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Forum topic by lumbering_on posted 11-05-2018 03:50 AM 889 views 0 times favorited 12 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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578 posts in 1094 days

11-05-2018 03:50 AM

No this isn’t a new circle jig.

It’s the smile you get from a kickback.

I was thinking hard about posting this, and almost didn’t when I noticed a few other people talking about their recent experiences. I’ve been working on a ts for a few decades, and I always try to make sure I do it safely. I’m pretty careful and use a riving knife, guard, pawls, feather boards, and Board Buddies when it’s appropriate. However, there always seems to be that time you let your guard down because ‘it really isn’t that big a deal’.

I just finished a few lap joints on the ts so I had removed my riving knife to make it easier. This is safe as I was making the cut with a crosscut sled, so no chance of kickback. However, I just needed to make a quick cut on this 1/8” hardboard. So off went the crosscut sled and on went the fence. It’s no big deal, I’ve done thousands of cuts, I didn’t need the guard and pawls, heck, I didn’t even need the riving knife as I was going right back to the crosscut sled after this cut.

To make a long story short, my young son decided to walk into the garage just as I was in the middle of the cut. I just remember thinking I had to stop him from getting to the ts. That’s when it happened, and it scared the daylights out of me.

Thankfully, I had had been training myself to hit the power button with my knee, which is what I instinctively did at this point. It’s also a very lucky thing that I was only working with hardboard as I was actually able to keep it on the table due to it’s low mass.

Lesson learned, I’m getting a lock for the garage, and no more ‘it’s no big deal’ moments. Just one lapse, and it could have been much worse.

12 replies so far

View Rick  Dennington's profile

Rick Dennington

6789 posts in 3798 days

#1 posted 11-05-2018 04:16 AM

I had pretty much the same thing happen to me about 2 years ago…I was running some 1/2” ply on the table saw, and one of the workers I had doing some landscaping for me popped his head in the door to ask to borrow a shovel as he had forgot his…I looked up to see him, and didn’t get the cut all the way through the board, and it kicked back and hit my left hand and then hit me in the stomach, knocking me backwards a little…..That’s when I noticed the blood coming from my hand, dripping all over the floor….I looked at my hand and 3 fingers were cut deeply, one to the bone, but it drove the first finger nail up and out….I grabbed some shop towels, and jumped in my truck and headed to the emergency room in town about 12 miles away…That happened about 10:00 a.m., and the day before Thanksgiving….Several stitches in my fingers and metal finger guards to protect them, and I headed home….I was in the e.r. until 3:30, cause I had to get an ultra sound to check for internal injuries in my stomach…..I had none, thank goodness, but my belly was black and blue and bruised deeply for a couple of weeks….The workers never knew what happened, and I never told them….But from that day forward, I lock my walk-in door…..Even my wife knows not to come in the shop when she hears machines running….First kick back I’ve ever had, and I’ve been doing woodworking for over 3 decades…...Yep….like you….lesson learned….!!

-- " There's a better way.....find it"...... Thomas Edison.

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4611 posts in 1178 days

#2 posted 11-05-2018 04:24 AM

Yeah, only takes that one second. Foolish, inattention, knot blows up. So darn many possibles you probably couldn’t write them all down. Gotta be vigilant, and it’s going to be during that time you don’t have a RK, splitter, guard. ZCI, or whatever safety feature you thought you could skip, heck it’s only a second….....

Safe is safe, unsafe is always unclear because so many people have runs of luck, sometimes for a long time, then people start calling them stumpy.

-- Think safe, be safe

View lumbering_on's profile


578 posts in 1094 days

#3 posted 11-05-2018 05:10 AM

Rick, I hope all your fingers came through with no permanent damage. My son is young, but you’d think an adult would know better never to approach someone working with a power tool.


Safe is safe, unsafe is always unclear because so many people have runs of luck, sometimes for a long time, then people start calling them stumpy.

Very true. I know people that do really stupid things and never seem to get hurt. I’ve watched morons start bonfires with gasoline and not get so much as a singed hair. Don’t know how they get through life without dying.

