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Kickback!

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Blog entry by Stephen Fields posted 06-12-2008 03:43 AM 1121 reads 0 times favorited 18 comments Add to Favorites Watch

I had my first kickback episode and do not know what I did wrong…

I was ripping a small piece of of red oak to a width of 3”. The piece I was ripping was a scrap from a previous project and was not rectangular in shape. Here is a picture of the piece after I cut the excess off:

Oak Kickback

In the picture you can see the push stick that I was using and the setup of the saw. Here is another picture at a lower angle:

Oak Kickback

Here is what happened: I pushed the piece forward and the waste was cut off the left side of the piece. The waste was slowly moving towards me as it does sometimes, and the waste wedged itself between the feather board and the blade and just shot past me into some moving blankets.

This last picture shows where things were when it happened. Obviously, the saw is not running in this picture:

Oak Kickback

I try to be as careful as I can and use the safety devices when they are available. The only thing that I can see that I could have done differently, would be to move the feather board back from the blade some to expand the area between where the waste was and the feather board would be. Unfortunately, the piece was small enough to where that may have not provided enough support by the blade.

What could I have done differtently?

-- "Measure Twice, Cut Once" --- If only I could remember this!



18 comments so far

View tenontim's profile

tenontim

2131 posts in 3211 days


#1 posted 06-12-2008 03:57 AM

You got it, Steve. Always place your feather board in front of the blade or you will cause it to pinch the blade and you know the rest. The feather board is to hold the wood against the fence. Once it’s cutting the blade basically holds it then once through the blade your splitter will keep it in line.

View Stephen Fields's profile

Stephen Fields

15 posts in 3110 days


#2 posted 06-12-2008 04:00 AM

Thanks for the quick response. I actually had about a one inch distance between the last fin of the feather board and the blade but I suspect that it needs to be more like two inches or maybe even three

-- "Measure Twice, Cut Once" --- If only I could remember this!

View Todd A. Clippinger's profile

Todd A. Clippinger

8901 posts in 3566 days


#3 posted 06-12-2008 04:03 AM

I am with Tenontim. The featherboard should not be placed where it will NOT be continually pinching the waste to the blade after the cut is done.

I personally would not have use the featherboard for a piece this short. On something like this the push stick can be used to move the wood forward and a slight pressure to the side will keep it against the fence just fine. It really does not take much.

I have the same push stick and the long shoe works well in keeping the piece under control.

-- Todd A. Clippinger, Montana, http://americancraftsmanworkshop.com

View Todd A. Clippinger's profile

Todd A. Clippinger

8901 posts in 3566 days


#4 posted 06-12-2008 04:04 AM

P.S. Great explanation of the incident and the pictures really helped.

-- Todd A. Clippinger, Montana, http://americancraftsmanworkshop.com

View Todd A. Clippinger's profile

Todd A. Clippinger

8901 posts in 3566 days


#5 posted 06-12-2008 04:06 AM

I just noticed that you keep the dust collector remote right where I do.

-- Todd A. Clippinger, Montana, http://americancraftsmanworkshop.com

View tenontim's profile

tenontim

2131 posts in 3211 days


#6 posted 06-12-2008 04:06 AM

That would help. After looking at your photo again, that’s a pretty small piece to be cutting with or without a feather board and the irregular shape didn’t help any. Personally, I would have cut that with a hold down and a push stick.

View Stephen Fields's profile

Stephen Fields

15 posts in 3110 days


#7 posted 06-12-2008 04:16 AM

Wow! Thanks for all of the responses so far. It seems to me that the problem was the feather board and oddly, it would almost seem like I was too cautious. In the future I will try the cut without the feather board a la Todd’s response.

-- "Measure Twice, Cut Once" --- If only I could remember this!

View sIKE's profile

sIKE

1271 posts in 3221 days


#8 posted 06-12-2008 04:20 AM

Yes, I think that you had the feather board a bit to far forward. The is more important with odd shaped pieces like the one you had which will push the cut off into the blade.

