Table saw safety "kickback"

Forum: Workshop

Not normally being one for what would be known here in UK as a “safety sally” I’m now going to start a tablesaw safety topic.

I have being using table saws in one form or another since I was about 15 and before that assisting my dad with the out feed and in loading since I was about 12 years of age so I know many tricks to getting the job done.

In the early days before I had a spindle moulder we would cut all the big rebates, Cill boards, housing joints etc on the table saw often this required removing the riving knife and crown guard but this is ok as most of the time the blade is covered by the work piece.

Well as soon as the riving knife is off the saw it has the potential for the kerf to close and the piece to kick back. On my rip saw I can make a double cut with knife still in place but it can still kick the work piece up in the air.

Well Friday I needed to cut some rebates with a sloping bottom to them and was hoping to recover the bead also. I cut the original groove in the rail with the router as it’s set up in the right place thanks to having used it for the curved top rail so I set up table saw including removing the knife and crown guard I set the tilt and the height and made the cut.

As I got to the last 5mm of cut the kerf closed and the bead was ripped off the work piece and like an arrow flew across the workshop hitting the laminate covered worktop on the bench at the back of the shop the force of the impact was such it broke a chunk out of the worktop. It also smashed through two plastic containers at the same time.

I’m well aware of this sort of thing and generally stand out of the line of Fire!

I shall be ordering a slitting saw for the spindle moulder very soon and will be on the hunt for a tilting arbour machine also when funds allow.

Tags: table saw

Dreaming of a sawmill, feels like a museum. Thanks for looking Adam.


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12 Replies

Jack ...

Great topic Adam, glad you are ok. I have told this sorry tale before but here it is again. When I decided I would try woodworking, I bought my table saw, brought it home and plugged it up. Because of my superior intelligence (yeah right), I saw no need to read the instruction booklet. So I found a scrap of wood and turned it on. I had never even seen a table saw. With the blade way too high, I began the cut, the fence moved because I didn’t lock it and I cut the end of my left thumb off. It is really embarrassing to tell this on myself but maybe it will help a new bee someday. As the old saying goes, those machines will lie in wait for years if necessary just waiting for you to get in a hurry or in my case make a STUPID mistake.

Whitacrebespoke ...

Yep the certainly will strike at the least convenient time. Hope your ok now.

I’m ok. I’m an old hand in a wood shop despite only being 34 I’ve had more years in and around a shop that not. Dads shop was in the garden when we grew up so I grew up around various contraptions that counted as table saws.

I learnt early not to get in the line of fire especially when cutting thin strips like this.

David E. ...

Damn, that’s impressively scary. I try to give the saw a lot of respect, but I often find myself standing where I shouldn’t be, even though I know better. This looks like it would have created a nice puncture wound had it hit flesh. Something I’ll try to keep in mind going forward. Thanks for sharing!

Brian ...

Jeez, Jack be careful!!!

I remember my first safety lesson. “If you don’t feel good, if you feel sick, or you had a couple drinks, or you had a fight with your wife, just stay away from the table saw because it requires complete focus.” Sound words.

Wheaties - Bruce A Wheatcroft ( BAW Woodworking) ...

Thanks for sharing , safety first.

a1jim ...

Safety should always be the first step of any operation in the woodshop.

Whitacrebespoke ...

Work smart work safe as my uncle always says.

I did the second one with a board screwed to the face of the fence that went just up to the centre of the blade and no kickback as no pinch.

Manitario ...

Very impressive! Glad you weren’t in the way. I’ve had my saw kick back a couple of times, usually because I was doing something stupid.
In my job as an ER doctor, I saw a person one night who got hit in the testicle by a board that kicked back…no permanent injury but it looked uncomfortable. Good thing it didn’t happen on “Pantsless Tuesday” in the shop.

Wheaties - Bruce A Wheatcroft ( BAW Woodworking) ...

When I was a freshman in high school , I was trying to cut a piece of 1 inch pine 12 inches square. Some how the piece got away from me and kicked up in the air. It came right done on the blade, shot straight back and hit me in the gut so hard it knocked the wind out of me. Had a nasty bruise for quite a wile .

Whitacrebespoke ...

If your piece came off the saw like this strip came off mine I feel for you Bruce because I can easily see why it knocked the wind out of you.

Manitario ouch is all I can say, I. An imagine the sick feeling and the watery mouth and light head your gentleman must have felt.

Brian ...

Who wants to imagine that?!?! Not me! LOL

Manitario ...

lol guys. I work in a large ER so whenever one of my colleagues has someone who was injured by a powertool, I try to go talk with the patient; it’s always very interesting to here what they were doing, how the injury happened, what safety measures they were/weren’t using.