Q: I’ve heard a lot of discussion lately regarding tablesaw safety. Are European tablesaws and combination machines safer? B.J. Connelly, Nashua, NH A: At one time, European tablesaws were safer than North American saws—but we have finally caught up. With more stringent safety regulations for the trades, Europe has long required a riving knife on saws. It is very effective at preventing kickback, and importantly, it is convenient—which means that users will keep it on the saw. For a long time, U.S.-style splitters were bulky and inconvenient, but that changed in 2008 when Underwriters Laboratories began to require that all new tablesaw designs have a riving knife, and that all old designs have them by 2014. Many North American makers also have equipped saws with better dust collection shrouds and ports, so you can collect almost all the waste from this major producer of sawdust, a known carcinogen. click to enlarge U.S. saws finally grew up.The riving knife required for new U.S. tablesaws rides just below the top of the blade and stays out of the way. Below the table, a form-fitting plastic shroud directs dust to the collection chute. Take Fine Woodworking’s Tablesaw Safety Quiz!
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