Smoldering in the cabinet saw.

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Forum topic by skatefriday posted 05-30-2015 03:46 PM 984 views 0 times favorited 6 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View skatefriday's profile


416 posts in 1479 days

05-30-2015 03:46 PM

I was out cutting rails and stiles to length for four frame and panel
drawer fronts this morning and when I finished making all 32 cuts
to length, I went over to swap in a tongue cutting bit in my router
table which is attached to the saw (Grizzly 1023RLW) and noticed
smoke coming up through the thumb hole in my ZCI.


I went around and opened up the motor cover door and could see
a bunch of smoke but couldn’t figure out exactly where it was coming

I typically haven’t made it a habit of vacuuming out the accumulated
dust that my DC doesn’t pull out of the cabinet. Perhaps I should?

I did vacuum it all out and dump it in my yard waste bin outside, which
I then positioned away from the house should it decide to spontaneously
catch fire.

Is this something that happens often?

6 replies so far

View TheFridge's profile


9451 posts in 1482 days

#1 posted 05-30-2015 03:55 PM

Don’t know. Happened to me before with a unisaw. Mainly because I was cutting with a dull blade.

-- Shooting down the walls of heartache. Bang bang. I am. The warrior.

View TheWoodenOyster's profile


1315 posts in 1931 days

#2 posted 05-30-2015 06:03 PM

I used my unisaw with the blade it came with for about a year before I bought some new blades. It smoked a decent amount. It probably wasn’t great to do that, but I did. I don’t know if it is smoldering sawdust or friction from the blade against the wood. I think in my case it was the latter.

-- The Wood Is Your Oyster

View jerryminer's profile


923 posts in 1437 days

#3 posted 05-30-2015 06:31 PM

Is this something that happens often?

- skatefriday

Often? I don’t think so, but it has happened to me—-back in the days before dust collection was added to the saw. Wood dust is flammable. We should all be aware and be careful. (Sharp blades, etc.) Thanks for the reminder

-- Jerry, making sawdust professionally since 1976

View dhazelton's profile


2767 posts in 2293 days

#4 posted 05-30-2015 08:46 PM

As long as the smoke wasn’t acrid smelling (electrical) I’d just vacuum it out and keep an eye on it.

View SCOTSMAN's profile


5849 posts in 3581 days

#5 posted 05-30-2015 09:04 PM

keep your machine cabinet super clean.This can be mostly done when sawing using an overhead and back dust extractor together.Otherwise you can start a fire seriously always check it out. Alistair

-- excuse my typing as I have a form of parkinsons disease

View robscastle's profile


4980 posts in 2200 days

#6 posted 05-30-2015 09:58 PM

You know the old saying, where there is smoke there is fire.

Why it came out the ZCI thumb hole.
Simple hot air rises, and
The source of the smoke was directly in line with the hole and hence the saw blade
Indicating combustion directly below the blade and possibly the cause.

Friction produces heat, heat produces combustion, hot fine sawdust is the fuel, then its a very predictable result

However your saw base is not a BBQ or fish smoker so thats bad.

Prevention steps:

1. Remove the fuel on a regular basis, as per the above comments.
2. Check your blade is the correct type for the job, rip or crosscut otherwise a combination.
3. Check that it is sharp
a. Look at the cutting edge if its shiny or refelecting light its blunt.
b. a simple test on any blade is to use the edge of your finger nail drawn across the cutting surface if it can shave your nail its sharp.
c. If it cuts you thumb off you have tested it when the blade was running…dont do that !
The quickest way to soften metal is to heat it up,and hence ruining a blade from its primary function permanently.

That should do it.

Post some photos next time, pictures are a great explainer, as it could be some other cause, like spontanious combustion, metal sparks from a FO, or the blade contacting the saw body, or even (some humour) little wood workers friends in there having a bonfire!

-- Regards Robert

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