It’s one of your most useful tools. All the more reason to keep safety in mind when using it. Try these techniques next time.
Adjust your blade depth for the stock, so it’s not more than 1/8″ below the material you’re cutting. Here’s why. With less of the blade in the kerf at any one time, there’s less chance it’s going to bind and cause kickback. And if something does happen, less of the blade is dangerously exposed to things like your body.
Here are some other things you can do to avoid binding and kickback.
If you’re cutting between two sawhorses, lift the piece as you cut to keep the kerf open.
If you have someone holding one end of a piece while the other rests on a sawhorse, have them apply forward pressure on the end of the piece. That is, have them gently push their end of the piece in the same direction you’re cutting. This also opens the kerf.
If you’re by yourself and cutting on an incline, you may get binding as the weight of the cutoff end forces the kerf closed. Try and cut on a downhill slope whenever possible.
Keep your cuts straight. You generally want to do this anyway, but if you start to veer off course, the rear of the blade can bind.
And if you have to shut off the saw during a cut, back it off slightly, and don’t let go until it stops spinning.
Whenever possible, use two hands to guide the saw. Kickback can wrench the saw from your grasp, hurting your wrist in the process. Clamp down your wood to keep it in place.
And don’t stand directly behind the saw. If it does come back, it’s better not to give it a target.