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Re: Tools: 10 fingers is all we ask

: Discussing it with our school's knowledgeable shop teacher, we
: decided kick backs were more common and almost as dangerous.
: A table saw is a very powerful and potentially dangerous tool.

: What I know about human psychology and accidents, all the safety
: features in the world may not be enough to overcome
: cognitive dissonance, inattention and beating the odds (always a
: fool's game). Safety features sometimes inadvertently create a
: false sense of safety leading to taking (or ignoring) other
: risks.

Certainly agree with all of that! Tool designers seem to be regressing back to childhood.

I have a lovely little ultra-precise panel power saw but the blade guard is designed in such a way that the saw needs both hands to turn on and has to be on the workpiece before it will start. It also cannot be used with a straightedge guide. Good thinking, why would I want to cut straight with a precision saw? One day I will toss the guard and build one that works, and while I'm about it I will try to by-pass the ridiculous lockout device so I can start it without having my other hand almost on the blade. It's a household name.

I also have this cute little palm router; close to where I put my thumb there is a humongeous hole for the chips to come out, which is about ten times as big as it needs to be so my thumb can slip in and fondle the spinning bit. I do have a choice, I can always put my pinky there . . . I will have to make a guard for it, as the guard supplied is a piece of plastic cr@p. It's a household name.

Then there's the chop saw which can only be worked by a right-handed person and can only safely be used to cut off on the right; so if I am cutting molding that's the wrong shape I either can't use it or have to take the risk that the blade will suck the work up into the blade. The drill press is the same; why can't it be designed so the handle can be assembled on the left? I'm actually ambidextrous but lots of people are left-handed. It's a household name.

Curiously, all of the old-style hand tools designed hundreds of years ago are all equally suitable for right- of left handed work.

The only power tool I have that clearly accommodates lefties is a hand-held power plane; the vac attachment goes on either side and the safety works from either side. it's a Chinese import. So's the belt sander, these two are the only tools I have with dust catchers that work well.