Almost removed some fingers today.

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Forum topic by eljiggo posted 03-11-2014 01:37 AM 1773 views 0 times favorited 17 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View eljiggo's profile


21 posts in 2625 days

03-11-2014 01:37 AM

This is my first post, and I share this because Ive found some of the most informative safety information online, is from people posting their accidents/near accidents.

I am a novice. I havent been wood working for very long. I play it safe (or atleast believe I do). I dont put my hands where they dont belong.

Today, I was making a test cut on a scrap peice of 2×4 with my sliding miter saw. I wanted to essentially rip a smal peice of wood into 2 halves. To see how my saw would react, I used a 2×4 as a test. In hindsight, this was disaster waiting to happen, but I didnt expect the actual result.

I made a small fence out of a 1×2 and placed the 2×4 against it. I decided I didnt have enough room to safely hold the board with my hand, so I secured it against the fence and held it in place with a push stick. (the more I repeat this, the more horrifed I am that my hand was almost there)

When I contacted the end grain of the 2×4 with the saw blade, it cut normally for about a half inch, and then bit too aggressively. The saw actually hopped and with a loud “bang”, split the entire 2×4 and spit both halves out the back. The blade may be sliightly bent. There is no other visibile damage to the saw.

I posess all fingers on both hands. It makes me sick that I actually considered holding the board for a moment. It would have certainly pulled my hand into the saw.

I am sure I did something extremely elementarily wrong in this. Hopefully someone will chime in and say “Yeah, everyone knows that would happen”.

Another lesson learned.



17 replies so far

View bobasaurus's profile


3713 posts in 4271 days

#1 posted 03-11-2014 01:48 AM

I’m glad you still have your fingers and will remember this on future cuts. Typically it’s not good to rip on a miter saw… I use mine for crosscuts only.

-- Allen, Colorado (Instagram @bobasaurus_woodworking)

View DaleM's profile


958 posts in 4470 days

#2 posted 03-11-2014 01:54 AM

Sounds like you got lucky when you changed your mind about holding it. I never, ever rip with a miter saw. I use it for cross-cuts only, including angled cuts, but even then, the length of the board is along the built-in fence on the miter saw, so generally perpendicular to the blade. I know some people make an angled fence for the saw for angled cuts, but I’ve never seen a rip fence parallel with the blade and now I guess we know why.

-- Dale Manning, Carthage, NY

View NormG's profile


6507 posts in 4090 days

#3 posted 03-11-2014 01:59 AM

Extremely lucky situation

-- Norman - I never never make a mistake, I just change the design.

View eljiggo's profile


21 posts in 2625 days

#4 posted 03-11-2014 02:02 AM

It took me a few minutes to replay exactly what happened… I guess the cut with the grain.. it tried to climb and wedged between the blade and the back fence causing the split. Perhaps the same reason you dont rip on a radial arm from that direction. Definitely a lesson learned on 2 fronts.. the type of cut not to attempt, and to keep your hands away from the saw blade.

View Monte Pittman's profile

Monte Pittman

30615 posts in 3425 days

#5 posted 03-11-2014 02:35 AM

Not everyone knows that would happen. Mitre saws don’t like to rip cut. Just not made for it.

You’re smarter and still in one piece. Lesson learned. Next lesson, ask here before trying risky things again.

Welcome to Lumberjocks, we’re here for you.

-- Nature created it, I just assemble it.

View TheGermanJoiner's profile


847 posts in 2724 days

#6 posted 03-11-2014 03:21 AM

Glad you’re ok. We already have one stumpy nubs here lol

-- Greg - Ferdinand and Son Construction: Do it right the first time. Like us on Facebook

View bigblockyeti's profile


7259 posts in 2807 days

#7 posted 03-11-2014 03:30 AM

Yikes, that does sound scary! One of the things that you didn’t mention is whether or not you plunged at the back and pulled toward you at full cutting depth or just skimmed the surface to eliminate tear out? Or did you plunge fully into the board with saw head fully extended? If the latter is the case, I can see where the blade would try to pick up the wood and throw it up and back, but the saw certainly wouldn’t try to cut more aggressively given the rotation of the blade. I don’t think you would have had different results in cross cutting a piece of wood that happened to be the same dimensions, rather it sounds like a function of how the board was secured.

-- "Lack of effort will result in failure with amazing predictability" - Me

View woodchuckerNJ's profile


1485 posts in 2721 days

#8 posted 03-11-2014 03:32 AM

Glad it was an almost.

Never rip on a miter saw, it’s meant for crosscuts only, period!

Any dangerous operation should be done on a bandsaw or with a handsaw!!

Glad you had a close call and not more serious, now you realize how dangerous it can be.

-- Jeff NJ

View eljiggo's profile


21 posts in 2625 days

#9 posted 03-11-2014 11:22 AM


It straight into the back with the head fully extended. And I do agree, the peice was likely not properly secured.

View Todd's profile


421 posts in 2763 days

#10 posted 03-11-2014 03:42 PM

I had a similar incident just trying to cut a short piece. Scary… The only time I use my miter saw now it to break down long pieces of stock or to make quick work of building shop projects. The rest of the time I use a homemade crosscut sled. Guaranteed accuracy.

-- Todd, Huntsville, AL

View pintodeluxe's profile


6378 posts in 3900 days

#11 posted 03-11-2014 03:49 PM

I would add… we should never be tempted to make any cuts on the miter saw without the stock securely against the fence. The example that comes to mind is cutting wooden stakes. You need a point with angles greater than 45 degrees, so it is tempting to hold the board at an angle. There are better tools for that job.

Thanks for posting your experience.

-- Willie, Washington "If You Choose Not To Decide, You Still Have Made a Choice" - Rush

View CharlesA's profile


3466 posts in 2884 days

#12 posted 03-11-2014 03:50 PM

Different tools have different purposes. When you look at the miter saw fence you see that it is made for crosscutting, just like when you look at a table saw you can see that its most natural cut is to rip (although one can crosscut with miter gauge or sled). Consider yourself lucky and don’t do it again. Early on I tried to cut too small a piece on the miter saw and got some fingers scuffed up, not from the blade, but from the exploding and flying wood. Never again will I try to cut a piece that small on a miter saw.

-- "Man is the only animal which devours his own, for I can apply no milder term to the general prey of the rich on the poor." ~Thomas Jefferson

View gfadvm's profile


14940 posts in 3777 days

#13 posted 03-12-2014 01:15 AM

Miter Saw Rules: (repeat after me) NO RIP CUTS, NO SMALL PIECES!!!

Carry on

-- " I'll try to be nicer, if you'll try to be smarter" gfadvm

View Redoak49's profile


5249 posts in 3075 days

#14 posted 03-12-2014 12:02 PM

I think that cutting any small piece on a miter saw or table saw is inherently dangerous. It is so difficult to hold a piece that small. One should think through it very carefully before proceeding and perhaps cut it by hand.

View The Box Whisperer's profile

The Box Whisperer

678 posts in 3157 days

#15 posted 03-12-2014 01:38 PM

I am very glad you thought before you cut. So are you Im sure. As many have said, dont rip on a miter saw. period. Also, anything that small needs a specific setup IMO. I deal with a lot of pieces of wood that are what I call deck of cards size. I have a mini table saw and sled for this. Sleds and jigs to keep the work held down, and your fingers away. Also, protect your eyes too.

-- "despite you best efforts and your confidence that your smarter and faster than a saw blade at 10k rpm…. your not …." - Charles Neil

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