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If people speaking harshly about you or your work gets you down, the Internet isn't a good place to be. I am long over that kind of emotion but this story is far too important to let the "I'm always right and you are always wrong" dopes turn even one person away from seeing it.
Click image to enlarge

Hindsight and Narrow Minds

The two always seem to find each other

Text and photos by Tom Hintz

Posted – 2-26-2012


If it would bother you to be publicly ridiculed by people who obviously don’t have a clue about what or why you are doing something, running an Internet site is not a good idea. So when my idea for getting a full-on kickback on camera went wrong, I knew I was about to get blasted by all of the usual suspects. My reason for making the kickback video was to educate people on the forces involved and to graphically show why avoiding a kickback in the first place is the better idea. For those reasons the Kickback on Camera video had to be posted. I was not going to try that again so this footage could not be wasted.

The Why’s

Oddly, some of these all-knowing pundits alleged that I “staged” the kickback. They would have known this was actually true if they had read a little further down the page rather than firing off another of their usually unfounded theories disguised as fact. I also say in the video that I was recreating a kickback that I had several years ago but perhaps they also skipped that part of the video or selective memory kicked in to better support their accusation. It seems that in their rush to judgment they often “miss” facts that do not support an assertion that they so want to be correct. Apparently there are enough people emotionally massaging the egos of these connoisseurs of half-truths that they keep flinging dispersions at every opportunity.

I also had a few say that “they know” that the whole reason for doing this video was because a tool company was paying me to showcase their equipment. I’m betting that anyone who suggested this kind of sponsorship would be instantly drawn and quartered by even a semi-conscious product liability department. Saying that the video was “bought and paid for” as a couple forum experts suggest is just dumb.

The How

Some "experts" didn't like me using the push blocks though they apparently did not read why or just chose to ignore facts that didn't support their accusation. In the end, the push block and how I was able to use it likely saved me a finger or two. I don't normally use push blocks at the table saw except with large sheet stock but in this case I think it did it's job.
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It seems that all of these self-elected experts know (now) just how to do a kickback safely or at least that I should have known how to do it more safely. I have to admit that this just might be possible, especially now after the fact. Knowing how the original plan worked out I also have a bunch of better ways of creating a kickback but will try none of them. I use hindsight to learn from not as justification to trash someone. Hindsight makes everyone an expert albeit late.

Lots of these “in the know” folks take issue with my using the push blocks even though I explain why I used them in the story. I had tried the longer and higher push handles many of them suggest but could not turn the wood into the blade predictably. The last thing I needed in this effort was to have the kickback occur when I wasn’t expecting it. I say in the story that another thing the push block allowed me to do was to be pulling the wood against the fence and just rotate it into the blade rather than be pushing it into (and at) the blade. Pulling and pivoting the wood that way kept all of the pressure I was applying away from the blade not at it. Obviously that could have worked better but there is a very good chance that being able to pull rather than push is why I still have all of my fingers. Without the hindsight provided by the slow motion video nobody would have known how close I came to the blade. Not me nor the experts badmouthing the plan.

Someone sent me a portion of a “radio show” where one of these experts even tells his listener to skip reading the story ahead of the video because he thought that it was boring reading. Of course it also explained why the push block was used so his assertion about the push block was better served if his listener did not read that.

The Masses Have It

Most revealing to me is that (as of this morning) a bit over 200,000 people have viewed the Kickback on Camera story/video and a couple thousand more have seen the copy on YouTube. Also as of this morning the good to bad email ratio is just 6 bad and the remaining 200,000+ found the video instructive and apparently did not think it was a moneymaking scheme. There are dozens (so far) of educational organizations that liked the video enough that they are using it in their programs as well


I think that I will side with the masses on this one. The biggest part of the audience always seems to get it right in the end so they remain the best barometer of how this or any story is being accepted.

I also have gotten hundreds (literally) of emails from people who were scared enough by the Kickback on Camera video to go right to the shop to dig out their riving knives, splitters and blade guards. Dozens of current woodworkers have shown the Kickback on Camera video to their significant other to successfully lobby for a new table saw that comes equipped with a riving knife and splitter. These are the most important numbers to me because they are exactly why I did the video.

No matter what I do or how I do it there will be “experts” that will find fault or “know the real story” behind whatever I did. I know that and have come to accept that as a function of the traffic numbers NewWoodworker.com gets. As long as more people like the content than feel need to trash it I will keep on plugging away!

I had one suggestion for recreating a dust explosion…..Naw.

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