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Is My TS3660 As Safe As It Can Be?

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  • Is My TS3660 As Safe As It Can Be?

    I have a very healthy respect for my TS3660 tablesaw and want to be absolutely as safe as possible. I am brand new to woodworking and only want to develop good habits. I would appreciate any comments or suggestions regarding my safety adjustments.

    1) Leveled table saw extension tables using a 38" long aluminum straight edge. Shimmed one table to make level.

    2) Arbor runout (on face and lateral) less than .001".

    2) Using TS-Aligner Jr. Lite, less than .001" variance on blade to miter slot alignment.

    3) Using TS-Aligner Jr. Lite, fence pulls away from blade toward rear by about .001".

    4) Splitter aligned with saw blade. Have noticed no binding or burning of wood.

    5) Using Micro-Jig GRR-Ripper for holding wood and ripping. Seems to make it easy to hold against fence, exert downward pressure, and push forward.

    6) Switch moved to left side, so do not have to lean across back of saw to reach.

    7) Lee Valley zero clearance insert installed.

    8) Considering Micro-Jig splitters. See www.micro-jig.com. Will use more ZCIs for different cut depths with splitter positioned close to rear of blade.

    9) All adjustments from Ridgid instructions performed.

    Some areas of concern. The blade appears to have about .005" lateral runout. Fence is not completely flat when TS-Aligner is in right miter slot. .002" - .003" variance down the face.

    Some people have the fence pull away from the blade to the rear. Would that not tend to pull the left rear cut off piece into the rear of the blade? This assume the fence is to the right of the blade.

    I stand to the left of the blade, but if the wood is picked up and pulled over the top of the blade on a kickback, seems like I am in the impact zone.

    Thanks.

    - Phil

  • #2
    Re: Is My TS3660 As Safe As It Can Be?

    It sounds like you have done all you can as far as the saw goes. The only thing you did not mention is to make sure it is sitting solid and stable on all four feet.

    The primary component in using it safely is the one located between your ears. If it does not feel safe, stop and think why. Then correct whatever it is you feel wrong.

    As for the kickback zone, you will find it virtually impossible to use the saw and stay completely out of it. You are better served to be stable and balanced and in control of the work, than to be be twisted, using your least dexterous hand, and not being able to see your cut trying to keep completely away from it. Do try to keep your head and center body mass out of it as much as possible.

    To increase your safety, use featherboards, board buddies, etc that will stop the board if kickback does occur.

    Unplug the saw (or kill power) anytime you have your hands on the blade or motor pulley. Unplug it if there is a power outage until the power is back on (including if you trip a breaker) That way you won't have the blade power up because you forgot to shut off the switch when the saw dies.

    Use push blocks/sticks that grab the wood, and are tall enough that the direction of your hand's force is not directly toward the blade (i.e. over the top maybe, but not pushing down and into it.) Your hand should never be closer than 3" to the spinning blade.

    If you feel the board is too big to handle safely, set up additional support, or rough cut the board smaller with a circular saw/hand saw, etc first. However, realize most accidents happen when people are trying to cut small and thin boards, and get too close to the blade or do not have anyway to secure the wood. Little pieces fly faster than big ones.

    Keep the top clean and waxed, (that goes for additional infeed and outfeed supports, too) so the work is not dragging when pushing it thorough the cut. Make sure your miter gauge, or any jigs on runners do not bind up in the miter slots. Trying to overcome unexpected resistance can cause you to lose balance or force the wood sideways into the blade.

    Keep up with the tips and accident reports posted here and on other forums.

    Table saws are dangerous. If it cuts wood it can cut you. However, your automobile is much more dangerous, because it is operated in an environment in which you have little control. Just use your head, stay focused, think through the operation before you do it, and stop it you feel it is wrong. There is no shame in dropping the blade down and doing a dummy cut with the power off to check yourself out.

    JMTCW

    Go

    PS, Fence is fine. mine has more deviation than yours. I put an auxiliary wood fence on it to get it flat. I do not have my fence toed out at the rear. However, if you do, you will find that the wood will follow the splitter, and move off the fence at the rear. Let it. The fence does not have to support the wood behind the cut. Some people but an auxiliary fence that stops about 1" behind the front edge of the blade (I believe it is called a European fence). After the cut, there is no fence to push the wood into the blade. However, there is also no fence to align your work at the tail end of the cut. The splitter (or riving knife) is left to do that on its own. It is perfectly safe and results in an accurate cut as long as the splitter/riving knife are solid and aligned properly. I am thinking about trying that on my next project to see if I have an accuracy problem, but have not done it yet, so cannot speak from experience.
    Last edited by Gofor; 01-21-2010, 09:46 PM.
    Practicing at practical wood working

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    • #3
      Re: Is My TS3660 As Safe As It Can Be?
      1. Keep the top clean and waxed so you don't need to push as hard.
      2. The correct high quality thin kerf blade that's clean and sharp is also a plus.
      3. +1 on the feather board suggestion.
      4. Use a zero clearance insert (ZCI)

      (keep the stock blade for junk cuts)
      Last edited by hewood; 01-24-2010, 06:18 AM. Reason: added one

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      • #4
        Re: Is My TS3660 As Safe As It Can Be?

