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
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.