From rLab

Some of the tools at the Hackspace are potentially hazardous to use, for these tools members are required to have an induction before they can use them. Inductions provide the most basic information on how to safely and effectively use the simpler functions of the tools, we appreciate that some members may have professional experience on some of these tools and in this case please tell your induction provider and the induction may be very reduced and just cover any risks or procedures specific to rLab. Some tools have multiple levels of induction in order to cover more advanced uses of that tool without making the basic induction take too long, higher induction levels will introduce some of the more advanced features of the tools but as with all inductions are only intended to provide basic information on the capabilities of the tools and how to use them safely. Some members of rLab may be willing to offer more detailed tuition beyond basic induction level or offer guided practice sessions in exchange for beer money or assistance on their own projects.

For all tools you are only required to take level-1 induction before use, after that you may perform any task that you feel confident you can do safely, higher levels of induction may be useful to you in performing more advanced operations but are not required before doing tasks covered in them so long as you're confident of your ability to handle those tasks without risk to yourself, others, or the tool.

PLEASE NOTE : All induction providers are volunteers who are providing inductions to the best of their ability but are NOT qualified instructors. Inductions are provided on a best-effort basis but you and you alone are responsible for your safety while using the tools and for satisfying yourself that you can operate the tools safely. There are professional training courses available from various providers in Reading and the surrounding area if you feel they are appropriate for the level of work you intend to undertake. Reading these notes is NOT a substitute for an in-person induction.

Note for wiki editors : Please do not edit induction pages unless you are one of of the people that gives that induction

The table saw is a Record TS250C table saw. It is a 2HP (1.5Kw) saw, that can cut softwood, hardwood, and composite materials like MDF, plywood, and OSB. It should not be used to cut materials with metal in, such as some reclaimed materials. In particular, it is important to carefully check reclaimed/recycled wood for any nails or screws, which cutting through would damage the blade and be potentially hazardous. Some plastics can be cut on the table saw, but you should check before cutting plastics, as not all behave well.

