Kickback - Tell me what I can do to prevent this in the future

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Forum topic by Fuzzybearz posted 05-10-2019 06:14 AM 2500 views 0 times favorited 60 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View Fuzzybearz's profile


104 posts in 872 days

05-10-2019 06:14 AM

Last night I was on my last set of things to rip. I was ripping 2×12 x 5.5” long pieces and I remember thinking, this is slightly unsafe. But I had my pushstick and started to push things through. Somewhere in between the small piece of wood got stuck between the fence and sawblade and came flying back.

Suddenly I felt it hit my chest and then my face. At first I was confused because I had no idea what happened, then I checked to make sure I was ok. I felt my chest and saw a small bit of blood. I think it hit right below my collarbone and bruised it quite well as I can feel pain down to my fingers and in the back of my neck. I also find it slightly painful to do a motion like i’m curling a weight with my right hand.

Not that it helped any, but I had my safety glasses, ear protection and dust mask on. I shouldve used my microjig push thingamajig which wouldve had more surface area and prevented it from getting caught, or I shouldve used a sled. But what else can I do in the future to prevent this? I’m pretty lucky it didnt break my collarbone (or it may be fractured but I doubt it).

My saw also does not have a riving knife and I had a microjig splitter on there but I just switched out the throat plate to one that didnt. Should I buy that shark riving knife? Ive been looking for additional overhead dust collection as it spits back alot of dust in my face even though I have a 3hp dust collector with 4” piping attached to it wit 600+ cfm.

60 replies so far

View CaptainKlutz's profile


3330 posts in 2297 days

#1 posted 05-10-2019 09:04 AM

Sorry about the injury. No fun.
BTDTGTTS, I am a klutz after all.

You already answered most of your own questions? If you use either a riving knife or some type of splitter after the blade, and you never let go of the wood as it feeds; majority of kick back causes will be prevented.
Personally, If a cut even sort of looks scary, I use a different method (usually my TS cross cut sled, miter gauge, or thin rip on left side of blade).

One thing you didn’t mention was your body position during cut. One key to avoiding injury is staying out of the flight path of projectiles. Had a accident without a splitter installed, where a 2×6 16” long piece kick backed so hard, it grazed my side and punctured double thick drywall directly behind me. Thanks to body position right of fence, all I found was splinters and rip in left side of my T-shirt :-0)

Can not forget about saw set up as well. Have to make sure the fence is parallel to blade front to back, or some folks even suggest having the back of fence skewed a couple thousandths away from blade to prevent trapping wood. Check your saw to be sure nothing moved after this accident.

If your push stick slips this can create problems. Some folks like Gripper style push jigs, I prefer to use a rail riding style of push stick to help me get more control on small/thin pieces. Posted a project showing example:
Click for details

Knock on wood # # #, haven’t had a kick back injury since started ALWAYS using splitter, better push jigs, and always keep your body out of harms way.


PS – I am not a doctor, but pretty sure you will have a board shaped bruise in couple days. :)
That one looks a candidate for stitches from the pic? Go see a doctor if still bleeding or pain does not reduce in 8-12 hours. Impact trauma injuries can have hidden damage.

May you have a better day tomorrow!

-- If it wasn't for bad luck, I wouldn't have no luck at all, - Albert King - Born Under a Bad Sign released 1967

View Fred Hargis's profile

Fred Hargis

6310 posts in 3296 days

#2 posted 05-10-2019 10:34 AM

That certainly has to hurt…and a good reminder why kickback should be mentioned more often than it is. On to the question: the dust coming off the blade only has one solution: an overblade pick up. The Shark is an excellent way to do that as well as add a very high quality splitter to the saw…I highly recommend one. But are they still available, Lee (Stryon) passed away some time back, I wasn’t sure anyone was carrying on the business.

-- Our village hasn't lost it's idiot, he was elected to congress.

View Redoak49's profile


4798 posts in 2791 days

#3 posted 05-10-2019 11:08 AM

You are extremely fortunate that it did not hit your face.

Could we see your push sit stick. I really do not like them for most things as they give only point contact.

View Steve Maskery's profile

Steve Maskery

59 posts in 4187 days

#4 posted 05-10-2019 12:24 PM

Do I understand from your post that your workpiece was 5.5” long? If so, I suggest that it is too short to be ripped safely. A bandsaw would have been a better choice, if you have one or by hand if you don’t.

Also I would recommend using a short fence when ripping, it prevents the wood from being pushed sideways into the blade. There is an old clip of mine on YT. It’s not the one I use today, but the principle is the same. I wouldn’t rip without it. Sorry about the slow start…

And get that Riving Knife. RKs are not optional over here! (UK). :)

I have a scar on my arm from kickback 30-odd years ago. I was young, I’d had my first TS about 3 days, I knew absolutely nothing about TS safety. It was entirely avoidable. I learned.

It’s never happened again and I don’t think that that is coincidence.

I hope you recover quickly. Best wishes.

-- The Complete Tablesaw -

View Delete's profile


439 posts in 1174 days

#5 posted 05-10-2019 12:50 PM

My wishes for a quick recovery Fuzzybearz. I avoid long thin single point push sticks, to awkward and capable of slipping. A face shield provides much more protection than safety glasses for dust and flying material. Short of wearing armour the body is harder to protect, the first thing that comes to mind is always to take a step to the side when ripping and provide lots of fence clearance when crosscutting or use a sled. I have had a few jams over the years when ripping, always managed to hold the work and kick the switch of with my foot or knee, but it is always a reminder to be more careful with my set-ups.

