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Forum topic by thewfool posted 10-18-2014 10:35 PM 1772 views 0 times favorited 32 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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5 posts in 1505 days

10-18-2014 10:35 PM

Topic tags/keywords: tablesaw safety

I’m a beginner with woodworking, so I’m trying to be as safe as possible. However, there are some things that I just don’t seem to know.

I was working with a piece of hard maple, ripping it into smaller sections on my table saw. I was able to complete three cuts similar to the one pictured below with no issues, but on this last cut, the board jumped up and back at me. It wasn’t very hard and didn’t go very much out of control. I was pushing with a push stick. Can anyone tell me what’s wrong with this setup … and more importantly, how can I do it better next time? The board wasn’t damaged too badly, but I’m not going to finish it until I figure out the problem.

Thanks for any help you can give!

32 replies so far

View Redoak49's profile


3197 posts in 1956 days

#1 posted 10-18-2014 10:48 PM

It is really hard to tell from your picture. Perhaps, you could post one which is not such a close up including your push stick.

A few more details are also needed…..size of the piece of wood and size of the pieces you were cutting off.

View Logan Windram's profile

Logan Windram

346 posts in 2429 days

#2 posted 10-18-2014 10:49 PM

Blade not parallel to the mitre slot, fence slightly out of alignment, poor quality blade, stock not 4 square…

Or things just happen.

Push stick. What kind? I don’t care for the ones that are long with a notch where you are pushing the timber like using a drumstick… I prefer the ones that go over the Tiber and are notched in the back, the basic push stick, while preferable over fingers leaves way to much moving around between that fence and blade, Irving knife aside.

I’d find a good resource on setting up a table saw and safe use. Other than that, be careful.

View hoosier0311's profile


706 posts in 1992 days

#3 posted 10-18-2014 10:49 PM

Not claiming to be an expert here, but maybe there was a bit of a twist or bow in that particular board that allowed it to bind up?

-- atta boy Clarence!

View retfr8flyr's profile


384 posts in 1636 days

#4 posted 10-18-2014 11:03 PM

Can’t tell from the pic but does the blade have a riving knife? Some of the problems could be fence not aligned properly, blade not aligned with the miter slot, the push from the rear, with the push stick, could have made the piece turn slightly away from the fence and into the blade, or you may have done nothing wrong and it was just stress in the wood that made it close up on the blade.

-- Earl

View thewfool's profile


5 posts in 1505 days

#5 posted 10-18-2014 11:09 PM

Here’s a pulled back image to show the board and the push stick.

Here’s a smaller version of the first one, showing the technique I was using.

The board was 2×3x24, and I was ripping it down to 2 1/4. It doesn’t have any obvious twists, knots, or cupping, it’s very straight (somebody else milled it).

View NoThanks's profile


798 posts in 1496 days

#6 posted 10-19-2014 12:09 AM

Dull blade, blade to low-not enough down bite, fence not parallel, didn’t hold the board down strong enough towards the front, other factors could have contributed as well, such as the board relieving stress and bowing.

-- Because I'm gone, that's why!

View Manitario's profile (online now)


2629 posts in 2850 days

#7 posted 10-19-2014 12:18 AM

This sometimes happens to everyone, beginners and professionals. You experienced kickback, which has happened to almost everyone. Yes, there are obvious causes to look for, like some other LJ’s have mentioned, but sometimes everything can be right and you still get kickback. That is why we use pushsticks, blade guards and riving knives. As well, sometimes when cutting thick stock it will slightly pinch the blade as you cut it and want to kick back. I frequently cut thick stock and occaisionally have this happen, despite using a well aligned TS and a sharp blade.

-- Sometimes the creative process requires foul language. -- Charles Neil

View mahdee's profile


3873 posts in 1734 days

#8 posted 10-19-2014 12:27 AM

I think it was the figures on that wood that caused it. Once it gets hot, then things tend to bend out of shape. You didn’t do anything wrong, just expect that when you run across that kind of discrepancies in wood grain and allow an additional 1/8” to straighten things out later. Make the cut as quick as you can to prevent heat causing problems in your cut.


View exelectrician's profile


2327 posts in 2394 days

#9 posted 10-19-2014 03:58 AM

Were you holding the board DOWN with your left hand while you were pushing with your right hand? Taking care to let the board slide through your down pressure exerted by your left hand, and NOT letting your left hand be carried forward toward the blade?

-- Love thy neighbour as thyself

View firefighterontheside's profile


17955 posts in 1823 days

#10 posted 10-19-2014 04:06 AM

I’m thinking a combination of blade height and not having enough down pressure. Sometimes with the blad set low as for a rip of a thin piece if you just hold the back down with the push stick the front can rise up. Think of the direction the blade is going. It’s coming up and out of the saw so if a little extra pressure pushes sideways into the blade it will lift the wood up.

-- Bill M. "People change, walnut doesn't" by Gene.

View splinterking's profile


67 posts in 2004 days

#11 posted 10-19-2014 04:24 AM

I agree with what has been said, but I would put my money on the push stick. I’ve noticed in the past that that particular style can cause the board to pivot up and wobble back down. Then the blade will kind of catch it at the apex of its rotation applying the force back at you instead of down towards the table and through the wood. Buy a push stick like the one in pic 1 or make one like in pic 2 or both and it will give it both downward pressure and a forward push.

-- "Clothes make the man. Naked people have little or no influence on society." ~Mark Twain

View mudflap4869's profile


1669 posts in 1426 days

#12 posted 10-19-2014 04:37 AM

Just a random thought. Cleaning and waxing your fence and riving knife might help a bit. It doesn’t take much to gum them up and cause them to drag on the wood. Attach a feather-board to the fence to hold the work down. The figuring in the board you show will cause it to pinch closed on the blade. when I have a problem with this I sometimes insert a shim in the cut end to maintain the kerf. I use a push stick like the black one pictured above. Great investment in your safety, and lots of useful features.

-- Still trying to master kindling making

View pintodeluxe's profile


5623 posts in 2780 days

#13 posted 10-19-2014 04:38 AM

1+ splinterkings advise on that particular shape of push sticks.
I started with a push stick just like yours (started with the same tablesaw too), and found that it pushes the board forward just fine but it also tends to lift the leading edge of the board. That can cause kickback as the blade lifts the board. There are several solutions like expensive saws with riving knives, featherboards, or just a sawhandle type pushstick.
Good luck and glad you didn’t get hurt.

-- Willie, Washington "If You Choose Not To Decide, You Still Have Made a Choice" - Rush

View muleskinner's profile


896 posts in 2404 days

#14 posted 10-19-2014 04:44 AM

I think Splinterking is on the right track. Pushing that much board with that pushstick without a featherboard seems risky – no lateral control. Personally, I’d throw that stick away and make something like Splinter’s second picture. (I’ve never understood the logic of having a couple thousand dollars of woodworking equipment and buying a push stick)

-- Visualize whirled peas

View Fettler's profile


200 posts in 1964 days

#15 posted 10-19-2014 07:21 AM

If the work piece is lifting then it’s probably binding on the blade. This could be the result of an out of square work piece or a misaligned fence.

-- --Rob, Seattle, WA

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