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
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.
that question brought forth several suggestions on how to move a
table saw. - Editor
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Guard: Good Idea?
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
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.
of those who responded, however, thought that guards themselves could
be problematic. - Editor
the blade guard can be problematic with smaller offcuts. Often it
will push or hold small pieces into the blade." - Johnny M.
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.
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.
commenters were roundly chastised by others, who definitely advocated
leaving the guards on. - Editor
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
was also a contribution to this discussion from a designer of medical
devices -- who had some insight into the "human factor." -
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.
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
- John R.