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Re: Tools: Trying to improve safety

: The bit can go through leather as fast as it can go through thumbs.

True but it will hopefully give me a heads-up before it reaches flesh!

: Can you epoxy a cone or tube over that chip window to shield it
: better? Maybe find a connector for a dust collection hose and
: glue that in place so you have a wide opening for the chips to
: go out, but a deep opening which it is hard to put the fingers
: in?

There is a chip collector but it's about as useful as those things generally are on a handheld tool. maybe a wire across the gap will do the job - i will look at it next time.

I'm sure all those devoted to their table saws will find your suggestions useful but my power saw is handheld. But whatever the tool, safety is paramount. Before I turn on any tool I visualize what I am about to do and review what can go wrong. My thumb event took place when I was too tired to do that - it taught me to stop working when I am tired.

The simplest thickness gauge is just a trip of hardwood planed to size. I sometimes buy aluminum extrusions for various parts and if I find one with a dimension I am likely to use I cut off a short length, mark it and set it aside. Another tip I will repeat that works for me, when the plank I am cutting strips from is getting a bit thin, I glue it to the next plank before sawing. It allows me to use the last little bit safely. When hand-planing a thin piece - since I don't have a power planer - I use double-sided tape to attach it to a plank; same deal.

When I cut wider pieces like plywood I use a simple guide: I glued a long batten along the manufactured (therefore straight) edge of a ply sheet and ran my handheld saw down it, keeping the saw's baseplate in contact with the batten so I cut off a strip of ply exactly where the blade runs. I clamp that guide edge where I want a cut to be and the cut is always spot on. Not my idea, but a good one for the non-tablesaw fraternity.