My dad has decided to turn this:

enter image description here

into this:

enter image description here

using this setup:

enter image description here

When I saw this, my eyes almost dropped out of their sockets.

I am an amateur, but I know that:

  1. Your piece should be flat and stable.
  2. Use riving knife for ripping.
  3. Rip fence should be perfectly parallel with the saw disc.
  4. The 'to keep' piece should be on the side of the fence.
  5. When pushing the piece, apply pressure on the part that is between the saw disc and the fence.

I told my dad, that he has to stop, because his setup is very dangerous, but he reassured me that this is the way he did it the last 45 years and that he is using a 1.5 meter long push stick and not coming anywhere near the saw disc. I told him about kickback, but he said that it never happened to him.

Breaking down wood is something very removed from what I usually do. Hence seeing all the rules broken made me think that they perhaps apply to a different sport. Perhaps I am just overly protective.

Is this setup safe? If no, how can I make it safer?

  • 5
    You already know the answer to the first question! Just because your dad (anyone) doing something dangerous has not had an accident does not mean that what they're doing is not risky/dangerous/foolhardy. Table-saw-related injuries are some of the best examples of where the user will inevitably say "This has never happened before." Well OK, but was it a matter of when and not if? As to how to make this safer, I think most or all will agree that the thing to do is not to do it on that saw, full stop.
    – Graphus
    Commented Sep 12, 2022 at 18:28
  • 3
    You probably know this already but the saw for processing logs 'freehand' is the bandsaw, and it's fundamentally a much safer tool than table saws (SawStop excluded naturally). But even on a bandsaw it's still safer to use a jig for at least the first one or two establishing cuts, where the piece is still irregular and unstable.
    – Graphus
    Commented Sep 12, 2022 at 18:31
  • 2
    It’s hard to teach an old dog new tricks. If your father did enough of this, he would eventually get hurt, but it’s not like he’s apt to believe you or a bunch of well-meaning randos on the interwebz. The semi-reasonable thing that jumps out at me is attaching the stump firmly to a unidirectional (no kickback) captured (no flying up) sled. Setup and use takes time, so might not be popular. Commented Sep 12, 2022 at 23:45
  • 3
    Find some internet pics of the rough sawing portion of a lumber mill and point out to dad that A) the hold downs for the tree are hydraulic, and that B) no people are in the line of fire should something go wrong. Alternatively, show him pictures of people with fingers, hands, arms missing due to table saw mishaps...
    – FreeMan
    Commented Sep 13, 2022 at 16:41
  • 1
    Buy your dad a bandsaw as a gift for christmass/birthday - whatever comes first!
    – Jan Spurny
    Commented Sep 19, 2022 at 15:25

1 Answer 1


Taking a stab at "making it safer"

If you built a sled that held the log while it's pushed through the blade with handles that assured no body parts approached the blade it would be safer.
Keeping in mind that safety is not binary but a continuum.

Both of these images are sleds made for a bandsaw (as Graphus says in the comments a bandsaw is the preferred tool) but the idea is the same. enter image description here

Or this one LumberJocks.com enter image description here

Here's a rig with a circular blade.
enter image description here
Spacht Sawmill
The sled holding the log is huge!

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