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Subject: Re: Table saw incident


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Message Thread:

Table saw incident



Had a close call on Friday with the table saw. Be safe and donít let this happen to you and if your not using a Saw Stop take a serious look at one!

Table Saw Incident why it happened & how to avoid having the same thing happen to you

10/19/20       #2: Table saw incident ...
Mark B Member

Push sticks are your friend. Lucky.

10/19/20       #3: Table saw incident ...
Kevin Dunphy


Not to sound like a smart ass .I did some things never thought twice till I had an accident .
When I saw you video I cringed use push sticks like Mark said .

I use the second down from the top left corner made about 4 of them using Baltic birch I cut them on the CNC .They last a long time gone through lots of them

I'm also re sawing edging for cabinets half inch thick never had a problem .

Saw stop I think there the way to go on a job site only because those contractor saw are so rickety

10/19/20       #4: Table saw incident ...

You should have multiple push sticks sitting next to the saw at all times so people arenít too lazy to make one. I typically make them from 3/4Ē ply. The ones that people donít use are a 1/4Ē one or the wide 1 1/2Ē one that should have been used to push both pieces thru. The trick is to cut thru the push sticks.
There is no reason for your left hand to go anywhere near the blade. You can use push sticks & fingerboards to safely make 99% of cuts on a tables saw.

10/19/20       #5: Table saw incident ...

I agree with others, use push sticks, I use 1/2 inch Baltic birch ones cut out on a cnc as well, and more importantly make sure people are trained and have some common sense when using equipment. Never make an employee feel rushed when they are using a piece of equipment. This applies to everything, you canít get sawstop with jointers, planers, shapers, or any other stationary or handheld power tool:

I wouldnít ever buy a sawstop, I think they are way over priced and they just teach users bad habits. I will be the first to say that they do have their place, like mentioned maybe on a site with a bunch of people using it, definitely in a wood shop in a school where people are learning to use this equipment.

Safety is of the utmost importance, at the end of the day we all want to go home to our families in one piece.

10/19/20       #6: Table saw incident ...
rich c.

A lot of people come up with excuses not to buy a Sawstop, until they loose a digit or four. A shop owner not far from me lost most of all 4 fingers on one hand on a kickback. Said that he saw the fingers fly over his head, like in slow motion. There were no Sawstops in those days, but he would have paid anything to have those fingers back! Woodworking was never the same for him, and lost his shop a few years latter.

10/19/20       #7: Table saw incident ...

I made this video because itís a real world safety experience that anyone can learn from. Watch it, show it to your employees if you like to help them be aware of a real life incident not just a textbook video written by someone who has never used a saw.
As far as the Saw Stop goes Iíve seen all kinds of opinions and thatís fine. Saying it teaches people bad habits is a pretty far stretch though. I have never once said ďIíll ignore normal safety protocols because I have a sawstopĒ
While it might look like a small cut, it bled pretty good for about 30 minutes and the pain while not shock inducing like my leg I broke last year, Iíd be fine if I didnít have to feel it over the next couple weeks as it heals up.
You can buy new tools but you canít buy new fingers!
If it was $100,000 vs a $2,000 saw the price concerns would be valid.
I just ordered 2 $1400 portable saws tops to replace my Dewald and makita on my 2 install vans. They get used maybe 10 times a year. Is it worth it? Absolutely! An emergency room visit will cost you close to that much, a workerís compensation increase for a damage or lost finger would probably cost $100k or more.

10/19/20       #8: Table saw incident ...

Like I said, sawstops have their place and if you have a bunch of employees, it is a great idea.
I believe you when you say you will never ignore normal safety protocols because you have a sawstop. I bet you also donít drink and drive, but lots do, and I have seen people who are reckless on a saw stop in the past.
I live in Canada so a trip to an emergency department is quite a bit difference in cost than the US, but I wouldnít wish that on anyone.
I currently have 4 table saws of various configurations so only 2 of them could be replaced by sawstopís, so I choose to do my best to respect them and work safely.
The trigger brake mechanism is a couple hundred dollars to replace, why is the rest of the saw so much? I will gladly use my 10 inch Canadian made General over that added cost.
Just my 2 cents worth. Everyone has their different opinions and reasons.

10/20/20       #9: Table saw incident ...
Warren Lake Member

Sorry but you caused your own kickback, Its an off cut leave it alone,

One push stick right hand side.

if you had to do tons you could jig it up fast.

Looks like too many teeth on your blade as well you are ripping a substantial amount even if only half way.

10/20/20       #10: Table saw incident ...

I watched the video and I would agree with Warren, you are using the wrong blade, when ripping solid you use a ripping blade, secondly your saw is not up to code or has been modified as you donít have a riving knife, as of 2009 table saws have to be equipped with a riving knife.
You never have to be concerned with the piece on the side of the blade opposite the fence, it will never kickback, usually just falls over or sits there, between the blade and fence can shoot out like an arrow, I saw a guy fire a piece out making a hole in an overhead door.

Anyways I am glad you are ok.

10/20/20       #11: Table saw incident ...
Warren Lake Member

jeff made a good point. Ive worked 40 years with nothing and thats is in my brain, just set up a much nicer saw and has a riving knife. Past owner made it ill make better ones. That wasnt on my mind cause ive ripped with no riving knife that way many times.

It almost feels like cheating to me or some type of crutch having that riving knife but its totally sensible. Further I think just about everyone sets them wrong. Why have that thing only do one function when i can also press your material to the fence. The difference is dramatic as it maintains constant pressure for you.

The old guy never used anything but if he did it was rip the wood past the heal of the blade, stop the saw, put in a finishing nail into the wooden insert then clip the head off and you had a tiny riving knife but even more so you had pressure against fence.