Topic Detailed contents Rationale
Table Saw Capabilities
  • It is a 2hp saw, that can cut softwood, hardwood, and composite materials like MDF, plywood, and OSB
  • Some plastics can be cut on the table saw, but you should check before cutting plastics, as not all behave well. Some plastics will chip badly, others will turn into a gummy, melt-y mess.
  • The Table saw cannot cut metals, if you're using reclaimed timber then you need to check very carefully for screws/nails/staples etc.
  • The saw has up to just under 80mm cut depth (at 90 degrees). The blade can also be rotated round to 45 degrees (or any angle between), for beveled cuts.
  • This saw includes a crown guard fixed onto the riving knife, which means that currently this saw is only capable of ripping and cross cutting materials. Cutting rabbets, dados, or other joinery is not possible without removing the crown guard and re-positioning the riving knife. This is time consuming and needs to be done correctly, but even then the saw would need to be used without a suitable blade guard, which is contrary to the advice offered by the HSE. However, all of these tasks can be performed on either the band saw, router table, or with hand tools, and so use these alternative methods.
What's this tool intended to do.
Suitable clothing & PPE
  • Sleeves tied back, no loose or flowing clothing, long hair tied back,
  • Always use eye protection
  • Ear protection is sensible for extended use
  • The inbuilt dust extraction is fairly effective, but for extended use, or for wood/material dust known to be an irritant or hazardous, it is a good idea to put the central dust extractor on, and wear a respirator or dust mask.
Basic safety information
  • Location of main power switch and E-Stop
  • Clean the Table saw off if it's noticeably dirty
  • Make sure that the saw isn't obstructed, the table needs to be empty and there should be nothing around you that will prevent you moving material through the saw because if you get stuck with the material half-way through the saw there's a risk of kick-back.
  • The Tablesaw can be moved on castors, you have to push the levers down to deploy the castors so it can be moved. Always put the levers back up before using the saw so it's stable
  • Check the dust extractor is connected to the main extraction hose and the crown guard hose and examine the hoses to check for cracks.
  • Check that there is not too much tension on the crown guard hose, such that it is pulling on the crowd guard/riving knife assembly, which makes the saw operate poorly (this has happened once or twice when the hoses have been tweaked).
  • The saw must NEVER be left unattended when turned on
Stopping and starting! Turning off when unattended and making sure the area is clear
Types of Cut
  • "Rip" cuts are generally cuts made along the grain of the wood
  • "Cross-Cut" cuts are generally cuts that are made perpendicular to the grain of the wood
  • But, because of the usual shape of planks, rip cut and cross cut are also frequently used to describe cutting along the longest axis of a material, or across the longest axis of a material – particularly for materials like plywood and MDF, which have no grain structure.
How to refer to the 2 main types of cut
Setting up for cuts
  • Setting up for a cut is always done with the machine unplugged
  • Never handle or adjust the blade while the machine is plugged in.
  • If necessary, set the blade angle. Release the angle lock, and rotate the blade with the wheel on the side. Then re-lock the blade angle. Blade angle can be set accurately with the digital angle gauge. For cuts other than 90 degrees, the saw should be re-set to an accurate 90 degrees after use.
  • Then set the blade height so that the workpiece will just clear the crown-guard so that isn’t a big gap between the crown guard and the work piece.
  • Alongside the cast iron table, is an integrated sliding table, which allows safer cross cutting of material using the cross-cut fence. There is a combination blade installed in the saw, which means it can both rip and cross-cut.
  • When crosscutting, use the cross-cut sliding table and cross-cut fence, and have the larger part of the material on the sliding table side of the blade. When Rip-cutting use the static ripping fence and have the larger part of the material on the fence side of the blade.
  • If using the sliding cross-cut table, unlock the table, and set up the cross-cut fence so that it is at the correct angle to the blade, and provides enough space between the fence and the blade to cut you work piece. Otherwise, ensure that the sliding table is locked, and instead set the rip fence to the desired width. The tape measure is accurate to within a few mm. For precise work, a test cut will be necessary.
  • The cross-cut sled/miter gauge is not accurate and you may need to use a square or other angle guide to get the cut you want
Setting up basic cuts safely
Supporting and handling your material
  • It is important to remember that a work piece should always be supported by either the rip fence, or the cross-cut fence.
  • Doing an unsupported cut risks rotating the work during the cut, which can allow the blade to grab the work and throw back at the operator – called kickback. Kickback is a serious hazard that can result in life changing injuries. Kickback also damages the saw blade and potentially the saw.
  • When ripping, the HSE recommends that push sticks should be used for all work pieces shorter than 300mm, or for the last 300mm of longer work pieces, especially when the width ripped is less than 150mm.
  • There are a range of push sticks and push pads on the wall near the saw for this purpose or you can make more from wood in the scrap bin
  • When cross cutting, it is often sufficient to hold the work piece against the fence with you hand. If there is not enough material to do this without getting your hand within 150mm of the blade, consider using a clamp to hold the work piece against the fence, or assembling a jig to hold the work against the fence.
  • If you do need to clamp to the fence, do this while the saw is off, to avoid knocking a metal clamp into the running saw which is both dangerous and certain to damage the saw blade
Getting the material through the saw without endangering yourself or the saw
Making the cut
  • Now plug the saw in and turn it on at the wall, the extractor will turn on automatically.
  • Check the setup of the saw, and that nothing is near or touching the blade. Power on the saw. Compete your cut.
  • Do not start the saw with anything in contact with the blade, let it get to full speed before bringing the work up to the blade
  • It should not take much force to pass the work through the saw. If it does, it is a sign that something is set up wrong, or the blade is dull.
  • Hardwoods should be fed through the saw a lot slower than softwoods to avoid excessive heating and blade damage
  • Similarly, if there is a lot of burning through the cut, it is possibly a sign something is set up wrong, or that the blade is dull, so take a moment to consider it.
  • If you believe the blade is dull then post on the mailing list and someone will check it.
  • Move the work either all the way past the blade or pull it all the way back before reaching to turn off the saw, do not attempt to reach for the power button while still holding the material in close proximity to the blade as you're likely to slip and get the work caught on the blade.
  • Power off the saw, and when the blade has stopped spinning, remove your work and off cut.
  • Never retrieve a cut work piece or off-cut while the blade is still spinning (it continues to spin for several seconds after the power is turned off, and this is not always obvious as the view is obscured by the crown guard).
  • [Demonstrate a Rip cup along the fence]
  • [Demonstrate a cross-cut using the mitre guide on the sliding table]
  • [Inductee also performs the 2 cuts]
Cutting the material correctly
Cleaning up afterwards
  • Ensure that all materials are removed from the saw and it's table
  • Reset the blade to 90 degrees if you had to change it
  • Sweep up the saw and sawdust from the floor around it
  • Check the extractor to make sure it's not full and empty it if it is
Leave the saw cleaner than you found it

The HSEs advice for the safe use of saw benches can be found here: