Rip Cuts Kick Back Help Questions

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Forum topic by Reaper417 posted 09-15-2013 08:14 PM 1423 views 0 times favorited 11 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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49 posts in 2273 days

09-15-2013 08:14 PM

Hey Guys, I am pretty new to woodworking and I have a few questions if anyone can give me some advice.First off I have a delta unisaw. The blade guard is not that easy to work with unless its me. So I have been working without it. I would like to use it more. Now last night I was on this site and came across a few people that had kickbacks and some of the damage caused. I don’t want to be a casualty so this is where the advice would come in. Last night to I read about a riving knife. Should I get one and would I be able to mount it to my saw?Since all this reading I’m nervous to use it. Is there anything better than the balde guard that came with the saw? Now another question. If I were to rip a board say 48” long and 3” wide and wanted to rip it in half, the part that rests against the fence is the piece I would be pushing correct? Now if I were to rip that same board and only want to cut and inch off, the two inch piece would run againt the fence? Now heres my problem.With the guard down there is no room for me to use a push stick, how would I make that cut? OK. I think I asked alot right now. Any help anyone can give me would be great and I will appreciate the advice.Thanks for taking the time for me…Dave

11 replies so far

View waho6o9's profile


8209 posts in 2605 days

#1 posted 09-15-2013 08:23 PM

You are to be commended for seeking safety first instead of after.

Very good.

Have fun and stay safe.

View Grandpa's profile


3259 posts in 2704 days

#2 posted 09-15-2013 08:35 PM

Dave, I always keep the measured piece next to the fence. If I put it outside how would I get it accurate? That is the accurate piece when the dust settles. I had to use a blade guard in high school but I graduated 48 years ago so….well I can’t recommend this but I don’t use a guard. I went on to college and got an Industrial Arts degree. We didn’t use them there and I learned to not use the guard. I do believe in guards….most of the time. I use a push stick that is about a foot long. It is about 6 or 7 inches tall on the back and tapers toward the front…maybe 2.5 inches in the front. I drilled some 2 inch holes through the (plywood in my case to light the stick. I cut a hand hole in the back that is patterned off my hand saw handle. I routered everything smooth. This holds the work piece down on the leading edge. If I cut through it, nothing is lost. I have made some that slide along the rip fence. You can use hard board as a side panel with a hook on the lower edge. There are lots of ideas and plans out there. Always control (push) the work piece next to the rip fence. I stand to the left of the blade. I was taught that these things can throw large splinters that can pierce you and hurt you. If one hits the heart then there might not be a need to call 911. Protect the heart. Wear eye protection. If I am cutting small pieces like this I lower the blade a bit and barely protrude the wood I am cutting. Hope this helps some. Maybe some others will chime in. There are some good guards out there for your saw. They are not cheap but neither is a surgery to put you back together. I have a Unisaw but I must say I am no authority on them. I believe the old saws have no aftermarket riving knives available. There is one on Lumber Jocks that has been built and installed. It is not the cure all that some seem to think but it makes things safer if you have a board with internal stress and the kerf closes when the board is ripped.

check this riving knife out.
There are also splitters available for this saw. They are the same thing but different.

View mbs's profile


1656 posts in 2968 days

#3 posted 09-15-2013 08:37 PM

Im glad you asjed this question before you got hurt.

Do you have a unifence or a beismeyer?

First off – I admit don’t use the unisaw blade guard.

The edge against the fence is almost always the piece you want cut to size. It can be as small as 1/16”. It is the pc that you push but its safest to push from both sides of the blade. Make a push block that pushes DOWN on the wood and has a cleat on the back edge to catch the end of the wood. Or buy something like a GR Ripper.

Check to see that your fence is “almost” parallel with the blade. It shouldn’t pinch the wood as it goes through the cut. It sounds to me like yours May pinch a bit. I like to set the fence such that there is a .002” wider gap at the back of the blade than the front when the blade is raised fully.

Make sure you have a good sharp blade. It should just clear the top of the wood by about 1/8” or so.

It is best to use flat wood too. Twists in the wood can cause the wood to drop a bit during the cut.

I like a riving knife but they can be a pain to use on a unisaw. Are you sure your saw doesn’t have a retractable knife?

Make yourself a feathering board. It will hold the wood against the fence and reduce the liklelyhood of kickback. You can make it out of scrap wood.

Push the wood with a smooth consistent force.

I hope this helps

-- Sorry the reply is so long. I didn't have time to write a short reply.

View Uncle_Salty's profile


183 posts in 3101 days

#4 posted 09-15-2013 11:17 PM

Here is my preferred push stick design:

I like the first one pictured. I also like a handle cut into it instead of the curved back.

I use the jig pictured near the bottom of this website,, to rip thin stock.

View mbs's profile


1656 posts in 2968 days

#5 posted 09-16-2013 12:51 AM

I like those push stick designs.

-- Sorry the reply is so long. I didn't have time to write a short reply.

View Grandpa's profile


3259 posts in 2704 days

#6 posted 09-16-2013 02:26 AM

A picture is worth a thousand words….LOL Thanks Salty

View unbob's profile


810 posts in 1932 days

#7 posted 09-16-2013 05:27 AM

On the older right tilt Unisaw. where the standard guard mounts at the rear of the blade insert, a simple splitter can be installed there.
This can be made of a piece 1/8” thick aluminum, it will bolt to where the guard mounts. It can be made to stand about an inch or so high. Once installed, using a straight edge along the blade. It will need to be filed so as there is no bind, or narrower then the blade kerf.
Its not an answer for total safety, but its enough “to help” with the pinch type problem, where the board closes behind the blade.
I thought I would mention that as at least a minimum do it yourself effort.

View Woodknack's profile


11825 posts in 2408 days

#8 posted 09-16-2013 06:13 AM

Best insurance against kickback is don’t cut wet lumber. The kerf will close and pinch causing the backend of the board to ride up the blade.

-- Rick M,

View danman123's profile


2 posts in 1742 days

#9 posted 09-16-2013 06:59 AM

I also find that a blade guard is a bother. I have a Sears Contractor’s saw and I took it off because I think the blade guard is more dangerous that the naked blade. But, there is always a but, make sure that when using your saw without the blade guard that you are triple careful. Don’t have extraction around when sawing. Never take your eyes off the sawing procedure. This is my opinion. If you use the blade guard then by all means use it.

View NoLongerHere's profile


893 posts in 2704 days

#10 posted 09-16-2013 01:26 PM

Lack of confidence is more dangerous than a bare blade. (raised 1/4” max above wood)

It’s usually the last 6” where you get in trouble with kick back. don’t stop or speed up….one fluid motion.
People tend to watch the blade only. Watching the fence leading edge is more telling of a potential KB.

Make a crosscut sled for small pieces and crosscuts. It feels safer having a perpendicular fence.

Listening for telling sounds. You probably had been warned 2 seconds before it happens.

Having a decent out feed table that doesn’t move the wood sideways is important too.

Relax dude, you have a Delta Unisaw. He’s your friend. Treat him nice. Polish his top so everything glides nice.

Respect him, give him your undivided attention and I promise, he’ll never bite you.

View Reaper417's profile


49 posts in 2273 days

#11 posted 09-17-2013 01:57 AM

Thanks for the help guys.I really appreciate every word you wrote and taking the time to reply to me…Dave

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