10/20/20       #12: Table saw incident ...
pat gilbert

On the subject of push sticks, don't let them get too thin as they can slip off the material and wedge between the fence and the material creating a nasty kick back.

Wood coming out of the saw can cause a lot of damage to your body.

A riving knife is imperative

Thanks for posting Derrek

10/20/20       #13: Table saw incident ...
MarkB Member

He states plainly in the video that he removed the stock riving knife/anti kickback, dust hood, because the part was too tall to fit beneath the hood/pawls. Its a modern saw, and has a riving knife. Im sure he is well aware of what he did wrong, its kind of admirable that he's willing to post what most of us would hope never see's the light of day.

Not defending the saw or his actions, I would never own a Sawstop for myself either but if I had a bunch of guys running saws, regardless of their espoused expertise and experience, I would most definitely have them on the shop floor.

I would venture to guess, if they havent already, insurance companies will painfully nudge you in that direction anyway.

Not long ago a picked up a machine purchased from a shop and in a conversation about spray booths with the shop forman (a young man) where OSHA came up he held up his right hand with freshly removed stitches of index, ring, and middle finger severed off at the hand. He was left with a thumb and a pinky. They had re-attached and they didnt take. Scenario was the typical late in the day, knocking out a few parts that they cut routinely, and poof. Im sure my face literally turned white seeing the hand not for the thought of losing my fingers but being the shop owner and having to live with that happening to someone.

We've all read the endless sawstop diatribes. With the average level of individual I have in the shop, there should be one out there but with a slider and being lucky that I am in the shop, and with CNC, I am able to do 95% of the cutting and anything they cut on the slider hands are feet away from the blade.

10/20/20       #14: Table saw incident ...

You must be an owner, and not a shop guy. What he removed was a splitter/anti kickback mechanism and a plastic guard that can also work as a dust and chip collector.
A riving knife looks like a shark fin you see in the movies, it is directly behind the blade and it is slightly lower than the blade so the operation he was doing is not a problem.

View higher quality, full size image (732 X 489)

10/20/20       #15: Table saw incident ...


Thanks everyone for your thoughts and feedback. I just learned something I didnít know before. Itís hard to post your mistakes and even harder sometimes to read the comments on them. Without posting I might not have ever noticed that saw come with 2 knives see video

10/20/20       #16: Table saw incident ...
Mark B Member

You can dick around over the riving knife foolishness all you want. Its the step ahead of mandated sawstoppedness. The riving knife would have done nothing to remedy the situation in this scebario. Finger pressure pointing directly at the spinning blade would have resulted in the same outcome riving knife or not. Blade tooth count or not. Rule number one is with force being applied where do my body parts go if the workpiece disappears. Riving knife installed the off fall would still have been kicked back and the force being applied would still have landed digits in the blade. We riving knife rip feeder and manually daily.

The riving knife battle is right along side the sawstop. Neither negates poor practice. Again in Derek's defense (i have always respected his contributions) we all make mistakes. Thankfully it was his own finger. A lucky lesson.

10/20/20       #17: Table saw incident ...

Thanks for posting both videos, that is actually a sweet setup that the sawstop has.
I have never used a saw stop before, I may consider looking at one, however it may be to late in the game for me. I have cut for probably the last 10 years with mostly just a riving knife on a 10 inch saw and nothing else. I mostly only use that saw for cutting solid material. I leave the splitter and dust collection on my SCM saw.
Anyways have a wonderful day and hope your finger is not to tender for to long.

10/20/20       #18: Table saw incident ...

In retrospect the US has been behind Europe for something like 50 years(???)in tablesaw guards & riving knifes. It was life changing to go from a dangerous Delta/Powematic anti kickback to the decent Beisemeyer overarm and ok splitter. Then we skipped the Euro riving knife and went directly to the Sawstop.

People either get hurt or learn to use push sticks with no guards. Sawstops might lead to bad habits because you donít fear the blade. Who knows? Buy a Sawstop if you can afford it. If not use your brain to do the best to not get hurt.

Be safe

10/20/20       #19: Table saw incident ...
Jason Yeager


I appreciate your video, and the thoughtfulness it took to make it. I hope you heal up fast, and thank you. I had an accident and am fortunate to have fingers, so any chance I get to push safety in the shop is a great thing.

10/22/20       #20: Table saw incident ...
door shop guy

Always a good time to think about safety in the shop. Occasionally i find myself starting to do something not safe if i am in a hurry. I have to remind myself to slow down mistakes happen when you are in a hurry.

10/26/20       #21: Table saw incident ...
Oggie Member

Muscle memory also dangerous.

After three years on a regular table saw without a single incident I shaved some skin of a pinky and ring fingers on a scoring blade just within first few minutes on a new sliding table.
Once I finished setup and calibration and started cutting parts, my brain just automatically went into "routine mode" and loaded cutting program for an old table saw and my hands started moving in a familiar pattern over the wrong machine.
Fortunately, it was only a scoring blade protruding several sixteenths of an inch above table surface, otherwise it could have been much worst.

Stay safe and try to be mentally present in every moment while with the machines.

10/30/20       #22: Table saw incident ...
Gabe O Member

This is a learning experience all tablesaw users will experience at one time or another no matter how much experience. The problem with many woodworkers is the practice of convenience rather than safety. There are much safer and more effective tools for resawing or thinning(power planer, bandsaw) than circular saws or table saws. We all know wood is reactive and unpredictable. Feeding stock over a spinning blade with body parts a definite no-no. Everyone, even the most experienced should evaluate their practices. Safety first!


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