View Rick  Dennington's profile

Rick Dennington

6789 posts in 3798 days

#4 posted 11-05-2018 05:58 AM


Yep….all the fingers are working fine…No permanent damage at all. But I do have a few more scars..It took a long time to get the stiffness out, but I would sit and work them to keep them from getting stiff….It took almost a year for the index nail to heal and grow back….But things are good….kind of like it never happened, but you don’t forget, and have to be vigilant…....Glad to hear you came out unscathed on your ordeal, and wasn’t hurt…..We have to keep our mind in the middle when operating power tools….!!!

-- " There's a better way.....find it"...... Thomas Edison.

View Redoak49's profile (online now)


4348 posts in 2593 days

#5 posted 11-05-2018 12:10 PM

Thanks for telling us of your accident and glad you were not hurt. The riving knife is an important safety feature.

View Underdog's profile


1437 posts in 2640 days

#6 posted 11-05-2018 01:01 PM

It’s just human nature to make mistakes. Doesn’t matter how vigilant and safety conscious one is, there’s always that one moment of distraction, inattention, preoccupation, and a mistake is made. If you’ve been doing it for 20-30 years, the chances that a mistake turns into a serious accident grow.

Thanks for sharing your story. Everyone be careful out there!

-- Jim, Georgia, USA

View DrDirt's profile


4600 posts in 4346 days

#7 posted 11-05-2018 02:37 PM

had a similar event years back, making the top for a hexagon aquarium stand… so not a lot of contact with the fence and sure enough it tipped out…. that was 2004. No injury.

One worry I might have about locking the door, is that if you have something happen.. you are counting on someone getting through your locked door to help you… just my $0.02

-- “The two most important days in your life are the day you are born and the day you find out why.” Mark Twain

View pottz's profile


7671 posts in 1588 days

#8 posted 11-05-2018 02:46 PM

glad you posted this i dont think these kinds of accidents can be talked about too much,we all need to be reminded about safe practices in the shop.its always that one time you let your guard down when trouble 40 years of wood working ive never been seriously hurt,knock on wood!thanks for sharing this.

-- sawdust the bigger the pile the bigger my smile-larry,so cal.

View sras's profile


5288 posts in 3733 days

#9 posted 11-05-2018 03:23 PM

Nothing better than a harmless reminder to “not be stupid” – thanks!

-- Steve - Impatience is Expensive

View clin's profile


1076 posts in 1600 days

#10 posted 11-05-2018 03:57 PM

A good reminder to us all that accidents do happen. No one is perfect all the time. Thus it is import to make use of all the safety features available.

I’ll point out that making a cut on thin sheet material is one of the more problematic cuts, because thin materials are more flexible, harder to control, and have more of a tendency to grab the blade.

The OP’s and other stories make me think I should put a lock on the door to my shop. Wife and daughters think nothing of trying to engage me in conversation while I’m running my TS. Even though I have ear muffs and a respirator on. And of course it’s always to answer some question that could wait.

-- Clin

View lumbering_on's profile


578 posts in 1094 days

#11 posted 11-05-2018 04:06 PM

Rick, glad that everything healed. Still it must have been hard until the stiffness went away.

Readoak, agree on the riving knife. The thing is that it’s pretty easy remove and put back on, but I just thought it was going to take too long as I was going to remove it right after a quick cut. It’s amazing how you forget that it only takes an instant to cause an accident.

Underdog, there’s something to be said for being too comfortable. I remember being terrified of using a ts when I first started using one. For the first two years of shop class, we were forbidden from using either a ts or the jointer because they were so dangerous. We even had a joke about ‘rarer than a shop teacher with all his fingers’. Having been terrorized about the dangers, I was always vigilant and a bit nervous about cutting, but it ensured I always had a plan on how I was going to approach the cut, and what I was going to do if something went wrong.

It seems that not having any issues for so long just made me feel that it was OK to make a quick cut without the safety equipment in place.

View lumbering_on's profile


578 posts in 1094 days

#12 posted 11-05-2018 06:49 PM

Pottz, thanks, I hope that nobody has to have another injury, but it’s impossible to say when something unexpected will happen.

Nothing better than a harmless reminder to “not be stupid” – thanks!

- sras

Tell my cardiologist that it was harmless – jk, I have no heart issues, but I almost felt like I had one.

Clin, the worst part is my ts just to the side and in front of the door. This means that I’m only a few steps from the door, and it’s behind me. This is just the wrong position for someone to come in when you’re not expecting it. I have always thought a door lock would be a good thing, now I would definitely recommend one.

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