Incedent with Table Saw - small injury, maybe...

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Folks -
Well I've either had an accident with the saw, or not. Here's what happened.
I was cutting leg blanks out of 8/4 oak with a Freud Rip blade and a low "unisaw" style aux. fence attached to the Bies. My wife was standing on the outfeed side taking the blanks off of the table as they were cut. She's helpt before and knows *NOT* to pull on the stock and also to just support it, not turn it at all as she removes it from the table.
Well it all happed so fast (the six scariest words in the shop) anyway, I was cutting the last leg blank and there was a narrow offcut on the "waste" side of the blade. I *don't* remember quite what happened next, except that the push stick I was using hit the blade and got tossed out of shop. I had the presence of mind not to hang onto it - we had just finished the cut and there was a POP! and zing.... My main concern was that Rose wasn't injured. Well, we were both wearing safety gear, and I ducked as the push stick zinged overhead in a fast high arc. We both counted to ten, literally and figuratively. I turned the saw off, took a breath, unplugged it, and inspected the blade very carefully. I didn't find any chipped teeth or obvious damage, so all was well.
Later on, after about an hour or so, my left pinkie was hurting. I looked at it and discovered a small cut, less than 1/16 wide, about 1/8 long and just deep enough to break the skin on the back of the end finger segment. It wasn't even bleeding. I didn't remember cutting myself on anything, and even though I had gotten a number of splinters over the course of the day, this cut looked too clean. I took a jeweler's loupe and looked at the cut very carefully. Like I say, I don't remember cutting it on the saw when the push stick went sailing, and I don't *think* I nicked it on the blade when I was turning it carefully over by hand after the fact.
So, the situation is both a big relief and also very disturbing. It could be that I nicked it on the blade during inspection, or hit it on something else or it was a splinter - but I have done some thinking and here's what I came up with:
1) I pushed the stock being cut through the blade and then in coming back up to finish, I hit the blade with the push stick and all hell broke loose.
OR
2) Rose was using the leg blank to tip the offcut away from the blade and we had a "mid-air" behind the blade, sending the push stick flying.
Either of these *could* have been what happened. When the push stick hit the blade and went over my head, I ducked and turned to the right. When I turned to the right, my left hand, which was holding the left edge of the table turned with my body and because my attention was on the trident missile overhead, the back of my finger touched the tip of the blade.
In looking VERY carefully at the cut, it looks like that's what happened. A very sobering experience, and I was *VERY* lucky it wasn't worse.
Having given it some more thought, here's how I could have reduced the likelihood of injury:
1) Had an easy to use outfeed table to support the cuts and get them out of harms way, instead depending on my wife.
2) I should have been using a long narrow "shoe" style pushstick, with a hand guard. My push stick was too short (My wife has told me this MANY times) and my hands were too close to the blade for the cut I was making.
3) Had a blade guard. Currently, I don't have blade protection. You guys ever hear of this? The stock guard is the only thing that's more dangerous. So, yes, I am looking for an aftermarket blade cover.
4) Not explaining fully the nature of what I wanted my wife to do and the consequences of not fully understanding what would happen if there was an accident. This is solely my own fault.
I'll be posting a query about blade guards later today. Even though I may NOT have cut my finger on the saw, it gave me pause to think about the ramifications of my actions. Today, I am a lucky guy.
John Moorhead
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Glad everyone is OK, and it sounds like its time to construct an outfeed table, so Rose doesn't need to stand behind the saw to support the stock.
Brian.

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Not so sure a blade guard would have helped, other than to deflect the projectile into an alternate direction. Do you have a splitter?
Brian.
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Brian -
I was working on an outfeed table today, matter of fact... funny how your priorities can change, eh? I do have a splitter - the MJ splitter I *just* picked up at woodcraft and haven't installed as yet. Guess what I am doing tomorrow INSTEAD of working on a set of tables.... Yep, outfeed tables and shop safety!
If I did nick the back of my finger on the blade, then I think a cover would have either kept my hand well out of the way, or, ensured that I *did* loose the tip o the pinkie... I do think it would have kept me out of harms way.
Thanks for your thoughts and remarks.
John Moorhead

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: > 3) Had a blade guard. Currently, I don't have blade protection. You guys : > ever hear of this? The stock guard is the only thing that's more : dangerous. : > So, yes, I am looking for an aftermarket blade cover. : > : : Not so sure a blade guard would have helped, other than to deflect the : projectile into an alternate direction.
I feel certain that a blade guard would have prevented this incident.
For the push stick to have flown directly forwards and upwards, it almost certainly would have have had to contact an upwards-running part of the blade.
For more information about sawbench safety, please try my web site - Circular Sawbench Safety.
Jeff G
-- Jeff Gorman, West Yorkshire, UK Email address is username@ISP username is amgron ISP is clara.co.uk Website www.amgron.clara.net
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John Moorhead wrote:

outfeed side of the T/S. glad you both survived. that was a wake up call.
dave
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Dave, or someone "in the know"...
Okay, a learning experience... Is your concern about being on the outfeed side one simply of location, or is it because if there were kickback and the helper were holding onto the board they could be drawn into saw? I never stand behind the blade, always off to the left a bit. If your concern is because of kickback, I unnerstand.. but if there's something else, you have my FULL attention.
John
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Without a splitter, this is very dangerous. If the person supporting the stock happens to slightly nudge it one way or the other you've got a kickback situation. Make an outfeed table of some sort!
Brian.

