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"Lets make some sawdust!"
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A few days ago had my first kickback on the tablesaw. I've heard plenty of stories of kickbacks, but none of them could have ever prepared me for how frightening it is. I was just ripping out a 15" wide piece of 1/4" ply and BANG! fortunately the only damage was a bruised bone in my pointer finger which was hit and its already better but here comes my real reason for this post. Thing is, this happened in the workplace and you guessed it, the saw has no guard, no pawls and no riving knife. This could have been prevented if only there was just the riving knife, very typical kickback I was near the end of the rip, somehow got away from the fence and catches the back of the blade. I've been working at this shop for about 5 months and was at another for 3 months before this one but have been a hobbyist for about 4 years, outside the workplace I always use all safety gear on the saw, I never felt good about using this one at work with the way it was set up and I was stupid enough to say nothing about it. Now here's what really gets me angry, the first year that they were in business the owner lost his finger on the tablesaw, wouldn't have happened if there were safety gear. Additionally, they also once had a incident where a cabinet maker lost 3 fingers and again, wouldn't have happened if there were safety gear. You would think after something like that they would put something on there right? apparently not, this place has been around for 42 years and never had any gear on there. Today I asked about if they even have a riving knife around, they don't. Now this next thing some people will think me logical for, others might think I am being ridiculous, call it what you will but unless they get at least a riving knife on there I refuse to use the saw, I know its not safe and always have and I was an idiot to ever use it the way it is. Very interested to see the input of others on this situation.
 

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The village amadán.
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For what it's worth, I'm with you. There is such a thing as OSHA and I'd be willing to bet that shop is supposed to be in compliance...

• Standard Number: 1917.151 • Title: Machine guarding. said:
1917.151(c)
Hand-fed circular ripsaws and hand-fed circular crosscut table saws. Unless fixed or manually adjustable enclosures or guarding provides equivalent protection, hand-fed circular ripsaws and hand-fed circular crosscut table saws shall be guarded as follows to keep employees clear of any danger zones:
1917.151(c)(1)
They shall be equipped with hoods completely enclosing those portions of the saw above the table and the material being cut;
..1917.151(c)(2)
1917.151(c)(2)
They shall have spreaders to prevent material from squeezing the saw. Spreaders shall be in true alignment with the saw. Spreaders may be removed only during grooving, dadoing, or rabbeting operations, and shall be replaced at the completion of such operations; and
1917.151(c)(3)
They shall have non-kickback fingers or dogs to oppose the tendency of the saw to pick up material or throw material toward the operator.
 

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Old School
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... I was near the end of the rip, somehow got away from the fence and catches the back of the blade.
That sounds like the cause of the kickback, not the absence of safety gear. A riving knife may not stop kickbacks. All safety gear is meant to minimize the possibility of an accident.

With that said, the shop should have to comply with having their saws fitted with safety equipment. If you don't feel safe using their equipment...don't.





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The New Guy
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I've never worked in a woodworking shop, but I do work in refineries and chemical plants throughout the US. People get hurt all the time in these places. It's not because they aren't safe places to work. It's actually safer to work there than it is to drive to and from work. There are more safety regulations in place than I can count. People get hurt because they don't pay attention, or ignore the rules in place. People hurt themselves or the others around them every day in my industry.

If you use a tool that you know isn't safe and hurt yourself or someone else, you're at fault. It's not the saw's fault, or the board's fault, or nobody's fault. You are responsible for your actions and the consequences of those actions. If that saw isn't safe, don't use it.
 

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where's my table saw?
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You Tube Demo

This show how a rotational kickback occurs where the workpiece rises at the rear of the fence, moves away from the fence and gets propelled toward the operator:


 

