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TS safety - I am "confusingly" ambidextrous

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Forum topic by Andybb posted 10-09-2017 02:56 AM 1381 views 0 times favorited 40 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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Andybb

442 posts in 381 days


10-09-2017 02:56 AM

Bare with me here for a minute.

I am confusingly ambidextrous in that I write with my left hand but do everything else right handed including using a fork or computer mouse. If I have a baseball glove on I’m a normal righty meaning that I wear the glove on my left hand and throw with my right. But as soon as I take the glove off I’ll catch with my right hand and throw with my right hand too.

So…..My brain wants me to stand to the right of the blade and use my left hand with a Gripper but it wants me to use a push stick with my right hand. But using the Gripper with my left hand I end up on the right side of the blade which makes it hard to see the fence and blade clearly without leaning to my left. Moving the fence to the left of the blade is not an option as it just feels unnatural. It’s never been a problem in life because it never involved spinning disks of amputating metal. Most people don’t realize it but most tools are built for right handed people, as is most everything else in life including pencils and coffee cups. (Hold a pencil in your left hand. The writing is always upside down. Same with a coffee cup. Held in your left hand the writing faces away from you.)

It may sound silly and trivial but in the last month I’ve had a couple of close calls reaching with my left hand reflexively.

-- Andy - Seattle


40 replies so far

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bigblockyeti

4544 posts in 1498 days


#1 posted 10-09-2017 03:00 AM

The danger zone for kickback is between the blade and the fence. Reaching over the blade with either hand for the cutoff is a bad idea.

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Andybb

442 posts in 381 days


#2 posted 10-09-2017 03:08 AM


The danger zone for kickback is between the blade and the fence. Reaching over the blade with either hand for the cutoff is a bad idea.

- bigblockyeti


Oh, I fully understand that and never reach over the blade. Always trying to be safe (Gripper, featherboard, Jessem guides, face shield) It’s hard to describe the reflex neurologically. For right handed people your right hand is dominant with the left being secondary. I guess my question is, standing directly behind the blade, on which side is a kickback most likely to travel? I haven’t had had any kickback issues since buying the Jessems and Gripper, it’s the reflexively reaching with my left hand that scares me. I have reflexively reached for that piece laying to the left of the blade after completing the cut before the blade stops. It would be hard to understand for any “normally dextrous” person.

Probably shouldn’t have even posted this but it’s too late to delete it. I guess I was hoping that there might be another freak of nature like me. :-)

-- Andy - Seattle

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jbay

1722 posts in 677 days


#3 posted 10-09-2017 03:45 AM

Not a freak of nature, but I’m fairly ambidextrous in that I use the jig saw in either hand, nail guns, drills and other tasks as well but nothing to the point that drives my brain.

Sounds like you need to learn to take a pause before doing any certain task, and think for a second before reacting.
Retrain your brain for the tasks that become dangerous.

Be careful out there!

-- If anyone would like to see my Portfolio, PM me and I would be glad to send you the link.

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Andybb

442 posts in 381 days


#4 posted 10-09-2017 04:01 AM

That’s what I’m working on. I’m retraining my brain to just not do anything until the blade stops spinning.

PS – Weird. I could never imagine using a drill or nail gun with my left hand.

-- Andy - Seattle

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JAAune

1761 posts in 2094 days


#5 posted 10-09-2017 04:06 AM

Make a decision. Do you want to use the tablesaw left-handed or right-handed? Watch some videos of the proper operating procedure as shown by someone like Kelly Mehler.

Once you know what needs to be done you can retrain your brain. Every day practice slow-motion dry runs (machine unplugged) of the right technique and repeat the motions over and over. Keep doing that long enough and sooner or later, your brain will retrain itself to automatically repeat those motions. When this happens you’ll have a hard time not doing the correct motions.

Drilling is a simple but effective way to get yourself to act correctly even if you’re reacting spontaneously to an unexpected situation.

-- See my work at http://remmertstudios.com and http://altaredesign.com

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jbay

1722 posts in 677 days


#6 posted 10-09-2017 04:09 AM



That s what I m working on. I m retraining my brain to just not do anything until the blade stops spinning.

PS – Weird. I could never imagine using a drill or nail gun with my left hand.

- Andybb


I used to work assembling cabinets for a big company. I was the lead nailer on the nail bench,
We assembled about 6-8 kitchens a shift. Had to be fast or be gone.
Doing that for 3 years taught me a lot of hand control.

-- If anyone would like to see my Portfolio, PM me and I would be glad to send you the link.

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Rich

1669 posts in 367 days


#7 posted 10-09-2017 04:16 AM

I’m freakishly unidextrous. My left hand is a parasitic appendage that serves little purpose other than to assist in washing my right hand. It does help me put my socks on I guess.

When I get in one of those modes where I can’t seem to do things I normally do without thinking about them, like flipping an egg in a skillet without a spatula, my wife has me do this routine.

It might sound weird, but it works. Alternate lifting one knee and touching it with the opposite elbow. Back and forth, maybe a dozen times. It balances the brain, I swear.

