Okay, I admit it - I'm a scaredy cat working on my table saw

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Sally
Posts: 29
Joined: Fri Sep 12, 2008 2:59 pm
Location: Georgia

I'm a 56-yr-old female with very limited carpentry skills (if you want an interior decorator, see me!, but I'm just now getting my feet wet with power equipment). I purchased a moderately inexpensive table saw awhile back, with the thought of using it to make 45-degree cuts on window and door mouldings, regular cuts for baseboards, to rip door molding when the width available between the wall and door hinge area was too narrow, etc. etc. I've turned this saw on all of a whopping three times (I've cut a piece of plywood with it, and shortened a dowel for my sliding patio doors), but every time I turn it on, it scares the bejesus out of me. It makes enough noise to wake the dead, it has no guard of any kind on it, and I just have to suck it up every time I use it. Is there an alternative tool (jigsaw, maybe?) I can use to rip and cut moldings, that might be a little more user friendly? Or do I need to just get over it, grow up and learn to work with this saw?
Sally
"No good deed goes unpunished"
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bilbar25
Posts: 57
Joined: Mon Feb 26, 2007 4:11 pm
Location: Archbold, Ohio

Any chance of "returning" the table saw, and exchanging it for a power mitre saw?

The mitre saw will handle the jobs you mentioned extremely well.
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Sally
Posts: 29
Joined: Fri Sep 12, 2008 2:59 pm
Location: Georgia

Would that I had known that at the time! - - No, I'm afraid not. This saw (along with many other tools I purchased at the same time) were bought at a "tool auction" thing that comes through my home town once a year. They come through, advertise, sell for one weekend then move on to the next town. I couldn't tell you if my life depended on it who manufactures the saw ... it's an "off brand," and of course because it was all I could afford, it's the basic, bare minimum of table saws - very small, (again) no guard for the blade, blah blah blah. I'm sure I wouldn't have too much trouble selling it - I work for a long haul trucking company and there are many DIYers here in the office and among the drivers ... but then I'm faced with purchasing a power mitre saw which, from what I see on the internet, is a more expensive tool. AND ... can that mitre saw rip the molding? Maybe I'm looking at the pictures wrong (or the wrong pictures!)

MANY THANKS for the input.
Sally
"No good deed goes unpunished"
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Yanita
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Joined: Sat Feb 17, 2007 10:16 pm
Location: Eastern N. Carolina

Hi,

A compound miter saw is awesome and when shown can be a great tool to use. Also very dangerous for someone with zero experience and afraid.

You can either get a new one or a used one at your local pawn shop. Before you purchase another expensive power tool go online and make sure you know what you are buying.

Lowe's has tools and they even have a line of "ladies" tools. They do the same work only in small versions. Easier for women to hold and manage type of thing.

Since you work where there are some men, could you possibly get one to show you how to properly use the table saw that you have now? Maybe there is a guard that can be bought to replace the one you are missing.

Also when trying to rip a 2x4 in 1/2 length ways you can use another piece of would to push it past the blade to keep your fingers away from the blade.

Oh, another quick thought, our local Lowe's has classes on various power tools and the proper use of them, give your store a call.

I am all for women learning how to use power tools and do as many small or even large repairs that they can handle. BUT, ALL POWER TOOLS HAVE NO RESPECT FOR THE HUMAN BODY, you must respect that tool!

Yanita

PS, forgot to mention that the ladies tools have small skill saws available.
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Greg
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Sally, A good healthy RESPECT is a good thing, There is no reason to FEAR a tool.

Start by cutting up so scrap wood untill you find your comfort zone and get a feel for it, Remember too that no two saws feel the same.

Tools DO bite, trust me I have the scars to prove it! Be thankful that you are not left handed also!! Greg
"If I can't fix it, I can screw it up so bad no one else can either."
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Arlo
Posts: 94
Joined: Thu Dec 20, 2007 7:42 pm
Location: Central Virginia

It might be wise to invest in some Kevlar work gloves and a good book on power tools. And read it. Don't forget to always wear eye protection.
shadow745
Posts: 82
Joined: Mon Jan 21, 2008 9:54 am
Location: Central North Carolina

Another great versatile tool is a good jigsaw. My dad bought a Bosch jigsaw back in the late 80's and built and entire deck with the thing, cutting everything on site including 4x4 posts. It still runs like new to this day. No telling how many miles of wood he cut with it. Later!
Do what you can today, as you might not be here tomorrow!
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Jim from Canada
Posts: 551
Joined: Mon Mar 05, 2007 10:39 am
Location: Seaforth, ON

I inheirited my table saw. It too, has no guards. I have all my fingers, but I wish they were there. Do some scrap cutting, get push sticks, and most importantly, make sure the tool is set up right. The fence on your saw should be parallel to the blade! The blade should be parallel to the dado in the top that guides your mitre guage. It is OK if the fence goes away from the blade a few thousandths of an inch in the back, but if it angles in on the blade, you will get kick back, and that is dangerous. There are a bunch of websites that will show you how to set up your saw. Just Google "table saw set up" and read a bit. There is nothing more important than to start with a machine that is level and square. Your workmanship and safety will show.

