I recently made a few projects which required a lot (approx. 200) short
cut-offs similar to what you're describing. IIRC, they were about 1.25"
long, from approx. 1" wide and 1/4" thick stock.
Obviously, starting and stopping the saw and waiting for the blade to stop
would make this procedure take forever. I used my Osborne EB-3 miter guage
and a cut-off fence on the table saw. After each cut, I used the eraser of
a pencil to move the cut-off out of the way. This was suggested in the plan
I was using and it worked extremely well. It allows you to stand to the
side of the blade, in case you accidently push the cut-off into the blade,
and it keeps your hand a good distance from the blade as you move the
cut-off. Give it a try, I was a little uneasy the first time or two, but it
is very safe and easy. I think of the ~200 times I did this, I might have
pushed a piece into the blade only one or two times total.
I do small cutoff's all the time, and never have a problem (of course, I
use a zero-clearance insert *and* an anti-kickback blade- I'm a belt and
suspenders type of guy). The cutoffs just line up neatly until I either push
them one by one off the back of the saw or sweep them aside (using a piece
of scrap, not my fingers). Shouldn't be a problem. Heck, piece's that small
probably woudn't hurt you even if they got tossed at you. I got whacked in
the chest once after dropping a cabinet door on my moving tablesaw blade-
that hurt some, but didn't even leave a bruise :)
Yeah, the first time I ever used a tablesaw was my new tablesaw.
Needless to say I only had what I read in books. While I learn a lot
from books, there tends to be a big difference between intellectually
understanding "kickback is bad" and understanding at a gut level that
kickback is BAD, when you've never really even seen kickback.
Even so, I'd read a lot about the importance of pushsticks. I was
ripping a small-width piece and using an 18" miter-saw scrap in my
right hand as a push stick. I had comitted to myself that I'd always
use the tablesaw guard, somehow having missed that using the guard
when ripping thin stock can actually be _more_ dangerous.
As I tried to push the wood through between the guard and fence, the
18" stick I was using connected solidly with the blade. The blade
pulled the stick out of my hand - it felt as though someone had ripped
it from my grasp - and fired it straight at my chest.
Did I mention that, since it was a miter saw scrip it had a 45 degree
cut on the side facing towards me? :) Ooof! To my surprise,
however, as with Steve above, I didn't even have a bruise.
Scared the daylights out of me, though, and I definitely think a lot
before I turn on the tablesaw, now.
A friendly counterpoint...
As I slowly type I am recovering from a tablesaw kickback accident that darn
near removed the outmost flange of my ring finger. (I've learned that the
part of fingers between or beyond knuckles are called flanges.) No part of
my hand ever touched the blade. The piece of wood, with simple 90 degree
edges, can move fast enough and with enough force, to remove parts of our
The last flange on my ring finger was nearly detached. The last knuckle was
shattered beyond repair, and has been "fusing", or growing over as if it
were not a joint, for the last 6 weeks. I still have two pins protruding
from the tip of the finger. They form an internal splint that will
hopefully be removed this week.
I fully realize that I pulled the above quote entirely out of context. I
don't intend to dispute prior statements, but rather to just make sure folks
know that kickbacked workpieces can be just as vicious as a blade.
Well, the staff at the emergency room that treated me calls circular saws
"un-skil'd saws" due to the large numbers of injuries seen. :-) One doc
claimed circ saw injuries were the most common "shop-type" injury they
For what it is worth, I caused my own kickback. It was just a stupid thing
I did, plain and simple. I think over the years I've gotten complacent
regarding tool safety.
According to Kelly Mehler there are 30,000 tablesaw accidents per year
involving fingers. He claims kickback causes even more accidents.
All machines are dangerous if you don't pay attention to what you're doing.
Dunno, but it sounds like an interesting idea. I face the same problem
frequently, and I *have* had the small piece vibrate into the blade and go
KAWAAAAANG.....THOCK!!! The stuff is too narrow to make it to the
splitter. (That's why I NEVER stand in front of the blade!!) It's a real
problem because even if I turn off the saw between cuts, the cutoff can do
the wrong thing while the blade is spinning down.
As I see it, the problem with your diverter idea is in making sure *it*
doesn't get loose. You'd want to clamp it very, very securely, but it
sounds like it might actually work.
Don't know if it's safe or not. I'm not one of the experts you're asking
for ideas. However, I might try it, and if I do, I'll let you know how it
Michael McIntyre ---- Silvan < firstname.lastname@example.org>
Linux fanatic, and certified Geek; registered Linux user #243621
Providing your saw runs reasonably smooth and the cut off pieces don't dance
around you should be able to let them just line up and fall off the back of
the saw. I would highly suggest that you use a zero clearance insert.
Be sure that there will be no obstruction that would prevent the pieces from
freely moving. Take care that the pieces to not get jammed in the empty
I had the same problem ripping 3/16" wide strips off of a 10" long section
of 1"x4". (Making a bathroom vent cover) The strips of course fell down
beside the blade about 1/2 the time to be chewed up by the blade. I was
thinking a tighter fitting insert would fix this. Is it best to make one,
and if so what is the best way to do so? I have ordered up an insert for my
dado blade, but saw no inserts that were tighter to the blade (Delta 36-600)
You should be able to buy these at most ww'ing stores(Woodcraft, Woodworkers
Warehouse, etc.) or order them from most catalogs. Blank insert you install,
then raise running blade through it to make the zero clearance insert.
What I do (until I get a zero clearance insert) is to take some
masking tape and put down over the hole right next to the blade. It's
not a permanent fix, but it works to keep small pieces from falling
down next to the blade.
And before some idiot brings it up, yes - stop the blade before
putting the tape down.
I made mine - it was easy. Cut a scrap of 1/2" MDF (or whatever you prefer)
to rough size. Use double-stick tape to attach it to your existing insert.
Use a bearing-guided straight bit in your router to trim it to the exact
shape/size. Then put a nail in the backside to match the corresponding
part on your insert. A few small screws in the side and one in the front
(counter-sunk, with the head level with the edge) will allow you to
adjust the fit precisely. Mine fit far better than the original. I sealed
them and waxed the tops, as well. I recommend making a bunch.
Once they are fitted, I used a couple of spare speaker magnets to hold
it down while slowly raising the blade through the insert. I've also
used my fence on one side to hold the insert down (very carefully
positioned, of course).
I use a crosscut sled. Takes you an afternoon to make one, max.
It gives me a zero-clearance slot, somewhere to mount a length guide,
and a clamping fence for the stock. Best of all, for these repeated
operations, it gives me a moving table that carries the stock. When I
slide it back, the blade retracts entirely into the far-side blade
cover and it's safe for me to clear the offcuts by hand.
On a unifence which I have no clue if you have one, you can slide it
(fence) back far enough so that the rear of fence is even with where
the wood would be as it is severed. Basically, your fence would only
extend 2 inches or so past leading edge of blade.
I hope made that understandable.
Whiskey Echo Sierra Sierra AT Gee Tee EYE EYE dot COM
I have a push jig that rides on rip fence made with 1/4" Baltic Birch.
I've used it several times for tasks like this and ensure the pieces
are pushed beyond the backside ot the blade. It rides ON the wood to
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