All Replies on Tablesaw kick back, learnig perspective.

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View Eric's profile

Tablesaw kick back, learnig perspective.

by Eric
posted 01-09-2012 07:27 AM

23 replies so far

View Sawdust4Blood's profile


403 posts in 2989 days

#1 posted 01-09-2012 07:40 AM

Thanks for sharing. It was a similar experience that convinced me to endure the “headaches” of using the blade guard whenever possible. It turns out that none of the “headaches” of having to work around the blade guard ever hurt near as much as my ribs did after stopping a kick back launched piece of hardwood so I’ll keep using mine.

-- Greg, Severn MD

View ChuckV's profile


3111 posts in 3495 days

#2 posted 01-09-2012 09:55 AM


I am glad that you were not hurt any worse. Thank you for telling us about your experience.

-- “Big man, pig man, ha ha, charade you are.” ― R. Waters

View Nighthawk's profile


554 posts in 2324 days

#3 posted 01-09-2012 12:43 PM

I had one other day… but that was my fault as I was really 100% consentrating on what I was doing. (or as you put it a brain fart) Was ripping a piece maybe a bit long on my own… there was a bit of a bow in the plank being ripped (I didn’t notice this till after) so when the plank came to the bow it start to ride the saw a bit an bang… lesson learnt…

I don’t have an off feed table yet… I am in the process of designing one for it as we speak… But the uneven dirt floor in my basement does not help one bit. Realistically I should have waited for a friend to help with that rip… he turned up about 10 minutes later to finish anouther project we are working on.

I was lucky and it was a wake up call… even after doing this for so long lack in consentration can be well dangerous. Whilst I class my self as a novice woodworker, however I have about 15 years capentry skills and use to table saws all the time (out on site etc… ) But I have only had my own little saw for about 3 months… (long story) Though I am now a graphic artist strange how life changes…

-- Rome wasn't built in a day... but I wasn't on that job? ...

View William's profile


9949 posts in 2810 days

#4 posted 01-09-2012 03:14 PM

I never use my blade guard. Quite frankly, on my Ridgid TS3650, it is designed so that a majority of the time, when working with small parts as I do most of the time, it creates a more dangerous situation than not using it at all. To make matters worse, as the saw came from the factory, it was impossible to use the splitter without the guard. So I wound up removeing the guard assembly from the splitter so I could have the option of using the splitter by itself.
All that being said, I have been hit enough (once was enough) with offcut pieces. Since it happened to me once in the same way as your accident happened, I have had a new shop table saw rule for myself. I always move the piece I’m cutting past the blade and move it away from the blade area before even attempting to move the cutoff piece. Also, if the cuttoff piece is small, I cut the saw off and wait for the blade to stop spinning before attempting to move it.
For what it’s worth, I’ve been hit in the head with small cut off pieces. If your accident didn’t make you think hard about how you remove cutoffs from the table saw, I guarantee a shot to the head will.


View Viking's profile


880 posts in 3163 days

#5 posted 01-09-2012 03:24 PM

A splitter inserted into your zero clearance insert helps a lot when you have work with your guard removed.

-- Rick Gustafson - Lost Creek Ranch - Colorado County, Texas

View mtenterprises's profile


933 posts in 2660 days

#6 posted 01-09-2012 03:50 PM

“I was standing there minding my own business…….....................................when I was attacked by my tablesaw.”
Yup that’s when it happens! Let the mind wander for just a moment, a nanosecond and …. As a friend of mine said and as I often quote “Machinery is very very patient. It will wait a long long time and then someday when you least expect it, it will get you.”

-- See pictures on Flickr - And visit my Facebook page -

View helluvawreck's profile


30765 posts in 2834 days

#7 posted 01-09-2012 03:54 PM

Kick back happened to me a while back. It happened so fast that I couldn’t believe it. One second I was pushing it the other second it was no longer there. i went back to work about five minutes after it happened but I kept looking at my fingers and wiggling them to insure they were ok. My fingers were just a little numb for a short while but were ok. It didn’t hit me fortunately but hit a cabinet behind me and knocked a bad gash in the wooden side. I’ve been using table saws for over 40 years. It can happen to anyone and I’m glad you weren’t hurt any worse.


-- helluvawreck aka Charles,

View Bertha's profile


13521 posts in 2660 days

#8 posted 01-09-2012 04:28 PM

I’m sure they make a SharkGuard with pawls for the Uni. Might be worth the very reasonable price. Glad you survived this one.

