I recently had a long narrow piece fly out from between the blade and
fence as they have a habit of doing when ripping. It hit SWMBO's car
on the nose (hood) and made a tiny little dent. Should have heard
the flak I received about that for weeks. Everyone in the
neighborhood knows about it too!
Last week she rammed a signpost in the WalMart parking lot for no
reason at all. Cost $2.5G to fix. The little dent is gone with the
trashed front end and you should hear the silence about my little
Since nobody disputed this statement, I'll assume it's generally true;
which leads me want to conduct a poll of sorts. (Disclaimer: this is
not scientific poll so please no lecture on all of the intricate
details of a statistically significant poll).
When you reconsider the circumstances, could every kickback you have
ever experienced been prevented using common practices of proper
machine use and safety? I guess the real thing I'm trying to get at
is; are there ever kickbacks that just happen; even when you think
you've done everything correctly?
In my case, yes. I've had two kickbacks in the past three years (since
I got back into ww'ing), one that would have skewered my like an olive
if I'd been standing behind the blade. In both cases the fault was
entirely mine, making cuts I knew (or should have known) were stupidly
risky in a dumb attempt to save a bit of setup time.
| ...one that would have skewered me like an olive
| if I'd been standing behind the blade.
I learned very quickly that whirling saw blades create an imaginary plane
that I probably shouldn't stand in.
Early in my career as an engineer, when my automation work included
generating tool paths automatically for NC mills, I was summoned to the
advanced manufacturing floor to witness the effect of a typo in a computer
program's data file. A transposed set of digits in a tool feed rate had
caused a chunk of aluminum alloy stock to be thrown from the lathe, through
the shield, past the head of the operator, and through two thicknesses of
3/4 inch drywall.
The lesson hit home. Pun intended. And maybe I'm paranoid, but I approach
each of my power tools with the attitude that the s.o.b. is trying to kill
me, and whether it succeeds or not depends largely on what I do and how much
attention I pay to what forces are being applied and where.
Haven't seen it mentioned yet but sharp blades seem to give an additional
margin of error...trying to force a piece through a dull blade can do all
sorts of things that can result in unplanned recesses in your shop walls.
Sometimes they are ok as you can use them for additional shelf space but
it's difficult to achieve that finished look around the edges.
Let's see- I once (early in my tablesaw experience) started a crosscut with
the piece riding the fence- luckily, it was a small piece, and the knot on
my hand went away in a couple of months. The good part was, I was
introducing a friend to woodworking, and this made him begin to take shop
Another time I was preparint to cut apart a cabinet door (standard frame
containing 1/4" ply), when I lost my grip and dropped it on the spinning
blade- it "rode" the blade for a sec (it was quite a sight), then came
flying at my chest. Luckily, it was too heavy for the blade to throw it
very hard, but it still woke me up nicely.
About the only time I ever have a problem is when I'm cutting a hunk of
wood that pinches the blade before it gets to the splitter. I pay attention,
and have never had one of these thrown at me. I use a shopmade
zero-clearance insert and splitter, with an anti-kickback blade and long
push sticks, and regularly rip very small dimensions (1/2" and smaller)
between the blade and fence with no problems.
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