A track saw has a sharp and fast rotating blade, making it a dangerous tool in the workshop. However, this should not deter you, as long as you deal with it rationally. With the 12 track saw safety tips you will discover in this quick guide, you already have a good source of inspiration to avoid track saw accidents. In short, the 12 track saw safety rules are:
- Clamp your track to prevent shifting
- Do not keep your hands in line with the machine
- Always unplug the power cord when setting up the track saw
- Hold the track saw firmly with both hands
- Ensure as little resistance as possible
- Always work with sharp blades
- Use the correct PPE
- Maintain a clean environment
- Check your track saw’s safety features
- Examine the wood for foreign objects like nails
- Support your workpiece
- If the blade is clogged, do not start the saw
In this article, I will take a closer look at these track saw safety rules so that you better understand what they mean, and you can make safer track saw cuts in your workplace. These tips can be of great importance to you, so read them with great attention.
- Know How to Use a Track Saw
- Make a First Aid Kit In Case Something Happens
- 12 Track Saw Safety Tips
- Track saw safety tips #1: Clamp your track to prevent shifting.
- Track saw safety tips #2: Do not keep your hands in line with the machine.
- Track saw safety tips #3: Always unplug the power cord when setting up the track saw.
- Track saw safety tips #4: Hold the track saw firmly with both hands.
- Track saw safety tips #5: Ensure as little resistance as possible.
- Track saw safety tips #6: Always work with sharp blades.
- Track saw safety tips #7: Use the correct PPE.
- Track saw safety tips #8: Maintain a clean environment.
- Track saw safety tips #9: Check your track saw's safety features.
- Track saw safety tips #10: Examine the wood for foreign objects like nails.
- Track saw safety tips #11: Support your workpiece.
- Track saw safety tips #12: If the blade is Jammed, do not start the saw.
- Blog update: extra tip
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Know How to Use a Track Saw
Before we get into the 12 most important track saw safety rules, it is very important to really know your tools. That is why it is essential to always read the manual and my article 6 Common Track Saw Mistakes And How To Avoid Them + Safety Tips. In addition , it is good to examine your tools and get to know all the parts well. In this way, you can easily estimate where the dangers are and find a suitable solution to prevent possible dangers.
Track saws, and any other cutting tool that uses a circular saw blade, are the most dangerous tools in the woodworking shop. Every year, thousands of track saw accidents occur worldwide, but also with table saws and circular saws. To be clearer, according to observations, there are about 30.000 circelsaw blade accidents per year. So read every letter of this article and don’t be one of them!
It is extremely important to understand the potential hazards of the tack saw, and learn how to use this tool correctly . Next to that, it is important always to use the right type of saw blade. To dive deeper into this, check out my article What Are the Different Types of Track Saw Blades – Quick & Easy Guide. This article contains valuable info, so be sure you go through that content!
Are Track Saws Safer Than Table Saws?
Yes, track saws are safer than table saws because you have more control over the tool . You hold the track saw firmly with both hands and push it over the wood. The blade is also located at the bottom, which can reduce touch.
Make a First Aid Kit In Case Something Happens
Be aware that no matter how well you prepare or how well you follow the track saw safety rules in this article, an accident can happen.
Don’t trivialize it and think: it will never happen to me. An accident happens faster than you might think. It is therefore advisable to always be prepared in case of an accident. In many cases, proper initial care can reduce damage from track saw injuries.
That is why I always have a first aid kit in my workshop, in which everything is present to provide first aid in the event of an accident. In my article How To Make A Workshop First Aid Kit – N°1 Guide | FREE CHECKLIST, I’ll show you what’s in this first aid kit and how to put together a first aid kit tailored to your workshop.
I cannot stress enough how important it is for you to have a first aid kit for your workshop. Make sure you have one today!
12 Track Saw Safety Tips
Track saw safety tips #1: Clamp your track to prevent shifting.
A workpiece that suddenly shifts can not only damage the workpiece, there is also an increased risk of coming into contact with the saw blade. That’s why I personally will always choose to clamp my tracks to the workpiece. I go into this in more detail in my article, Do You Need to Clamp a Track Saw? a Clear Guide. There I show you why and how best to clamp and what kind of clamps you can use for it.
Track saw safety tips #2: Do not keep your hands in line with the machine.
In some cases, you will hold the workpiece with one hand while advancing the track saw with the other. Never, ever put that hand in front of the track saw. Do this for both in front of or behind the track saw. Unexpected events, such as a kickback or a nail in the wood, can cause the track saw to move forward or backward.
I’ve developed the habit of never putting my hand on the track, or allowing my arm to cross it. Once you have made yourself accustomed to the fact that the track is a no go zone , this becomes automatic.