-- My dad and I built a 65 chev pick up.I killed trannys in that thing for some reason-Hog

View HorizontalMike's profile


7749 posts in 2881 days

#9 posted 01-09-2012 05:18 PM

I had my first kickback last week when ripping/cutting 1/4in x 1/4in stock for window pane retainers. I was standing to the left side of the TS when all of a sudden POW! and the piece disappeared. Found it outside in the driveway ~50ft behind the TS.

QUESTION: At what point is it TOO dangerous to rip 1/4×1/4 off of a larger piece? One inch wide?... Two inches?

-- HorizontalMike -- "Woodpeckers understand..."

View Bertha's profile


13521 posts in 2660 days

#10 posted 01-09-2012 05:20 PM

^I use the width of my push stick to decide that, Mike;) In fact, I made a very slender stick for that purpose, lol. In a total lapse of judgment, when setting up my new router table. I dropped a board between the bit and fence (behind the bit). It tore out of there like a rifle shot; I’m surprised it didn’t bring my finger with it. I’m due for a very bad injury.

-- My dad and I built a 65 chev pick up.I killed trannys in that thing for some reason-Hog

View NBeener's profile


4816 posts in 3141 days

#11 posted 01-09-2012 05:23 PM

Something tells me that lots and lots of us have been hit by offcuts.

Mine happened, when using my tenoning jig, on the TS. Luckily, I was wearing my leather shop apron, at the time. Rather tough to use that jig with the guards…..

I try to use my guard/pawls, when I can. If I CANNOT, I try to stand clear left of the table.

At times, though (eg, small pieces), a kickback is all but inevitable. At that point, I like to see if I can hit my RAS, across the room, and get that 25-point “PING !” sound that I’ve come to enjoy so much !

Thanks for sharing. The reminders … keep us safer !

-- -- Neil

View jmos's profile


823 posts in 2337 days

#12 posted 01-09-2012 05:24 PM

I’ve had good luck using the Gripper for thin cuts. You can set it up to hold down the work piece and the offcut. I’ve got two for hand over hand feeding. Gives much better control than a regular push stick.

I don’t use them all the time, but they come in really handy for some cuts.

-- John

View bunkie's profile


412 posts in 3114 days

#13 posted 01-09-2012 05:26 PM

I’m not sure a splitter would have made any difference in this case as the riving knife was in place. I’m guessing (and this is just a guess), from the description that the workpiece was actually slightly past the blade and in trying to push it further, Eric got it slightly askew and the corner of the piece made contact, causing the blade to grab it and throw it forward.

Splitters and riving knives help when the workpiece closes around the blade. With plywood, this almost never happens. What does happen is that the workpiece comes slightly away from the fence and near the back end of the blade, it doesn’t take very much for the launch to begin.

This is why I always use my blade guard when cutting plywood. The anti-kickback pawls on it exist for this very reason.

Eric, that push stick likely saved your hand. Had you been using your fingers to guide the piece, your hand might very well have been pulled back into the blade (another good reason to use the blade guard). I’m glad to hear that you weren’t seriously hurt.

-- Altruism is, ultimately, self-serving

View Bertha's profile


13521 posts in 2660 days

#14 posted 01-09-2012 05:27 PM

Neil, my tenoning jig almost got me once, too. I pushed a little offcut into the blade (I couldn’t see it for the bulky jig). It really just rattled and hummed a little bit but it made a noise like the apocalypse.

-- My dad and I built a 65 chev pick up.I killed trannys in that thing for some reason-Hog

View NBeener's profile


4816 posts in 3141 days

#15 posted 01-09-2012 05:36 PM

Bertha: I consider that about the longest couple of seconds in the life of the woodworker—watching that little cutoff dance, and listening to that rumbling sound.

There’s a momentary instinct to “get it outta’ there.” That must be resisted, at all costs :-)

-- -- Neil

View Bertha's profile


13521 posts in 2660 days

#16 posted 01-09-2012 05:44 PM

^agreed. I promised myself at that moment that I’d gett a kill paddle the size of my head. Once I survived it, I promptly forgot about it, lol.

