Table Saw Accident @ 125 MPH

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JohnW

New User
John
I had an odd accident using my table saw several weeks ago and hope posting this might save someone else.

I'm "normally" very cautious when it comes to using my tools...but one laps in concentration almost cost me some fingers. After final glue up of a solid chess board (walnut & figured sycamore) with a 2.5" mitered frame, I was making the final trim cuts just to clean up the 4 sides. Probably one of the safest cuts to make...just nipping ~1/64" off the sides..pushing straight through.

On the LAST cut, just as the piece was past the blade, lightning struck right outside the shop (open garage door)....BANG. I must have flinched & jerked the piece back into the blade because the next instant I was doubled over holding my hand and chest.

The chess board, about 16" x 16" x 5/8" flew back and hit the back of my left hand and stomach. Hand was never near the blade so all the damage was done by the wood. It smashed and cut my hand pretty good....but it's healing.

After some calculations I figured that the teeth on the 10" blade are capable of throwing a kickback at ~124.8 MPH. (4400 RPM)

Examine what I did wrong:
  • I'll not use the saw during a thunder storm again. Can't guarantee I won't flinch next time.
  • If my MJ splitter was installed it would have been harder (not impossible) to back into the blade. The 20 seconds it takes to change to the proper ZC insert looks like time that would have been well spent now.
  • Stand to the side stupid.
Comments are welcome...even harsh comments. Learn from my mistakes.
 

WoodWrangler

New User
Jeremy
Firstoff, glad to hear you are okay and didn't lose any fingers!

Secondly, thanks for sharing this with us. We never like to hear the "bad" stories, but they're a real good reminder for all of us that bad things do happen.
 

Makinsawdust

New User
Robert
John,
That wasn't the bolt of lightening that hit Jeremy's house was it. Sorry, I couldn't resist tieing your two post together. Glad that both of you escaped serious injury. Seems we maybe having more T-boomers in our near future. Yesterday's storm was right on top of my house.
Rob
 

nelsone

New User
Ed
Wow John, glad you're ok! It's amazing how quickly things can happen. Thanks for reminding us to py attenton to what we are doing as well as the environment we are in!
 

cskipper

Cathy
Corporate Member
Glad your weren't more seriously hurt. It's funny about storms - we had both been working in the shop one evening last week. When we headed to the house we were surprised to see the storm and how seemingly close the lightning bolts were to us. Hadn't heard the approaching storm over the tools and concentration.
 

4yanks

New User
Willie
Glad you weren't hurt. I had pretty much the same thing happen to me several years ago with a drawer bottom. I bought a splitter after that and used it religiously. Lately, I have to admit I am less adamant in its use. Thanks for reminding me why I need it.
 

DavidF

New User
David
Glad you are ok John, bad things often "nearly" happen when I forget my splitter. It's a simple wooden thing, but makes all the difference.
 

Littlejon

New User
Jon
Good to hear you are alright.

A similar thing happened to me a couple of weeks ago while my son and I were working on a bird house, which actually turned out to be a great lesson to him. I always make the boys stand away from the power tools when I am working on them. I always get the "why" questions and I explain as best as I can. Well, they don't have a problem standing away from the table saw, as it is loud and kinda scary. That, and they like to "catch" the boards on the other side once they are far enough out for them to grab.

So, we are ripping a board down to size and my son had just asked me about kickbacks because I made him move from behind the saw. As I pushed the cedar board through, I looked up to make sure he was far enough away before I allowed him to catch the board on the other side and must have turned the board just enough to send it into the blade. It had not even started out the other side of the saw when it caught, so Ben was busy watching the board come through. As it caught the blade, the thing shot out the back and crashed into the workbench on the other side of the shop, sending all kinds of stuff flying. I cut the saw off and see Ben with this wide-eyed look on his face. I explained that this is why I didn't want him behind the saw and why I always stand to the side. When he saw the bruise pop up on my hand (from having the board jerked from my grip), he understood how easy it was to get really hurt working with power tools.

After picking up the stuff that went flying, we proceeded to rip the boards, but I never had to tell him to move to the other side of the saw!
 

MikeH

Mike
Corporate Member
Glad to hear things turned out ok. It could have been a lot worse. If anyone is interested this site is a good place to read about kickback and other accidents that people have had. It definitely strengthened my respect for all power tools.
 
M

McRabbet

Sounds like you had a mighty close call, John. It is fortunate that you were not hurt more seriously. Getting stock caught between the fence and the blade is one of the most common causes of table saw kickback -- next time, you might want to put your work on a crosscut sled and keep the work to the left of the blade, atop the sled, where it cannot get pinched.

BTW, I moved this thread to the Health & Safety Forum...
 

NCPete

New User
Pete Davio
looking at the Jessem sliding table for my JET because of issues like these... but one can never find one of these discounted, or being resold...
 

Ray Martin

New User
Ray
John,

I'm more than just happy that you got away without permanent injuries... although I'm sure what you did suffer hurt like crazy. Thanks for sharing the story and helping us to remember how much we have to focus on safety.


Ray
 

Ray Martin

New User
Ray
Glad to hear things turned out ok. It could have been a lot worse. If anyone is interested this site is a good place to read about kickback and other accidents that people have had. It definitely strengthened my respect for all power tools.


Mike,

Thanks for the site... some very scary stuff in there, but it makes for good reminders / lessons for all of us.

Ray
 

Mike Wilkins

Mike
Senior User
Good to hear that you were not seriously hurt, and can fill in the rest of us as to what happened. I have had similar scenarios with minor kickbacks and items being trapped between the fence and a spinning blade.
Not a fun sight.
This is the reason I am seriously looking to upgrade my Unisaw to one of the Euro-style sliding tablesaws. You can place the workpiece onto the sliding table/outrigger with no chance of trapping the workpiece and risking kickback.
Happy healing and stay safe.
 

cpowell

New User
Chuck
Thanks for sharing as a reminder that we all need to work safely. I'm glad that you escaped serious injury and hope you have a speedy recovery.

Chuck
 
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