Jim
Remember, minimum code requirement is just that....MINIMUM
Jbeard1116
Posts: 4
Joined: Fri Jan 09, 2009 8:57 am
Location: Upstate NY

Hello, In addition to eye protection, don't forget to protect your ears. I find using power tools much less nerve rattling when the thing is not screaming in my ears...
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oldfart
Posts: 431
Joined: Fri Dec 21, 2007 10:31 am

M'am as already has been posted..always respect the saw! There's a reason why that little piece of red/orange plastic/metal is in the blade area. It warns...DON'T GO THERE! Now..next time yer in the local grocery store walk back to the magazine rack and look for any of several woodworking magazines there with Table Saw in the headline. Family Handyman Magazine is an excellent source of understandable information! Down at Lowes/ Home Depot..peruse their book section as well. Are you near a local Vo-Tech School that offers a course in woodworking for the taxpaying public? And don't be thinking being a woman has anything to do with learning how to use power tools. Now...I love the miter saws/compound miter saws but they have many limitations. You won't rip a sheet of plywood on one. Fact is you won't rip anything lengthwise on the affordable ones. A table-saw will rip, cross-cut, make dadoes, can be used as a planer or sander with the right attachments. With homemade jigs it can cut dovetails and tongue&groove joints, rabbets and finger-joints. It can be used to make fancy trim moulding such as crown-moulding from inexpensive wood. A table saw can also turn square wood into round table legs..so it replaces a lathe. And it can cut anything.... with the correct blade. If I had only 1 tool in my shop..it'd be the table saw. Audie...more thoughts on the way...
oldfart
Posts: 431
Joined: Fri Dec 21, 2007 10:31 am

M'am the way to get comfortable with any tool is to use it. That being said..go to Walmart and back in the Sporting Goods isle snatch up a pair of ear-muffs from the hunting stuff. They cost about $10 for a reasonable good pair. And grab a pair of them foam ear-plugs from the same isle....under $2. Now..see them shootin' glasses...yeah..the $6 ones. Pick up a pair of them or go to the Tool isle and get a pair of safety glasses for $6. When ya git back home grab up a handfull'a screwdrivers and wrenches and tighten up every nut/bolt&screw on that tablesaw. One of the reasons they is so noisy is chances are everything is vibrated loose. Make sure the table saw is sitting flat and level so it ain't walkin' around the whole time yer trying to cut something. Now...git to cuttin'! Grab up every scrap of wood you can lay yer hands on and send it thru the saw. Rip it..cross-cut it...make a helluva pile of kindlin' out it. You out'a be knee-deep in sawdust by now! Turn the miter to various angles and whittle some more of that scrap wood inter shavings! Raise the blade and lower the blade...change the angle of the blade..git to know that saw personel. Keep yer digits clear of the blade and stand off to one side in case of wood might kick back and hit ye in the forehead if ya don't. Now....shut that saw down and hoist a beer. Ye've done well woman. If there's a man out there that thinks he can do it better because he's a man..lemme see it !! JMHO of course. Audie..the Oldfart..


Audie,

I edited out certain parts of your replies that required visionary thought to get what you were alluding to. No reason for that type thought process here.

Thanks,
Robert
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Jim from Canada
Posts: 551
Joined: Mon Mar 05, 2007 10:39 am
Location: Seaforth, ON

Just a thought, record the make and model of your saw. There will be a tag somewhere on it. Then do a google search for parts. There may be aftermarket guards and parts for it. If you can't get a blade guard, a new throat plate with a splitter would really improve the safety. Do a google search for setting up your saw too.
Try this
http://www.wonderhowto.com/how-to/video ... aw-219846/

Jim
Remember, minimum code requirement is just that....MINIMUM
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Harry
Posts: 1249
Joined: Mon Feb 26, 2007 7:45 pm
Location: Citrus county Florida

Hi

I've got one of these cheapo miter boxes for my molding cuts.

Image

Harry
Aside from the roof leak, soft floors, rats, mice and bursted plumbing ........ how do you like it?
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