Be Safe When Cutting Dadoes!

  • Advertise with us

« back to Woodworking Skill Share forum

Forum topic by Hawgnutz posted 08-10-2007 09:07 AM 7007 views 0 times favorited 30 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View Hawgnutz's profile


526 posts in 4040 days

08-10-2007 09:07 AM

Topic tags/keywords: safety dado injury

I have done it hundreds of times, and I am sure you have too. Doing repetitive cuts on a table saw. But NEVER get complacent when using that table saw!

There I was cutting a dado in a length of soft cedar, guiding it on past the blades, when it bound up and shot back! When it did, it not only broke my newer fetherboard, propeled the board back into my truck tailgate, but it also drew the push block—with my hand—back over the spinning dado blade.

Here is the board.
Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

I was using a featherboard to keep board against fence and using a pushblock to apply pressure as it went over the dado blades. I was at the end iof the board and I hesitated just a moment, trying to figure a way to keep the board from falling down to the dirt when all hell broke loose. The board flung back and I thought I felt it hitting my little finger on my left hand. I was not until I was picking up the pieces of my broken featherboard that I noticed blood on the ground. I looked at my finger and it did not look good!

Here’s what my finger looked like at the site:
Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

Here is the new featherboard and the push board.

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

(Note groove in push board. This is what gave me the first inkling that the blade, not the board had hit my finger.)

Well, after being told by the local ER that it would be about 5 hours until they saw me, I had my son drive me 30 miles back to Bisbee, and I was seen in 10 minutes. After the wound was soaked and cleaned of all the blood, you could tell that the dado blade had hit it for sure!
Here’s what it looked like at the Emergency Room:
Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

I still will cut all the daoes in the wood to fill a project I contrated for, but I will make me a “safer” push block, sorta like the medievel sword shields, and keep my hands in front of the blades whenever I cut dadoes!

Anyway, I have 9 stitches and will have to use a splint on little finger for about a week or so. So, nothing too serious. Just another lesson of hard knocks. We all have them to share!

I can only thank my Lord for protecting me from really serious injury! God is so Good!!

Be Carefull!
God Bless,

—Saving barnwood from the scrapyards

-- Saving barnwood from the scrapyards

30 replies so far

View mattsanf's profile


34 posts in 3927 days

#1 posted 08-10-2007 03:12 PM

Rough injury week for the LumberJocks! These posts are a great wakeup call for the rest of us to stay focused and not cut corners (no pun intended)!

Hope you heal quickly.


-- -- Matt Sanfilippo, Pittsburgh, Pa.,

View Hawgnutz's profile


526 posts in 4040 days

#2 posted 08-10-2007 04:49 PM

Thanks, Matt.
I will be back to cutting, soon.

God Bless,

-- Saving barnwood from the scrapyards

View Thos. Angle's profile

Thos. Angle

4444 posts in 3926 days

#3 posted 08-10-2007 05:16 PM

Lordy, lordy, Hawg, I’m just glad you’ve still got the finger! I don’t believe I’ve ever had anything quite like that happen. Now just don’t forget that finger is sticking out there while you continue. OOO-ee that thing is gonna throb tonite!!!! Get better. You do know where to look for sympathy in the dictionary, Right?

-- Thos. Angle, Jordan Valley, Oregon

View Hawgnutz's profile


526 posts in 4040 days

#4 posted 08-10-2007 05:23 PM

LOL, Tom. i surely do know where to look for sympathy in the dictionary! I am not looking for sympathy, simply cautioning my fellow woodworkers to be CAREFUL!

It did not throb too much last night. (I have a high pain threshold.) A 500 mg tab of vicaden die me fine.

Keep working safe, Tom! I love your work.

God Bless,

-- Saving barnwood from the scrapyards

View Dick, & Barb Cain's profile

Dick, & Barb Cain

8693 posts in 4264 days

#5 posted 08-10-2007 05:24 PM

I’m sorry you had this happen to you. We’ll be praying for a quick recovery.

It just so happens that I just bought a new piece of safety equipment, called a GRR-Ripper, so I posted it

on the forum today. It shows a video demo of it.

-- -** You are never to old to set another goal or to dream a new dream ****************** Dick, & Barb Cain, Hibbing, MN.

View TomFran's profile


2957 posts in 3958 days

#6 posted 08-10-2007 06:50 PM

Very sorry to hear about your accident. First Dorje, now you.

Woodworking is fun, but it is also dangerous. A while back I read a great Fine Woodworking magazine article called “Keeping Ten Fingers.” I don’t really lilke thinking about such things (tend to have a weak stomach), but I had to read the article and was glad I did. I actually go back from time to time and read it again, to remind myself of the safety principles that were delineated in it.

In the article they said that over 40% of all woodworking accidents (that require hospital visits) happen with the table saw. Partly because it is one of the most used tools in the shop, but also because there are alot of dangers involved with using it. They mentioned dado cutting and using molding head equipment as (2) of the more dangerous procedures.

They also said that the bandsaw is a much safer saw, and so one should try to do as many tasks as possible on it. Only 5% of accidents occur with the bandsaw. Of course, when it comes to cutting dados, you’re not going to be able to do that with your bandsaw.

