Table saw related injury

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Blog entry by robscastle posted 07-16-2013 12:16 AM 1632 reads 0 times favorited 12 comments Add to Favorites Watch

Some time ago I received a really nasty injury from my table saw.

After reading about Lenny’s nice boxes he made after his recovery it prompted me to post mine as hopefully it will add to the dumb moves made with saws and possibly prevent anybody suffering the same type of injury.

On the 19 Jun 2012 I was using my 10” table saw to cut green timber into blocks.
1st dumb move!
When I finished I was unaware of a small off cut at the back of the saw and as I moved the rip fence towards the rotating blade, 2nd dumb move! it contacted the blade and was shot upwards and out striking me on the nose.
I did not see anything fly out of the saw, only the sensation of getting punched on the nose.

At the time there was no guard on the saw.

The saw guard was removed for the following, but mainly due to poor design and being a nuisance to work with.

Factors around the removal
1. The anti kick back pawls were damaging the timber.
2. The existing guard would not allow the fence to close up on the blade
3. The existing guard stopped the operator seeing what they were doing
4. The existing guard prevented using the saw to cut dados and non penetrating kerfs
5. The plastic part of the guard had a tendency to jamb in the timber adding an unnecessary additional risk, and it was also the cause of damage when doing fine cuts.

However since the accident the saw guard has been modified so it can be reinstalled and used effectively.

The modifications involved removing the original box shaped guard then adding a flat Perspex guard mounted on a hinge in its place.

The hinge also had a rare earth magnet added to allow the anti kick back pawls to be locked up out of the way so small pieces of timber can be sawn without the pawls damaging the timber surface.

The rip fence was reduced in height to allow the fence to close within 3mm of the blade, and remain under the flat guard.

When I eventually figured out what had happened I replicated the accident (mainly to understand what had happened and to test the guard) after fitting the modified guard I found the wooden off cut was again shot at a very high speed into the garage about 5m away.

All the guard did was to deflect the height of the projectile but it did not stop it.
The activity was then halted due to being dangerous to the machinery or surrounding area.

I then bought 2 x face shields as well.

All the timber blocks were relocated to the Otto Bin.

Summary: will the guard now remain on? Yes for the majority of the work however will be removed when making non penetrating cuts, for these the face shield is mandatory.

Can you buy an effective aftermarket guard? No you cannot.

A report of the accident was posted on:-

The M/C helmet on the floor showed how far the offcut was shot out

The new guard

Magnetic pawl locks up

pawls down

The nose job I got

The projectile in a simulated position (as far as I can tell)

The projectile under the guard at test time

The additional fix.

-- Regards Rob

12 comments so far

View gfadvm's profile


14940 posts in 2715 days

#1 posted 07-16-2013 12:43 AM

Damn, that was a scary wreck! Glad you survived and “got right back up on the horse that bucked you off!”

-- " I'll try to be nicer, if you'll try to be smarter" gfadvm

View Lenny's profile


1596 posts in 3552 days

#2 posted 07-16-2013 01:03 AM

One takes a huge bite of humble pie when posting their accident. Thank you for sharing yours Robert. I had forgotten until you posted the name but I also reported my accident on Best wishes to you as you work with your revamped guard.

-- On the eighth day God was back in His woodworking shop! Lenny, East Providence, RI

View a1Jim's profile


117115 posts in 3602 days

#3 posted 07-16-2013 01:18 AM

I’m Glade you were not hurt any worse than that Robert.

-- wood crafting & woodworking classes

View Buckethead's profile


3194 posts in 1893 days

#4 posted 07-16-2013 01:23 AM

Thanks for sharing your story. We can all be grateful that in spite of that shop accident, you are still incredibly handsome!


-- Support woodworking hand models. Buy me a sawstop.

View woodcox's profile (online now)


2038 posts in 2036 days

#5 posted 07-16-2013 01:24 AM

Good on ya. Still gorgeous im sure.

-- "My god has more wood than your god" ... G. Carlin.

View NormG's profile


6138 posts in 3028 days

#6 posted 07-16-2013 04:48 AM

Hear hear on the handsom for sure, glad to hear it was not any wprse

-- Norman - I never never make a mistake, I just change the design.

View robscastle's profile


5090 posts in 2229 days

#7 posted 07-16-2013 06:44 AM

Wow thanks for all the kind words of support!

Hey What’s with the gorgeous and hansom stuff though? you (guys) making me nervous!!

A full recovery occurred and yes I am still handsome ( if you call it that at age 60+)

Good work! many thanks

-- Regards Rob

View RonInOhio's profile


721 posts in 2889 days

#8 posted 07-16-2013 07:08 AM

These kind of accidents can happen to anyone. Glad you are okay.

I always stand to the left or the right of the blade and the piece being fed.

Never directly behind it.

Not sure if this would have prevented getting hit or not.

Its easy for a small mistake to turn into a serious injury.

And we all make mistakes.

View Bogeyguy's profile


548 posts in 2093 days

#9 posted 07-16-2013 01:25 PM

Good job on the guard updates. Tell me was it a KO or a TKO. Just kidding. That pic of your nose shows it had to hurt. You have to be attentive to what your doing at all times when your working with running equipment. I doubt you’ll ever forget that.
Listen up newb’s.

-- Art, Pittsburgh.

View ajosephg's profile


1880 posts in 3586 days

#10 posted 07-16-2013 02:03 PM

1. Don’t make adjustments while the blade is turning
2. Shut off saw to remove off cuts if there is any possibility of the off cut or body parts touching the blade
3. I don’t think your new “safety” device is workable because it does not allow use of a push stick to control the material between the blade and fence.

-- Joe

View helluvawreck's profile


31378 posts in 2891 days

#11 posted 07-16-2013 02:27 PM

I sure am glad that it didn’t take one of your eyes and I hope that you’ve healed up ok.

helluvawreck aka Charles

-- helluvawreck aka Charles,

View TZH's profile


553 posts in 3165 days

#12 posted 02-01-2014 11:27 PM

Just looked at your modification and am impressed. The modification to your nose – not so much. OUCH! Just glad it wasn’t worse. I, too, got a small block flung at me by the saw once – it hit me in the gut, and I had a black and blue mark for awhile. Lucky I was wearing several layers of clothes (tucked in of course). Also lucky the blow didn’t go lower (I’m 6’4” tall). Anyway, thanks for sharing your war story here. Every little bit helps, that’s for sure.


-- Where The Spirit In Wood Lives On

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