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A few days ago had my first kickback on the tablesaw. I've heard plenty of stories of kickbacks, but none of them could have ever prepared me for how frightening it is. I was just ripping out a 15" wide piece of 1/4" ply and BANG! fortunately the only damage was a bruised bone in my pointer finger which was hit and its already better but here comes my real reason for this post. Thing is, this happened in the workplace and you guessed it, the saw has no guard, no pawls and no riving knife. This could have been prevented if only there was just the riving knife, very typical kickback I was near the end of the rip, somehow got away from the fence and catches the back of the blade. I've been working at this shop for about 5 months and was at another for 3 months before this one but have been a hobbyist for about 4 years, outside the workplace I always use all safety gear on the saw, I never felt good about using this one at work with the way it was set up and I was stupid enough to say nothing about it. Now here's what really gets me angry, the first year that they were in business the owner lost his finger on the tablesaw, wouldn't have happened if there were safety gear. Additionally, they also once had a incident where a cabinet maker lost 3 fingers and again, wouldn't have happened if there were safety gear. You would think after something like that they would put something on there right? apparently not, this place has been around for 42 years and never had any gear on there. Today I asked about if they even have a riving knife around, they don't. Now this next thing some people will think me logical for, others might think I am being ridiculous, call it what you will but unless they get at least a riving knife on there I refuse to use the saw, I know its not safe and always have and I was an idiot to ever use it the way it is. Very interested to see the input of others on this situation.

First off let me say that if you do not feel safe doing ANYTHING on a saw, go with your gut and don't do it!!!!!
However, I have been around constuction all my life and I'm the young age of 29. I have seen many shops, thousands of tradesmen out in the fields, guess how many times I've seen "saftey gear" ZERO!!
The reason is simple, it is a total hasle!! It takes so much time to set it up and take it off when you need to and there are times you need to take it off.
I have tried to leave my saftey gear on my saw when I first set them up and I end up leaving it off.
The bottom line is this. The only time you are going to have an accident is when YOU make a mistake, instead of blaming the fact that the saftey gear was off, take a look at what you did wrong.
I almost cut my thumb off this past Sunday. Only reason I didn't was because I had my blade height set very low, just above the board. 1 inch higher and it would have been a disaster!!!

I also would like to add that I think a lot of hobbyist guys don't know how un-skilled they are when it comes to working in a real shop with the biggest baddest power tools you can buy. You can bind up a contractor saw but you try that with a big powermatic and it is going to show you what you are doing wrong!!

Yes, shops are not a safe place to work, TONS of professions are not safe. No amount of safety gear is going to stop all the accidents. I'm not saying not to use them so please understand!!
If you choose to use all the safety gear that is great and do not be shy about demanding to have it put on the saw, that is your right.
As for the whole OSHA thing, they are a joke!! I've seen them shut a place down because a sheet of plywood was leaning against a door, fire hazard!!! Only time a shop complies with OSHA is when OSHA is in the shop, soon as they leave the saftey gear goes back in the drawer!!
The point to my post is that no matter how you handle this work place situation, my guess is this. If you stay in the woodworking profession you will end up being the guy that can't stand those contraptions on the saw!!
Maybe I'm wrong but I think your biggest safety is your brain, go at your own pace!!!
 

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Turning Wood Into Art
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Tend to agree with the general consensus.
1) accidents often happen due to lack of concentration
2) guards are not essential but do serve a purpose
3) if you don't feel safe / confident - don't do it
4) there are times where guards can be more dangerous than not having one
5) relying purely on guards can be more dangerous than all else

Dave The Turning Cowboy
 

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Sure your brain is your best defense from accidents but we make mistakes at that's why we need the safety gear in place. Older saws were difficult and a PITA. However newer saws can have splitter, guards and riving knives switched in seconds. I'm tired of hearing that safety devices are never used and it's up to you to be safe. The reason they are not used is because of ignorance and stupidity most of the time. Hell if the owner lost a finger and the other guy lost 3 fingers, then it's plain old stupidity topped off with being irresponsible that the safety devices are not being used.

Use your brain as others said and don't use the saw without the safety equipment. Your gut telling you something is unsafe for a reason.

Most on here know it but I will say it again. I used a table saw for 20-25 years before I had my accident. I had the same attitude that they got in the way and were a PITA to switch. Yes they need to come off for some procedures but not all the time. As I said we make mistakes and things happen. In my case I had several little things that by themselves are nothing but the planets were lined up against me that day and all those little things happen at the wrong time, causing me to lose a finger.

You know what I see it differently now and I now have a SawStop just in case. If the owners don't make changes to prevent future accidents they are wrong.
SHA thats wrong it's the companies that don't make sure they are in compliance.
 

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Were it my production shop, it would be safe with only trained personnel. The training is even more important than the equipment.

That said, if I worked for someone and wanted to continue so, my objective would be to add as much value as possible. Refusing to do things and refusing to accept the ways of the business is not how I would roll with any employer, if I valued my job. It's a matter of fit in or leave.

