"Portable" Table Saws #2: Be careful when cutting Dados!!

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Blog entry by Hawgnutz posted 08-10-2007 08:56 AM 22924 reads 0 times favorited 22 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 1: My First Ridgid "Portable" Table Saw Part 2 of "Portable" Table Saws series Part 3: How to mount an outfeed table on this?? »

I have done it hundreds of times—making repetitive cuts on table saw—and I am sure you have too. But NEVER get complacent using a table saw!

There I was cutting a doado in a length of soft cedar, guiding it on past the blades, when it bound up and shot back! When it did, it not only broke my newer fetherboard, propeled the board back into my truck tailgate, but it also drew the push block—with my hand—back over the spinning dado blade.

Here is the board.
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I was using a featherboard to keep board against fence and using a pushblock to apply pressure as it went over the dado blades. I was at the end iof the board and I hesitated just a moment, trying to figure a way to keep the board from falling down to the dirt when all hell broke loose. The board flung back and I thought I felt it hitting my little finger on my left hand. I was noy until I was picking up the pieces of my broken featherboard that I noticed blood on the ground. I looked at my finger and it did not look good!

Here’s what my finger looked like at the site:
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Here are the new featherboard and the push board. (Note groove in push board. This is what gave me the first inkling that the blade, not the board had hit my finger.)
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Well, after being told by the local ER that it would be about 5 hours until they saw me, I had my son drive me 30 miles back to Bisbee, and I was seen in 10 minutes. After the wound was soaked and cleaned of all teh blood, you could tell that the dado blade had hit it for sure!
Here’s what it looked like at the Emergency Room:
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I still will cut al the daoes in the wood to fill a project I contrated for, but I will make me a “safer” push block, sorta like the medievel sword shields, and keep my hands in front of the blades whenever I cut dadoes!

I can only thank my Lord for protecting me from really serious injury! God is so Good!!
Anyway, I have 9 stitches and will have to use a splint on little finger for about a week or so. So, nothing too serious. Just another lesson of hard knocks. We all have them to share!

Be Carefull!
God Bless,

-- Saving barnwood from the scrapyards

22 comments so far

View Dorje's profile


1763 posts in 4237 days

#1 posted 08-10-2007 10:15 AM

Sorry you had to experience it at all – but we all do it, don’t we!

-- Dorje (pronounced "door-jay"), Seattle, WA

View 's profile

593 posts in 4212 days

#2 posted 08-10-2007 12:48 PM

Ouch! That… is… scary. I guess among us woodworkers there’re those who have experienced it and those who will.

From your text it seems that you didn’t place any kind of outfeed table and that could be the cause -or at least a contributing factor- of the accident. With hindsight, could you help us guessing how this could have been prevented?

A priori dados seem to be quite safe to cut but I guess we can never be too careful.

Take care and don’t go into (or should I say out to?) the shop if you don’t feel like, or are overstressed by the injury.

View markrules's profile


146 posts in 4355 days

#3 posted 08-10-2007 01:27 PM

And at least it didn’t grab your ring and take the finger with it. I’ve seen pictures of that…. I’d say you got off lucky!

View MsDebbieP's profile


18618 posts in 4401 days

#4 posted 08-10-2007 01:30 PM

that is just … gruesome .. ewww.

Jojo has a good point: what are the “lessons learned” warnings for us to learn from.

-- ~ Debbie, Canada (, Young Living Wellness )

View gizmodyne's profile


1780 posts in 4330 days

#5 posted 08-10-2007 04:04 PM

Yikes!. Thankfully it wasn’t worst. Work safe Hawg.

-- -John "Do I have to keep typing a smiley? Just assume it's a joke."

View Dick, & Barb Cain's profile

Dick, & Barb Cain

8693 posts in 4539 days

#6 posted 08-10-2007 04:40 PM

I’m sorry you had that bad accident. You’re lucky, it could have been a lot worse though.

-- -** You are never to old to set another goal or to dream a new dream ****************** Dick, & Barb Cain, Hibbing, MN.

View TreeBones's profile


1827 posts in 4263 days

#7 posted 08-10-2007 04:56 PM

We are all glad that this turned out to be a minor instead of a major setback. Every time I turn on my table saw I get a tinge of fear and I hope this is what has helped me to have no scars from this most important tool. Always safety first. Thanks for sharing this and I hope it results in a safer future for all.

-- Ron, Twain Harte, Ca. Portable on site Sawmill Service

View Hawgnutz's profile


526 posts in 4316 days

#8 posted 08-10-2007 05:11 PM

Yes, it COULD have been much worse. Like Mark said, if it did grab my ring. Never thought about that. Maybe I need to take it off when I work with power tools. It’s the little things like that you sometimes overlook until the disaster happens.

As far as outfeed tables go, I am using a “portable” table saw in my dirt driveway. I need to make a portable outfeed table or just learn to drop it in the dirt.