If your guide rail is clamped, there is no reason for holding it with one hand. In order to clamp the track properly, the rail should be slightly longer than your workpiece. If you have no idea what length of tracks to buy, please visit my in depth article What Track Saw Guide Rail Length Do I Need for My Track Saw? There you will find all the answers in minutes.
Track saw safety tips #3: Always unplug the power cord when setting up the track saw.
Whether it’s a minor adjustment to the tool, or replacing the blade, always pull the plug . You don’t want to know how many people thought it was safe enough without it, but who are now walking around with serious injuries.
Track saw safety tips #4: Hold the track saw firmly with both hands.
As previously stated, in some situations, using only one hand may be preferable. However, most cuts will not necessitate this . In those cases, use both hands to grip the tool firmly. Most track saws have two handles that are positioned to provide a firm grip and good control over the track saw in the event of a kickback or other emergency situation.
Before you start working with your track saw also read How To Fine-Tune A Track Saw For The Perfect Cut (6 Helpful Tips)
Track saw safety tips #5: Ensure as little resistance as possible.
The track saw runs on a rail and should have as little play as possible, which will give you nice, perfect cuts. I myself have the Festool TS 55 track saw (of which you can read the review here) and it has the ability to remove this play by adjusting the claws at the bottom of the saw. A fantastic feature of Festool!
No play also means that the track saw will slide more smoothly over the rail . I solve this by rubbing my track with paste wax.Any kind of wax that you can find in this list here, is suitable for this.
Track saw safety tips #6: Always work with sharp blades.
Blunt blades pose a greater risk than sharp blades . Although it may appear strange, a blunt knife makes cutting through wood more difficult, resulting in faster kickback. Replace or have your blade sharpened if it is dull. Is it more cost effective to sharpen your saw blade or to replace it? This article will provide you with the answer.
Track saw safety tips #7: Use the correct PPE.
Protecting yourself in a woodworking workshop is very important. Hearing damage is permanent and can easily be caused by the sharp noises made by woodworking saws. Dust is also a major hazard when cutting wood. So provide yourself against these attacks with the right PPE.
In my article, Woodworking Safety – What PPE Do You Need For Woodworking , you will find all the information you need. Be sure to read this article.
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Track saw safety tips #8: Maintain a clean environment.
Track saw accidents are inevitable in a crowded workshop. Tidy up your workspace as much as possible to avoid tripping over cables lying on the floor.
Tidying up and keeping your workplace clean will not only increase safety but will also bring you peace of mind, and you will be able to work more smoothly. So before you start, clean up your shop first!
Track saw safety tips #9: Check your track saw’s safety features.
Every track saw has safety features, but they are ineffective if they do not function in an emergency. Check everything twice before you begin. Check that your riving knife is in the proper position and moves up and down (if you have a Festool) or that your tool’s safety stop is engaged. As I stated at the beginning of this article, familiarity with your tool is critical. This allows you to finish the exam quickly.
Also, check the speed of your track saw. Check out my article How to Choose the Right Track Saw RPM (A Quick Guide)to learn how to set it up based on the material you want to cut.
Track saw safety tips #10: Examine the wood for foreign objects like nails.
Hidden nails in the wood can damage your saw, but also cause kickback. When I work with used wood, I always check with a metal detector first. It clearly shows me where nails are, and then I know those are the places to avoid.
The metal detector is inexpensive and one of the 10 tools I recommend in my article, Best Gifts For Woodworkers: 10 Woodworking Gifts Under $25.
Track saw safety tips #11: Support your workpiece.
A well-supported workpiece is very important if you do not want the workpiece to collapse and cause kickback. Make sure that your workpiece is supported in sufficient places. I have a few insulation boards for this that I place between the workbench and the wood . This ensures that the wood is supported in every place and the cut cannot pinch the blade.
Track saw safety tips #12: If the blade is Jammed, do not start the saw.
If your saw blade does jam, for whatever reason, try to remove the saw as carefully as possible. Under no circumstances restart the track saw. The force of the track saw will cause a kickback that can injure you or damage the workpiece. Before cutting again, investigate the cause of the jammed saw and clear it first.
To make your track saw safer, and produce less dust, there are many track saw accessories available. To get inspired, I suggest you should read my article 10 Must-Have Track Saw Accessories to Enhance Your Cutting Experience next.
Blog update: extra tip
Another safety tip is one that I use a lot on my table saw, and now with having the Festool TS55 in my workshop i use it on this tool too. The tip is to set the dept of the blade around 5 mm deeper than the thickness of the material. This helps prevent amputation in case your limbs accidentally touch the blade.
In my article What Depth Should I Set My Track Saw? The Best Tips For Safe Cuts I go much deeper into this, and I give you a lot of tips to set up your track saw. Go to that article now to enlarge your knowledge.
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