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Don't take your eye off a spinning blade.
From your visual check before startup through to watching during wind-down, you should not stop watching what is happening around a spinning table saw blade. After the actually cut itself, a blade spinning down after power has been cut is the second most dangerous time. A user is liable to kickback from cutoffs or a thin primary piece during this time. When turning off your saw take your time to ensure you are safe while the blade stops.
Is it weird to have a library in a woodshop? Maybe. But I've the makings of a start of one and this would be a nice addition.
I'm a lawyer and a woodworker living in Canada. I'm 31.
I own a Sawstop saw. I got lucky and my wife demanded that I buy it instead of one without the brake on it (I was looking at a General). I know, you are all saying, "oh, he's a lawyer with lots of money". Well, I have a lot of student loans and I'm young so that's not as true as one might think. I went out of my way to pick this saw and to be perfectly frank, I'm glad I did. My wife also helped me pay for it. I have remarkable peace of mind when using the saw and, while I observe the proper safety habits, I work easier knowing there is a backup. My wife also doesn't worry about me, which any married man will tell you improves shop time and the condition of one's nerve endings.
The saw is one of the industrial ones, not the pro (the industrial was the original). It is a beast of a machine, willing to cut anything I've yet thrown at it and it is also a very, very well built and tolerance-d machine. Where am I going with this? The inventor, Mr. Gass, didn't just try and build a safe machine, he built a great table saw.
The gentleman who cut his fingers off was using a cheap table saw. Frankly, you get what you pay for with tools. While I'm sure Ryobi is a fine company with good safety standards in place,I would not work with one of their tools. Cheaper tools cause more accidents. I used to build houses and this maxim has borne out in almost every conceivable fashion. I bet the saw was underpowered and he was trying to rip a piece of oak. The saw probably kicked back or bucked on him and his hand tried to push the wood through thus costing him his fingers. I feel bad for him. I wish he could have afforded the more mobile Sawstop contractor saw.
And about the cost of the saw. Mr. Gass and his business partners aren't greedy. They invented a great product (the brake) that others would not licence from him. Then, he designed a great saw that I would consider buying without the brake and attached the brake to it. Good for him. Other saw manufacturers need to step it up. Riving knives are only the beginning (as mandated by U.S. law this year). Users need to pressure machinery makers to focus on safety as well as quality and cost. I paid more for the saw because the safety feature was worth it for me and the saw looked and felt solid. I was right on the latter, I hope I never have to figure out if the former is as effective as Mr. Gass has demonstrated it to be.
Finally. You can't buy a Ryobi and expect Sawstop/Powermatic/ Delta cabinet saw or even Bosch table saw quality. You buy a cheap Home Depot saw, you get cheap performance and the concomitant risks. I'm not saying don't buy a Ryobi, I'm just saying, recognize the limits of the machinery you work with and respect them. I do things on my Sawstop I'd never do on a table top saw. I won't do things on my table saw I should be doing with a jointer/sander/bandsaw/jigsaw.
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