There are ways to work safely on an unguarded table-saw, by applying positive thinking and making up a few easy jigs, so your body parts are out of the danger zone.

My own shop is not too safe, but I'm the only one allowed in there and in 40 years of woodworking I have never had a kick-back or an accident. Never used my table-saw guard either. That is just me I have to worry about though, if someone else was allowed in there, it would be a different story.

In short, if you are not comfortable with your working environment, don't stay just for the sake of a wage, leave and get into a job and a company you are passionate about. Life is short.
 

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Sure your brain is your best defense from accidents but we make mistakes at that's why we need the safety gear in place. Older saws were difficult and a PITA. However newer saws can have splitter, guards and riving knives switched in seconds. I'm tired of hearing that safety devices are never used and it's up to you to be safe. The reason they are not used is because of ignorance and stupidity most of the time. Hell if the owner lost a finger and the other guy lost 3 fingers, then it's plain old stupidity topped off with being irresponsible that the safety devices are not being used.

Use your brain as others said and don't use the saw without the safety equipment. Your gut telling you something is unsafe for a reason.

Most on here know it but I will say it again. I used a table saw for 20-25 years before I had my accident. I had the same attitude that they got in the way and were a PITA to switch. Yes they need to come off for some procedures but not all the time. As I said we make mistakes and things happen. In my case I had several little things that by themselves are nothing but the planets were lined up against me that day and all those little things happen at the wrong time, causing me to lose a finger.

You know what I see it differently now and I now have a SawStop just in case. If the owners don't make changes to prevent future accidents they are wrong.
SHA thats wrong it's the companies that don't make sure they are in compliance.
Everyone is different, I will use the riving knife because I don't often have to take it off and when I do it is really fast. The other stuff is WAY to time consuming and gets in the way. Yes it is safer but not using the table saw at all is even safer. I mean you could just use a router to do most of what the table saw can do, and only use the table saw when it is a must. The bottom line is that it takes 10 times longer and the risk is worth the reward. I install cabinets and am freehanding scribe lines all day long on my saw, I can't do that with a guard in the way because it blocks the view. I could just use a jig saw to cut them but that would take 10 times longer, so I opt for the table saw.
I think it depends on the guy behind the saw. Mistakes are going to happen, we are only human and if I can put a safety device on a tool and still get the same or very close to the same use of that tool I am going to put that safety gear on it. If however that safety gear comes with a big hassle and makes the tool less effective, I'm going to leave it off. I have a job to do and I have a family to take care of and I can't spend an hour each day swapping stuff on my tools. I say my prayers and look at shop accidents every Sunday niight before I start the work week to keep me respecting/fearing my tools!! That doesn't gaurantee I won't have an accident but the only real way to do that is to get out of the profession and I will never stop being a woodworker, it is my passion!!
It is safer to drive 25 MPH but we all go 65 atleast on our way to work everyday, it is all about managing risk!!
 

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Turning Wood Into Art
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Unless your Irving knife sticks up higher than your blade, why would anyone need to take it off?

Just asking cause that is the only reason I had issue with it and I cut it down level with the blade. Problem solved (unless your guard bolts to the knife)

Dave The Turning Cowboy
 

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Unless your Irving knife sticks up higher than your blade, why would anyone need to take it off?

Just asking cause that is the only reason I had issue with it and I cut it down level with the blade. Problem solved (unless your guard bolts to the knife)

Dave The Turning Cowboy

Sometimes I have to eat out the side of a panel to sort of scribe the flat side of the panel into the wall. I'll set the blade about 1/8" high and drag the panel sideways, sorta like cutting cove molding. The riving knife will get in the way when I'm going this. I only have to do this about every 6 months.
 

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Were it my production shop, it would be safe with only trained personnel. The training is even more important than the equipment.

That said, if I worked for someone and wanted to continue so, my objective would be to add as much value as possible. Refusing to do things and refusing to accept the ways of the business is not how I would roll with any employer, if I valued my job. It's a matter of fit in or leave.

There are ways to work safely on an unguarded table-saw, by applying positive thinking and making up a few easy jigs, so your body parts are out of the danger zone.

My own shop is not too safe, but I'm the only one allowed in there and in 40 years of woodworking I have never had a kick-back or an accident. Never used my table-saw guard either. That is just me I have to worry about though, if someone else was allowed in there, it would be a different story.

