Scared myself with kickback

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Forum topic by RJH311 posted 09-04-2012 09:38 PM 1761 views 0 times favorited 22 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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43 posts in 3383 days

09-04-2012 09:38 PM

Topic tags/keywords: question tablesaw safety kickback

Well, I suppose it was just a matter of time before it happened, but I think I really scared myself with some kickback today. I’ve never experienced kickback from a tablesaw until today. I was making a small box and cutting a groove into one end to seat the bottom into when BLAM the piece came loose and flew back busting up a window and my fingers in the process. I was wearing safety glasses but no gloves. I was using my fingers to feed the piece through because the saw was not making a cut all the way through the wood. Luckily I was standing over the blade and to the side in order to feed the piece through easier, but it still managed to scare the life out of me. Two of my fingers got pretty big gashes in them and my first reaction was “are my fingers broken” , “do I need to go to the emergency room?, and “oh shit, thats a lot of blood” . I feel lucky to still have my fingertips. I guess the injury wasn’t that bad, but it could have been way worse. I’m sitting here after the fact feeling kind of nervous to go use the tablesaw again. Has anyone else ever experienced this feeling? I’m obviously going to jump back on the horse here in no time flat, but i’m a good bit more nervous than I have been before. Maybe it’s time to pay a little more attention to safety. Also, maybe it’s time to stop using this piece of shit tablesaw and get something with some more safety features. I’d love to hear your thoughts, Thanks.

22 replies so far

View cabmaker's profile


1745 posts in 3867 days

#1 posted 09-04-2012 10:00 PM

How did you do that ? mitre guide, fence, sled or what. Surely you werent free handing ! Dont think lack of safety devices had much to do with it. How were you doing what you were doing ? BTW thank goodness you wer not wearing gloves, that is a big no no.

View crank49's profile


4032 posts in 4029 days

#2 posted 09-04-2012 10:13 PM

That sounds like a cut that should have been made with the miter guage or a sled.

Hope you weren’t sliding the workpiece along the fence to make a grove across the end of a board.
If you were, that’s your problem. Just don’t do that anymore and you’ll be fine.

A riving knife might have helped but probably not. Depends on the depth of the groove and the length of the cut.

Glad you didn’t loose any parts.

View DIYaholic's profile


19921 posts in 3733 days

#3 posted 09-04-2012 10:14 PM

Glad you are ok. I can’t quite picture what happened, needless to say, it is time to rethink that process!!!

-- Randy-- I may not be good...but I am slow! If good things come to those who wait.... Why is procrastination a bad thing?

View nwbusa's profile


1023 posts in 3344 days

#4 posted 09-04-2012 10:17 PM

That’s the kind of scary accident that can leave you minus a couple of fingers, when the wood goes flying and your hand pushes into the running blade. Glad you were were not permanently injured. The key is to understand exactly what caused the mishap so you can take steps to avoid it in the future. Can you provide more details on how you were guiding the piece during the cut?

-- John, BC, Canada

View Gerald Thompson's profile

Gerald Thompson

1272 posts in 3292 days

#5 posted 09-04-2012 10:17 PM

That may have been a cheap education. I had a kickback once when I first started using a TS. The piece hit me thumb side of my wrist. I had a numb area there for months.

-- Jerry

View Chuck Anstrom's profile

Chuck Anstrom

92 posts in 4082 days

#6 posted 09-04-2012 10:18 PM

When this happens to me, I know God is telling me, “This is a test. Be more careful.”

-- Chuck Anstrom - Virginia

View chrisstef's profile


18129 posts in 4064 days

#7 posted 09-04-2012 10:49 PM

Had my first little kick back a few weeks ago. A 1” X 1” piece of maple. I made a bad decision and wont ever do it again. Cutting off a little nib at the end of a board. Hit me right in the chops and left a real nasty bruise. Shook me up pretty good. Shut it down and turned off the lights right then and there. Glad youre all right.

-- Its not a crack, its a casting imperfection.