-- //FC - Round Rock, TX - "Experience is what you get just after you need it"

View miles125's profile

miles125

2180 posts in 3472 days


#9 posted 06-12-2008 04:33 AM

I’m going to suggest that making that cut on a saw with no guard, no featherboard, and no push stick would be far safer than the setup i see in the photos. I’m not saying safety is not important. I’m saying safety is actually too important to be compromised with too much gadgetry to distract you from a simple and straightforward task.

-- "The way to make a small fortune in woodworking- start with a large one"

View Todd A. Clippinger's profile

Todd A. Clippinger

8901 posts in 3566 days


#10 posted 06-12-2008 05:40 AM

I will have to post some photos of the push sticks and methods that I use for safety. I really need to get into some video to demonstrate. Actually my wife will tell you I need to get my taxes done since we filed and extension… But anyway, I don’t use the featherboard for anything that short. It tends to get a little cluttered for the size of the piece.

For the longer work pieces the same still holds true, if you pull the featherboard back just a little bit more I am sure it would not have a tendency to pinch the waste against the blade. I would not think that you need to pull it back too much further though. I think you have the right idea.

-- Todd A. Clippinger, Montana, http://americancraftsmanworkshop.com

View dalec's profile

dalec

613 posts in 3355 days


#11 posted 06-12-2008 07:04 AM

Seeing that the board edge you were ripping with the featherboard pressing against is curved away from the fence. So the pressure exerted by the feather board as the board progresses through the blade increases as the board thickens. This would place more pressure against the waste side of the board and with the feather board as close to the blade as it appears, there is a good likelihood that the waste side of the board would pinch against the blade and the next thing you know, something goes flying by.

I would also suggest squaring off the back end of the board being ripped, so you have a square controlllable edge to use for feeding the rip.

Thanks for the very clear explanation of the set up. It is nice to have the time to look over a situation and to learn from it.

Dalec

View JeffG1975's profile

JeffG1975

5 posts in 3103 days


#12 posted 06-12-2008 07:18 AM

I remember my first kickback experience. I do not want to do that again. I was cutting trim for a bookshelf that I was building. Talk about dumb, I had the thin piece of trim pinched between the blade and rip fence. When I completed the cut the piece shot out from the table saw and struck my workbench which was right behind me. I was very lucky. Just be thankful no one got hurt.

-- http://woodturner.wordpress.com/

View FlWoodRat's profile

FlWoodRat

732 posts in 3376 days


#13 posted 06-12-2008 09:55 AM

I guess we have all suffered KickBack at one time or another. My last event cost me 12 stiches and 6 weeks recovery. Now if I can just remember not to be THAT dumb again. Thanks for reminding us all to be cautious. Good luck with the project.

-- I love the smell of sawdust in the morning....

View Taigert's profile

Taigert

593 posts in 3307 days


#14 posted 06-12-2008 10:31 AM

Stephen,
Tough way to learn a lesson, thank God you were not injured. I am impressed by some of the solid advise you have been given. It goes to show what a supportive community we have at Lumberjocks.

-- Taigert - Milan, IN

View Mark Mazzo's profile

Mark Mazzo

352 posts in 3379 days


#15 posted 06-12-2008 02:49 PM

Steven,

First, glad to hear you were not hurt with the kickback.

I agree with some of what has been said. The featherboard (if used) should be placed so that its fingers end before the leading edge of the blade. Also, the irregular edge didnot help you on this situation – it most likely made things a bit more unstable as you pushed through the cut. Probably most importantly, even with a push stick or better yet a push shoe, I would not recommend ripping a piece that small (i.e. under about 16” or so long) on the table saw. The band saw would be safer. Another alternative would be to use something like the Grripper to both hold things down and push the piece through the blade.

-- Mark, Webster New York, Visit my website at http://thecraftsmanspath.com

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