-- My dad and I built a 65 chev pick up.I killed trannys in that thing for some reason-Hog

View thebigvise's profile


191 posts in 2868 days

#17 posted 01-09-2012 05:45 PM

This is a useful post. We all make boo boos if we do woodworking long enough. We really have a solemn obligation to share our experiences if they may help someone else avoid the same mistake. Thank you.

-- Paul, Clinton, NC

View SnowyRiver's profile


51457 posts in 3448 days

#18 posted 01-09-2012 05:57 PM

I have told this story a number of times here, but maybe it warrants another printing.

I have used large table saws since the mid 1960s with no serious issues.

I was cutting a small ( 4” X 8”) drawer front (cherry) a few years ago on my 3 hp TS. The same episode happened like yours Eric.

The cut off piece started to slide slowly towards me on the table so I stepped to the right to let it slide off the table to the floor. When I did this (no riving knife at the time) I apparently pushed the rear of the piece I was cutting over against the rear of the blade. There was a loud bang, the push stick was torn out of my hand, and I remember hearing the board I was cutting, hit the floor in front of me.

I couldnt get my breath and didnt have any feeling from my neck to my belt line. I think I staggered around the shop for a few minutes, not knowing where I was, until my breath came back and I started to get some feeling in my chest and stomach. It started to sting like crazy so I looked under my t shirt and I had a bleeding cut from my upper chest to my belt. The board on the floor had the classic half moon shaped cut in the bottom of it.

I went up stairs and put some ice on the wound and after about a half hour resumed working with the TS. I have been a boxer and in karate and I have never been hit that hard…even with someones foot or fist.

I learned my lesson quick and installed a riving knife a few days later.

About a week later, I went to the doctor since I had a sore throat and cold. They took an xray, and even though the cold was unrelated to the accident, I had swollen lymph glands in my right lung.

-- Wayne - Plymouth MN

View JollyGreen67's profile


1663 posts in 2730 days

#19 posted 01-09-2012 06:36 PM

That’s why I use the spliter with the anti-kick back pawls. I’m not saying the pawls would prevent the kickback, only that there is a least likely chance, plus standing to the left of the blade. I had the pawls kicked out of the way one time, and guess what – you guessed it! Good thing I was to the left of the blade – never did that again!

-- When I was a kid I wanted to be older . . . . . this CRAP is not what I expected !

View BobAtl's profile


49 posts in 2660 days

#20 posted 01-09-2012 06:51 PM

Since it’s ‘True Confession Time’, here’s mine…

When I first started working with a TS – 1988 – I was cutting a 3/4” wide dado about 1/4” deep. Due to inexperience, I thought I could push it through holding it down with my hands – one at the rear end pushing, the other at the exit end from the blade to hold it down, since the blade could not possibly come throught the board. I was using my fence so it never occurred there would be a bind between the blade and fence resulting in a kickback. I severed my left thumb, through the first joint, and ripped my left ring finger from the first to the second joint. I had a phenomenally good trauma surgeon and still have 5 working fingers on my left hand – I lost the joint in my thumb but it has a permanent angle that gives me pretty muc 100% use of my left hand and all fingers.

An older friend who was a more seasoned woodworker brought me an ad for a RipStrait. I ordered it and have never ripped anyting without it since. I know they’re not made anymore but there are similar hold down devices available. If I can’t perform a function safely, I find another way to do it or redesign the cut.

Another thing that scares me is the adjustable taper jig that you place between the fence and board you’re ripping, which is just a major kickback waiting to happen, in my opinion. I bought a taper jig from Rockler and got rid of the old taper jig.

Hope this experience will help someone avoid a similar incident.

-- Bob, Atlanta

View NBeener's profile


4816 posts in 3141 days

#21 posted 01-09-2012 06:55 PM

Oh, yeah.

Just want to add two more words:




-- -- Neil

View DIYaholic's profile


19597 posts in 2642 days

#22 posted 01-09-2012 07:15 PM

MY two words: Saw Band

-- Randy-- I may not be good...but I am slow! If good things come to those who wait.... Why is procrastination a bad thing?

View HorizontalMike's profile


7749 posts in 2881 days

#23 posted 01-09-2012 07:43 PM

OK Beener, I had already started thinking BS BEFORE I got to your last post, but agree wholeheartedly. On my window pane retainers, they don’t need to be perfect and the BS would be MUCH safer for these thin cuts anyway.

-- HorizontalMike -- "Woodpeckers understand..."

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