Moving a Table Saw from Sawmill Creek
There may come a time, in a woodworker's life, when you need to move a table saw -- or some other heavy piece of shop equipment. How do you go about doing that? That was one woodworker's question. - Editor
"I'm picking up a Craftsman Zip Code table saw from a friend's house tomorrow. Here's what I have: a pickup truck, only two guys, ramps, a two-wheel dolly and a four-wheel furniture dolly. Is this unrealistic? I don't know exactly what the saw weighs. Is there an easy way to split the weight up (remove table?) without a complicated operation?" - Dan M.
And that question brought forth several suggestions on how to move a table saw. - Editor
"Bring the saw to the back of the truck, flip saw into bed so it's now upside down, strap down and drive away." - Curtis R.
"Any table saw is top-heavy. I like to move them on their backs or sides if possible. To load, I lay down a sheet of 7/16" OSB [oriented strand board] on the ground and on the back edge of the bed. If it's really heavy, a couple 2x6's under the OSB helps. Lean the saw back onto the OSB, then lift and slide the saw and OSB into the bed in one motion. It may take some repositioning after the load is in the bed. The OSB will make unloading much easier. If more weight than two can manage, rent an engine hoist. I wouldn't want to remove the table, as that will add hours to the setup." - Richard C.
"When I picked up my Unisaw, all I had was one friend to help me, a furniture dolly, my SUV, and a few large pieces of cardboard. We got the saw on to the dolly and wheeled it over to the back of my SUV. Once there, I laid out the cardboard to help the saw slide easier and, with one lift, we tilted the saw on to its side and it was now resting on the back of my SUV. Took us a minute or so to push the entire saw in, but the cardboard worked like a charm in making the saw slide freely. The entire 90-minute ride home the saw was on its side with no issues in the end." - Demetrios F.
"I've moved my cabinet saw alone, and it's really not that hard at all with the top off. After the top is off, all you're left with is a sheet metal box, trunnions, and the motor, which is not very heavy and is easily moved by one guy -- hand truck and a ratchet strap. If you're buying a used saw that you have to move, you're going to want to do a full alignment of the table/blade/fence right? So remove the 4 or 5 bolts and take off the top, in my opinion." - Matt D.
"If you take the wings off, it is annoying to put them back on, but it reduces the weight and the profile, making it much easier to move. I moved my SawStop into the basement using an appliance dolly. Put some ply down, flipped it over so the top was on the ply ... I could have taken it down the stairs myself. Well, I did almost all the work, and my two 'spotters' were there if needed. The point is that it made it much easier to deal with. Side note: I rented the appliance dolly from UHaul for about $20. Took less than an hour to go, get the dolly, go home, move the saw, and return the dolly. Money well spent." - Andrew P.
Blade Guard: Good Idea?
From Sawmill Creek
It's a recurring topic in the woodworking world: who does and who doesn't ... remove the guards from their table saw. (Note: Woodworker's Journal in no way recommends using equipment without safety guards and urges readers to strictly follow manufacturers' instructions and safety precautions.) The poster who started this discussion thread had a recent experience that convinced him that yes, guards are a good idea. - Editor
"I've always been a believer in using a splitter, and recently upgraded to a saw with a riving knife (SawStop). However, I've never appreciated the blade guard, aside from the top of the blade dust collection. That changed today when I was crosscutting about 1/2" from a piece of scrap hardwood to make a jig. The cutoff piece literally exploded, and two small pieces wound up tightly jammed in the guard. If it had not been in place, who knows where they would have landed. I did not see any knots or defects in the wood that would have caused this. I feel very lucky, and have new respect that accidents can happen when you least expect it. I had to take apart the guard to remove the wood. If you need to do this, just loosen the screws around the plastic. I tried to take the whole thing apart, and found I needed snap ring pliers I don't have. I got it back together minus the kickback pawls, which I never use." - Dave A.
Some of those who responded, however, thought that guards themselves could be problematic. - Editor
"Ironically, the blade guard can be problematic with smaller offcuts. Often it will push or hold small pieces into the blade." - Johnny M.
