

 

"But what if you turn the workpiece too much and it grabs the blade?"

 

Well, from this example of him cutting a large sheet of material, I'd bet the blade would stop spinning before it grabs and throws that piece across the room.

 

And couldn't that same thing happen with a circular saw, but instead kicking the saw back at you?

 

What about cutting reaction wood? People do it all the time, most of the time without knowledge of it, and it can grab the blade. Sometimes the gap can close so much, so fast, it doesn't matter if you have that riving knife. Happened to me before, and my blade just stopped. Quickly hit the stop switch and had to pry to piece off my blade. Scary moment, but I didn't know that would happen.

 

I guess I look at his choice as situational. I absolutely would not cut a strip of flooring free hand on a table saw. The size, shape, and mass make that easy to turn into a javelin. But a sheet good with a thin strip being cut off isn't the end of the world. Again, I wouldn't do it myself, but I wouldn't be so quick to be dismissive of it.

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The bigger issue is he set a bad example for those that don't know any better. If you go back and look at the Ryobi lawsuit BS this is how it all started. This sort of thing is just more ammunition for regulating the rest of us. Do we get to sue him if we do this and get hurt? Probably not but the happy homeowners see this and goes out and does it with their shiny new Dewalt saw can sue Dewalt.  IMO if he is going to do a TV show of this nature he needs to think about the possible outcome of what people see.

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Comparing with a circ saw? No way. Knee on the piece or foot on the piece or clamp on the piece. Sure, the saw could kick. Blade guard closes, no big deal. Do it all the time. I understand your perspective Sam, the experienced can get away with some things. I am not sure comparing to a circ saw works though.

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You can only assume he doesn't know any better.  If he did, he wouldn't do it.  Lets be honest, he was trained 40 years ago and probably only picks up power tools when he is in front of a camera.   We'd all like to think he is out there in the field working all day, but really?   TOH is his day job and even if his construction company does jobs outside of TOH, he is busy running the company and not swinging hammers. 

 

So what your saying is all us guys that have decades of experience that now just sit back and write checks are idiots. :)

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I still think it's a matter of people being responsible for knowing their own limitations.  If someone owns a contractor saw and doesn't know that a freehand rip is a tricky and possibly dangerous operation, then that someone shouldn't own that saw.

 

It appears to me Tom Silva still has ten fingers and two functioning eyeballs.  He's made a lot of cuts in his life, so apparently he's been doing something right.  I concede again that they probably shouldn't have shown that on TV or they should have at least made a comment about it being a dubious technique...but ultimately it boils down to viewers having enough brains to realize: THEY are professionals, I am not.  Don't be a moron, and you'll be fine.

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Its kind of a catch-22, but I'd hazard a guess that the majority of people that buy $250 jobsite saws don't know what they are doing.  I didn't when I bought mine.

 

I didn't either, and I shouldn't have owned it.  I'm lucky I still have all my fingers.  I did incredibly stupid things with that saw because I was too lazy and young and arrogant to learn about proper technique.  In my defense it was pre-internet woodworking, so conventional wisdom about such things was harder to find.  But still, I didn't seek any knowledge, and therefore I shouldn't have been anywhere near that machine.

 

Yeah, there's a difference between lucky and good...but Silva has been using tools for longer than I've been alive.  Law of averages says he would have run out of luck at some point.  Some people can get away with doing certain things that other people can't.  I've seen NASCAR races before, but never thought that doing 200 mph on highway 70 was a good idea.

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I think putting 7th graders in a shop full of machinery is about as stupid as freehanding a rip.  I probably shouldn't have been around equipment in high school as stoned as I was the whole time.  Fortunately I spent most of my time at the lathe since it was the most stoner-friendly tool in there.  Whoaaa.  Did that dude just cut his fingers off dude?  Gnarly.  Anyone got a nutty bar?

I second that. Shouldn't have been anywhere near that machinery. I remember crosscutting a 1 inch dowel in half on a 18 inch bandsaw free hand ugh... scares me thinking about it . I was in a bit of a mellow mood in high school....

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