Another Kickback Story

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Forum topic by AKWoody posted 11-23-2009 07:09 PM 1456 views 0 times favorited 11 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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56 posts in 3189 days

11-23-2009 07:09 PM

Topic tags/keywords: kickback splitter safety

I am brand new to real woodworking, and I had my first scare in the shop yesterday. I consider myself educated, I spent months reading every book/DVD/website I could get my hands on before setting up my shop and buying tools. With that being said here is what happened…...

I was ripping about 8 boards ranging in length from 24 down to 16 inches for a small bench project I am working on. The boards were all jointed on one edge and planed to thickness. I was using a featherboard and a push stick (the type not recommend by anyone). I have a very sharp new blade on the saw and everything is square. I believe the culprit here was an old tool. On my 60’s era Craftsman (new TS coming at Christmas) there is no splitter and the motor hangs way out the back of the saw. Every time the blade is adjusted the drive belt needs to be re-tensioned, making an outfeed table impractical. With any board longer then 16 inches it falls right off the back of the saw after finishing the rip. I was trying to keep the wood I was ripping free of floor dings so I did not follow through with my cut and the blade caught the wood at the back side of the cut. Luckily in my reading I came across an article on where to stand while ripping and the wood missed me, but it did not miss my garage door which now has a large dent and a small hole that goes all the way to the great outdoors. It happened so fast! Had I been standing right behind the saw, it would have hit me in the throat area, possibly causing real harm. I do not think I will be ripping on that TS again. I will be spending the next week or so reading everything I can about kickback and how to prevent it, that was way too close for comfort.

Thanks to everyone who has posted kickback information in the past, I read it before I got started and that saved me from what could have been a very bad day.

11 replies so far

View Scott Bryan's profile

Scott Bryan

27250 posts in 3848 days

#1 posted 11-23-2009 07:43 PM

Wow!! That was close. I have a similar dent in my garage door when my old Craftsman saw decided to reject a 2×4 that I was cutting. But in my case it did not go all the way through. Like you, I was not running a blade guard or splitter. The biggest problem with the older Craftsman saws is the fence design. Without a splitter or blade guard on the saw the design of the fence creates a situation that is an accident waiting to happen.

Congratulations on getting the new saw.

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

View CharlieM1958's profile


16275 posts in 4245 days

#2 posted 11-23-2009 07:54 PM

Thank your lucky stars you were standing clear of the danger zone.

Recently I had been getting a little lazy about putting my blade guard/splitter back on after removing it for certain cuts. I had a couple of grabs (thankfully nothing too serious) that were enough to remind me to keep the safety equipment in place whenever possible.

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

View botanist's profile


167 posts in 3565 days

#3 posted 11-23-2009 09:26 PM

I had a similar experience with my first big woodworking project with my father-in-law. I was trying to make a bevel cut and was almost all the way through when the saw kicked the cutoff towards me. All I felt was the small piece of wood hit me in the upper left chest and it sent me reeling backwards. I expected to look down and see a piece of wood sticking out of my chest, but I was lucky to escape with some bruising on my chest. When the board kicked back it hit my hand first, almost taking the tip of one of my fingers off and sending the board up to my chest. I was extremely lucky. My set up was similar to yours: an older Craftsman table saw (jerry-rigged with a much more powerful motor) with no splitter, pawls, or riving knife.

View SnowyRiver's profile


51457 posts in 3507 days

#4 posted 11-23-2009 10:13 PM

Sure glad that you werent hurt. Those on here have heard me on an incident that I had about a year ago. I pushed a small cherry drawer front through the blade, and as the cut off piece fell away, it slid slowly towards me…no big deal, so I just stepped to my right to let it fall off the table…when I did that, I accidently turned the piece I had just cut against the blade with the push stick. Next thing I remember is a bang and the wood hitting the floor in front of me and the push stick flying out of my hand. I couldnt get my breath. The board I just cut hit me in the chest and stomach, knocking the wind out of me and nearly knocking me off my feet. I was numb from my chest to my belt line and had a cut the same length. I didnt have the riving knife on…stupid me. It was a close call for sure.

-- Wayne - Plymouth MN

View AKWoody's profile


56 posts in 3189 days

#5 posted 11-24-2009 08:20 AM

Thanks for the feedback, I will be receiving my new saw, with all the modern safety bells and whistles in a little less then two weeks, until then I am done ripping on that dinosaur!

View dusty2's profile


323 posts in 3456 days

#6 posted 11-25-2009 12:56 PM

Be eternally thankful of the outcome but do not avoid using your table saw. The table saw did not cause this incident to occur. Something that you did is to blame. You say the saw is properly tuned. That being the case, you need to fine tune your own procedures.

We all have these incidents in our back ground. That is how we learn.

Go make sawdust and enjoy your shop and your new found hobby.

-- Making Sawdust Safely

View AKWoody's profile


56 posts in 3189 days

#7 posted 11-25-2009 08:16 PM

I know it was something that I did, I was a bit scared to use it again until I figured out what it was. I climbed back on the proverbial horse yesterday and everything went smoothly, still junking that damn thing as soon as my new one arrives.

View GFYS's profile


711 posts in 3497 days

#8 posted 11-26-2009 05:19 AM

how wide were the pieces you were ripping? I don’t use a blade guard or a feather board and rarely a push stick on anything wider than 2 inches. I think all that crap causes more accidents.

View Brad_Nailor's profile


2539 posts in 3984 days

#9 posted 11-26-2009 05:22 AM

Good thing you didn’t get hurt..but it happens to everybody at least once if you work with a table saw regularly. If you maintain safe work techniques, which you did you can minimize your injury’s, or severity of injury. It’s not just table saws either..I was helping a friend sand some cabinet doors with a dual drum sander. I was catching, and my friend cranked the depth down a little too much and there was some fine sawdust on the feed belt. The drum grabbed the next door and fired it out the back of the sander like a shot, flew 10 feet across the room and hit a galvanized metal garbage can, folding the can in half where the door hit it. Luckily, I was standing, where I should have been slightly to the side of the belt and I watched it fly by me….it would have hit me full speed right in the belt. Ouch!


View Boneski's profile


142 posts in 3159 days

#10 posted 11-26-2009 05:56 AM

Near miss Woody. Good that you weren’t hurt.
I too am new to woodworking and have done a bit of book reading to ensure I can operate my new gear safely. The author of the book kept harping on about never using a table saw without a riving knife / splitter if your material is to pass over the rear of the blade.
One technique he mentioned is to make a throat plate out of MDF and glue a peice of timber into it that is slightly narrower than the blade.
I’ve got a bunch of MDF throat plates setup for zero clearance and one has a splitter glued in.
No kick back – no tear out either!

-- Blinded by brilliance

View BlankMan's profile


1490 posts in 3379 days

#11 posted 11-26-2009 06:16 AM

Sometimes those old saws don’t have that great of fence repeatability wise and don’t always lock parallel to the blade. That can cause it to pinch the wood with the results you experienced.

I got nailed twice a year or so ago after 15 years of doing this. Right at table height on my right side. I obviously was not standing far enough to the left. I was not ok, hurt like a banshee and had a nice big black and blue and purple mark for weeks both times. I was quite concerned that I could have ruptured something. But twice within weeks. Unbelievable. Wake up call I guess.

-- -Curt, Milwaukee, WI

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