Avoiding Table Saw Kickback


The fundamental rules (and devices) to keep you clear of danger at your saw.
By Marc Adams
Pages: 63-65

From the November 2008 issue #172
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I once heard that 90 percent (or more) of all table saw accidents involve some type of kickback, where the work flies back at the operator. Imagine what would happen to table saw accident statistics if we could eliminate kickback altogether. The table saw would go from being one of the most dangerous machines to one of the safest.

I often ask for a show of hands during my safety demonstrations of how many people have ever experienced kickback. Nearly everyone sheepishly raises their
hand. I then ask how many people have experienced kickback more than once, and it’s almost the same response.

Why is that?

It’s clear that accidents occur to both the novice and experienced woodworker, but why would something as potentially dangerous as a piece of stock being kicked back at more than 100 miles per hour be an experience anyone would ever want to have more than once?

Kickback can be a product of both through and non-through cuts. Once it starts you can’t stop it, and only Superman can react faster. The kickback zone can actually be anywhere in the shop. That’s right – anywhere! The main (and most dangerous) line is toward the operator and directly in front of the blade. However a “kicked” item can ricochet off something and head in any direction, and boards with some significant width that kick back can pivot sideways as well.

I believe that most woodworkers don’t understand the cause and cure of kickback, so let’s take a look at both.


From the November 2008 issue #172
Buy this issue now