Table Saw Safety

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Actually, as stated below, ripping is a fairly easy opertaion for a bandsaw. Really, it depends on what you want to do. I just thru it out there as I wish I had thought about a bandsaw when I first bought my tablesaw. If you are doing mostly cabinets, shelves and remodeling, then a tablesaw would be better. If, on the other hand, you are more interested in building furniture, then (IMHO) a bandsaw would be better. They're quieter, less intimidating (the dado blade on my tablesaw sounded like it could rip your arm off, chew it up, spit it out and not blink), can resaw, cut curves, etc. But, also, as stated below, no good for dados. Then you either get out a hand plane or a router.
HTH
jim
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Locutus wrote:

If you write software you probably are good at solving problems. Not sure how many engineering courses a software engineer is required to take but just in case you didn't take physics, statics or dynamics this may provide many of the parameters of kickback - with diagrams with colored arrows and all.
http://home.comcast.net/~charliebcz/KickBack1.html
If you understand how and why things happen you don't have to memorize a bunch of rules - and remember to apply them.
charlie b
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Charlie, excellent link!
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wrote:

Manufacturers of table saws are so gun shy of lawsuits that might result from"failure to warn" or "failure to guard" that it would surprise me if you didn't have pages of both general and specific warning information in your instruction manual when you purchase your saw. Read it.
Frank
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Thanks for the smug answer, but I was looking for more personal experiences and opinions that you can't get from manual.
Thanks to everyone who took the time to share your thoughts and experiences.
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As has been said here, the two most important words I can give you are:
Board Buddies - http://www.grizzly.com/catalog/2006/main/308
I've been using them for over twenty years and never had a kick back. An added side benefit is the design of the board buddies keep your board flush to the rip fence, resulting in a truer cut.
Jeff
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I have an anti kickback device my Dad gave me several years ago it's from Leichtung (spelling) workshops. I dont remember the actual name of the device but its similar to the "board buddies" I have been using these devices for about 10 years and have never (knock on wood) had a kickback either. The device has a wheel which can be set up to rotate freely (no kickback but fence pressure) or to rotate in 1 direction only so you get kickback protection in addition to fence pressure.. they run about $50 for a pair. You will usually need to mount them on on an auxillary fence on top of your saw fence, owever, its not that big of a project. I have mine on a Craftsman saw and my Dad had his on a Powermatic with a Beismeyer fence and the setup was not too bad with either. Being a Physical Therapist I also am very dependant on my hands so a kick back could make for a "bad day"
Hopefully this helped you with your decision making.
Mike Kempke

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Michael E. Kempke wrote:

I've got the same ones. They can be set to run on either side of the fence and the "against the fence" force can be adjusted as well by changing the wheel angle.
I've had mine for many years. As you say, I've never had a kickback (or a pushback) when using them.
--
It's turtles, all the way down

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The root cause of kickback is the workpiece getting pinched between the blade and the fence. There are a couple of reasons why this happens:
The most common reason is that the workpiece turns slightly (i.e. doesn't stay tight against the fence) while pushing it through. Keep in mind that the teeth on the blade are slightly wider than the rest of the "meat" of the blade. This means that during an ideal cut, the only parts of the blade ever to contact the workpiece are the teeth. In reality, however, if you're not careful to constantly push the workpiece up against the fence, it can turn a little, and the front corner can come into contact with the inner part of the blade. The friction between the blade and the workpiece causes a force which wants to further turn the workpiece which causes the workpiece to bind even harder, causing more friction which causes even more turning and binding until, a fraction of a second later, the piece comes flying back at you at mach 10. Inevitably, despite rotating rapidly through the air, it will strike you in the gut with its sharpest point every time.
This scenario happens almost exclusively when you are cutting something which is wider than it is long. It's also the reason why you should never use the miter gauge at the same time as the fence, unless you're VERY careful to apply pressure to keep the piece between the blade and the fence pushed tightly against the fence or against the miter gauge. This also happens fairly frequently when cutting very large pieces of plywood. Despite your best efforts to keep the piece held tightly against the fence, it's way too easy to torque the workpiece and bind it against the blade. On large sheets of plywood, once it binds on the blade, it usually rides up on top of the blade where it gets hurled at you at high velocity, leaving a nice rustic scarring pattern (and possibly some blood stains) across the face of the plywood.
Note that in opposition to Brian's advice, ripping a 1" strip off a 24" piece is LESS likely to cause binding (and, hence, kickback) by keeping only 1" between the blade and the fence. The larger the ratio of length:width of the piece between the blade and the fence, the better.
Another common reason for kickback is improper use of a pushstick. If you're ripping a piece 2" or wider, you can pretty safely push the piece through with your fingers. When the piece is narrower than that, however, you'll want to use a pushstick or scrap of wood to push it through without getting your fingers too close to the blade. If you don't use a pushstick and simply guide the piece along from outside the blade, the part between the blade and the fence will most likely be shot backwards once you finish the cut. This is a lot less violent than the other scenario, however. Depending on it's length, the piece usually only flies 5 or 10 feet.
Kickback can also occur when cutting warped boards. Sometimes even straight boards will warp once you cut them and release the tension from the grain. This warping can sometimes cause the piece to push away from the fence and bind into the blade. In most cases where warping is an issue, you'll be talking about ripping boards that are at least a couple of feet long. That usually means that the length:width ratio is high, so you're not that likely to experience kickback. You may, however, experience enough binding to burn the wood or even bring the blade to a screeching halt. This can be a dangerous situation, as you don't want to remove you hands from the workpiece allowing the blade to start back up and throw it backwards, but you also need to shut the power off as soon as possible. Often, the circuit breaker on the motor or in your breaker panel will trip in this case. A splitter can help immensely to avoid this problem.
You can also experience kickback (and rough looking cuts) when the blade isn't perfectly parallel to the fence. You'll want to make sure your saw is adjusted to keep the blade, fence, and miter slot all parallel to each other.
Last, if you try to cut pieces that are exremely small, especially without a zero clearance insert, you're almost guaranteed that the piece will kick back at you. The good news it that the pieces are light enough not to break any ribs when they hit you. The bad news is that such pieces are sometimes small enough to penetrate the skin rather than just bruise. They also tend to ricochet in random directions adding to the fun and sport.
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Hey Locutus ...
You shop at the Borg?
Lee
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To e-mail, replace "bucketofspam" with "dleegordon"

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Absolutely, resistance is futile.
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wrote:

I'm a software person too and still have all ten fingers. It's important to read about table saw safety and there are several rules to follow. Off the top of my head are these:
Wear safety glasses. Work with a clear mind. Use featherboards properly. Have several types of push sticks and blocks nearby. Use a splitter and guard. Tune up the saw. Use a DC, this protects your health and improves safety. Have plenty of lighting. Before you turn on the saw, stop a moment, and think if there is a way to make the cut more safely (I use this method ALL the time).
A table saw is actually very safe when used properly. It is probably my most important power tool in the shop.
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The fairly comprehensive notes on my web site - Circular Sawbench Safety (including Buying a Circular Sawbench) might be of some use.
Jeff G
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Jeff Gorman, West Yorkshire, UK
email : Username is amgron
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I've had one real kickback, luckily without injury. If you search the archives of this newsgroup (Google groups "advanced search") you'll find quite a bit on this subject. If I were you, would immerse myself in the literature on tablesaw safety, become an expert at it, and put the rules into practice. That's the only thing preventing what could be a life-changing event.

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