"Back before riving knives were standard on U.S.-sold table saws and manufacturers put little money into engineering a decent blade guard setup, the majority of us took the blade guard off and tossed it in a drawer or cabinet somewhere in a dark corner. Some threw the thing away, so frustrated with trying to make it work and do so safely. I found mine to be more dangerous on than off. It would frequently jam the wood or stop it completely through the cut, leaving me only with the alternatives of turning the saw off, while not letting go of the wood, or trying to back it out safely. Some 20 years later, I still don't have a blade guard and since removing it I've only had a couple of incidents that caused my heart to beat faster. My fault. I got too comfortable... The ultimate safety device is always the individual ... Whether it is me individually or the personnel under my watch, the order of the day is you are always the last line of defense against injuries." - Julie M.
"I took my blade guard off the first time I set up my crosscut sled and haven't looked back. I'm not saying this is the correct answer, of course, just that I felt the guard was a pain to install and adjust and didn't do much more than get in the way. I think that is to be expected because the complexity of a real good guard would be very high and very costly, so the manufacturers slap on something that is more of an afterthought than anything else and they are protected from lawsuits. The world needs a better guard system for a table saw. Something more adaptable to all the myriad of cutting situations including the use of crosscut and miter sleds to ripping and dado blades, blah blah blah." - Pat B.
Those commenters were roundly chastised by others, who definitely advocated leaving the guards on. - Editor
"To remove a safety device from a piece of equipment is just asking for an accident. If the guard on your saw doesn't work to your satisfaction then modify or replace it, but don't just remove it." - John T.
"A guard is a physical presence saying 'DANGER! WILL ROBINSON! DANGER!' for those times when your concentration slips and you bring your hand too close to the blade." - John P.
"I suppose if you are a pro and use a saw everyday, all day, you automatically know by muscle memory where the spinning blade is and feel safe without a guard. For the rest of us, [in my humble opinion], you are safer with a guard than without. I have SharkGuard and keep it on at all times except when I am not doing a through cut or the piece is too narrow. I didn't always do that with my previous guard as it wasn't easy to remove and reinstall. There is a lot more to saw accidents than kickback issues. I tell ya, when I am ripping a piece, I feel a lot more comfortable when the piece reaches the splitter as I know I am almost guaranteed that I won't get a kickback." - Ole A.
Some commenters had alternative safety suggestions, bypassing the guard issue entirely: use a different technique, or study what in your current technique could be causing kickback. - Editor
"Of course, there's another, much simpler (and safer) alternative we haven't discussed: use a different machine for the cut. The band saw. In fact, let me change my advice: if you have a cut you want to make on your [table saw] where you can't (or shouldn't) use the blade guard, use the band saw instead." - Peter A.
"I really think that people need to stop focusing on the guard issue and ask themselves why they are causing kickback events on the [table saw]! Either folks have not set their equipment up correctly, they have not understood how to use a machine safely, they have not examined the material being cut, or they chose the wrong technique to make a cut and, to a person, they marvel about how quickly it happened. Truthfully, when a kickback occurs, it has been set up by the operator and should really be an expected outcome. Guards might reduce your exposure to injury -- might. Proper technique and forethought will reduce your exposure to injury far better." - Chris F.
There was also a contribution to this discussion from a designer of medical devices -- who had some insight into the "human factor." - Editor
"Just some input on the human vs. device discussion. I design medical devices for a living, and part of my job involves human factors, or taking into account the physical and cognitive abilities and limitations of users. Yes, it is the responsibility of the user to perform tasks in a safe manner. But the reality is that humans are not perfect. They get distracted, tired, lose focus during repetitive tasks, etc. The user and the device are a system; both should contribute to the safe execution of a given task. To polarize that it is all one or the other misses the complexity of the situation. Devices and tools should be designed so they mitigate where they can against dangerous situations and draw attention to hazards that cannot be mitigated. It should be done in a manner that doesn't lull someone into a false sense of security but allows them to concentrate on the task at hand. This isn't easy in all cases, but it would be the goal." - John R.