Kickback problem - table saw technique help

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Forum topic by Lloyd Davies posted 10-10-2009 10:32 PM 3621 views 0 times favorited 15 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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Lloyd Davies

116 posts in 3475 days

10-10-2009 10:32 PM

Topic tags/keywords: tablesaw

I am making an end grain cutting board and would like some advice on the best way to make a cut. Is it safer to make the cut as show in Picture A below or as in Picture B. Help much appreciated for a table saw beginner. Picture A has the big advantage of knowing that all my finished pieces will be the same width. With Picture B I will have to rely on the accuracy of my fence as I will have to adjust it for the 17 or so cuts I will be doing.

Thx, Lloyd

PS I could not figure out how to embed an image in a forum post so please check the links below. Sorry for the inconvenience.



-- Northern California

15 replies so far

View Scott Bryan's profile

Scott Bryan

27250 posts in 3971 days

#1 posted 10-10-2009 10:43 PM

Lloyd, you want to cut the board so that the waste or cut-off falls to the outside of the blade. In this case picture B is the best cut if you want to avoid kickback potential which happens when a piece gets trapped between the blade and the fence. This is a much safer procedure than the cut you are showing in Picture A.

A crosscut sled would sure come in handy for this project. With a stop block it would give you consistent width cross cuts without having move a fence and the hold downs would prevent kickback. But you can get by with cutting as in Picture A if your saw is well tuned and you use a long enough push stick. In fact, if you go to Marc Spagnolo’s video on making an end grain cutting board this is the process that he uses. It is not the safest but it can be done. Another option would be to use your miter gauge with a sub-fence attached to your regular fence that stops in front of the blade. This would give you consistent cut-offs without having to move the fence and allow space that would not result in the piece binding between the blade and fence.

-- Challenges are what make life interesting; overcoming them is what makes life meaningful- Joshua Marine

View miles125's profile


2180 posts in 4154 days

#2 posted 10-10-2009 10:50 PM

Are you just banging out repetitive strips from the slab? If so, cut the slab in half for better ease of handling and go with A and a push stick. Ample WD40 for easy sliding also helps.

-- "The way to make a small fortune in woodworking- start with a large one"

View Lloyd Davies's profile

Lloyd Davies

116 posts in 3475 days

#3 posted 10-10-2009 11:04 PM

Yes Scott I agree; a cross cut sled would be ideal for this. I have favorited a couple her on LJ that I want to make at some point in the future. I keep thinking about upgrading my table saw to a saw stop so I don’t want to make one that will be obsolete with a new saw. Perhaps I should either bit the bullet and get the saw or just make a sled.

-- Northern California

View Bob #2's profile

Bob #2

3810 posts in 4170 days

#4 posted 10-10-2009 11:19 PM

This guage works well too and saves remeasuring.
Probably a crosscut sled is you best bet if you are just starting out.

-- A mind, like a home, is furnished by its owner

View CharlieM1958's profile


16276 posts in 4367 days

#5 posted 10-11-2009 12:00 AM

I second Bob #2’s gauge. It’s easy to make one of these, and repeatable cuts are safe and easy.

-- Charlie M. "Woodworking - patience = firewood"

View closetguy's profile


744 posts in 4041 days

#6 posted 10-11-2009 01:09 AM

I would do “A” because it is easier to control. As long as you have a good blade and a push stick, it will work. You have to keep pressure on the board and keep it moving. If you loose focus, slow down, stop halfway through, or let the board turn, kick back will become a reality. I agree with miles125, a shorter board is safer, because it is easier to control and is less likely to turn the board through the cut.

I use a sliding table with a stop block. By the time the board gets halfway way through the cut, it is free and clear of pinching against anything on the right. I also use a push stick. There is a box behind the saw to catch each strip as it falls off the saw.

-- I don't make mistakes, only design

View Chris Wright's profile

Chris Wright

540 posts in 3630 days

#7 posted 10-11-2009 01:27 AM

I’ve cut chess boards doing it like in Picture A. I’d use a miter gauge to get a square end then cross cut the strips, using a push stick of course. And Miles, I’d never use a petroleum based lubricant (i.e. WD-40) on anything that comes into contact with wood, it will prevent any finish from sticking to the wood. If you need a lubricant, use something like a paste wax instead.

-- "At its best, life is completely unpredictable." - Christopher Walken

View miles125's profile


2180 posts in 4154 days

#8 posted 10-11-2009 01:38 AM

Chris, i’ve used wd40 for prob 20 years precisely because i’ve never had a finish problem with it. Wax is the last thing i use.

-- "The way to make a small fortune in woodworking- start with a large one"

View douginaz's profile


220 posts in 4151 days

#9 posted 10-11-2009 03:35 PM

I’m with closetguy – and the set up he has shown if a cross cut sled is not going to happen. As stated, use a push stick on the cutoff and you should be fine.

No comment on the WD-40.

Doug in AZ.

-- If you need craft books - please visit our small business at

View Julian's profile


880 posts in 3674 days

#10 posted 10-11-2009 04:50 PM

Wd40? No thank you. It may work for you, but I’ll stick to paste wax on my tables, thank you. Make a crosscut sled and then you’ll be cooking with gas.

-- Julian, Park Forest, IL

View niki's profile


426 posts in 4228 days

#11 posted 10-11-2009 07:49 PM

On the pictures, I can see that you are going to cross-cut using the rip fence as a guide which is big “NO, NO”...there is a great risk of kickback….

Go as Closetguy is showing on the picture…IMO, it’s the best and correct technique to cross-cut pieces to the same width…I would clamp the workpiece to the sled fence for every cut to avoid some Oooops’s…


View Lloyd Davies's profile

Lloyd Davies

116 posts in 3475 days

#12 posted 10-11-2009 11:25 PM

OK thanks all

-- Northern California

View EEngineer's profile


1113 posts in 3762 days

#13 posted 10-12-2009 12:17 AM

No WD-40. Paste wax is only a problem if you get some with silicone in it (car waxes are notorious for this). Good ol’ Johnson’s floor wax is cheapest and best for wood working.

-- "Find out what you cannot do and then go do it!"

View Dustmite97's profile


439 posts in 3369 days

#14 posted 10-19-2009 01:35 AM

Picture B will work as long as you use a crosscut sled or even a miter guage.

View panther's profile


59 posts in 3392 days

#15 posted 10-19-2009 03:41 AM

i say make a panel cutting sled it is much safer than a or b

-- you must live for something or die for nothing (rambo)

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