Avoiding kickback on a table saw??

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Forum topic by Kali2024 posted 05-15-2011 05:26 PM 5165 views 0 times favorited 18 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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29 posts in 3087 days

05-15-2011 05:26 PM

Ok im about to start building some columns to divide two rooms AND am going to be using a table saw for the first time. Can you share some tips on avoiding kickback? (The saw has some gripper thingies that are supposed to prevent this but i dont trust them) thanks in advance for the help.

18 replies so far

View TheDane's profile


5690 posts in 4176 days

#1 posted 05-15-2011 05:31 PM

Check this out …

Be safe … and good luck!


-- Gerry -- "I don't plan to ever really grow up ... I'm just going to learn how to act in public!"

View SSMDad's profile


395 posts in 3110 days

#2 posted 05-15-2011 05:54 PM

Good link. Two important tips. Use a pushblock to keep your hands away from the blade. Don’t stand directly behind the piece being milled so if there is kickback and the paws don’t stop it you won’t get hit. Oh and another is to art the blade height just above the wood thickness. Higher and it could burn or cause other issues.

Be safe and it is fun to use them. :)


-- Chris ~~Who controls the past controls the future. Who controls the present controls the past."

View matt garcia's profile

matt garcia

1910 posts in 4185 days

#3 posted 05-15-2011 06:01 PM

Make sure you’re rip fence is parallel to your saw blade, and miter slots. Make sure you have a sharp, saw pitch free blade. Stand to the opposite side of the blade where the stock goes against the fence.

-- Matt Garcia Wannabe Period Furniture Maker, Houston TX

View knotscott's profile


8339 posts in 3889 days

#4 posted 05-15-2011 06:58 PM

In addition to the other bits of good advice, be sure your TS has a splitter or riving knife installed behind the blade to prevent the work from closing on the blade and kicking back. The splitter/riving must also be extremely well aligned with the blade. The Microjig Grr-ripper is an excellent push block, but it won’t necessarily prevent kickback by itself. If the other safety rules are followed to prevent kickback, the Grr-ripper or other push block helps you maintain control of the workpiece. Use of a feather board is one other safety device you can use to reduce kickback.

-- Happiness is like wetting your pants...everyone can see it, but only you can feel the warmth....

View cut3times's profile


116 posts in 3520 days

#5 posted 05-15-2011 07:06 PM

Kali, this is obvious, but, the kickback is caused because the off cut piece comes back into the blade after the cut. I have not installed the kickback pawls on my table saw. Instead I installed splitter inserts into the blade insert. The splitter keeps the pieces separated during and after the cut. The splitter needs to be the width of the blade or a hair thinner. You probably have one that came with your saw. The only kickback I get is when the off cut piece is very thin and air can lift it which is of no consequence since the piece is very thin.


-- And Still Too Short - "Life is what happens to you while you're busy making other plans." John Lennon

View Loren's profile


10477 posts in 4161 days

#6 posted 05-15-2011 07:10 PM

When I first started out I bought a book about table saws. The tool
is fairly predictable when cutting woods if you understand the physics
of how it works and how to set it up for accuracy and safety.

I’m sure there are a lot of videos about table saw safety these days.

View jackass's profile


350 posts in 4226 days

#7 posted 05-15-2011 07:54 PM

That sounds like quite an ambitious project for the first time on a table saw. I would suggest you find someone to show you how to use your new saw. I endured kickback years ago, not a nice feeling, also an acquaintence lost an eye to kickback. I’m not trying to frighten you, just make sure you know what you’re doing before you hit the switch. Good luck.

-- Jack Keefe Shediac NB Canada

View TheDane's profile


5690 posts in 4176 days

#8 posted 05-15-2011 07:55 PM

A good read that is loaded with great advice and tips (safety and otherwise) is Jim Tolpin’s Table Saw Magic ... you can find a used copy on for under $20.


-- Gerry -- "I don't plan to ever really grow up ... I'm just going to learn how to act in public!"

View lilredweldingrod's profile


2496 posts in 3620 days

#9 posted 05-15-2011 09:46 PM

Gee why would you want to prevent a kickback. It feels so good when it quits hurting. And when you get your breath back, the air turns this beautiful blue. I keep an 8 pound sledge next to my saw to readjust and modify the rip fence after each delightful kickback. It doesn’t seem to do much for the saw, but it makes me feel better. I hope you take this advice in the same spirit it was given. Rand lol

View Samwise's profile


45 posts in 3130 days

#10 posted 05-15-2011 10:44 PM

Another good thing would be to make yourself a crosscut sled. While this won’t work for large pieces or sheet goods, they are great when cutting smaller pieces.

I think I saw in a previous post that this table saw is new for you. If that’s true, it would be a good idea to make sure that the saw is set up right. I use the A-Line it tool to set up my saw. A properly set up saw will ensure that the blade is parallel to the miter slots and fence.

Last suggestion would be to make or buy an outfeed table. An outfeed table will help provide a stable area off the back of the saw to support larger materials when ripping.

All of these lessons are ones I learned the hard way within the last month. I had a piece kickback on me, and hit me in the stomach. No major damage, just bruised my pride.

-- Sam

View brianlee's profile


18 posts in 3114 days

#11 posted 05-16-2011 12:46 AM

You need to FULLY understand your table saw. READ THE MANUAL CAREFULLY. Calling the anti-kickback pawls “gripper thingies” means you didn’t do this. After you read the manual, read a couple of the suggested literatures mentioned in some of the above posts. Don’t want to sound harsh, but the table saw can be a very dangerous tool if you don’t have a clear understanding of how to use it correctly. And that can result in injuries that nobody here wants to read about later on. Better safe than sorry.

View wdwrkr's profile


26 posts in 3514 days

#12 posted 05-16-2011 12:55 AM

Keep your eyes on the sharp, shiny, spinny things, and keep your fingers out of the way of them. It sucks when you get blood on a nice piece of wood.

View bubinga's profile


861 posts in 3181 days

#13 posted 05-16-2011 01:42 AM

I have a digital book from Fine Woodworking, called, Tablesaw Methods of Work, Best Tips from 25 years of Fine Woodworking. It has a safety section. I would be happy to e-mail to you, to help get you started.
Just send me a PM with an e-mail address and I will send it to you, if you like

-- E J ------- Always Keep a Firm Grip on Your Tool

View Kali2024's profile


29 posts in 3087 days

#14 posted 05-16-2011 02:54 AM

Thanks guys for the great advice. I did read the manual fully and followed it exactly- just forgot what the name of the “anti kickback pawls” when i was typing this. Anyhoo so far not a single scare. I had the hubs help me with the wood as i didnt have a a table- a must buy in the near future. These saws are so much more intimidating than miter saws-took me nearly two hours to get the balls to press the start button.

And btw what happens when youre holding an 8’ piece of lumber and something goes wrong and you can’t reach the damn off button??? You would think they would come out with some kind of foot pedal on/off cord thing to go along with the table button just in case…anyway.

Again, all the advice is much appreciated!

View bubinga's profile


861 posts in 3181 days

#15 posted 05-18-2011 05:19 AM

If you have a saw stop just keep a weenie handy, and you can shut it down real quick.
Okay people don’t get mad ! It’s just a joke

-- E J ------- Always Keep a Firm Grip on Your Tool

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