View theart's profile


206 posts in 1357 days

#6 posted 05-10-2019 12:54 PM

A sled or a band saw would have been safer. A 2×12 is wide enough that you could even make that cut with a miter saw. A riving knife may not have helped, because at 5.5” long, and depending on how high up the blade was, the leading edge of the board might not have gotten to the riving knife before the trailing edge parted. You should have one anyway, but still avoid any cut where the entire length of the piece can find itself between the blade and fence.

Backing up to the first line, it sounds like you were ripping multiple pieces. In the future, consider ripping to width first, then cross cutting. It’s safer and faster.

View bondogaposis's profile


5803 posts in 3154 days

#7 posted 05-10-2019 01:09 PM

But what else can I do in the future to prevent this?

It is not safe to rip short pieces on the table saw. I like to use 12” as a minimum for a 10” blade. Rip your stock first, then chop into short pieces. Does your saw have a riving knife or splitter? If so use them. If your saw doesn’t have a riving knife then get some of those micro jig splitters, they work pretty well.

-- Bondo Gaposis

View pottz's profile


10286 posts in 1787 days

#8 posted 05-10-2019 01:42 PM

But what else can I do in the future to prevent this?

It is not safe to rip short pieces on the table saw. I like to use 12” as a minimum for a 10” blade. Rip your stock first, then chop into short pieces. Does your saw have a riving knife or splitter? If so use them. If your saw doesn t have a riving knife then get some of those micro jig splitters, they work pretty well.

- bondogaposis

+1 piece was way too short to rip! hopefully this was a lesson well learned and never repeated.

-- working with my hands is a joy,it gives me a sense of fulfillment,somthing so many seek and so few find.-SAM MALOOF.

View Aj2's profile


3174 posts in 2600 days

#9 posted 05-10-2019 01:44 PM

I use my bandsaw for ripping short boards into small parts.
Since the kerf will be small there’s still room for cleaning up a rough edge.

-- Aj

View GR8HUNTER's profile


7648 posts in 1515 days

#10 posted 05-10-2019 01:57 PM

first thing- is throw away ant stcks you may have you need a shoe with more control on downward sideward forward pressure like this :

second -is body position
third- if you think it unsafe dont do it
forth- riving knife

The Shark is an excellent way to do that as well as add a very high quality splitter to the saw…I highly recommend one. But are they still available, Lee (Stryon) passed away some time back, I wasn t sure anyone was carrying on the business.

- Fred Hargis

I think his son is running things now Ron I believe

-- Tony---- Reinholds,Pa.------ REMEMBER TO ALWAYS HAVE FUN

View SMP's profile


2248 posts in 708 days

#11 posted 05-10-2019 02:28 PM

Mr Miyagi taught me that the best defense against kickback is “no be there”. I have found this simple advice to stand to the side out of the lone of fire has saved me a few times. Also on short pieces I will attach it to a longer scrap of 2×4 etc.

View bigJohninvegas's profile


788 posts in 2264 days

#12 posted 05-10-2019 02:43 PM

I have ripped short stuff like that with no problem. My push sticks are about a foot long, and even a gripper is long enough. Like CaptainKlutz said, never let go. And you must make sure you push all the way through the blade.

I am pretty sure you can still get a shark guard. I remember reading shortly after Lee passed that his family was keeping business going. The web site is still up, I would give them a call.

Not staying focused is a killer. Most of our table saw accidents are just that. A momentary lose of focus/ distraction on what we are doing.
My only kickback so far was just that. I was new, and don’t even remember how I did it. But it happened. Luck would have it I was standing out of the way of the projectile. And it was pure luck because I had not learned about kickbacks at that time, or to stand to the side. But I now have a permanent reminder (Dent) in my metal garage door.
On a funny side, It was a good year later that my wife first discovered the dent on the outside of the door.
Every time I walk up my driveway, I see that dam dent. A good shop safety reminder for me.

Quick edit,
Shortly after my kick back I mentioned. I found a woodworking school here in my home town.
The push stick I am using is what the school uses.
Here is a link to Jamie’s Blog. Wooditis. Go back to February 2014 and there is a detailed step by step on how to make them.
Simple plywood, and meant to be disposable. I make mine a little taller, about a half dozen at a time, and when doing thin rips they get chewed up by the blade. when I get to the last one I go back and repair them, till they get to short.

-- John

View ArtMann's profile


1480 posts in 1618 days

#13 posted 05-10-2019 02:46 PM

A simple push stick isn’t going to protect you in this situation. The work piece is just too short to control properly. You need something to apply downward force. Here is what I use with this type of cut.

View Fuzzybearz's profile


104 posts in 872 days

#14 posted 05-10-2019 03:29 PM

Bench dog push stick. Thanks everyone. There is actually a bandsaw right next to the table saw and next time I’ll use that. I didn’t even think about that.

A bit more sore today, but I stayed up late putting ice on it to swell as a little as possible.

Also it did hit my face, chin and throat but luckily it was after it hit my chest. My neck hurts from the impact and I literally just got a neck massage a few hours before this incident.

I actually have that micro jig thing and looking back I could’ve also used that and stood out of the way.

View AlaskaGuy's profile


5860 posts in 3111 days

#15 posted 05-10-2019 03:48 PM

Where were you standing. Directly behind the saw blade by chance?

-- Alaskan's for Global warming!

showing 1 through 15 of 60 replies

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