The Garage Shop Ministry

Specializing in VBS & Woodworking for People of Faith!


#1 Rule--Your PRIMARY Safety Tool is Your Brain!

If it seems wrong or feels wrong: STOP and think! Most of us are only were issued ten digits, two arms, etc., be sure to think safety protect yourself.

Safety Glasses -- When I was in graduate school, I shot a nail in my eye while framing up a door while doing summer work as a carpenter. I did NOT have glasses on! After the doc dug a small silver of the nail out of my eye, I swore to never cut or pound again without glasses. Buy a pair that you will wear and USE them! In my case, I need some with bifocals, the eyes don't see as well as they used to.  

Ear Protection -- I have a couple pairs of "Mickey Mouse Ears" hanging on the blade cover bar so they are easy to get at. One is a light pair, which knocks back the sound level about 20 dB or so, and a second pair is heavier and cuts the sound by about 25dB. Lately, I have used earplugs as they afford a greater level of protection, especially when combined with Mickey Mouse ears. My father-in-law, after working around heavy machinery all his life and loosing his hearing, reminded me that you only get good hearing once, save as much as you can. Use your ear protection!

Respirator -- I purchased a 3M 7502 silicon half-mask respirator for about $30 (including filter cartridges). Best money I have spent in the shop! I purchased two types of canisters, one for dust and the other for fumes when I spray. Like your ears, you are only issued one set of lung—take care of them!
Shop Apron -- I never knew what I was missing until I finally broke down and bought an apron. Not only does it protect my clothes and make a convenient place to store pencils, rules, small squares, etc., but also a good apron made of heavy denim is a extra layer of protection from splinters and padding from an accidental kickback. Well worth the small investment. I recommend a shop apron with double stitched pockets and a cross back design—take the weight off the neck and places it on the shoulders!

Three Simple Suggestions

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On, there was a discussion on the use of guards and splitters. One woodworker suggested that all one need do is stay out of the line of fire. Makes sense. So, I decided to place a carpet scrap on the 'stand here' spot, in addition to the rigid blade cover and removable splitter to help protect myself against kickback injury. This way I know if I step off the mat, I am moving closer to the line of fire of a kickback.

A good blade cover is an essential part of any tablesaw. Unfortunately, manufacture’s make such pathetic attempts at them, most wood workers take them off immediately. Mine is shop made and costs a fraction of the Biesemeyer which is was modeled. The details of how I built mine can be found HERE.

I opted to install Delta's Uniguard Splitter over the Biesemeyer for a couple reasons. First, cost: The Beise is about $130. The above (center) Delta $30! Second, the Beise can only be used with standard 1/8" kerf blades. The Delta can be used with both standard and 3/32" thin kerf blades. I use both. The Delta splitter can be purchased directly from
Delta as Splitter Assembly Complete Part #1349941. The down side is the Delta is not nearly as heavy as the Biese, but at this cost, I figure I could go through a number of the Delta splitters. Still working on #1, however!

A Living Example

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Above are pictures of a kickback. I was cutting dozens and dozens of strips of AC plywood for a dresser for a new niece. When making the cut above, there must have been a crack or something in the strip that got cut off, because in the blink of an eye this pointed strip shot forward! In fact, you can see where the point shot through the tape that I have covered the front end of my blade cover with, because I (stupidly) was cutting a small strip in half to throw in the scrap bin and instead of using a miter gauge, I did it by hand. Boom! Kickback. Threw the ½ thick stock into the cover, it took the blow, but broke out the front end.

This time, however, I was doing everything correctly; there was simply an unseen flaw in the wood, which reacted badly with the blade!

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