Look out...Climbing lumber!

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Blog entry by oscorner posted 03-17-2007 10:05 AM 1152 reads 0 times favorited 12 comments Add to Favorites Watch

Hello, LumberJocks! Wednesday while I was at my local Lowes picking up some needed items I came across what looked like a pretty good deal on two DeWalt 12” saw blades. The cost was, $59.00 plust tax, of course. Heck they wanted, $49.00 for one, so for another $10.00 I can get two, so I did. My SuperShop can use, 8, 10 and 12” saw blades.

When I got back to my shop I took off my 10” blade and put the 12” blade on. Since I had a zero clearance plate on the saw I clamped a board across it so that I could cut through it with the 12” blade. During this operation I had to be carefull not to lower the table too low, otherwise the blade would come in contact with the metal surrounding the plate. I carefully marked on my zero clearance plate that the maximum depth for the 12” blade was 3 3/4” deep. This way I would be reminded not to lower the table lower than this when using the 12” blade.

Now, the moment that I’ve been waiting for, to rip some oak and see what kind of performance I would get from this new blade. The first couple of cuts went without a hitch. The blade performed beautifully. When cutting the fourth board, 3/4 through the length of the board the end of the board started riding up the saw blade! Luckily, I always us a push stick, which allowed me to let the board go, since I was standing to the side of the board. The board flew back, clearing the blade and saw table. As the board reached the floor of the shop behind me I considered what could have happened if I hadn’t adhered to the safety practices one should use during any rip cut on the tablesaw. Had I not been using a push stick, letting the board go so it could shoot off of the tablesaw would not have been an option because I probably would have been in line with the board, if pushing with my hands. Without this option the board would have continued flipping over until the blade caught it and threw it at me or at the least slammed it onto my arms or hands.

The next question was why did this happen? I notice that the rear of my zero clearance plate showed some splintering that I had not noticed earlier. Surely this splintering could have caused it, but was it really the culprit? Upon closer inspection I noticed that the rear of my plate was not flush with the rear of the opening, thus causing an edge that the board could catch on. I will have to shim the insert to bring it back flush with the saw table.

The lessons learned: Always use a push stick when ripping stock; stand to the side of the board being cut so that if kickback occurs, no flesh is in the path of a flying piece of lumber and make sure that the zero clearance or any other plate is flush with the table top before beginning any cutting operations.

-- Jesus is Lord!

12 comments so far

View MsDebbieP's profile


18615 posts in 4189 days

#1 posted 03-17-2007 11:28 AM

and THAT is why I don’t use the big machine!!!

Making me shake, just thinking of how close you came to being hurt. Glad that you are ok..

Quick thinking on your part!

-- ~ Debbie, Canada (

View john's profile


2370 posts in 4410 days

#2 posted 03-17-2007 12:01 PM

When i make my birdhouses i have to rip 1” strips over and over , sometimes for 8 hrs at a time.
The odd time i hit a really hard knot and every once in a while the piece comes flying back at me . When ever i am cutting wood now i am always cautious when i see a knot and ease off as i push the wood through. I have never used a push stick but i do wear safety glasses now.

-- John in Belgrave (Website) ,

View MsDebbieP's profile


18615 posts in 4189 days

#3 posted 03-17-2007 12:19 PM

Rick’s goal it to build birdhouses and is looking forward to making his own shingles for them. I’ll be sure to point this out to him: 8 hours of ripping strips …. he might just change his mind! .

-- ~ Debbie, Canada (

View Dick, & Barb Cain's profile

Dick, & Barb Cain

8693 posts in 4328 days

#4 posted 03-17-2007 12:29 PM

Almost an Ouch!!! Good recovery OS.

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

View frank's profile


1492 posts in 4234 days

#5 posted 03-17-2007 02:06 PM

Hi Mark;
—-ha! Sounds like maybe a hard hat and bullet proof vest are in order for you….or else you can play at duck and dogging!

I’ve never had much issues with ‘climbing lumber’ as all my scenarios have centered around ‘falling timbers’....and the stories I could tell of those escapades.

Staying, healthy-wealthy-wise is no game and takes much practice to remain all complete….

-- --frank, NH,

View oscorner's profile


4563 posts in 4339 days

#6 posted 03-18-2007 01:06 AM

Thanks for the comments everyone. My safety gear consist of afull faceshield, ear protection and a respirator when needed. I don’t know if I can get my hands on a bullet proof vest, Frank, but I do have a hard hat. LOL.

-- Jesus is Lord!

View Karson's profile


35126 posts in 4429 days

#7 posted 03-18-2007 01:12 AM

Glad you are OK. Standing clear of the path of flying wood is always a good precaution.

-- 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 LeeM's profile


5 posts in 4164 days

#8 posted 03-18-2007 03:38 AM

How long were the boards you were ripping? The shorter the board the more likely this is to happen. Sometimes a second push stick can be used to hold the board down closer to the blade. Glad you’re safe!!

View oscorner's profile


4563 posts in 4339 days

#9 posted 03-18-2007 05:04 AM

Good question, LeeM. The one that did the climbing was about 15” long, but I was cutting lengths from 48” to 15” at the time. I probably need to make a tall fence to attach to my current on and add a Tee slot so that I can put a finger board or two above my boards while ripping them. If nothing else, I should clamp a board to the fence over the piece I’m ripping to help hold the board to the table, but as I said, it was the rig left by the zero clearance insert that allowed the board to bind causing it to climb the blade.

-- Jesus is Lord!

View Don's profile


2603 posts in 4205 days

#10 posted 03-19-2007 08:05 AM

Mark, obviously using a push-stick is superior to using your hands to feed wood past the blade of a table-saw. But, I suggest that you want to introduce work practices that prevent kick-back, not merely safeguard you when kickback occurs.

The force generated by kickback can be tremendous. I’ve seen a 2×4 go right through two two layers of Gyprock. Whilst standing to one side of where you feed the wood is a good practice, you cannot be assured that the return path of the wood is directly behind the in-feed path. If the pieces rides up and catches on the revolving blade, the return path is a fairly wide arc; certainly within which you will be standing.

I speak from experience after suffering a fairly serious injury from blunt-force trauma caused by kickback. That’s my thigh (blush).

I now use these. I have two.

If you want a detailed illustrated article on kickback, go here. This article challenges the view that merely using a traditional push-stick prevents kickback. The suggestion is that it may even be the cause.

-- CanuckDon "I just love small wooden boxes!"

View oscorner's profile


4563 posts in 4339 days

#11 posted 03-19-2007 08:36 AM

Ouch! That smarts! That must have been a scary experience! I know mine was. Thanks for the links. I can see why you have the Gripper.

-- Jesus is Lord!

View MsDebbieP's profile


18615 posts in 4189 days

#12 posted 03-19-2007 11:27 AM

I’m going to have to talk to Rick about safety concerns. I really, really, don’t like that machine!!

-- ~ Debbie, Canada (

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