How to Mount a Paddle Switch to a Table Saw

Many table saws include a paddle switch, a safety feature that enables the user to turn off the power to the saw.

A paddle switch on a table saw allows you to turn off the motor with your knee or leg, enabling you to keep both hands on the workpiece.A paddle switch on a table saw allows you to turn off the motor with your knee or leg, enabling you to keep both hands on the workpiece.
The switch is a large plastic lever that allows the woodworker to find it easily by hand or even push the switch with a knee in order to keep eyes and hands on the workpiece. You may install a paddle switch on a table saw not already so equipped.

Disconnect the table saw's power cord from the electrical outlet.

Loosen the existing power switch's mounting screws with a screwdriver and remove it from the underside of the table. Follow the cord that connects the switch to the motor until you find the housing that covers the wire connections to the motor. Loosen the screws that hold the housing's cover plate in place and remove the plate.

Remove the three wires from their connection points on the motor, paying close attention to the color of each wire and where it connects. Pull the wire out of the housing, and set aside.

Connect the spades on the ends of the wire from the new paddle switch into the motor, making sure to connect the same color wires to each connection as when you removed the old wire. Replace the housing cover and secure it by tightening the screw.

Position the new paddle switch under the front rail of the table saw in the desired position. Mark the positions of the holes on the switch on the rail with a pencil.

Set the switch aside and drill a hole 1/8 inch in diameter through the two locations as marked by the pencil.

Re-position the switch beneath the rail and connect the switch to the rail with a pair of 1/4-inch screws.

Plug the power cord from the switch into the power outlet and turn on the switch to test the saw.

Things You Will Need

  • Screwdriver
  • Paddle switch
  • Pencil
  • Power drill with bits
  • 2 sheet metal screws, 1/4 inch in diameter and 1 inch long

Warning

  • When drilling into metal with a power drill, wear safety glasses to protect your eyes from flying debris.

About the Author

Chris Baylor has been writing about various topics, focusing primarily on woodworking, since 2006. You can see his work in publications such as "Consumer's Digest," where he wrote the 2009 Best Buys for Power Tools and the 2013 Best Buys for Pressure Washers.