View huff's profile


2828 posts in 4343 days

#8 posted 09-04-2012 10:50 PM

It’s real easy for us to tell you what you should have done or what you shouldn’t do, but the most important thing here is you’re going to be OK and I sure hope you learned a lesson. Think about what procedure you were trying with that particular cut and figure out what went wrong….......and never do that again! I don’t care how careful you are and how many guards you have in place, there will always be a chance for something to go wrong, it’s just important to make sure you take every effort to make each cut as safe as possible. This pertains to any tool.
Now to answer your question; yes I’ve had it happen to me before. I preach safety all the time in the shop, I’ve taught classes on woodworking and that’s one of the first and surely the most important thing I cover with each woodworker. I’ve been woodworking for a living for over 25 years and I can still count to ten without borrowing anyone elses fingers. With all that being said, a couple years ago, I went home for lunch and told my wife I didn’t feel very good and felt like I could lay down and take a nap. She told to go ahead and rest for a while before
I go back to work, but like a dumb ass, I told her I had too much work to get done and headed back to work. 20 minutes later I was calling her and said I needed to go to the emergecy room. My table saw kicked back and my hand came back across the blade. Didn’t loose any fingers, but it took a bunch of stiches to sew things back. I read one time that most cuts on a table saw happens coming back across a blade and not pushing into the blade. Anyway, I’ve been careful around my tools before and after that accident, but it only took one stupid move on my part in less then one second to wipe out 25 years of practicing safety. And Yes, it was hard to go back to the shop the next day and clean the blood off the top of my table saw, but it was a real wake-up call for me and hope it will be the same for you.

-- John @

View jumbojack's profile


1691 posts in 3682 days

#9 posted 09-04-2012 11:08 PM

Sounds like push pads could have been used for this operation. I will sometimes start a cut, stop, get the push pads and continue. It is not much protection, but it is more safe. Just yesterday I was jointing a narrow piece of Sapele and it occured to me that a push pad could be used. IF A PIECE OF SAFETY EQUIPMENT CAN BE USED, IT SHOULD BE USED.

-- Made in America, with American made tools....Shopsmith

View Greenie's profile


7 posts in 3148 days

#10 posted 09-04-2012 11:25 PM


You’re lucky, I think you know that. I’m new to Lumberjocks, but not to woodworking, or the emergency room. I have had the misfortune of clipping my nails too close over the years, and I have always found one thing to be the smartest thing to do. After you get “too close” to a spinning piece of metal, sit down and calm yourself. Wrap it up in a clean rag or paper towel, and just wait. Being a former police officer and an EMT, I can assure you that lowering your blood pressure and heart rate is a prudent thing to do. Also, getting help from someone else in the area goes much smoother is you are calm and composed. Now, this advice is easy to say/type if you are the guy who just zipped off a finger, but the idea is the same. If you happen to be alone, fainting from the sight of a missing digit or blood loss has a way of getting to the E.R. a bit harder. Now, just be glad you don’t need to change your nickname to “Lefty”, and be careful. Plan your work carefully.

-- Grant, Minnesota

View Greenie's profile


7 posts in 3148 days

#11 posted 09-04-2012 11:34 PM


One last thing, heal all the way up before you go back to working. Sore fingers will make you do things differently, different means something you may not be used to, and you will surely have a lack of confidence. Begging for another trip to the E.R.

-- Grant, Minnesota

View ajosephg's profile


1897 posts in 4619 days

#12 posted 09-04-2012 11:38 PM

Never ever put your hands in a position where they can contact the blade if the work piece departs the scene.

Push pads or a Micro Jig GRR-Ripper would have kept your fingers out of the blade, and if used correctly prevented the kick back.

As others have mentioned, we are not sure what your set up was, but obviously something was wrong and could have been prevented.

-- Joe

View CharlieM1958's profile


16292 posts in 5276 days

#13 posted 09-04-2012 11:42 PM

Glad it wasn’t worse.

I second Joe’s recommendation of a GRR-Ripper. They are a little pricey, but cheaper than a visit to the emergency room.

-- Charlie M. "Woodworking - patience = firewood"

View Nicky's profile


711 posts in 5150 days

#14 posted 09-04-2012 11:57 PM

RJH, a few more details would be nice, that may help find the root cause, and then maybe some advice can follow on how to prevent this from happening again.

Take some time off. Don’t work to overcome your fear, but work to give the saw (and other tools) the respect they demand of us. Sounds like your physical wounds will heal, and glass is cheap.

I’ve had more incidents that I’d like. When something happens, I really try to find the better way, and not repeat what I’ve done wrong.

Heal quickly.

-- Nicky

View TechRedneck's profile


770 posts in 3915 days

#15 posted 09-05-2012 12:07 AM

Charlie and Joe beat me to it as I went through this thread. I use a Grr-Ripper on cuts like you describe.

There were times when you setup or even start a cut and get that feeling in your stomic that it might be a bit risky or something isn’t right. When that happens I have just stopped and hit the switch with my thigh to let the blade spin down. Then I re think the cut.

I had a slight kickback with my old tablesaw about 10 years ago and it scared the crap out of me. That single event comes back to me when cutting smaller pieces or doing special cuts on the table saw to this day.

Thanks for sharing this, we all need reminded of kickback every now and then

-- Mike.... West Virginia. "Man is a tool using animal. Without tools he is nothing, with tools he is all.". T Carlyle

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