-- No matter how much you push the envelope, it'll still be stationery.

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AlaskaGuy

3400 posts in 2087 days


#8 posted 10-09-2017 05:23 AM

unidextrous
Does this mean you eat a steak with one hand? Of course I’m assuming your not a Vegan.

-- Alaskan's for Global warming!

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Rick_M

10243 posts in 2158 days


#9 posted 10-09-2017 05:43 AM

Don’t reach for cut offs. If you need to move a cutoff, use a pushstick. Kickback happens when the back of the blade contacts the wood and gains purchase, picking it up and hurling it at you. The more powerful your saw, the more dangerous it becomes. It can happen in several ways, the two most common are the kerf closing up and pinching the blade or you skew the board and pinch it between the fence and blade. I like to think of the tablesaw as a monster that wants to eat my fingers or otherwise hurt me any way it can. If I let down my guard, it will take advantage and get me. It will get you too.

-- http://thewoodknack.blogspot.com/

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Rich

1669 posts in 367 days


#10 posted 10-09-2017 05:47 AM


unidextrous
Does this mean you eat a steak with one hand? Of course I m assuming your not a Vegan.

- AlaskaGuy

Vegan…lol. Furry animals fear me. I insist on GMO. When the table next to me orders gluten free, I ask to have their gluten included in my meal — and any MSG the chef has to spare in the kitchen.

You’d be amazed what a great job a scraper blade on my Fein MultiTool does slicing through a hunk of meat with just one hand. I do keep it sharpened on the Tormek 2000 I bought years ago. I can’t use paper plates though.

-- No matter how much you push the envelope, it'll still be stationery.

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Rich

1669 posts in 367 days


#11 posted 10-09-2017 05:49 AM


I like to think of the tablesaw as a monster that wants to eat my fingers or otherwise hurt me any way it can.

- Rick_M

Like I haven’t been having scary enough dreams as it is.

-- No matter how much you push the envelope, it'll still be stationery.

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Andybb

442 posts in 381 days


#12 posted 10-09-2017 06:14 AM

Rich I will never 100% believe you aren’t f’ing with me but I’ll give it a try. :-)


Make a decision. Do you want to use the tablesaw left-handed or right-handed? Watch some videos of the proper operating procedure as shown by someone like Kelly Mehler.

- JAAune

No decision to make. Won’t ever be left handed. My brain is 90% rt and 10% left and it just told me it won’t even let me process that. Plus, they are built for rt handed people. I think I’ve developed good TS skills over the past 20 years. It’s just the 10% that kicks in unexpectedly like “The Three Faces of Eve”. It’s gotta be safer for me to retrain the 10 vs the 90. I’ll still check out Kelly though.

I do see that some manuf. make left handed circular saws.

Thanks for not making fun of me. :-)

-- Andy - Seattle

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Andybb

442 posts in 381 days


#13 posted 10-09-2017 06:24 AM


Don t reach for cut offs. If you need to move a cutoff, use a pushstick. Kickback happens when the back of the blade contacts the wood and gains purchase, picking it up and hurling it at you. The more powerful your saw, the more dangerous it becomes. It can happen in several ways, the two most common are the kerf closing up and pinching the blade or you skew the board and pinch it between the fence and blade. I like to think of the tablesaw as a monster that wants to eat my fingers or otherwise hurt me any way it can. If I let down my guard, it will take advantage and get me. It will get you too.

- Rick_M


I don’t reach for cutoffs. I know what kickback is and what causes it. I have a healthy respect for the blade monster. It is totally subconscious and that’s what scares me. The best analogy I can make is driving the same route hundreds of times but some days you say, “Damn, I don’t even remember the last 5 mins” even though you know you stopped at the lights and made the turns, otherwise you wouldn’t be home. Muscle memory.

Just as an aside, assuming you are all right handed, if someone throws a ball or a set of keys at you unexpectedly and yells, “heads up!”, which hand do you instinctively catch it with? With me it’s a toss up. I know it sounds silly.

-- Andy - Seattle

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jonah

1245 posts in 3076 days


#14 posted 10-09-2017 10:42 AM


Don t reach for cut offs. If you need to move a cutoff, use a pushstick. Kickback happens when the back of the blade contacts the wood and gains purchase, picking it up and hurling it at you. The more powerful your saw, the more dangerous it becomes. It can happen in several ways, the two most common are the kerf closing up and pinching the blade or you skew the board and pinch it between the fence and blade. I like to think of the tablesaw as a monster that wants to eat my fingers or otherwise hurt me any way it can. If I let down my guard, it will take advantage and get me. It will get you too.

- Rick_M


This. Exactly this.

It also helps to have a real blade guard in place. If your saw doesn’t have a good one, look into the Sharkguard.

I’m also a lefty, but I keep my left hand to the left of the blade and my right to the right. Use your ambidextrous nature to your advantage. I have no trouble maneuvering boards with either hand.

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MrRon

4345 posts in 3021 days


#15 posted 10-09-2017 05:52 PM

You can use an old electricians trick; keeping one hand behind your back or in a pocket so only one hand is free to use.

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