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Blog entry by oscorner posted 05-24-2007 04:20 AM 1447 reads 1 time favorited 22 comments Add to Favorites Watch

Today I was cutting some 1/8”hardboard for a project. I used my panel saw to crosscut the board to 4” X 48”. I took the piece to my tablesaw to cut it into 11” lengths. I set up my fence as a guide for the length and proceeded to make my cuts. The first couple cuts were uneventful. On the third or fourth cut I made a mistake. You see the one problem with my SuperShop is that you turn it on and off with a key, not a pushbutton. After making my cut, I have to reach over and turn the key off and let the blade come to a stop before removing the piece. Well, this time, after I turned the key off I must have moved the board and this allowed it to come in contact with the blade as it was coasting down from 2200 rpms. I saw the piece make contact and it started climbing up the blade. I knew a kickback was imminent! I had nowhere to run or hide for that matter and the piece flew into my abdomen. I was lucky that the saw blade was winding down and not at full speed. The impact wasn’t enough to make a mark, but the idea of what could have happened unsettled me. I made the rest of my cuts without incident, being even more vigilant than ever to make sure that I held the board in place while turning off the machine with the key, which is on the right lower side of the table, on the power head. I may have to envision a way to wire a pushbutton switch that would be easier to reach and a quicker way to shut the saw down. The key is a great idea for keeping a child from starting the saw, but as mentioned here, it does pose a danger if an emergency shutdown is needed. If I would have been able to be to one side(as I usually am), then I would have just moved out of the way and let the cutting fly behind me. Be careful and keep safe!

-- Jesus is Lord!

22 comments so far

View mot's profile


4911 posts in 4005 days

#1 posted 05-24-2007 04:28 AM

Ouch! I see how this happens. I crosscut a panel that started to bind and before I knew it, I was bleeding. I caught a corner right above my belly button. I have a scar. I have had two really hefty kickbacks in 10 years. One broke the 5th metacarpal of my right hand, and the other a scar on my belly. Both were slow motion, “Uh oh, this is going to BBAAAMMMMOOOO!!!!”

For what it’s worth, both were totally boneheaded moves. The hand breaker taught me the importance of zero clearance inserts. I was cutting a groove in a piece and thought, “Hmmm…I probably should support this cut behind the blade.” too late. The second was probaby due to me moving my outfeed table for something and then not checking that it was coplanar.

I agree with you that the key is good for safety to keep the kids off, but probably not an “in case of emergency” good idea. I’m glad you made out okay! I HATE kickback.

-- You can discover more about a person in an hour of play than in a year of conversation. (Plato)

View markrules's profile


146 posts in 4084 days

#2 posted 05-24-2007 05:30 AM

Check into a foot switch or something like that. There are also tons of aftermarket safety switches so the key would be on but the saw would be turned on and off by the new switch.

View Todd A. Clippinger's profile

Todd A. Clippinger

8901 posts in 4068 days

#3 posted 05-24-2007 05:37 AM

The key has to go for sure. Being able to safely turn a machine off is just as important on a daily basis.

I suffered a kickback accident a couple years ago in my brother’s shop. He has the outfeed rollers that are attatched to the table. I don’t really like them at all. The rollers will allow a piece to easily roll backwards into the blade. WHHAAPP! A 2’ x 3’ piece of 3/4” ply dropped me straight to the floor. I didn’t see that one coming and hey – the saw doesn’t care. It just kept running. I was pretty much done for the day at that point. It worried me because it really made me sick. It felt like I had been hit by a car.

I use the Festool saw and cut guides now for much of my sheet goods cutting. It’s great, it’s safe and very accurate too.

-- Todd A. Clippinger, Montana,

View Dick, & Barb Cain's profile

Dick, & Barb Cain

8693 posts in 4268 days

#4 posted 05-24-2007 06:21 AM

I’m glad you didn’t get hurt. Whenever I cut boards to length, I clamp a 3/4’ spacer to the fence ahead of the blade, & set the length at the spacer. Then when you start cutting your material doesn’t touch the fence, & make it pinch, causing kick back.

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

View Phil Brown's profile

Phil Brown

219 posts in 4027 days

#5 posted 05-24-2007 08:08 AM

Lose the key and follow Dick’s advice. I make personal safety rules that I dont break for ANY REASON whatsoever. This comes from two serious kickbacks from the early crating days when my trucking boss didn’t understand that several hundred sheets of plywood through a saw every day will dull the blade quickly and cause kickback. After the second kickback I threw the blade away and forced him to get a sharp one every couple of days. The first kickback sliced my abdomen and I forgave him. The second drove my left bicep up into my shoulder. I forgave him but refused to compromise my safety any longer.