Upon further reflection I think I made three major mistakes in my cutting.
1) I had a beveled edge at the end of my cut (see picture). That allowed the board to ‘rotate’ off the fence and bind on the blade. It should have been on the leading edge, then I would not have to worry about rotating the board with my push stick.
2) I had the featherboard in FRONT of the blade, like I would rip cut. This position is crucial when ripping to prevent board from getting pinched and binding on blade, but with dadoes, I am thinking it should have been directly opposite the blade, preventing any rotation of the board.
3) Keep my hands BEHIND the blade. This injury happened because I had my hand behind the blade feeding board through. I should have used my push stick that extends in front of the hand.

Another potential problem I had was that I had gotten too complacent with cutting dadoes and I was doing a smal-scale mass production of domino holders. When you have a 1/2” stacked dado, there is a LOT of mass spinning on that arbor! A lot of orportunity for disaster.


Anyway, after a few days off to heal, I will be back at the same table saw designing some sort of outfeed table and a better dado atachment for my fence! I will be working a LOT safer, too! No complacency!

God Has Blessed Me,

-- Saving barnwood from the scrapyards

View Partridge's profile


296 posts in 4196 days

#9 posted 08-10-2007 07:29 PM

Hope you get better fast.
we all tend to get to conferable with power tools and forget the basics…. I when to several TS safety classes and 3 of the top things they reaped : good push stick, out feed table, and stand of to the side out thing trapped between fence.

I will take your photo and hang it near the saw to remind me to stay on my toes.


-- I get out in the shop when I can

View Hawgnutz's profile


526 posts in 4316 days

#10 posted 08-10-2007 07:42 PM

Thanks, Partridge. I was using a good push stick, just not the best one to use with dadoes. I stood off to the side, too, but I did not have an outfeed table. (It is on the top priority on my next shop project, though!)

God Bless,

-- Saving barnwood from the scrapyards

View Bob Babcock's profile

Bob Babcock

1809 posts in 4326 days

#11 posted 08-10-2007 07:48 PM

Thanks for the lesson Hawg. I need to go make an outfeed table now.

BTW….you might want to try using for your online photos. They make it easy to paste in the html code for your photos. One click and it copies the code to your clipboard for easy pasting into your blogs.

Heal well!

-- Bob

View TomFran's profile


2959 posts in 4234 days

#12 posted 08-10-2007 08:37 PM

Very sorry to hear about your accident.

Woodworking is fun, but it is also dangerous. A while back I read a great Fine Woodworking magazine article called “Keeping Ten Fingers.” I don’t really lilke thinking about such things (tend to have a weak stomach), but I had to read the article and was glad I did. I actually go back from time to time and read it again, to remind myself of the safety principles that were delineated in it.

In the article they said that over 40% of all woodworking accidents (that require hospital visits) happen with the table saw. Partly because it is one of the most used tools in the shop, but also because there are alot of dangers involved with using it. They mentioned dado cutting and using molding head equipment as (2) of the more dangerous procedures.

They also said that the bandsaw is a much safer saw, and so one should try to do as many tasks as possible on it. Only 5% of accidents occur with the bandsaw. Of course, when it comes to cutting dados, you’re not going to be able to do that with your bandsaw.

Thanks for the humble reminder to all of us. Praise the Lord that you still have “ten fingers”!!!

Note: I actually posted this on the other thread dealing with this topic.

BTW: I am going to see if I can copy that FWW article and post it here (with their permission), since it contained some very good safety information.

-- Tom, Surfside Beach, SC - Romans 8:28

View Hawgnutz's profile


526 posts in 4316 days

#13 posted 08-10-2007 08:52 PM

Thanks, Bob. I tried to get my photos in photobucket, but was not able to get them uploaded, sorted and posted here. Iwas just back from church service, it was late and I got frustrated trying to figure their file structure. LOL I tried Flickr, but got same results as using :0( C’est la Vie!

Maybe with me being laid up some more, I will be able to figure all these out. I don’t speak HTML, but I have used it before.

Tom, when I think abojut just how fast that accident happened, and how much worse it could have been, I thank God for His great mercy on His humble child! God is truly GOOD!

God Bless,

-- Saving barnwood from the scrapyards

View PanamaJack's profile


4483 posts in 4317 days

#14 posted 08-10-2007 08:56 PM

We all learned a valuable lesson with you Hawg. I believe that someone was looking out for you as this happened. It could have been much worse. Take care of yourself Hawg.

-- Carpe Lignum; Tornare Lignum (Seize the wood, to Turn the wood)

View woodspar's profile


710 posts in 4339 days

#15 posted 08-10-2007 10:18 PM


I am glad you are going to be ok. I have done dado cutting on my bench saw, but that covered blade kind of gives me the willies. I like to cut my slots, dado cuts and rabbet cuts with my router, but you can get hurt with any tool I guess.

Hawg, I use flickr to host my images. I am sending you a pm.

-- John

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