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How to Use Kickback for Laying Out Joints

August 28th, 2010 35 comments

This is just an upfront reminder that I’ve recorded audio versions of new posts that contain “bonus features”. Just click the player above to hear the audio version of this post!

I had never experienced table saw kickback before. For those uninitiated, this occurs when the workpiece rides up on the back of the blade while being trapped against the fence. The workpiece is then literally shot back towards the operator. Consider the physics, my table saw turns at a rate of 3450 revolutions per minute. I did the calculations and that translates to a workpiece moving exactly ludicrously fast.

Until today, I have to say that I hadn’t given the notion of kickback much respect. I’ve had pieces get tossed back at the speed of slow-pitch softball and thought “hmmm… that’s not too bad… I could take that”. But the real deal is a whole different story.

I literally lost my breath when my workpiece kicked back and hit me on my right side with a thundering WHACK that must have been heard around the world. Stunned for a second, and in that instant I wondered, perhaps oddly so, if the severe impact would stop my heart. I then figured out that my heart is kind of located on the other side of my body and that it would probably be fine. Next, I feared that I had just become meat on a stick. Not until I saw my entire side in a mirror was I sure that I was not stuck like a pig.

Now, some may think this was an accident. But, I must say this is not the case… I kept losing my pin board when I went to transfer pin locations. So logically I thought “What if i had the pin locations marked on my body???” I know… your kicking yourself for not coming up with this genius idea first. My plan was brought to fruition in a mere fraction of a second. And now, transferring pin locations has never been so easy.

The other end of the board is also clearly defined on my flesh, but it includes nipple and I’m not ready to share that just yet or for free (that’s definitely premium site material).

You see that white arc on the piece of padauk that… ummm, that would be my skin cells. You can actually see the grain pattern of the piece of wood on my skin. Now I have to be mindful to not kill anyone with this sucker as clearly it would not pass the “if it does not fit, you must acquit” test.

At this point, I’m hoping it leaves a permanent mark. How hardcore would I be then? I totally would go to woodworking shows just to lift up my shirt, nod like a bad-ass, and say “yeah… that’s an offset box joint”.

What’s a little more troubling is to think of what could have been. I could easily be blind now if that board hit me in an eye. Although I’m not completely sure that I am even vulnerable to blindness given I have not yet suffered effects from countless years of unrelenting masturbation.

What was my specific technique? First, I was in a hurry to just make a quick cut so I would have a test piece for a groove I was about to make.  This was not going to be any sort of significant shop session and thus I was, of course, exempt from having to follow any safety rules. So no safety glasses, no shirt (there’s no woodworking like naked woodworking), no dust mask or even dust collection on (yes to a push stick and splitter). Another mistake was cutting too small a piece to be safely cut on a table saw without use of a sled.

Thinking of the table saw lawsuit that the woodworking community has been following the past year, I decided to look at the crime scene with the proper perspective… what TOOL caused this injury. Then it jumped out at me… the bench dog push stick is offset to the right, pulling the body of the user to the right and inline with dangerous kickback situations. Clearly my pain and suffering is due to this poorly designed tool.

Sadly, I would not be surprised to see someone make that frivolous argument. It’s an awesome push stick and this injury is just a stupid accident wherein I not-so-proudly have to own my stupidity for it occurring.

There will be blood

May 28th, 2008 5 comments

I knew that router bits were dangerous as they spin at speeds of 30,000 rpm. But did you know that bits traveling at 0 rpm can be quite dangerous as well? I learned this as I simply attempted to remove a bit that was stuck in it’s case. I had removed several simlilarly stuck bits with a rag as a buffer so I was confident that it wouldn’t be a problem (like a razor sharp carbide bit could cut cotton anyway). The smallish 1/4 straight bit was the one that attacked. Without any hesitation it jumped up and bit… SLICE… right through the rag and my finger… I’m not sure what occurred first, the nerves firing indicating pain to my brain or the realization that I just Forrest Gump’d myself. Then I could have sworn I heard someone yell “we got a bleeder!” as the mighty Nile began to flow.

The one opportunity that gumping myself provided was a chance to try out something that I had read in woodworking forums and that was to use super-glue to seal small wounds. This was the perfect application. It’s worked like a champ. Sealed the cut allowing me to use the hand without much problem at all.

Enjoy the bloody mess… I realize the pic of the original cut is poorly focused but I attribute that to bleeding-out at the time… and ohhh, it should be noted that in the isolation picture of the finger with the sealed wound, that the finger was indeed still attached to my hand at the time… although it does give a visual of the inevitable future.