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Bay Area Dave wrote:

Standing BEHIND the blade is probably the safest place to stand as all the blade force is either up or towards the infeed direction.
However, having someone stand on the outfeed side doing anything other than taking the COMPLETELY CUT AND PASSED THE BACK OF THE BLADE is not a good idea. The person at the back has a nice long lever arm. A little movement of the stock on their end can make a lot of movement OFF THE FENCE AND INTO THE BLADE. On a thin kerf blade on a bench top or contractor's saw the results may not be dramatic. With a 1/8" kerf blade on a cabinet saw with a 3 hp or greater motor the effect can be scary as hell and dangerous.
Seriously consider Das Pushstick. Fun project and in addition to looking kind of nice, gives you a great deal of control AND keeps your hand well above the spinning carbide things trying to bite you. (all one line so watch the line wrap)
http://home.comcast.net/~charliebcz/DasPushstick/DasPushstick.html
The one of the "buttons/horns" on the snout fits into a hole in the bottom of the back to provide the "push" part of the pushstick.
Consider a splitter or better yet a riving knife and be safe - please.
charlie b
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????????????? The outfeed side of a table saw is the safest place to be standing, there is physically no way kickback is going to shoot a board in the opposite direction the blade is turning. If the person on the outfeed side is holding the off-cut or stock, there is a safety issue as a kickback could potentially draw them into the blade. If they are only supporting (i.e. not grasping) the stock as it comes out, then the primary danger is to the operator as the person supporting the stock could turn or pinch the stock thus inducing kickback -- but again, the danger is to the person on the in-feed side of the saw.

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Mark & Juanita - I am not disagreeing - but offering a different perspective..
If my SWIO (*patent pending new acronym), was on the outfeed, and by some error twisted a board and caused (her perception), some kickback incident that injured me, well, she would be injured also - u see?
This thread has SERIOUSLY made me reconsider some of my actions....
I love the wreck!
Mike R Brisbane

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Scary stuff John! Thankfully you and your wife are both ok. It could be the best lesson you ever learn and you didn't even have to spill any blood or lose any body pieces. A new pair of skivvies will run you $5-10 and hopefully the lesson learned will save something in the future. Have you stopped shaking yet?...
--
Larry C in Auburn, WA

