Scary lesson

I experienced my first real near miss yesterday. Definitely caused a few more gray hairs in the beard (not that you could tell the difference from before).
I was cutting a shoulder rabet in a 1/2" thick slice of some exotic burl. The protruding shoulder would sit in a 1/4" groove that runs around the inside perimeter of a mitered walnut box I'm making to store my chisels. I was making the last of the four cuts with the wood on edge in which the TS blade would be buried in the wood (the next series of cuts would be with the wood flat and would complete the rabet).
All of a sudden I heard a loud CLUNK! of the blade as it grabbed the piece and it was launched out of my hands. It's always amazing to me how the mind can work so fast in those situations that it seems like everything else is slowing down. In that fraction of a second I thought, "Damn, that's gonna ruin that beautiful piece and I'll be done for the day!"
I turned around and watched as the piece sailed through the air (I live in sunny SoCal and do most of my work in the driveway), bounced off the roof of my car, hit the street and shattered, some 30 feet away. I quickly assessed that I had still had 10 fingers (a slight nick on one, I believe from the burl bullet as it went past) and then thought, "Yep, I'm done for today", and cleaned up the mess.
So, nothing irreplacable was lost. And it definitely left a lasting impression on me. I have always been aware of the theoretical potential for kickback. Now I've got the experience to go with it. Even upon review, I can't think of what I might have done differently to prevent it. I'm fairly certain my hands were well placed and exposed to minimal risk. In a strange way, I'm glad it happened because the occasional reminder is a good thing.
Just passing this on as a reminder to others here.
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Ian Dodd wrote:

If that won't stop your heart, nothing will! I'll remember to my dying day when all the carbide tips flew off my then newly purchased Crapsman contractor's TS. I had ignorantly placed the metal "feather board" that Sears sells, too close to the blade. After the piece I was cutting cleared the blade, the metal "feather board" touched the blade. This all transpired in my driveway. I found only a couple of the 20 something blade tips. My dad had been standing off to the side. Luckily, neither of us was hit by the shrapnel. Yowsa!
dave
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It just goes against my way of thinking that a manufacturer would produce a metal feather board to be used on a TS. Seems like an accident waiting to happen. I guess it actually was. I wonder if Rockler still markets the Aluminum push stick, another bad idea IMHO.
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Leon wrote:

in the hell did they make it out of metal? I don't know if Sears still sells them.
dave
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I agree with that Leon - I favor white pine push sticks in the hope that they might disintegrate (rather than snatching my paw) when the worst happens.
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I make mine out of 1/2" Baltic Birch. They have a handle on top, a finger on the back end to push the work through and they extend forward about 9" to hold the work down.
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Sounds about like mine. I'm surprised, the last time someone mentioned the inadvisability of the aluminum push stick, there were some who defended it. The last thing I saw at work today was someone slam a 1 1/4" HSS endmill into a piece of aluminum. The aluminum is fine (a few dents but not bad) but the milling cutter shattered. Makes you think.

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Yes. Rockler does still market the AL push stick. Have a couple of them and even nicked one. It is a very soft aluminum, hardly knew it happened at the time. Still, tend to only use them when there is a bit of distance from the blade.........
Bill
--

"Do what you can, with what you have, where you are."
-Theodore Roosevelt
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Carbide blades cut aluminum quite easily, actually. I was really skeptical about it, but my very reliable neighbor showed me on HIS saw how it worked. So this morning, when needing to trim some aluminum door threshold, I used the OEM blade on my DeWalt CMS, rather than some other saw.
Quick, easy, and cleaned up the trim with a small file.
That said, I still believe that 3/4" plywood makes excellent push sticks.
Patriarch
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"patriarch snipped-for-privacy@nospam.comcastDOTnet>" <<patriarch> wrote in message

No doubt that carbide cuts aluminum easily. BUT the aluminum push sticks ar THIN. If the push stick were to be thrown back at you or a thin piece were to be cut off and thrown back at you the thin material would most certainly penetrate your skin. I would have to beliece that amumimum shavings would also fly through the air with more force than saw dust shavings.
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And those aluminum shavings would be hot.
-Bob
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Bob Waltenspiel
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Then this learning experience was a good one, and I am certainly glad that you were not hurt badly.
I have always been aware of the theoretical

If I read you correctly, in essence you were in the middle of a "resawing" operation on the TS and your next step was to cut that portion away. Some times you get less grab from the blade if you do this operation in reverse order. Make the face cut before the edge cut. This way if there is internal stress in the wood the piece being cut away can move a bit more freely and not bind against the blade. Note also you always want to have the waste piece fall away freely, not trapped between the fence and the blade.
Again, I am glad to hear that this became a learning experience and not a hospital experience.
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Tabled router and this or the homebrew equivalent is a LOT safer. Of course, you wouldn't have the waste piece, but sawdust.
http://www.leevalley.com/wood/page.asp?SID=&ccurrency=2&pageA780&category=1,43000

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George wrote:

I have one of these. To be able to keep the (whatever is being worked) flat on the table it helps to put a piece of 1/8" scrap hardboard under each of the yellow parts when you're clamping.
-- Mark
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Ian Dodd wrote:

snip
Did you figure out what went wrong? Find the "missile" and I'm betting it is cupped, twisted or bowed or all three - and not by much - just enough to get it to rock against the fence enough to move the back of the cut into the upward rising teeth coming out of the table at the back of the blade. The "clunk" could have been a corner into the gullet between the teeth at the initiation of the event
Did you have a splitter behind the blade? Even if you did, sounds like you were doing a pretty shallow cut so the splitter would be a ways away from the back of the blade - that's assuming the splitter raises and lowers with the blade. If it doesn't then it'd have to be removed for the cut you were making.
This is another example of why a riving knife that wraps around almost all of the top rear quarter of the blade and goes up and down with the blade is so much better than a simple splitter.
Oh, was the exotic wood zebra wood or snake wood by any chance?
charlie b
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Glad you are still here to give us the lesson!
Have had similar experiences. Had one just the other day---ripping a thin piece of oak for a face frame for wife's bookcase. 6 1/2 feet long, 1x1 inch wide. Didn't support offcut properly. Once it severed, the 1" x 79" piece bounced on the offcut table, which 8 inches low because I was lazy, and landed squarely on the spinning blade, which then launched it like a missile straight backward, where I would have been standing if I had been an idiot. A contractor friend taught me to always stand to the side when cutting anything that could kick back... so I was to the side, pushing with a (wooden!) push stick, and only got a foot-long scrape on my right arm as the missile sailed past and landed in the yard 20 feet away.
My lesson? Reinstall the blade guard and anti-kickback that came with my $90 homeowner's special? Heck no, in pine it cuts a deeper groove than the blade. STAND TO THE SIDE and use infeed and outfeet rollers or tables, and take the time to set the damn things up properly.
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