DIY Network

Tips on Avoiding Kickback

Experts offer tips on what causes kickback and how it can be avoided.

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Kickback is when a board comes backward at a high speed during a cut or other machine operation. But kickback is avoidable, especially if you follow these tips:

  • Keep your blade at the right height. The highest tooth should be just slightly above the board.
  • Set your fence parallel with the blade. If the back of the fence is angled in toward the blade, the board will be squeezed between the fence and the blade. This causes kickback.
  • Use a push stick. Push sticks put added pressure against the top of the board to prevent it from moving backward.
  • When cutting a rabbet, make the edge cut second so the waste piece falls away from the blade. If the edge cut is made first, the waste piece will become trapped between the fence, and the blade could kick back.
  • Kickback can also occur on a joiner. Keep the guard in place and always use a push paddle when working with a joiner.