"John Moorhead" < snipped-for-privacy@splinter.sbcglobal.net> wrote in message
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Mon, Jun 28, 2004, 1:44am (EDT+4) snipped-for-privacy@splinter.sbcglobal.net (JohnMoorhead) says: <snip> I was cutting <snip> My wife was standing on the outfeed sidetaking the blanks off of the table as they were cut. <snip>
Done that many times, at the age of about 10-11, for my grandfather. He was usually cutting 8' stock tho. Never any problem. Trick is, you only support, don't even think about moving anything, until it is totally past the blade. Never any guard, or splitter (well, he WAS what is so often called a "master" carpenter - but it would be more accurate to say he was a highly experience journeman carpenter), no prob.
<snip> the push stick I was using hit the blade and got tossed out ofshop.<snip>
Don't understand what you mean by "hit the blade", because my pushsticks get chewed up about every time I use one. That's what they're for, to get chewed up instead of my fingers. Sure you were holding it tight? I've never had any problems like that.
I turned the saw off, took a breath, unplugged it, That's probably exactly what I would have done.
and inspected the blade very carefully. <snip>
That would have probably came after I checked my trousers.
I didn't remember cutting myself on anything, <snip>
Could well have came from brushing against a corner of a piece of wood. I've done that. But, when I get a wound like that, I usually start to feel it within about 1-2 minutes.
Having given it some more thought, here's how I could have reduced the likelihood of injury: 1) Had an easy to use outfeed table to support the cuts and get them out of harms way, instead depending on my wife.
I, personally, don't see lack of an outfeed table having anything to do with it, altho if I had the space, I'd probably have one.
2) I should have been using a long narrow "shoe" style pushstick, with a hand guard. My push stick was too short (My wife has told me this MANY times) and my hands were too close to the blade for the cut I was making.
I usually cut a quick pushstick out of plwood. Not real sure what you mean by "shoe" style. I notch mine. I also tend to make them about a foot long. And grip themtight. I have glued up one or two, with a handle, that fit flat on the piece being sawed, with a lip glued on at the back, to push the piece. The saw cuts right thru it, no prob. I usually have a push stick of some sort, to apply pressure on the piece, using my left hand too.
3) Had a blade guard. Currently, I don't have blade protection. You guys ever hear of this?
Yeah. And I don't believe in it.
The stock guard is the only thing that's more dangerous.
I don't agree. Awkward, a PITA, but works, which is why I normally have one on my saw.
So, yes, I am looking for an aftermarket blade cover.
I think there's info in the archives, on making your own.
4) Not explaining fully the nature of what I wanted my wife to do <snip>
If she's don't it before, she understood, it ain't rocket science. Like I said, I was doing it at about age 10.
and the consequences of not fully understanding what would happen if there was an accident.
No one understands - until it's over.
This is solely my own fault. <snip>
Yep, you obviously aren't scared enough of your saw. I'm scared of mine, so every time I use it, even with a saw sled, I'm very, very, leery of it. I do NOT reach over it, when i's runing, even if I'm not cuting anything, I either shut it off and wait for the blade to stop spinning, or walk around the saw. I also do NOT stand in line with the blade, when I cut anything on it. Get scared, stay scared.
Hell, probably the least dangerous tool in my shop is a hammer; and I don't know how many times I've banged my fingers, my thumb, and at least once, the back of my hand with one. Problem is, they're too familiar to me, to be scared of them. And, I should be.
JOAT That the peope have a right to bear arms for the defense of themselves and the state. - Pennsylvania Constitution of 1776
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Ahh!
Now see, progress can be a worry - I have (stupidly perhaps) got a couple of el plastico push sticks near my Unisaur.
So I look down and I say to my self, I say "Self, careful you dont get near the blade!"
I now think - this is dangerous! (Reading this thread) If it was a crummy piece of chew-me-up scrap (correctly constructed), then I could concentrate on feed rate and method, not my pretty plastic pushstick...
hmmmm
TY!
<<snip>>
Don't understand what you mean by "hit the blade", because my pushsticks get chewed up about every time I use one. That's what they're for, to get chewed up instead of my fingers. Sure you were holding it tight? I've never had any problems like that.
<<snip>>
I usually cut a quick pushstick out of plwood. Not real sure what you mean by "shoe" style. I notch mine. I also tend to make them about a foot long. And grip themtight. I have glued up one or two, with a handle, that fit flat on the piece being sawed, with a lip glued on at the back, to push the piece. The saw cuts right thru it, no prob. I usually have a push stick of some sort, to apply pressure on the piece, using my left hand too.
<< snip>>
Yep, you obviously aren't scared enough of your saw. I'm scared of mine, so every time I use it, even with a saw sled, I'm very, very, leery of it. I do NOT reach over it, when i's runing, even if I'm not cuting anything, I either shut it off and wait for the blade to stop spinning, or walk around the saw. I also do NOT stand in line with the blade, when I cut anything on it. Get scared, stay scared.
<<snip>>
Joat - I say you is a wise wise man......
Mike Brisbane Aus.
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: : Now see, progress can be a worry - I have (stupidly perhaps) got a couple of : el plastico push sticks near my Unisaur.
Plastic push sticks have been known to shatter and the broken end driven into the palm of the hand.
Jeff G
-- Jeff Gorman, West Yorkshire, UK Email address is username@ISP username is amgron ISP is clara.co.uk Website www.amgron.clara.net
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: : Now see, progress can be a worry - I have (stupidly perhaps) got a couple of : el plastico push sticks near my Unisaur.
Plastic push sticks have been known to shatter and the broken end driven into the palm of the hand.
Jeff G
-- Jeff Gorman, West Yorkshire, UK Email address is username@ISP username is amgron ISP is clara.co.uk Website www.amgron.clara.net
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John, Glad to read the incident wasn't a loss of life or limb... I've had several kickbacks which has restored the fear of God in me too. Before adding a subpanel to the shop and wiring the TS for 220, I was never scared of the TS. It would always stall and pop the breaker befor it got "weird".
This past weekend, I've been ripping 12" wide 8/4 white oak and can vividly imagine what would happen if I used the TS. However, I was fortunate enough to acquire an 18" band saw recently and I couldn't be happier ripping stuff on it. I had no intent of using it as often as I do. I use the TS regularly, but perform most of the stock prep cuts on the BS and RAS. Then I use the TS post jointer/planer for final dimensions.
Maybe you can use this experience as a pitch to SWMBO for a nice BS? :-)
SS
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Thats not a nick! Its just a fleshwound!
oops

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A guard, a splitter, and a much larger push stick.
The splitter will prevent a LOT of dumb things from happening.
I make my push sticks from 2x6 white pine. They are rounded and come in contact with the blade on many occasions.
My outfeed is well over four feet in length from edge of the saw. I can cut and support a full sheet of plywood.
The value of the splitter almost exceeds that of the guard. Together, they cut the odds of a accident by large amounts.
Prior to my splitter, I have had my 3hp saw throw a full sheet of 1/4" plywood back at my body. That changed my outlook on splitters.
John Moorhead wrote:

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On Mon, 28 Jun 2004 01:44:52 GMT, "John Moorhead"

Have you taken a look at the GRR-Ripper by Microjig? You already got their splitter. It may be an expensive push block but it makes a lot of sense...
I got it a month ago and I use it whenever my fingers get too close of the business end of a tool. I'm not scared of my tablesaw anymore nor my router table. It's so easier, faster and a lot safer too!
Just my 0.02
Wally
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