I have a Ridgid R4510 portable contractors saw- its the new and improved version that replaced the TS2410 and it’s a great saw. The problem is, when I bought it they did not yet have available a dado insert so I made my own out of 1/4” plywood and some leveling screws.
Saturday night I was cutting dados on my table saw when my home made dado throat plate slid forward and caught on the dado blade. I was doing everything right- using a miter gauge with an extended fence, not using the table saw fence with the miter gauge, etc.
Evidently the 1/4” plywood I used warped in the summer heat and humidity in my Georgia garage and developed a bit of a curve that allowed material passing over the dado blade to catch and slide the dado insert forward and backwards. The result was the throat plate catching on the blade and shooting out like a missile, which caught me square in the gut.
Interestingly enough, it didn’t damage the shirt or undershirt I was wearing, but the impact was so hard it broke the skin in two lines exactly 1/4” apart where the edges of the plywood hit me through the two shirts just from the blunt force.
It hit me hard enough to bounce off and fly 10 feet to rest on my drill press table back behind the saw.
It hurt. A lot. It knocked me down when it hit me, and I’m no little guy by any means. I don’t think I can really describe how much it hurt- it was definitely one of the most painful things I’ve ever experienced and people told me I was white as a sheet. My buddy thought I was in shock, and I may well have been.
On Sunday I could tell it messed me up at least down to the muscle when I had trouble sitting up the next day and burning in my abs.
On Monday, I felt nauseous and threw up when I tried to eat anything. The pain had gone to new extremes and I knew something was messed up inside. I had my wife take me over to the walk-in immediate care place after work, and they immediately sent me to the emergency room to get a CT scan of my guts.
After many hours, drugs, and tests they determined that my abdominal wall and intestines were swollen from the impact- that’s what was making me not able to eat and feel like I was dying inside. Evidently its very common for internal organs to start swelling 48-72 hours past the injury, so that explained the delayed reaction in my guts. They gave me anti-inflammatory medication and pain killers through the IV and a prescription for the “good drugs”. I’ve been in and out of la-la land ever since. This is the first time I’ve felt coherent enough to write the blog post 4 days later.
In retrospect, I’m not real sure what I could have done to avoid the accident. I can’t use the riving knife, guards, or kickback paws with the dado blade on my table saw. If anything, an inspection of the shop-made inserts for bowing or warp-age is definitely on my pre-cut checklist from now on.
On the bright side my wife had absolutely no problems with me ordering a new Leecraft zero clearance insert and a proper Ridgid dado insert for my saw (which evidently they make now, but there is a 2-4 week backorder). My Aflac “accident” policy will even pay for them!
Be safe guys, you definitely don’t want this to happen to you. I have a new respect for kickback and the force these saws can produce.
-- Jason, Atlanta, GA