Have you been injured by a table saw?

No, I’m not a lawyer looking for a class action suit! :yum:

The Bosch Reaxx table saw post made me think maybe I’m just lucky but I’ve never gotten anything more than a splinter in 25 years of table saw use. I once (just once) dropped a piece of stock on the spinning blade and it whizzed past me. But I was wearing a heavy coat and the piece wasn’t that big so I don’t think it would have done much more than leave a bruise even if it did whack me.

For those of you who have had run-ins with a table saw, how did the accident happen? Has anyone here triggered their saw stop mechanism with a finger? Ive only seen them trigger on wet wood in a friend’s shop. I’m just curious how these accidents happen in the real world. A well tuned saw with a riving knife and approached with due respect has always seemed relatively “safe” to me.

Any stories we can learn from?

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I’m new to woodworking and using a table saw for anything more than large strait cuts/rips. I’ve had two close encounters and they were both in the past few months. First, I recently moved my grandfather’s tools into my garage and figured I would test out his old delta on some pieces of red oak. I didn’t inspect the equipment before using it and had some serious kickback due to a loose motor mount and dull blade. Second, I was building a wooden car for my son and split my jig because I was in a rush. Coincidentally, I was cutting some red oak. Moral of the story, don’t rush it… Or use red oak.

In all seriousness if I would have inspected my equipment instead of rushing it I would not have experienced these issues. I’m lucky I didn’t lose an eye or something.

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Well… ok ok I know I should have had safety glasses on… Co worker and I were setting up a portable table saw and being well used we adjusted the fence with our tape measures and just as I flicked the switch he went in for a third measure and I got blasted with 5 1/2" of said tape measure traveling at, to say the least, the speed of a small caliber bullet hitting me just below my left eye and nose knocking me down in more shock than force, I layed on the ground for about 10 seconds getting my bearings back and running a self test to make sure I still could see. Got up to him checking me with concern, I wiped away the blood from the tiny scratch I suffered and went back to ripping the boards. I think of it as a “funny story” but with a lesson well learned, I still almost feel bad that the guy lost his beloved tape that day.

Havent had much time on a table saw. Our table saw is complete junk. I’d much rather use a circ saw to make a cut. And i preffer metal working. But i do like wood just havent had a good table saw i guess for projects.

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I work in the commercial millwork field so I know multiple people who have had serious incidents.

The first shop I worked in was a door shop, and we had some very large older german machinery, and no sawstops, or even guards or riving knives (I know, insane). One of our guys was pushing a piece of 12/4 sapele through, and was pushing with his left hand, and it slipped off the board and went right into the 12" blade. Cut clean through 90 percent of his thumb, just leaving enough skin for it to dangle. After some surgery and about 4 or so months, he was back in the shop with a mostly recovered thumb.

At my current shop, my office mate lost his index finger up to the first knuckle one a table saw with a set of dado blades.

Our old operations manager lost his entire hand to a table saw. He was working alone in the evening and wasn’t using a sawstop, and crawled alone on the floor for about 10 hours until someone finally found him.

Sorry to be graphic, but table saw injuries are no joke. Most often they are from user error, or bad equipment, or a combination of the two. they happen much more often in work atmospheres I would say, mostly due to volume, but also because people are in a hurry and get too comfortable with the equipment.

We now have a top of the line sawstop in the shop, but our installers mostly all use the Bosch jobsite saws, so I’m excited to see the Reaxx moving forward.

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Before retiring, we too had a woodworking shop - mostly cabinetry, pre-fab built ins, stair cases and so on - with some old and some more modern machinery. We also had 12 Bosch 4100 saws for jobsite use - even though on bigger jobs we might truck out and set up one of our Unisaws. No major injuries on my watch - but many close calls. We had a policy to blow a time out after any close call or accident - try to analyze what went wrong, learn from it. then teach everyone. We also had a policy of “if you see something say something” and encouraged the thought that “you are your brother’s keeper” - so if you saw an unsafe practice you could and should stop the work without impunity. It was not always the newbies who had the “whistle blown” on them by an old hand - as sometimes it was the other way around.

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Thank you for taking the time to share these stories. Do you know what techniques your friends were using when they lost control? I can’t imagine losing a hand. Horrible. How and what can we learn from these specific mistakes? I can imagine a couple scenarios involving the dado stack (cutting dadoes and leaving your thumb behind the cut line while pushing it through), but what could go so wrong where one loses an entire hand?

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I don’t know specifically how he lost his hand. I don’t think he cut it off clean, he just did enough damage that they eventually had to amputate it.

The one with the dado stack was trying to drop cut something, by dropping onto the dado stack from above. This is obviously a horrible idea.

The other one had his hand in line with the blade.

There are certain rules of thumb (no pun) to follow with a table saw, and many people get so comfortable that they often break them.

I never have my hands in line with the blade. I never cut a board between the fence and the blade that is wider than it is long. I never have the blade raised higher than is necessary to cut my material.

Kickback is also a big factor, so riving knives and keeping the fence parallel with the blade are key.

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I’m a believer in Circadian Rhythm having an impact on safety - and there are times of the day that you should probably stay away fro hazardous tasks. Wood in inherently a variable material - some species tougher than others to cut - and some samples can have embedded stresses locked into the wood fibers that can create pinching and kickbacks even if you do everything correctly. My old Unisaw in my basement shop is not equipped with anti-kickback pawls or a riving knife like my Bocsch 4109 that sits in the garage - but I do use a splitter and the saw is equipped with a sliding table. I have used push sticks - store bought and shop-made over the years - and started using a pair of Grr-Rippers in 2007 fr many tasks. If you have not tried them - you might want to give them a shot:


I recently built 2 small tables with tapered legs - and always found tapering to be a bit disconcerting. This ime - rather than use ny home-made jig - I tried the one from the same folks who make the Grr-Ripper and felt it to be a safer process:


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