In short, if you are not comfortable with your working environment, don't stay just for the sake of a wage, leave and get into a job and a company you are passionate about. Life is short.
I'm not sure what OSHA or Insurance requires but my point is this. If it is required to have the safety devices on the equipment why shouldn't they be on there. It's not fair to other companies that spend the money and follow the law if a few companies refuse to do it. It's also not fair to the employees. To say it's common practice may be true for home and or fly by night shops but that don't make it right.

As for how long it takes to swap the safety devices. You must have a older saw because most saws today have the quick change devices. Mine does and they change in 20-30 seconds.

As I said if it's required then any boss worth working for will follow the rules. Those who don't should not be in buisness.
 

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Everyone is different, I will use the riving knife because I don't often have to take it off and when I do it is really fast. The other stuff is WAY to time consuming and gets in the way. Yes it is safer but not using the table saw at all is even safer. I mean you could just use a router to do most of what the table saw can do, and only use the table saw when it is a must. The bottom line is that it takes 10 times longer and the risk is worth the reward. I install cabinets and am freehanding scribe lines all day long on my saw, I can't do that with a guard in the way because it blocks the view. I could just use a jig saw to cut them but that would take 10 times longer, so I opt for the table saw.
I think it depends on the guy behind the saw. Mistakes are going to happen, we are only human and if I can put a safety device on a tool and still get the same or very close to the same use of that tool I am going to put that safety gear on it. If however that safety gear comes with a big hassle and makes the tool less effective, I'm going to leave it off. I have a job to do and I have a family to take care of and I can't spend an hour each day swapping stuff on my tools. I say my prayers and look at shop accidents every Sunday niight before I start the work week to keep me respecting/fearing my tools!! That doesn't gaurantee I won't have an accident but the only real way to do that is to get out of the profession and I will never stop being a woodworker, it is my passion!!
It is safer to drive 25 MPH but we all go 65 atleast on our way to work everyday, it is all about managing risk!!
Freehanding on a table saw is already unsafe and is the same action that was being performed when the guy cut his hand then sued.

As for as it's up to the person behind the saw statement. Everyone talks that way and acts like it won't happen to them. They make it sound like those of us that were unfortunately injured are some how less safe then they are. That's until it happens to them then the big bad talk stops.

Your free to do what ever you want but if it happens to you then you may get what I'm saying. Hopefully not but you know the risk.

If you want some extra safety pictures check out my album. :thumbsup:
 

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where's my table saw?
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Everyone is different, ...... I install cabinets and am freehanding scribe lines all day long on my saw, I can't do that with a guard in the way because it blocks the view. I could just use a jig saw to cut them but that would take 10 times longer, so I opt for the table saw.
I think it depends on the guy behind the saw.
Charley I'm sure you have a lot of hours on the table saw from the sounds of it. I just wonder of there is a "pucker factor" when you are freehanding on the table saw? On the very few occasions when I found it necessary there sure was for me.

For the operation you mentioned, trimming to a scribe line, wouldn't a circular saw be a whole lot easier and much safer?

You may have a smaller, less powerful saw on a job site than a cabinet saw with 3 HP or more, I donno? Your blade may have an aggressive set to the teeth leaving a wider kerf, I donno? It sounds like you are trimming face face frames which are long and narrow, I donno? But if you can figure out a safer way I would recommend it. The laws of physics are not suspended for even experienced cabinetmakers. Wood moves, pinches on the blade, a piece can twist in the kerf in a moment of inattention, and you'll get a "return to sender notification" in the form of a kickback.

No one can tell you how to run your saw or your shop, so how you do your work is your choice. I didn't use a splitter for years, then I started paying attention to why I got kickbacks and feel much safer now. You're right that you can't do all the operations when it's on there, and mine takes 5 minutes to reinstall it if I remove it on my older Craftsman 12" motorized saw, so I leave it on that saw. I have a newer Craftsman hybrid saw that has a riving knife that takes only seconds to remove and reinstall. What a difference and it's a dream to use.

Below is an example of a "pucker factor" operation on the hybrid saw where I need to thin up a section on some very short lengths of walnut for a keepsake box. My shop, my rules, and my fingers..... if anything goes wrong. I used a push block and supported the outside edge of the work on another larger block that went along for the ride since they were taped together. It did go very smoothly, but there was till a chance of a kickback.