        Great post Phil, and excellent advice all around. I know you mentioned it in another post, but it's good to say here as well: Make sure you are always wearing eye protection when making a cut, and the other more subtle danger, wear a good dust mask, especially if your in a confined shop with a sub par dust collection system Ex. my shop

        Comment


        • #5
          Re: Is My TS3660 As Safe As It Can Be?

          Thank you for the replies.

          I do have a Ridgid magnetic featherboard tool. This thing works very well. I am not comfortable handling big sheets of wood, so have it cut at the home center down to size, and then use the saw. If still too big for my comfort, then will use a circular saw (buying the Ridgid 6.5" Fuego). The table top, miter slots, miter gauge, fence rails, fence face, and leading edge of guard are all waxed with Johnson's paste wax. Saw sits stable on floor, but there is some minimal vibration.

          I use a mask. I also use electronic earmuffs (I use these when shooting at the range), which amplify sound until about 85 db, and then they act like regular muffs. Great for hearing normally, but go quiet when it gets noisy. Have plenty of safety glasses.

          Just have to know to stop if it feel wrong, and not let impatience take over.

          - Phil

          Comment


          • #6
            Re: Is My TS3660 As Safe As It Can Be?

            +1 on the most important part of safety being between your ears. The only thing I can add to this list is no loose clothes and roll up or preferably remove long sleeves when cutting. I cannot stress this enough being a machinist and seeing first hand what rotating machinery of any kind can do when it catches clothing (thankfully other people). Never, ever, wear gloves while cutting and take the watch off too. I still have all my fingers but have done some damage to a couple of them, both preventably. Once with a drill and once with a nail gun. The drill incident was from dumb shortcuts to get the job done, and the nail gun incident was due to using a cheap tool that loved to double fire and I continued using it. Thankfully, both air conditioned fingers healed, but both incidents could have been much worse!
            Last edited by JTROANOKE; 01-22-2010, 11:32 PM.

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            • #7
              Re: Is My TS3660 As Safe As It Can Be?

              This thread contains some very valuable safety advice for all table saw models.

              This thread should be posted as a "sticky" so it will be quickly visible for reference.

              Bill

              Comment


              • #8
                Re: Is My TS3660 As Safe As It Can Be?

                In my set-up of the TS3660, I discovered a few other things and did a couple of other things to ensure safety.

                1) I aligned the fence to left miter slot, and got it dead on. Just for the heck of it, I tried the same measurement from the right miter slot. The fence toes away from the blade, at the back of the fence, by about .005". Would appear the miter slots are not dead parallel. Or, the front rail is not dead straight (canting the fence). I used a 38" aluminum straight edge along the rail, and it is arrow straight, so am assuming the miter slots are not 100% parallel. I cleaned them both thoroughly. The dial indicator slowly moves all the way down the length of the fence, as the measuring tool is pushed down the right slot. Stays pretty much at zero on the left slot.

                2) I found measurements for fence parallelism change slightly depending on the direction the fence was pushed. I pushed the fence to the blade, to ensure there was no chance the rear of the fence could be pinching stock against the blade.

                3) Once the fence is aligned, move it away, slide it back and measure again. I found the measurement can change from the initial measurement. I was looking for repeatable measurements.

                - Phil

                Comment


                • #9
                  Re: Is My TS3660 As Safe As It Can Be?

                  Phil - Did you upgrade the stock blade?

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                  • #10
                    Re: Is My TS3660 As Safe As It Can Be?

                    No, I have not changed the blade. My first work with the saw is to build a workbench, and some garage stuff, and for that, the stock blade seems fine. I am new to woodworking, but frankly, found the cuts pretty smooth. I probably don't know what I am missing. One thing about the blade that does bother me a bit, is that lateral runout is about .005". Perhaps within normal tolerances, but not sure. It makes a lot of noise with a ZCI insert I installed.

                    - Phil

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Re: Is My TS3660 As Safe As It Can Be?

