Preventing kickback

      Diagosing the causes of recurring kickback, and finding cures. 1998.

by Professor Gene Wengert

I was recently injured on a tablesaw at my workplace when a piece of material kicked back on the tablesaw. This saw kicks material across the shop floor several times a month. I and most of the people are aware of the problem so we stay away from the kickback zone. This time the material did a 180 degree spin. Luckily, I caught it with my right hand, preventing it from hitting my face or jugular vein. My hand did come up bruised and bleeding.

We are working with thinner materials such as plywood and plastic laminates--rarely more than 3/4" thick. The saw blade stays set at aprox. 4" above the surface of the table. Would lowering the blade height lessen the chances of kickback?

Since much of the material we work with is plastic laminates, lexan and Plexiglas, would there be a better pawling mechanism than the standard hook type? Possibly a wider knurled surface that wouldn't slip as easily?

We are using a very large radius course carbide blade. Would a finer blade with a smaller radius be safer? The surface speed on the outer edges of a smaller blade might slow down the missles, and I thought a finer blade without the protruding inserts might not catch the material.

What causes kickback is a saw that isn't adjusted correctly or a blade that is beginning to wobble. There has been a lot written about this. You need to try a new blade--if it still happens, then it is saw alignment. Heat is often what happens with improper alignment and then the heat expands the blade and causes the blade to warp and wobble.

You will notice that if the saw protrudes above the work only a fraction, there will be less kickback.

A good saw shop should be able to provide more information, or check with some of the technical magazines--Fine Woodworking, etc.

Professor Gene Wengert is Extension Specialist in Wood Processing at the Department of Forestry, University of Wisconsin-Madison.

Click on Wood Doctor Archives to peruse past answers.

If you would like to obtain a copy of "The Wood Doctor's Rx", visit the Wood Education and Resource Center Web site for more information.

Would you like to add information to this article?
Interested in writing or submitting an article?
Have a question about this article?

Have you reviewed the related Knowledge Base areas below?
  • KnowledgeBase: Solid Wood Machining: Tooling

  • KnowledgeBase: Woodworking Miscellaneous: Tool Maintenance

  • KnowledgeBase: Woodworking Miscellaneous: Woodworking

  • KnowledgeBase: Knowledge Base

    Would you like to add information to this article? ... Click Here

    If you have a question regarding a Knowledge Base article, your best chance at uncovering an answer is to search the entire Knowledge Base for related articles or to post your question at the appropriate WOODWEB Forum. Before posting your message, be sure to
    review our Forum Guidelines.

    Questions entered in the Knowledge Base Article comment form will not generate responses! A list of WOODWEB Forums can be found at WOODWEB's Site Map.

    When you post your question at the Forum, be sure to include references to the Knowledge Base article that inspired your question. The more information you provide with your question, the better your chances are of receiving responses.

    Return to beginning of article.

    Refer a Friend || Read This Important Information || Site Map || Privacy Policy || Site User Agreement

    Letters, questions or comments? E-Mail us and let us know what you think. Be sure to review our Frequently Asked Questions page.

    Contact us to discuss advertising or to report problems with this site.

    To report a problem, send an e-mail to our Webmaster

    Copyright © 1996-2019 - WOODWEB ® Inc.
    All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced in any manner without permission of the Editor.
    Review WOODWEB's Copyright Policy.

    The editors, writers, and staff at WOODWEB try to promote safe practices. What is safe for one woodworker under certain conditions may not be safe for others in different circumstances. Readers should undertake the use of materials and methods discussed at WOODWEB after considerate evaluation, and at their own risk.

    WOODWEB, Inc.
    335 Bedell Road
    Montrose, PA 18801

    Contact WOODWEB

  • WOODWEB - the leading resource for professional woodworkers

      Home » Knowledge Base » Knowledge Base Article