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Jointer Safety Question

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Forum topic by Peter Oxley posted 2146 days ago 1753 views 0 times favorited 10 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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Peter Oxley

1426 posts in 2471 days


2146 days ago

Topic tags/keywords: question jointer safety pushblock

I’ve read a couple of articles recently that specifically state that when using pushblocks on the jointer, you should never put your fingers around the handle, as your fingers may be trapped in a kickback situation. Instead, you should put your palms on top of the handle.
Pushblock from Grizzly

This sounds good in theory – no one wants their fingers “trapped” when something goes wrong. But I’m not sure it works in practice, and since I’ve managed to avoid any serious jointer kickback, I don’t really know how it works.

Here’s what I’m thinking:
If your fingers are through the handle and the board gets kicked out, either 1) the pushblocks will go with the board, dragging your hands away from the cutterhead; or 2) the pushblocks will slide, the board will go away, but you will still have a pushblock between your hands and the cutterhead. However, if your hands are open on top of the push blocks and the board gets kicked out, the blocks will most certainly go with the wood, and your hand will go palm-down onto the cutterhead.

Am I missing something?

-- http://www.peteroxley.com -- http://north40studios.etsy.com --


10 replies so far

View SteveKorz's profile

SteveKorz

2130 posts in 2310 days


#1 posted 2146 days ago

I think that alot of this theory (as with feeding material for any machine) is in your body weight distribution. I’ve seen people really throw their weight into lumber when they are feeding it into the tablesaw, jointer, whatever. That, in my theory, is a good method to get cut up. I put ALL of my weight on my feet, with most my weight on the leg that is farthest from the machine. I give just enough weight and force to my hands and arms to handle the lumber, and feed it. If something happens, my hands aren’t forced into anything, because they aren’t supporting any of my weight.

With machines like an unfenced router table (using a bit with a bearing), a tablesaw, or a jointer, they are extremely dangerous if you mismanage your weight, regardless of how you decide to hold a push block. I do think that using the palm of your hand instead of securely holding the push block is asking for trouble. Most of the kickback problems I’ve ever experienced were because I was dumb enough to not fence a tablesaw, or handle a pushblock securely.

If you weren’t gripping the pushblock, you would have to add weight to your hands and arms on the block to push the material thru the machine. If you do that, I think you are ASKING to literally FALL into the cutterhead if the material was removed via kickback (the pushblock would have to go too, since you aren’t “holding” it). Some of your upper body weight would be supported by your hands, and it would have to go somewhere.

Just my long winded .02 cents…

—Steve

-- As iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another. (Proverbs 27:17) †

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lew

9938 posts in 2352 days


#2 posted 2146 days ago

Steve’s advice is worth waaaayyy more than .02 cents!!

I would add this, to what he said. I hate those rubber bottomed push blocks. I know- every jointer comes with them and every wood working store, worth their salt, sells them. BUT—- they tend to slip! Any saw dust on the woods surface will reduce their gripping power and you tend to push even harder to get a grip.

For myself, I prefer to use a push stick style safety device that hooks over the end of the stock and is long enough to apply downward pressure along the top of the work piece.

Lew

-- Lew- Time traveler. Purveyor of the Universe's finest custom rolling pins.

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MsDebbieP

18615 posts in 2757 days


#3 posted 2146 days ago

great discussion and Steve’s answer is great advice for woodworking in general!
Thanks

-- ~ Debbie, Canada (https://www.facebook.com/DebbiePribeleENJOConsultant)

View Peter Oxley's profile

Peter Oxley

1426 posts in 2471 days


#4 posted 2146 days ago

Steve, thanks for your thoughts. I try to imagine what would happen if the workpiece suddenly disappeared (which is basically what happens with kickback) and try to be sure I wouldn’t come in contact with the cutter if that happened. That “what if” is what led to my question. Any idea what the theory is behind the open-hand suggestion?

Lew, I’m with you on the rubber bottomed push blocks. I use spray adhesive to put 80 or 100 grit sandpaper on them. That makes them grip really well.

-- http://www.peteroxley.com -- http://north40studios.etsy.com --

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SteveKorz

2130 posts in 2310 days


#5 posted 2145 days ago

I’m with Lew, I don’t use those rubber push blocks… I make my own, ones with a “catch” at the end to help drive the stock. Like Lew said, the rubber one’s slip, and that requires you to put MORE pressure downward, to the cutterhead or blade. The one’s with the catch at the end PUSH the stock through and keeps the energy and the motion of your hands from going downward. You’ll find that keeping just enough pressure on the stock to keep it on the table, and by waxing your table, it will be an easy feed because you’re not increasing the friction of the lumber to the table with all that unecessary downward pressure that those pushblocks create.

If you’ve ever experienced any kind of kickback, you’ll know that it takes place before you have time to react. The only thing you can do is learn how to feed it properly and always keep your hands in a position that won’t force them to the cutterhead.

My favorite push block I made was out of a 2×4. I took a 14 inch 2×4 and cut a 1 inch wide, 3/4 deep groove in it across the width, about 4 inches from the end or so. Then, I ripped a 1×4 down to a 1 inch width and screwed it in the groove as a perpendicular handle. I grip the handle, and the 2×4 is on the underside of my forearm, it has a little catch at the back. If I have kickback, I have a 2×4 under my forearm to catch the cutterhead, if needed. It’s not pretty (I made it in a hurry), but it works well.

I’m not sure where the idea started to use an open palm with a push block… but I would hate to be THAT guy’s fingers….

-- As iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another. (Proverbs 27:17) †

View sIKE's profile

sIKE

1271 posts in 2350 days


#6 posted 2145 days ago

I think it was Marc Adams in the safety series in Popwood.

-- //FC - Round Rock, TX - "Experience is what you get just after you need it"

View miles125's profile

miles125

2179 posts in 2602 days


#7 posted 2145 days ago

Basically i call the operation you’re describing as “facing” a board. Where you want a board in its relaxed state to aquire a flat surface. That means if you push hard down on the board, you are flexing the board out of its relaxed state and defeating the purpose of what you’re attempting to do.

Rule#1

sharp blades
Rule#2
plenty of wd40 so the wood slides effortlessly
Rule#3
No more than a 1/16” bite at a time
Rule#4
an almost feather light touch that requires no worry of your weight causing your hands (or push block if so inclined) to slip anywhere

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

View lew's profile

lew

9938 posts in 2352 days


#8 posted 2145 days ago

Does WD40 leave any residue on the wood?

-- Lew- Time traveler. Purveyor of the Universe's finest custom rolling pins.

View miles125's profile

miles125

2179 posts in 2602 days


#9 posted 2145 days ago

Lew, no. I’ve never had a problem with a finish from using wd40. Sands off nicely.

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

View Steve2's profile

Steve2

75 posts in 2167 days


#10 posted 2145 days ago

STEVE’S ADVICE IS RIGHT ON (the other Steve) your weight belongs firmly on you feet, leaning on a block with your palm IS AN ABSOLUTE Rx FOR TRAGEDY*. Firmly grip the handle – that’s whay it is made, notice the finger moldings?

Steve (for Molly)

-- Regards, Steve2

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