Today's safety tip - Don't back-out of a stopped dado cut on the table saw

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Blog entry by Greg Wurst posted 08-07-2009 02:04 PM 7060 reads 0 times favorited 13 comments Add to Favorites Watch

Yeah, it seems obvious now. You probably shouldn’t even make the cut on the table saw at-all; but even if you do stop the saw and then remove the piece. Carnage as follows:

I also enjoyed a nice piece of 7/8” maple top slamming me below the belt. No broken skin, but it hurt like hell! A few inches lower and I’d be a eunuch now. I’m a little sore today but not bad. Other than a small cut on the back of my hand and the shot to the gut I escaped relatively unscathed.

The maple top is even salvageable. The rest of the piece I’m building is made of 1/2” maple and I had planned for the top to be as well but thought I’d see what a thicker top looked-like. I still have over 1/2” of good wood so I just need to plane or sand the top down and CAREFULLY cut the dadoes. I’m thinking router now for some reason. :)

-- You're a unique and special person, just like everyone else.

13 comments so far

View patron's profile


13606 posts in 3362 days

#1 posted 08-07-2009 02:13 PM

the best thing to do,
for stop cuts ,
is to hold tight ,
and turn off tool !

readjust for next cut ,
and repeat .

tools and wood ,
can be replaced ,
body parts are harder to come by !

be safe !

-- david - only thru kindness can this world be whole . If we don't succeed we run the risk of failure. Dan Quayle

View Kent Shepherd's profile

Kent Shepherd

2718 posts in 3307 days

#2 posted 08-07-2009 03:39 PM

Ouch!! At least it wasn’t worse. We have all done that sort of thing. Hopefully we learn from it.
Thanks, maybe you’ll help someone else because you shared this.


View PurpLev's profile


8536 posts in 3670 days

#3 posted 08-07-2009 03:56 PM

the title can be simplified – Don’t Back-out of ANY cut on a table saw while it’s running.

like patron said – hold down wood, turn off tool, take part out… rinse and repeat – just make sure you have a firm hold on the part (featherboard would be a good choice, or similar – not your body parts).

-- ㊍ When in doubt - There is no doubt - Go the safer route.

View Scott Bryan's profile

Scott Bryan

27250 posts in 3843 days

#4 posted 08-07-2009 04:50 PM

Ouch!! Greg, we all have done something similar to this at one time or another, especially when we get in a hurray or just don’t want to take the time to change the set-up, and generally get by with it. I am just glad that you were not hurt any more seriously than you were. Accidents like these are just “gentle” reminders that our tools have the potential to inflict serious damage not only on the pieces that we are judiciously working on but also on our body parts that are in proximity to the saw blade.

I am glad that the piece is salvageable as well. Hopefully by posting this you will help someone else avoid the same dilemma.

-- Challenges are what make life interesting; overcoming them is what makes life meaningful- Joshua Marine

View McLeanVA's profile


491 posts in 3455 days

#5 posted 08-07-2009 05:18 PM

Glad you’re OK.

I have a question for the “hold tight” responders. Do you increase burn rate on woods if you hold tight and turn the machine off? Just curious, because my cheap table saw LOVES to char nice pieces of wood.

Thanks Greg for posting and keeping us all mindful of the simple errors that could be disastrous.

-- Measure, cut, curse, repeat.

View Greg Wurst's profile

Greg Wurst

794 posts in 3854 days

#6 posted 08-07-2009 05:21 PM

99.9% of the time I’d have known to just stop the saw and remove the piece. As always, I was tired and in a hurry which is a bad combination with power tools.

McLeanVA – You’re almost guaranteed to burn the wood a bit using the hold and stop the saw blade method. A good quality blade and saw will help, but it still happens. Most dadoes are hidden, so a little burn on the side of the cut shouldn’t be a big deal.

-- You're a unique and special person, just like everyone else.

View RBWoodworker's profile


441 posts in 3373 days

#7 posted 08-07-2009 07:03 PM

This blog brings back a memory of a good friend, and the superintendent of the lumberyard where I do business with..

He was trying to cut a dado into the bottom of a handrail that he made for his mother.. He wanted a stopped dado so the end would look concealed.. He tried to cut a 1” wide by a 1” deep dado in one pass!!!.. That dadoblade.. Grabbed the maple handrail with such a threw it across the room..and took 3 of his fingers practically off his read right.. Off his hand in a blink of an eye..he said he was shocked.. Felt stupid..knew better.. Has been a woodworker for many years..and couldn’t believe he did something so dumb and and now has three nubs for fingers.. This incident has sent shudders all up and down my spine and seeing blogs like this brings back memories of things I have done that I KNOW I shouldn’t be doing..
Everyone will experience a kickback now and then.. And I can attest to the severity of that personally.. When I was cutting some cherry scribe molding one day and my pushstick was worn out and the blade caught the molding that was 9 feet in hurled that piece with such a force that the molding shot across the room and completely went thru a solid red oak board that was standing up 30 feet away.. Had this molding hit my gut or worse my surely would have impaled him or me..

The one thing I always tell myself and everyone else..the saw is NOT your friend.. Use it with utmost caution becase you might get away with it a few times..but eventually it will catch up with you in the end..

-- Randall Child

View Karson's profile


35125 posts in 4422 days

#8 posted 08-07-2009 11:13 PM

Thanks for the photos and the safety tip.

-- I've been blessed with a father who liked to tinker in wood, and a wife who lets me tinker in wood. Southern Delaware soon moving to Virginia †

View Brad_Nailor's profile


2539 posts in 3979 days

#9 posted 08-08-2009 12:38 AM

Yikes! That could have been way worse…
I used to back out of dado’s all the time when I worked in the cabinet shop…..never thought twice about doing it….I will now!


View blackcherry's profile


3338 posts in 3844 days

#10 posted 08-08-2009 03:47 AM

We all hate to see these thing happen but I’m glad that we post these mishaps, it keep us all aware that we play with loaded weapons. Stay safe LJ’s ….Blkcherry

View brunob's profile


2277 posts in 4191 days

#11 posted 08-08-2009 03:58 AM

That’s when I get into trouble. In a hurry and not paying enough attention.

-- Bruce from Central New, if you'll pardon me, I have some sawdust to make.

View Billp's profile


804 posts in 4221 days

#12 posted 08-18-2009 12:50 AM

Thanks for sharing

-- Billp

View a1Jim's profile


117113 posts in 3598 days

#13 posted 08-22-2009 08:55 PM

Title and photos say it all .Turn the table saw off just like David said. Title could have been called “table saw vasectomy”

-- wood crafting & woodworking classes

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