true jim I have had kick backs and pull through they will get you have to be careful all times keep your mind on your work

-- jim

Opening the guards on the bandsaw while it was running – doh! Came out with only a scratch but also the thought to never do it again.

I try to be pretty careful in my shop but sometimes I catch myself setting up to do something incredibly stupid, like eg. cutting a very small piece with the mitre saw…usually catch myself…have a bad habit of reaching around the running TS blade to clear the offcuts.

-- Rob, Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario

that’s right I have done the same thing you have to be on your toes when cutting

-- jim

I’ve been pretty fortunate since I started woodworking in the early ’80’s, but I broke one of my shop rules in ’86.

Never cut round wood on the band saw, without securing it. I tried to re-saw a slice off of an oval of 2" thick something. Using a fence, I was feeding it freehand when the blade caught the oval, spinning it quickly, which kicked it back, right along the fence into the left side of my face.

Luckily I was wearing safety glasses, but that chunk of wood split my lip, requiring inner and outer stitches. My principal drove me to the emergency room, where the nursing staff tried to get me to shave my mustache so I could be stitched.

Finally got it done when I clipped a path for them, to get into. Hadn’t been without a mustache since ‘77, so wasn’t gonna lose it then. Caught crap from my students and the principal, the rest of the year. :-(

-- Keith "Shin" Schindler

you right about that I have done the same thing blade will get in a bind bend the blade it happends

-- jim

Good point Jim, At the beginning of each semester in my adult woodworking class I always have a safety meeting and at the end of the safety tour and talk I always say at the end"and the most important safety tool of all is this" pointing to my head.

Michael Ray
“I’ll never do it again” we live and we learn.

Glad you didn’t get hurt worse. Safety glasses is something I try to never forget or get away without using. If I remember right you teach high school shop ,I imagine it’s much harder to live down a mistake with high school students than with my adult students,we all have those days.

-- woodworking classes, custom furniture maker

You got me. Guilty of all of those and possibly a few more. Isn’t it interesting that most of them are on the beloved table saw? I always wear glasses and hearing protection and often wear those grippy rubber gloves. But I can freehand an 8’ rip on a table saw when it has to be angled so the fence is no use. ? stay safe all and count your fingers before you start. And again after you’re done.

-- My Woodshop is my happy place?

I haven’t had too many things but, one I remember. Tried cutting a half piece of plywood on table saw in tight quarters. Blade caught and the board came back and hit me square in the chest. Took the wind out of me but, somehow had the sense to shut the machine down. I always use my guards, this time it didn’t help. Not too bad really, God has watched over me. Only way I can explain it.

-- Jamesw

when cutting strips you have to watch they will come back at you like a bullet

-- jim

Those kickbacks can be deadly ,I always teach my students to stand aside and do the same myself.

-- woodworking classes, custom furniture maker

I was making the last pass on a bowl in my lathe . It was getting a little thin because of the pattern I wanted . Well half way across it blew apart . Pieces flew every where . A pc was stuck in the insulation in the roof . a pc in the insulation on the wall . One pc hit me right below the right eye . I was wearing regular safety glasses over my glasses . Now I wear a full face shield . PS , being as the pcs were so big , I was able to glue it back together and finish the job . My Dad still has the bowl .

-- Wheaties

-- jim

Whether or not I would free hand a cut depends of whether I was using my cabinet saw or my little Bosch. The former isn’t going to bog for much of anything. The latter can be stalled, in a pinch. Accordingly, I have never free handed on the Unisaw, but have done several such cuts, on long or large pieces.

Of course, I don’t make it a habit of doing these things.


I did teach shop, Jr High and High, not for years though. Speaking of kickback. One of my high school students forgot to not stand in line of the table saw blade, had a good size piece kick back and hit him right in his “Manhood.” Put him DOWN! Luckily, no permanent damage, but he never forgot that rule.

