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Change a blade with A.J.

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For those of you who’ve ever dreamed of stepping into my shoes, now’s your chance! Grab your arbor wrench, and let’s change table saw blades!

Of all the woodshop machine adjustments you can do, changing a table saw blade is probably the most straightforward. But I have large hands and that adds an interesting (read: exasperating) twist to a simple task. Unfortunately, by paying so much attention to what my fat fingers are doing, I tend to not pay attention to other things. Ready? Let’s go!

  1. Your finger won’t fit in the little holes, so use scrap dowel to lift out the throat plate. Hang on to that dowel.
  2. Raise the blade and press the arbor lock. Because your knuckles can’t fit where that lock button is when the blade is raised, use the dowel to press it in as you loosen the arbor nut.
  3. Reach into throat to twist off the nut. Fumble the nut and drop it inside the saw cabinet. Extra points if you manage to drop it into the dust shroud around the blade. Retrieve arbor nut.
  4. Repeat step 3, but this time with the arbor washer. Retrieve arbor washer.
  5. Remove blade and put on the new one.
  6. Slip on arbor washer and arbor nut. Fumble one or both of them down inside the saw. Retrieve one, or both.
  7. Pressing the arbor lock with the dowel scrap, tighten arbor nut and lower blade.
  8. Use dowel to replace throat plate.
  9. Apply Band-Aids to all the scrapes on your knuckles.
  10. Smile at your completed task but realize that you were concentrating so hard on not fumbling and dropping stuff inside the saw that you put the blade on backward. Go back to step 2.

There you go; you’ve just lived a small portion of my life. This is what it’s like for those of us with big hands, but if you have normal hands try wearing thick gloves to simulate conditions. A pair of oven mitts ought to do it. You’ll fumble everything, but on the plus side you’ll scrape fewer knuckles.

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