How do you hold YOUR wood...

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...on your Table Saw? My brother in law was over last night and we were standing at my table saw discussing safety. He said he always stands in front of the piece of wood he is feeding into the table saw and feeds it through by holding his push stick on top of the wood between the blade and the fence. I said I always stand to the left of the blade and feed it through by holding the wood on the outside of the blade. He felt he had better control his way, I felt it was dangerous to stand directly behind it. We both use those long notched push sticks.
Also, he cuts thin strips with the waste side between the fence and the blade. So if he wanted to rip a 1" piece off a 6" board, he would have the 5" side between the fence and the blade. I do it in reverse. I never really thought about it. How do you guys do it? Which is safer/better?
--
--Jim




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I stand to the left when I can. Obviously you cannot always get far enough to the left, and you need to be standing comfortably.
I cut narrow strips against the fence so long as I can get a pushstick on them. Generally that means down to about 1/4" will be against the fence.
-- Bill Pounds http://www.billpounds.com/woodshop

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If I'm ripping, I never stand so I am positioned behind the kickback zone between the blade and the fence.
Never.
Uusally when crosscutting I use a sled, so I am much less concerned about anything coming at me.
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jtpr wrote:

narrow strip kick back and spear through a dry wall panel that was 15 feet behind me.
Regarding cutting the wide or narrow strip against the fence, I usually have the workpiece against the fence with the waste on the outside of the blade so the workpiece is guaranteed to be parallel regardless of width of cut (I don't rely on the uncut piece to have parallel edges).
TWS
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"jtpr" wrote in message ...

You will get various opinions ... the below works for me.
Most feel standing to the left of the blade is safer ... being right handed, that works for me. As a rule, do not stand directly behind the piece if you can avoid it ... sometimes you can't.
Make yourself a push "block" on the design of the old "shoe" style bush block. There is a picture of the kind I use on my website on the Jigs and Fixtures page. Make them in various sized out of 3/8", 1/2" and 3/4" plywood.
This design will allow you to put downward pressure on the board just by flexing your wrist, without having to actually push down. It is a lot safer, IMO, than a notched push stick as it give you more control all the way through the cut.
Use the push block between the fence and blade, on the piece you are keeping.
Do not push on the offcut with the push stick or push block, particularly as you go past the blade.

Try to keep the piece you're keeping between the fence and the blade (that's what the fence gauge is for) ... normally the offcut (the piece you're not keeping) should be on the outside of the blade. This can change for some operations.
Once again, you will get various opinions on this.
--
www.e-woodshop.net
Last update: 7/10/04
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After being hit with a couple of 3 hp missiles I always stand to the left, but I also use a push stick--it's possible and not all that difficult.

I keep the waste outside the blade so that the cuts are repeatable without moving the fence.
These methods actually seem to work pretty well for me--I haven't had a kickback in several years. And since I'm a couple inches taller than average, that's...ahem...OK for me.
Bob
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It can be danerous. You are safer off to the left if something comes flying back.
I rarely use the ong pushstick you describe. Mine has a handle that I traced from a hand saw and the top sits on the wood about 6". Very firm to grip and good pressure on the wood going through the blade.

I cut down to about 3/4" with the good part to the fence. Much narrower, I'm not comfortable.
I made a block of wood with a screw head on the side. The block has a strip on the bottom and fits in the left miter slot. The screw is adjustable so I can measure from the blade to the position for a thin strip. That way I can move the fence in after every cut and get a consistent thin strip[ and not have to measure each time.
--
Ed
snipped-for-privacy@snet.net
http://pages.cthome.net/edhome
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I should have been clearer. The push stick you describe is the one be both use. I have a really big orange one from Lee Valley that extends about 8" over the wood, and a smaller yellow one from Sears that extends about 6". I also have the other ones you describe but find I don't really use them for much anymore.
-- -Jim
If you want to reply by email its --> ryan at jimryan dot com Please use BCC and lets all avoid spam

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I take my cues from both reading and watching Kelly Mehler, who has written books on table saw use and is a strong proponent of table saw safety. He defines the major risks to using a table saw as a) kickback, b) ejection, and c) laceration. Lacertation is easy to understand: don't use your flesh as a substitute for wood. However people confuse ejection for kickback, where kickback is generally far more dangerous. Ejection occurs when the workpiece is ejected straight back due to the friction force between the workpiece and the saw blade. Per Kelly Mehler in _The Table Saw Book_, "kickback is caused by the tendency of the rising teeth at the rear of the blade to pick up the workpiece, catapulting it toward the operator at speeds approaching 100 miles per hour." When this happens "the workpiece is hurtled diagonally backward toward the operator." If you're standing to the left of the blade, you're going to catch a kickback right in the gut. Kelly states that the most common table saw accident by far is kickback. The only way to completely eliminate the risk of kickback is to use a properly adjusted splitter or riving knife. If you don't have that, keeping the piece firmly against the fence and using a shoe-type pusher will help. With that in mind, use a cross-cut sled when you can.
For narrow cutoffs, I do it the way your BIL does. If the cutoff is particularly narrow, I make sure to use a zero-clearance insert.
todd
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wrote:

