Understanding Saw Kick-Back: How to Stay Safe

table saw guyAll saws present the dangers of a kick back. It is fast and can happen in a split second. In order to be protected, it is important to learn the cause of a kick back.

What are kick backs?

As the saw is spinning, if something abruptly stops the blade from the spinning, the pressure is placed in a different part of the saw. It will depend on the type of saw that a person is using; it will either jump or the wood will fly into the blade’s rotation direction. When it is a table saw, the direction of the wood is straight towards the individual performing the cutting. When the person is using a radial arm saw, it is straight at that person while ripping and away from the person when it is cross cutting. If the saw is a circular hand held or chainsaw, it will jump at the individual.

Safety Tips for Stationary Saws

The individual should stand slightly outside of the edge of the board that is being ripped on a table saw. This will keep the person out of the direct line of kick back. If the wood is being fed by hand, the hand is in danger of slipping forward. This is extremely dangerous due to the blade when a kick back happens. In order to rid the person of this danger, a soft plastic push stick or a properly shaped wood piece is used to keep the hand out of the way of the blade. Do not pull the piece that is being worked on from the back of the table saw, it will cause a kick back and pull the hand towards the blade.

Safety Tips for Portable Saws

It is important for the person using a portable saw to be patient. Often times a kick back will happen while cutting larger sheets of the material. If the sheet sags down, the kerf will close and pinch the blade; in turn causes a kick back. Proper stabilizing the sheet is extremely important to lower the risk of kick backs. Hands should be kept away and a firm grip should always be placed on the saw. Never perform cutting with a relaxed posture.

Safety Tips for Chainsaws

When a person is cutting with the bottom edge of the chain bar, the saw will pull away from that individual. This is a good thing. The individual should never cut with the top edge. The saw will try to go towards the user. The most dangerous part to use to cut with is the curve of the saw on the top. When the person uses the point to cut, it will guarantee a kick back. The chainsaw should be held with both of the hands. Safety glasses or goggles should always be worn when using a chainsaw. It is best to wear a full face shield.

All saws pose a threat to the well being of the user and those around them. All safety measures should be followed when performing a job with a saw. Those around the person should stand or work far away from the running saw to ensure their safety.