I had my first kickback yesterday. I was cutting about 6 inches off of a 27 x 17 piece of 3/4 melamine particleboard. Got hit with the 21 x 17 piece in my belly just above the belt. Real lucky, superficial damage that hurt pretty good for a while.
Looking back there were several things that I think may have contributed to the incident.
1. I'm wondering if my saw (table surface) is too small for what i've been doing with it. I have a Ryobi BTS20 and it's a great tool but a small table. It has a pullout outfeed device, which I had pulled out fully, but there is a gap between the table and the outfeed support. I had checked to see if the piece would land on the support properly and it did, but I wonder if I was thinking about it while making the cut.
2. The guard and splitter were removed because I didn't want to risk the anti-kickback pawls damaging the melamine surface.
3. I had just yesterday waxed the table and fence for the first time. Previously there was quite a bit of friction when pushing material through the blade and I don't think I had adjusted yet to the now smooth and faster feed rate.
4. The cut was complete and I was focusing on the cut-off in case it came flying back and I think I was reaching to remove it. The good piece twisted ever so slightly into the blade when I reached. I noticed the saw sounded laboured, suddenly realized what was happening, then before I could react it threw the piece.
5. I guess I was standing in the wrong place as well. I was behind the good piece. Not really sure about this though.
I think this mishap would have been prevented, or at least minimised, by having a splitter to install when the guard is removed or by having a second guard/splitter to install with the pawls removed.
Feel free to comment, I would like to be able to improve my methods so this doesn't happen again. Hopefully someone else will learn from my mistake.
Thank heavens you're ok. I used to leave the guard and splitter off all the time too. Always in the way.
Came across a product put out by Micro Jig - makers of the GRR-Ripper System. Call the MJ Splitter. An excellent product that you use with a zero-clearance insert. Has been written up in some ww magazines in terms of safety and reliability.
There is a Canadian supplier who sells it for the same price as the US version, but in Canadian $.
DeWinton Woodworking & Supplies
Site 5, Box 10, RR1 DeWinton AB T0L 0X0
You mention a 27X17 piece. Which dimension or side were you feeding into the tablesaw?
Reason I'm asking is that when the width begins to equal the length or exceed it, the danger of the board tilting into the saw blade increases.
If your piece is wider than it is long, I can see this easily happening.
A splitter would have definitely helped this situation, but it is one more thing to watch out for , and might be the cause of the piece tilting into the saw blade.
Mine is simple a piece of 1/2" plywood with a strip of 3/4" UHMW polyethelene (Busy Bee or Lee Valley) as a runner. The fence is a piece of 2 x 3/4" oak that runs the length of the leading edge of the plywood. Some prefer the fence on the trailing edge.
The link is a plan for a pretty fancy one that can do angles as well.
Lee Valley only carries the gripper not the splitter. It is about $80 and it's great for use with many tools. Had one for about a year and love it, especially for cutting small pieces. I have the splitter as well but haven't installed it yet.
Thanks for all the info and comments guys. I had no intention of making this post when I got up this morning but I was reading a thread in another forum this morning (after checking here first, of course)and a guy there had a post similar to mine.
That got me thinking about the post below mine from Christine who is thinking about getting into woodworking and maybe a few others with similar thoughts who may be lurking. Thats what I did before I bought much of my stuff and I learned a ton. I'm also very new to this hobby. I still check here almost every day.
I had read about kickback, and I thought I had carefully planned this cut (actually I made the same cut on 3 other pieces), didn't look like a problem. I hope someone else learns from my experience and all of your comments and suggestions, I know I have.
Oh, by the way that Dimar I got at the Woodstock show does a really nice job on melamine, no chips whatsoever.
Once again, thanks for the support and suggestions, this is a great place for information and help.
Arboron is a phenolic based product that is generally used in the electrical industry to isolate high voltage circuits or phases from each other or ground. Itís similar to but not the same as a router base plate although itís a lot stronger and flatter. I can be drilled, tapped and worked with general woodworking tools. It can be found at better stocked plastic outlets.