Table saws are incredibly dangerous tools.. The table saw consists of a blade mounted in a table such that it sticks up vertically through the table top and is used to cut sheets of wood and what have you. A safety cover normally covers the blade and prevents people from losing fingers. But the safety cover needs to pop up to do the actual cutting of the wood so a lot of scope to lose fingers.. And people do!
Photo courtesy of mandependence.com
On a parallel, an interesting flooding of the market has been going on the last years of various oscillating tools. These are tools whereby the blade only oscillates and doesn’t rotate. Fein were the first ones on the market and protected their invention with a patent. That patent however has run out and now other manufacturers are pouncing onto the market. The oscillating tools have various advantages over other tools, but the main advantage that would be negelected to be mentioned is that these devices are exponentially safer than other cutting tools.
Let me explain where this fits in with the table saw if you haven’t made the connection already..
A gentleman by the name of Homer Stryker invented in 1943 an oscillating (vibrating) electric saw to cut and remove casts, which would not cut skin. It worked on the principle that oscillating tools in your local hardware shop still apply nowadays. So these tools, with a multitide of different blades that can be attached, are much safer than their rotating counterparts as they don’t cut through skin very well.
Now, if we perhaps use a oscillating blade in the table saw, we would end up with a much safer tool that still does the job properly.
Some people have actually developed a table saw for children to use as can be seen in this video, but they are using a very soft replacement to wood. They haven’t made the jump to full size tools yet.
If I had the choice between choosing a table saw that has the capability to chop my fingers off or a table saw that is practically safe while still doing the cutting well, I’d choose the latter. Wouldn’t you?