Thanks for the humble reminder to all of us. Praise the Lord that you still have “ten fingers”!!!

-- Tom, Surfside Beach, SC - Romans 8:28

View WayneC's profile


13753 posts in 4061 days

#7 posted 08-10-2007 07:54 PM

Makes me think this was a wise purchase. Little chance of cutting myself with it.

-- We must guard our enthusiasm as we would our life - James Krenov

View Douglas Bordner's profile

Douglas Bordner

4023 posts in 4028 days

#8 posted 08-10-2007 08:06 PM

Thomas, I remember hearing the “sympathy in the dictionary” deal somewhere before, but it’s been awhile. How does that run again?

-- "Bordnerizing" perfectly good lumber for over a decade.

View Bob #2's profile

Bob #2

3809 posts in 3986 days

#9 posted 08-10-2007 08:22 PM

In this case, where a kerf cut is not involved, it would have been wise to set and additional feather board ahead of the dado blades.
A second option would be a straight edge board clamped outside the cut to guide the cut board through the dado.
I am fairly certain that the blade forced the cut off center when it became partially freed at the bevel end of the cut leaving only a decreasing portion of the blades cutting the wood.

Personally, I am concerned that our liability insurance and the like are eventully going to take a big hike unless we, collectively, begin to observe good safety practices.
I’m glad you just got a warning and hope your finger heals quickly.


-- A mind, like a home, is furnished by its owner

View Tony's profile


983 posts in 3994 days

#10 posted 08-10-2007 08:38 PM

Sorry to hear about the acciident – Luckily it does not look too bad.

Were you using an outfeed table?, its alway dangerous to stop the work piece over the blade, especially a dado blade. being non decisive is not good – plan every part of the cut before you turn on the motor.

Get better soon

-- Tony - All things are possible, just some things are more difficult than others! - SKYPE: Heron2005 (

View Hawgnutz's profile


526 posts in 4040 days

#11 posted 08-10-2007 08:42 PM

Doug, Email me and I will tell you where sympathy is in teh dictionary….LOL Old joke.

Wayne… Lol I would probably cut myself sharpening it! My developing hernia prevents me from extended plane usage, such as dadoing or massive smoothing of plank. Thanks, but no thanks, though.

That extra runner on the outside of the board is an excellent idea, Bob! Simple, yet extremely functional! Gonna have to try that on the next set of dadoes. I am cutting around 100 linear feet or more, with 4 passes per item to complete these domino holders for a Mexican train set. That outside guide will work great! I an even add a hold-down accessory to it. Thanks a finger or two!

And Tom, I try to use my bandsaw as much as possible, too. Much, Much safer! I was going to use it to cut the dadoed boared to length once I got all 3 dadoes cut.

God Bless,

-- Saving barnwood from the scrapyards

View PanamaJack's profile


4483 posts in 4041 days

#12 posted 08-10-2007 08:43 PM

Hopefully you will be back in full action soon. A good lesson learned, but also you are so lucky that it wasn’t a lost little finger, or worse. I believe someone was indeed watching out for you. We all have learned a valuable lesson with you Hawg. Take it easy man!

-- Carpe Lignum; Tornare Lignum (Seize the wood, to Turn the wood)

View snowdog's profile


1164 posts in 3947 days

#13 posted 08-11-2007 01:49 PM

I would shoot the saw <grin> Thanks for the wake up call.

I try to keep the fear/respect in every cut and remember how much I like all my body parts but a reminder is always welcome. I think next to the table saw the chain saw is my most feared/respected tool. I love using them both but always try to remember how quick things can go wrong. Some one above said it, plan every move before you make it but even then things can go wrong. I still love the thrill of dropping a 50 or 100 foot tree in a crowded forest and not really knowing if it will all work out as planed :)

9 stitches OUCH!

-- "so much to learn and so little time"..

View Sawdust2's profile


1466 posts in 4052 days

#14 posted 08-11-2007 02:57 PM

Two suggestions:

Put a board on the fence that will hold the wood down on tip of the blade, in addition to one that holds is securely against the side of the fence.

Take off your ring when working with power tools. If the blade had caught the ring it would have taken the finger. Some of the first safety rules include no loose clothing and no jewelry or watches.

Be truly thankful it wasn’t any worse.

This is just the reason the SawStop was invented.

-- No piece is cut too short. It was meant for a smaller project.

View Obi's profile


2213 posts in 4201 days

#15 posted 08-11-2007 03:40 PM

I find myself praying on just about everything. It all started with my router… “Lord? You gotta help me here, cause this thing is dangerous.” The it got to the table saw. And i don’t remember what it was the other day, but I certainly remember saying close to the same thing.

Left to my own devices, I am sure to injure myself. If I’m in charge, we’re all in trouble. I don’t want to be in control, I just want to be safe and alert.

Oh, yeah… the ring. MUST come off. If you read the safety manual, I’m sure it said no jewelry or loose-fitting clothing.

showing 1 through 15 of 30 replies

Have your say...

You must be signed in to reply.

DISCLAIMER: Any posts on LJ are posted by individuals acting in their own right and do not necessarily reflect the views of LJ. LJ will not be held liable for the actions of any user.

Latest Projects | Latest Blog Entries | Latest Forum Topics