Another student had a 3/4" by 3/4" piece of Oak come off the saw and punch through a 1/2" Plywood tool rack, also knocking it back about two feet. It was free standing. 1/8" wide by 48" tall.

I’m ALWAYS watching the table saw, the blade, my hands, the wood, when I’m on the table saw.

Uses to tell my students, “If the wood gets out of your hands, DON’T try to catch it, let it go.” Student forgot, wood slipped while working the jointer; he grabbed for it and the board had forced the guard open. He lost the tips of three fingers.

Y’all be safe out there.

-- Keith "Shin" Schindler

I had a habit of not wearing safety glasses during nailing with pneumatics. I make it a point to point away from myself, to whatever degree is possible. Working one day, I noticed about 1-1/2" of a brad sticking in the paper of my as-of-yet not covered insulation. That was a good reminder of how easy it is for an angled brad to be deflected by the wood you’re shooting, and what it could do to an eye. That was a good reminder of why eye wear is a good thing.

Both good points Keith and Kelly.

-- woodworking classes, custom furniture maker

Shin – back in 1969 in shop at school , I was trying to trim a 1/4 " off a piece of 3/4 " plywood 1 ft sq . It jumped up out of there and landed flat side on the blade . Hit me right in the gut , knocked the wind out of me and bruised my gut . I was in a hurry , never again . I take my time and prepare .

-- Wheaties

A wake up call for us all. Good topic of discussion. If nothing else, shows we are not alone in our moments of pain. Be safe and be aware.

-- Jamesw

I must admit that for the 30 plus years that I have used a table saw I did so with the guard removed.

A few months ago I walked into the woodworkers club that I belong to. Another member had just cut the tip of his finger off while using the club’s (unguarded) table saw.

The club instituted a new rule that the guard should remain on the table saw. If someone has to remove it to make a cut they must put the guard back on once they are finished the cut.

When I returned home I put the guard back on my saw and have been using it that way since then. For those few times that I need to remove the guard, I am taking the time to immediately replace the guard after I finish that particular operation.

Problem I have is, about 95% or more of what I do requires a push stick. That and my overarm guard don’t go together.

I guess, in the mean time, it’s: keep the blade as low as possible; use the splitter, and, use the shoe to push everything through.

I have had two accidents in the my 19 years of woodworking and both were the result of improper use of the bandsaw, once through sheer stupidity and the other time due to not being aware of bad practice. These accidents happened not so long after I began woodworking. Luckily I was not permanently maimed, ‘luckily’ being the key word here.

Most machinery in the old days was inherently unsafe but workers still managed by and large to keep themselves out of harms way. This could only have been accomplished by understanding the dangers beforehand. I am not against passive safety built into machines, but I still consider the brain to be the best of all safety devices.

I do my best to consistently use my tools in a safe way by following good practice, but I still break the safety rules occasionally, but only when I’m aware that I am doing so. Things can go very wrong very quickly with cutting machines whirring at high speeds.

-- Mike, an American living in Norway

Safety is number one. I never had a bad accident but I think that’s because I always “dry run” pieces that require odd or dangerous cuts. If it doesn’t feel right, or if the piece is very large, I want to see where its going to go before pushing it through the blade. Will it land on the rollers? Do I need more support on one side or the other? Etc, etc. I don’t have a guard at all so it makes me even more aware of these things.

When I got the saw as a gift from my woodworking mentor he gave me some solid advice. Don’t overtighten the arbor nut. Don’t use it after a few drinks. And don’t use it if you’re upset for any reason (fight with your wife, etc). You have to think before using these tools, you have to respect them for what they are and you have to maintain focus at all times while using them.

-- Losing fingers since 1969

Good points guys

I agree Brian
“You have to think before using these tools, you have to respect them for what they are and you have to maintain focus at all times while using them.”
Even though I may on occasion do an operation that would not normally be considered safe to many,I think it through and make sure I’m not rushing the job and to consider if there may be a safer way to do things.

-- woodworking classes, custom furniture maker