Smaller pieces are always a challenge...for me at least, like the 4 sided beveled feet on the same box. I used a bandsaw with a stop block for the final 2 bevels and then sanded them smooth on a disc sander.
 

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Any owner of a commercial shop that lets employees use tools with out proper guarding is too dumb to work for. They are risking everything they own. OSHA can fine $5000/incident/employee. not to mention any guy who gets hurt can sue for everything you own.

One OSHA visit or accident & suddenly $1000 to equip an old Unisaw with with a Biesemyer overhead guard and splitter is a good investment.

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WillemJM said:
Just like you don't like giving electrical advice due to your own inability and an untrained person's safety, I do not like to see anyone get near a table saw without proper training.

I had an exceptional trainer at a very young age, very strict, that is why I have never had a table-saw kick back in 40 years and never had an accident in woodworking. There are a few things on a table saw you cannot do with a guard on.

If you were competent on a table saw, you would know exactly what causes a kick-back and you would further know exactly what measures to take EVERY TIME, to make sure this never happens. If for a reason there was no guard, you would also know how to operate it without getting your hands and body even close to the danger zone.

In short, that is what you get with proper methods and 40 years of experience from a solid training base.

Sorry you missed out, however I sincerely suggest you get quality training on how to use a table saw safely. I think there was a previous post, where you did not understand what Toe Out does, that is when I saw the lights starting to dim regarding experience.
So how do you handle the kickback potential caused by a piece of reaction wood that closes solidly on the back of the blade, if you don't have some kind of splitter installed?

I had a piece last year that closed down on the splitter to the point it got difficult to push, and I turned the saw off. It was hard to lower the blade out of it, and took a serious pull to get it off the splitter. If the splitter hadn't been there it would have closed on the blade and launched.

My dad had been using saws for forty plus years when he got his finger. The older brother had thirty plus years when he got three fingers. The cousin has close onto fifty years and has only had one serious nick, but countless near misses. All of them are well trained and experienced. They also all take risks I won't.

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Turning Wood Into Art
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UtahCharley said:
Sometimes I have to eat out the side of a panel to sort of scribe the flat side of the panel into the wall. I'll set the blade about 1/8" high and drag the panel sideways, sorta like cutting cove molding. The riving knife will get in the way when I'm going this. I only have to do this about every 6 months.
Now you say that, I do remember seeing that done once when I was an apprentice back in the 80ies. These days I tend to use my 12 inch drop saw for that kind of thing, guess it depends on size of panel you have.

Dave The Turning Cowboy
 

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So how do you handle the kickback potential caused by a piece of reaction wood that closes solidly on the back of the blade, if you don't have some kind of splitter installed?

I had a piece last year that closed down on the splitter to the point it got difficult to push, and I turned the saw off. It was hard to lower the blade out of it, and took a serious pull to get it off the splitter. If the splitter hadn't been there it would have closed on the blade and launched.

My dad had been using saws for forty plus years when he got his finger. The older brother had thirty plus years when he got three fingers. The cousin has close onto fifty years and has only had one serious nick, but countless near misses. All of them are well trained and experienced. They also all take risks I won't.

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I worked for my dad in a metal working factory he owned with about 350 employees since 11 years old because I wanted to. He was so strict about safety, that the day I did cut my finger on a metal grinder I was too scared to even let him know. Went to my brother in-law that evening who is a physician to have it cleaned and stitched and made him promise he would never tell my dad. Good old discipline, but it sure stuck.

First, you may not use a table saw without a guard, that is the rule as from now. :boat:

I do a lot of chairs, lots of tenons, I also do a lot of dados and miters on the table saw.

I do not get my hands close enough to any woodworking machinery cutters to do damage, meaning I compromise with simple jigs. I keep small pieces or anything which may look slightly suspicious away from the table saw and rather go to the band-saw.

When it comes to reaction from stresses in kiln dried wood, I use toe-out with the fence. I'm always set-up with 1/32" meaning the kerf is about 1/16' wider than the blade teeth offset. My cuts are jointer clean. That is what I do. If you use a quality blade with carbide teeth that have the correct offset, the blade height is set correctly and the workpiece is not too small, which would make it table-saw unsafe, you will always be able to saw through reaction wood, in worst possible cases there will be burn marks.

I got into trouble here earlier, so I am out of this thread.
 
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