WT372 – Safety Tips We Don’t Follow

On today’s weekend show, we’re talking about the safety tips that we don’t follow.

What Are We Talking About

Somebody (Marc forgot to right it down) asked:

I have a question for you guys well the power tool guys at least..sorry Shannon. Do you unplug your tablesaw to change blades?

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8 replies on “WT372 – Safety Tips We Don’t Follow”

I don’t unplug my table saw, but I do make a point of turning off both the On/Off switch and the Main Power switch on my SawStop table saw. This is because I’m afaid I could activate the blade retraction safety system, which paradoxically could prove very unsafe if your hands and wrenches are down in the vicinity of the blade arbor mechanism.

A better question might be, do you always follow those safety rules pertaining to the more subtle safety issues. Do you ever make that quick cut or sanding without your dust protection? Do you always have proper ventilation with that oil based finish or spray paint? Guilty on both counts.

You have to shut off the main breaker to your house before using your table saw or you could be injured.

I think, a lot of the safety practices come from the big industries and are transferred to the small workshop, without thinking enough about it. I think of central switches or timers or things like that.
Here in Germany, safety is a big thing, not only in DIY. Insurancecompanies and authorities are mighty organisations and so we are not allowed for example Dadostacks. They interfere with the regulations for motorpower and time till the blade has to stand still at a tablesaw. There are lots of glues and laquers and can’t easily buy because of safetyprecautions.
My personal guilt are glases and other protective gear. I allways forget to put them on.

You don’t know what you don’t know. If you know it then you’d know why its ok to to do the thing that you know you’re not supposed to do. The exception is when you think you know, but you don’t.

But I do know what I know: A mechanical device(let’s say a switch) doesn’t move from a stable state(say off) without outside intervention.

I’ve been working with power tools professionally for 40+ years and I have yet to see one turn itself on. Turning off, yes.

The only thing in my shop I make a point of unplugging is battery chargers.

Do you always turn of your breaker panel when replacing an outlet? Well you should….. trust me on this one!!! Although to be clear I thought I turned it off, but I thought wrong…. luckily it was not that bad but it did hurt like hell.

I think your advice about making your own safety decisions is spot on. As for me, I always unplug any machine with a magnetic switch before doing maintenance ……..other machines, not so much.


Inside the mag switch is a little spring that holds the ON/OFF contacts apart. If that spring is old, or poorly made a moderate smack on the body of the switch can turn it on.

Years ago, a friend and I tested his tablesaw. We smacked the top of the mag switch with a 2×4 and the saw turned on!
It’s easy to imagine a piece of lumber falling and sliding along the fence rail until it hits the mag switch.

That’s why I always unplug my tablesaw before changing the blade.


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