Parents of teens setting out to their first job should tell their kids not to compromise safety for any reason in situations where they can get hurt. Parents and teens should be aware of unsrupulous or less knowledgeable employeers that might put young people especially at risk. Sorry Mark but your story brought up one of my pet peeves.

-- Phil Brown, Ontario

View jockmike2's profile


10635 posts in 4215 days

#6 posted 05-24-2007 10:52 AM

Sorry to hear about your accident Mark but the same thing happened to me the other day. Except it left a real good welt, dang near knocked the wind out out of me. So yes we got to slow down and be careful. I put a long board through the wall one time when I was working construction. I was’nt very popular that day. mike

-- (You just have to please the man in the Mirror) Mike from Michigan -

View mot's profile


4911 posts in 4005 days

#7 posted 05-24-2007 03:40 PM

Good words, Phil.

-- You can discover more about a person in an hour of play than in a year of conversation. (Plato)

View MsDebbieP's profile


18615 posts in 4129 days

#8 posted 05-24-2007 03:43 PM

and you wonder why I won’t touch the table saw!!!

I’m glad to hear that you are OK. These stories are really scary.
The injuries are hard to hear about – but when they are a lumberjock friend, somewhere in the big 3-d world, it makes it doubly/triply hard :(

-- ~ Debbie, Canada (

View Dan Lyke's profile

Dan Lyke

1519 posts in 4094 days

#9 posted 05-24-2007 04:23 PM

Youch! My anti-table saw feelings are reinforced…

(Probably unfairly, but…)

I’m guessing there’s no reason you need to lose the key as well, you can almost certainly just wire a real switch in series with the key, both protecting yourself from errant youngsters who like to press buttons and giving you a switch that’s usable.

-- Dan Lyke, Petaluma California,

View oscorner's profile


4563 posts in 4279 days

#10 posted 05-24-2007 04:55 PM

Those are all good points and I appreciate the concern and suggestions.

Mark, I like the foot switch idea, I’ll have to look into that. Dick, you are correct about adding the block to keep the board from binding and I know better, but didn’t. I will from now on because you only get so many warnings before something really bad happens. Phil, thanks for the reminder, I will stress that to my son about safe practices at work. MsDebbieP, I can understand your concerns, but it was my doing, not so much the saws. Dan, after it happened, I really started wandering if I shouldn’t have used the bandsaw for this operation. Oh yes, I’d need a large bandsaw to cut these lengths.

-- Jesus is Lord!

View USCJeff's profile


1063 posts in 4037 days

#11 posted 05-24-2007 07:02 PM

Can you plug the saw into a power strip that can handle the saw? If so, you could leave the key in the on position and use the power strip’s switch. You could even fastne a larger board on a hinge to the power strip to make the on/off switch easier to hit

-- Jeff, South Carolina

View Lip's profile


158 posts in 4018 days

#12 posted 05-24-2007 08:58 PM

Soudns like you’re on the right track Oscar. I would definately look into adding a foot pedal or alt switch rather than simply removing or replacing the keyed switch you have on there. It’s there for a reason … and sometimes the most important safety features are the ones that protect the people who don’t konw any better … ie curious kids.

I tell anyone who will listen … I have a buddy who swears up and down … dealing with the medical bills for the neighbor kid were nothing compared to dealing with the guilt of knowing he could have and should have done something more to prevent curious ones from turning his equipment on. He had gone on vacation and was paying the neighbor kid to take care of the house … when the kid decided to play around in his shop … and ended up lopping off two fingers.

-- Lip's Dysfuncational Firewood Farm, South Bend, IN

View Tony's profile


983 posts in 3999 days

#13 posted 05-24-2007 11:14 PM

You are a lucky man – thankfully you were not hurt. Look for the magnetic switches with the big RED stop buttons you can easily push with your knee or hand without looking for them (you soon learn where it is), this means you can keep both hands safe, and eyes where they are needed. not fumbling for a smal switch or key.

The magnetic switch does not allow the motor start again after a power interuption (we get a lot here). You can even get these switches with a hole on the start button to fit a padlock to prevent unauthorised use. safety first.

-- Tony - All things are possible, just some things are more difficult than others! - SKYPE: Heron2005 (

View Steffen's profile


326 posts in 4004 days

#14 posted 05-25-2007 05:52 PM

Lucky man…I got hit by kickback once on a portable table saw I take to job sites. Had I not been wearing thick jeans I would have had a pretty major hole in my leg. As it was I had a huge bruise and a pretty ugly mark.

-- Steffen - Kirkland, WA

View Dick, & Barb Cain's profile

Dick, & Barb Cain

8693 posts in 4268 days

#15 posted 05-25-2007 06:44 PM

One of the first warning my shop teacher said was, never crosscut using the fence as a guide, & that was over 60 years ago. The rule hasn’t changed.

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

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