This is what happens when a miter saw kicks back, upward, and catches your hand on the way up.
Miter saws are very dangerous - never underestimate how much energy they can generate when things go wrong. It is unclear exactly what happened because it was incredibly fast and violent, but this is how it went.
If you look at the blade, it appears it was going backwards as it cut into me, which is weird. I have run my compound miter saw for years and have found that taking too deep a cut all at once causes trouble. It sounds to me like the blade bound in the wood, the wood slammed into the motor, and kicked the handle right out of your hand.
I almost never try to cut thick wood in one pass on a mitresaw, because it tends to bind up when the pressure is relieved. Sometimes it looks like you are taking twice as much time to cut boards by flipping and double cutting them, but if you figure the lost time due to injuries, you are saving time.
I have found that the highest incidences of kickback are found when rough-cutting stock that doesn't have a straight edge; any way you place it against the fence allows it to shift when the saw cuts through it, but the crown against the fence is safer. Almost everyone who works with their hands has had an injury of some kind in their career, and it can make you a better and safer craftsman in the future.
I think we always consider the miter saw a safe tool, but a 12" blade has a lot of inertia.
It appears the saw may have locked up for a split second and the momentum stretched the drive belt and rocketed the blade backwards, which kicked the saw upwards and broke a finger and badly bruised all 5 fingers. The saw kicked after I was through the cut, so I cannot tell you what happened, as this appears to have been a mechanical flaw, not operator error. The comments below were added after this Forum discussion was archived as a Knowledge Base article (add your comment).
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. When you post your question at the Forum, be sure to include references to the Knowledge Base article that inspired your question. It is not uncommon for a set of woodworking plans to call for two pieces of wood or lumber to be joined together with a butt joint. With a butt joint, the flat surface of one board butts up against the flat surface of another board. Note: Many joinery books will discuss a mitered butt joint, to describe a joint where the wood is joined together at an angle. Note: Although adhesives and glues can actually provide a stronger joint than screws and nails, many adhesives do not work well on the end grains of wood.
The key to creating a proper butt joint is to ensure that at the point where the two pieces of lumber touch one another the surfaces are flat and true.
In rough-in carpentry lumber is usually cut to length using a circular saw, however, a perfect butt joint can only be made with the use of a miter box or miter saw. This is the price (excluding shipping and handling fees) this seller has provided at which the seller has sold the same item, or one that is virtually identical to it, in the recent past. This item will be shipped through the Global Shipping Program and includes international tracking. Will usually ship within 1 business day of receiving cleared payment - opens in a new window or tab. By submitting your bid, you are committing to buy this item from the seller if you are the winning bidder.


By clicking Confirm, you commit to buy this item from the seller if you are the winning bidder. By clicking Confirm, you are committing to buy this item from the seller if you are the winning bidder and have read and agree to the Global Shipping Program terms and conditions - opens in a new window or tab. Your bid is the same as or more than the Buy It Now price.You can save time and money by buying it now. By clicking 1 Click Bid, you commit to buy this item from the seller if you're the winning bidder.
When I see employees being unsafe, things stop immediately, lectures follow, and if more unsafe things happen, employees get unpaid time off.
Apparently while cutting a 4x4, the saw bound and the belt tensioned inside the belt cover and shot the saw upwards at the speed of light, breaking my thumb and pointer finger on the way up.
Crown towards the fence, and learn to recognize boards that are likely holding tension (fuzzy grain on ripped edge, extreme crown, etc.). It's not so much the injury that's bothering me but the cause of the injury, and what to do in the future to prevent something like this.
I watched my personal friend Tommy Silva on TOH and he eases into cross cuts when using a CMS. Speaking of which, a very heavy piece of white oak fell off my band saw the other day and hit me in the leg.
There are so many things that can go wrong at power tools, especially miters saws, table saws, and circular saws.
If someone criticizes you for doing this, they are demonstrating their ignorance of basic safety practices - don't ever let anyone talk you into doing something dangerous in order to save time. The 4x4s that you were cutting probably had a little crown to them, and that may have contributed to your accident.
I noticed on my Dewalt after I finish cut that if I just let go of the handle and allow the head to rise on its own, the guard is slow to retract. Then when the saw reached its travel upwards, the momentum rotated the guard 180 degrees, exposing the blade, which caught the palm of my hand, severing the carpal tunnel and the median nerve. When this happened it was so violent I did not think I would have time to wait on an ambulance. The more information you provide with your question, the better your chances are of receiving responses.
It is the method of joining lumber used for 99% of rough-in construction and finished carpentry.
Floor joists, which are always installed as a butt joint, often use a bracket called a joist hanger, as shown in Figure 4, to attach the floor joist lumber to other structural members.
Miter saws are available as hand operated frames that hold a back saw true to the lumber, as shown in Figure 6, or a powered miter saw, as shown in Figure 7.
The "off" amount and percentage simply signifies the calculated difference between the seller-provided original price for the item and the seller's current discounted price.
Packaging should be the same as what is found in a retail store, unless the item is handmade or was packaged by the manufacturer in non-retail packaging, such as an unprinted box or plastic bag.
You have read and agree to the Global Shipping Program terms and conditions - opens in a new window or tab. Import charges previously quoted are subject to change if you increase you maximum bid amount. If you were cutting with your left hand on the trigger, why was your right hand so close to the blade? I have been in the cabinet industry for 28 years and am well seasoned and know my way around things.


If you turn the blade on the saw, the belt feels strange and I haven't looked behind the cover yet because I am still trying to recover physiologically from the sheer brutality of the incident, and support would be great. In my case, there was either a lot of tension in the 6" wide part that I was cutting, or there was a slight crown facing forward that let the front of the cut close up and pinch the blade. I went into shock, but as soon as I could, I went back out and finished cutting that block. Leave a little bit of length to clean up the end, and the saw cannot bind if the blade is not buried in the material. The electric brake would actually slow the spring's ability to raise the head, so it would come back up nice and slow. As the saw kicked up and my hand went up with it I somehow also hit the blade guard as it was covering the saw and it shattered into bits as my hand now touched the blade, partial amputation to the ring finger and middle finger and across the palm. I grabbed a shirt, covered the spewing blood, and drove myself to the hospital driving a stick shift. A radial arm or table saw can also be used to create clean and true surfaces on the wood in order to create butt joints. If you reside in an EU member state besides UK, import VAT on this purchase is not recoverable.
I had a coworker with 20+ years as an excellent installer who cut off his hand at the wrist while mitering some large crown moulding onsite. Even with all that, I think it is important to think about hand positioning in case something goes wrong. Remember how long it took to learn many of the techniques you probably take for granted today.
Even wide boards will sometimes bind when roughing out stock - I sometimes cut halfway through and flip the board just to relieve the pressure. I noticed the delayed guard retracting, and I guess in the back of my mind I knew there was a danger there, but I would never have thought what you described could happen.
I too have the full hand bandage as they stitched everything back together and it?s only been two weeks.
Was the force of the kickback enough to kick the handle out of your hand, and then the blade cut you on the way up?
I got a bad concussion and a couple weeks off from work, then I had to run around to catch the bean counters and straighten the whole mess out with insurance emergency bills and whatnots. It's something I will have to try to understand and overcome every time I walk up to a miter saw in the future.
These precautions will not prevent binding in all cases, but there will not be as much kickback pressure from the saw. I will have to wait several months for the nerves to grow together to regain feeling in my hand. All butt joints are mitered to ensure that the surfaces of the wood that you are joining to one another are flat and true to one another.
Some things are still foggy about that night but it scares me to see that the blade guard that was supposed to protect me in some way just shattered into bits as the accident occurred.



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