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Shop Talk Live 41: Ask a Rocket Scientist

comments (15) September 20th, 2013 in blogs

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This week on Shop Talk Live, we get a little help from a bona fide rocket scientist regarding the forces involved in tablesaw kickback. - CLICK TO ENLARGE

This week on Shop Talk Live, we get a little help from a bona fide rocket scientist regarding the forces involved in tablesaw kickback.

Every two weeks, a team of Fine Woodworking staffers answer questions from readers on Shop Talk Live, Fine Woodworking's biweekly podcast. Send your woodworking questions to for consideration in the regular broadcast!


Also on iTunes Click on the link at left to listen to the podcast, or catch it in iTunes. Remember, our continued existence relies upon listener support. So if you enjoy the show, be sure to leave us a five-star rating and maybe even a nice comment on our iTunes page. And don't forget to send in your woodworking questions to





Shop Talk Live 41: Ask a Rocket Scientist

On this week's edition of Shop Talk Live, we tackle a recent letter we received concerning safe tablesaw practices and the "right way to rip." To get down to the science of it all, we're introducing a new segment we're calling "Ask a Rocket Scientist." Yup, we have a rocket scientist on-hand to fill us in on all the physics.

Plus, we answer a variety of questions including how to deal with "gummy" bandsaw blades, stubborn handplane tearout in figured maple, and hand tools for intricate inlay work. All this and more on a brand-new Shop Talk Live.


Links from this Week's Show

Matt Kenney's 100 Year-Old Jointer Rehabilitation

The Best Rust Preventers

Phil Lowe's Workbench with Built-in Storage

See Tablesaw Kickback in Action



Asa Christiana
FWW editor

Matt Kenney
FWW senior editor
Bill Peck 
Shop manager

Ed Pirnik
Senior web producer


Listen to Previous Episodes

posted in: blogs, Tablesaw, safety, rocket scientist

Comments (15)

blackknight blackknight writes: Safety and Rings. They should never be worn
when using a power tool. NEVER! I continue to see this in photos even in FWW. Also, I wear safety boots at all times. You could get a very nasty cut from a sharp tool if it happened to fall on your foot.
Posted: 12:23 pm on March 16th

MKenney MKenney writes: I also vote to ban Matt from the show.
Posted: 2:56 pm on October 21st

HThompson HThompson writes: I vote to NOT ban Asa and Matt! The hobby is dying and I believe it's in large part to an old guard that is hardly reaching out to the younger generation. Asa and Matt give the show some life and my guess would be their humor is appreciated more often than not. Has there really been anything that crude or non-G rated?? Come on man....
Posted: 10:21 am on October 21st

DanWeaverTX DanWeaverTX writes: OK I've held back as long as I can, now I need to comment. Asa and Matt need to not be on the podcast. When either one of them is there the toilet humor abounds. I listen to learn not be insulted by off color and childish comments.
I know Asa is the boss but he constantly interrupts everyone to say his piece. Matt acts like a college kid out with his buddies. Come on guy straighten up and keep the show with a G rating.
I vote to ban Asa and Matt from the podcast!
Keep Mike and Ed!! When they do a show together - ALONE - it is the best show! Packed full of information and learning.

Posted: 11:09 am on October 9th

jth213 jth213 writes: VESPID, the beatings will continue until morale improves, right? Lighten up dude. Woodworking is a HOBBY to most. If we can't have fun and be goofy sometimes, what's the point?

And PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE start doing this podcast weekly! The two weeks between episodes are killing me!
Posted: 2:30 pm on October 4th

kjm kjm writes: The only thing I can think of with the kickback speed being lower if you were to "catch" the piece by standing near to the saw is the piece that's kicked back is long enough that it's still being propelled by the blade when it hits you -- the maximum velocity is always going to be at the moment when the blade and piece are no longer touching.

So, if the piece is 3 feet long, and your body stops it with a foot left to go before it's left the blade, yes, it's slower. Still going to hurt, I suspect.

My high school shop had the table saw set up such that kickbacks would hit an area with classroom desks -- which sounds like a bad idea, but we rarely used the classroom and the shop area at the same time.

It'd probably be better to have plexiglas shields set up to protect against kickbacks. We used these all over when I worked in a materials testing lab.
Posted: 1:09 pm on October 4th

snichols snichols writes: I think VESPID meant Nick Olbermann.

Oh, and I completely agree about not having fun. My favorite podcasts are the ones when the host aren't having any fun.
Posted: 9:16 am on October 1st

Ed_Pirnik Ed_Pirnik writes: Vespid's Offerman comment just made me snort coffee out my nose -- I laughed so hard. Well put, sir. Well put.

Posted: 8:21 am on October 1st

HThompson HThompson writes: I agree with VESPID too. Why don't you just grab and old woodshop text book and read aloud.

Sheesh. Lighten up.
Posted: 11:02 am on September 30th

BStev BStev writes: Oh I totally agree with VESPID, could you please stop having fun and make the podcast into work! Who told you that you could inject some humor and enjoyment into your jobs, shame on you. Back to work or I'll get out the whip you mindless drones. Heaven forbid you actually enjoy yourselves while getting something done, don't you have any moral fiber? This isn't the time or place for fun and none of us do this because it's fun so stop trying to make us enjoy it already.
Posted: 9:26 am on September 30th

VESPID VESPID writes: I do love the information the show has in it but the childish banter back and forth reminds me of a group of teenage boys.

Maybe you could leave that for your at work jobs. The magazine has none of that isn't this put out by Fine Woodworking?

And would you just finally have Keith Offermans baby and be done with it.
Posted: 11:04 am on September 29th

MuskokaLayne MuskokaLayne writes: Love the show and i think you guys should go weekly .your magazine and your podcast has been instumental in me acheiving many of woodworking goals and i think you guys are a helluva lotta of fun
Posted: 7:58 am on September 29th

HThompson HThompson writes: Great episode!! I was listening to it during a long drive, as I normally do. I had noticeable smile on my face while hearing about Matt Kenny wax poetically about the restored vintage Oliver jointer, then all of a sudden my wife interrupts this beautiful moment by saying "wow, this is riveting" (in a totally sarcastic tone). How could she not appreciate this?? But like I said, it was a long drive and eventually the episode that talked about making baby furniture (cribs, and the like, not baby-furniture...) came on and her attitude completely changed!

Keep it up, looking forward to the change to weekly episodes in the near future. You promised you would after the website gets updated...
Posted: 10:09 am on September 26th

Ed_Pirnik Ed_Pirnik writes: Hi Brint: Unfortunately, we do not offer transcripts of the show.



Posted: 2:27 pm on September 24th

Brint Brint writes: Do y'all publish transcripts of the ShopTalk podcasts? I'm just not a fan of listening - much prefer reading, in case I want to go back to a previous sentence.
Posted: 10:31 am on September 21st

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Fine Woodworking magzine's biweekly podcast, Shop Talk Live, allows editors, authors, and special guests to answer your woodworking questions and connect with the online woodworking community.