shop safety tips

David Lynch
04/21/10 11:52:27PM
I was changing the blade on my table saw earlier this evening and remembered that someone once said I had "a weird way of doing it". But it is the safest way I know of doing it, so I thought I share. I also wanted to see if anyone had their own way of doing some function that they would like to share too. Anything that helps keep all the fingers attached is a good idea, right?

Anyway....about that saw blade....

Every table saw I have seen uses a large nut that gets spun down tight against the blade to hold it in place. The thing is, when you go to tighten or loosen that nut, you are pushing or pulling a wrench right over a very sharp blade. One slip of the wrench and you risk driving your hand or wrist down across the blades teeth. If you lower the blade down past the surface of the table, there often isn't enough room to swing the wrench. There is a commercially made blade guard which sets down over the blade, however if you are like me, either you can't find the darned thing when you need it, it gets in the way of the wrench, or it really doesn't fit the blade right.

One day I was changing the blade and got to thinking about a better way of doing it. On the Rigid saw I have, the change requires using two wrenches, one on each side of the blade. I found that I can set the inner wrench, the one that goes on the stop nut, and then by rotating the blade I can lock the wrench in place against the inside of the opening, thus freeing up that hand. Next, instead of using one hand to loosen or tighten the nut, I take a large screwdriver and put it through a hole in the wrench, creating sort of a T shaped affair. Then I use both hands, one on each side of the wrench and well clear of the blade to apply the pressure I need. Since I am applying the pressure parallel to the blade, even if I do slip, I am not going to come down on the blade.