Kicking Back   4 comments

Kickback 01

Side note: the glue that I use is stronger than the wood that it connects together. Note the 1/4″ hard maple piece on the right, which is broken unevenly across the maple board. The glue held. Same is true of the much smaller hard maple piece on the left: the glue held, the board broke. This is a victory for my craftsmanship!

I was in the zone. I was pushing to get more boards done (sounds normal, right?). I was in the second table saw phase: cleaning up the boards after the glue-up. The boards needed the ragged ends cleaned up, and then each board needed to be cut to length.

And then it happened.

I was cutting off a ragged end … and the board caught on something. I pushed with a little more force … and then the broken pieces in the picture, right, caught the edge of the blade at an angle, CLANGED off of the blade guard, and then were launched into the back wall 30′ behind me.

The table saw: the most dangerous tool in the shop.

Luckily, I was working on the left side of the blade for this cut. My whole body, my hands, my arms … all were on the left side of the blade, and the end cuts launched from the right side of the blade. Missed me. Thank goodness.

My Sears Craftsman has a 10″ blade, and the motor runs at 3450 RPM. I did the math … and that’s a blade speed of over 100 MPH. That is nothing to mess with … and when something launches off of that blade, that is called kick back.

And that can be a very serious problem.

Whenever something happens unexpectedly in the shop, I take a step back and make sure I’m doing everything I can do to to work safely. It’s just me in the shop … so I have to look after myself. If I’m going to work safely, I need to know what I should do … and what I should not do. In every situation, every time.

What did I do wrong? I pushed. I didn’t clear the blade of the offcuts, I just tried to push through a problem. The result: kick back. Lesson learned.

Kickback 02I hope.

Some of the boards needed their sides to be cleaned up as well: I had a couple of end grain boards in the production process, and they needed to be squared up. No problem. For this cut, I used the fence on the right side of the blade, and I pushed the 12″ wide board through the blade with my right hand.

The result: I was standing directly behind the blade when the small 1/16″ cut off chips caught the left side of the blade, and launched directly back into my stomach.


What did I do wrong? Nothing. It really wasn’t a big deal, but it did smart. Wood chips flying at 100 MPH will do that when they hit you, y’know?


The Table Saw

Posted November 13, 2014 by henrymowry in Woodworking

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4 responses to “Kicking Back

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  1. glad you are OK

  2. You do beautiful work, but personalizing it w/ blood is just a tad more than necessary – SO glad you weren’t hurt!!

  3. Pingback: Cheese & Crackers, Anyone? |

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