                      Originally posted by Phil3 View Post
                      No, I have not changed the blade. My first work with the saw is to build a workbench, and some garage stuff, and for that, the stock blade seems fine. I am new to woodworking, but frankly, found the cuts pretty smooth. I probably don't know what I am missing. One thing about the blade that does bother me a bit, is that lateral runout is about .005". Perhaps within normal tolerances, but not sure. It makes a lot of noise with a ZCI insert I installed.

                      - Phil
                      Phil - The stock blade is pretty poor, with lower grade carbide. I doubt that it'll cut well compared to a quality blade, but more importantly, it'll dull quickly and you'll find yourself pushing harder than you need to. That not only labors the motor more, it puts you in a more dangerous situation. A good sharp blade that's suitable for the application will allow the wood to glide through more easily, which gives you better control. Since the point of the thread was safety, I think the blade upgrade is a sensible move.

                      Safety aside, you'll get more from the saw with a good blade...right now, your saw is not better than a mediocre blade. Optimize your investment.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Re: Is My TS3660 As Safe As It Can Be?

                        Originally posted by Phil3 View Post

                        1) I aligned the fence to left miter slot, and got it dead on. Just for the heck of it, I tried the same measurement from the right miter slot. The fence toes away from the blade, at the back of the fence, by about .005". Would appear the miter slots are not dead parallel. Or, the front rail is not dead straight (canting the fence). I used a 38" aluminum straight edge along the rail, and it is arrow straight, so am assuming the miter slots are not 100% parallel. I cleaned them both thoroughly. The dial indicator slowly moves all the way down the length of the fence, as the measuring tool is pushed down the right slot. Stays pretty much at zero on the left slot.

                        Phil, I found the exact same thing when I first set up my saw. My left miter slot is dead on to the blade and to the fence, but when I run my dial indicator down the right miter slot and measure the fence I find it is out. I haven't run into problems with this, and have since always aligned the blade and fence to the left miter slot.

                        A quick word about the stock blade. I actually found the stock blade not to be horribly bad for the odd project, but be cautioned, The stock blade that came with my saw had a kerf so small that it would not fit the splitter. So you would make a cut and every thing would be going fine until the stock hit the splitter on the other side of the blade and it would just stop. My splitter was dead on alignment and everything was perfect, it was just a fact that the splitter would not fit in the extremely small blade kerf. This could potentially be dangerous if someone panicked and tried to force the stock into the splitter. It was a common problem with the stock blade that Ridgid sent out with the 3660 and you will find many other posts on the topic if you do a search here. To be on the safe side I would check the blade kerf to make sure it will except the splitter.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Re: Is My TS3660 As Safe As It Can Be?

                          Buy a nice, quality combo blade or a rip and crosscut blade. Use the OE blade for things that are not critical or require a high grade cut.

                          You won't believe the difference a great blade can make until you have run some stock through for yourself. I use a Freud glue line rip blade on my R4511 and it makes an incredible rip cut. I use a Freud Avanti crosscut blade that does an equally incredible job of cross cutting.

                          I think most table saw manufactures include a blade just because it seems like the thing to do. But if you want your saw to perform to its potential you need to upgrade the blade(s). You won't regret it.

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                          • #14
                            Re: Is My TS3660 As Safe As It Can Be?

                            Thanks for the responses on the blade. I checked the blade, and it is about .095" in kerf thickness. A 3/32" drill (.0938") easily into the kerf of wood I put a test cut into. A 7/64 (.1094) bit will not. The splitter measures about .085" in thickness. The test wood piece fits around the splitter without any resistance. Looks like I am OK here.

                            OK, seems like a good blade is safer, rather like a sharp kitchen knife is safer than a dull one requiring a lot of effort behind it. The Forrest II is very costly, and probably more than I need. Recommendations for general use that are a good value for the $$$ that work on the TS3660?

                            Thank you for your help. I am feeling better about using the saw.

                            - Phil

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                            • #15
                              Re: Is My TS3660 As Safe As It Can Be?

                              Most table saws, including your 3660 have a key that must be inserted before you can power up the saw. I think that it is a good safety practice to take the key out of the slot as soon as you turn the power off and leave it in your tool apron until you are ready to cut. This will keep you from inadvertly turning the saw on when you aren't ready or some unauthorized person from coming along and wondering what will happen when they pull that switch thing on. Along those lines, a knee operated off switch on the left side of the saw isn't a bad idea either.

                              Be sure the saw has completely quit spinning before lifting the guard or removing the work piece.

                              Otherwise it sounds like you've pretty well covered the waterfront.

                              Blind Bill

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