I have never seen or heard of a saw actually kicking a piece in any direction other than in line with the blade. Based on physics, I can see a potential for the piece to perhaps move somewhat to one side or the other depending on weight and contact with the fence, but for it to be thrown so that it will hit an operator to the side seems questionable.
Consider: The piece gets caught on the teeth at the back of the saw and the back edge of the piece rises, for all intents and purposes the force acting on the wood is tangent to the circle of the saw blade. The saw cannot exert any force to either side so I would assume that the piece will rise from the table and the leading end will be kicked upward and back in line with the blade. The piece will only travel diagonally in the sense that it is moving up and back from the saw, toward where an operator in-line with the blade will be standing.
I've had a few pieces of wood shoot across the shop, but only in line with the blade.
Tim Douglass
http://www.DouglassClan.com
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Then you've never witnessed kickback. I have. Count yourself lucky. Fortunately for me, when I witnessed it, someone else was driving. Not including the kickback demonstration Mr. Mehler did at a woodworking show I attended a couple of years back.

This would probably be true if the fence was not in the way. However, its presence creates different forces than just the force of the blade against the wood as the piece binds against the fence. If you were correct, the mark the blade left in the workpiece in a true kickback would be a straight line. However, many people that have had the misfortune to experience it can show you a workpiece with a nice arc cut into it as the piece was shot out diagonally.
todd
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Most kick backs do shoot back in line with the blade but not all. This summer I was ripping a piece of 4'x 8' PT Lattice. I was cutting several into to 2, 4x4 pieces. I was half way between the blade and the fence which was set at 48" and my partner supported the other half that hung off the left end of the saw. I got hit in the stomach by one of the small pieces on the trailing edge as the cut was being completed. Normally the kick back goes straight back because it is trapped between the fence and the blade. In this case the short piece that hit me was on my side of the blade and only had a couple of small staples holding it in place. Since this was a short piece, it was not guided by the fence.
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On Sun, 03 Oct 2004 19:36:22 -0700, Tim Douglass

I got whacked with a 2.5" x 2.5" x .75" piece of maple when crosscutting, but I was stupidly using the fence as a spacer in conjunction with my miter gauge. I did hit me when I was standing on the left, but it was nowhere near as bad as kickback that shoots in line with the blade. The gouge on the back of the wood was curved, so it must have caught the fence somehow.

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I agree with Todd.
No one ever got smacked by flying wood when using the saw correctly. I have a few hard and fast rules. A dull blade is a VERY DANGEROUS blade. Always raise the blade at least 1" above the wood being ripped. Notice I did not say dado, or cross-cutting! Always use the right blade for the right job. A dull blade is a VERY DANGEROUS blade. Never rip anything shorter than 12" Use shoe type push sticks when ripping short (<24"), narrow pieces (<3"). Never reach over the blade. A dull blade is a VERY DANGEROUS blade. Never remove the waste piece until saw is off. (Unless I can remove it from behind.) Never attempt to bat away a loose piece until saw is off. I never have a spotter or helper pull the piece - get or build an out-feed table. A dull blade is a VERY DANGEROUS blade. I also do not use thin kerf blades
I'm sure there are more but these are my top-ten (or so).
Dave

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[snip]

I may be totally confused here, but I believe you should be pushing on the piece between the fence and the blade to keep it where it belongs, on the table. Pushing the waste piece leaves a unguided chunk of wood between the fence and blade where it can get caught or wedged and come flying back at you. The waste piece left of the blade will usually just sit there when the cutting is done. All this assumes we're talking fence on the right and I understood this like I thought I did.
-- John, in Minnesota, who doesn't always understand what someone else meant when he reads what they wrote.
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Ever since I got the Grip-tite 2000 system (steel fence and two magnetic featherboard-rollers), I use the same technique for ripping:
Stand to the left Use my left hand to push wood against the fence lightly Push board forward with my right hand finger tips. Last couple of feet, I use a sacraficial push stick of the same thickness as the board I am ripping.
I have not used any of my "official" push sticks since I got the grip-tites.
For small pieces I use a GRRRipper.
For cross cutting, I cheat. I use a sliding table. There is no substitute.
I strongly disagree with standing behind the blade. That's stupid. I got hit on the chest by a kickback in college. I was really stupid then. The university should have been sued for allowing me into the student woodshop with no training at all.
Bob
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Bob wrote: [snip]

Same here but I use a push stick in my left hand and try to keep a push stick in each hand at all times. I think the anti-kickback blades do their job and the piece of wood has some kind of unsuspected twirl or grain abnormality causes a great deal of harm to woodworkers.
Josie
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For your future reference, the anti-kickback blades may be better than a normal blade but they will not prevent all kick backs. The wood need not engage the teeth of the blade to be kicked back. If the wood simply becomes wedged between the side of the blade and "what ever" before it moves as far as the back teeth of the blade it can still be picked up and thrown back at you. So do not let your guard down.
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Leon wrote:

Thank you, that is a good point!
Joise
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I'm no expert, but I stand where you stand and do everything else the way your brother in law does.
Lee
--
To e-mail, replace "bucketofspam" with "dleegordon"



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