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Miracle Shield Blocks Kickback

comments (50) April 1st, 2010 in blogs

AsaC AsaC, Contributor
thumbs up 81 users recommend

WoodStops Reuben Goldberg creates a dangerous kickback as journalists look on. The company recommends long push sticks for use with the new device.
As the workpiece goes airborne, onlookers begin to duck out of the way.
Within a few milliseconds, the WoodStop deflection plate shoots upward, blocking the projectile before it strikes Goldberg.
WoodStops Reuben Goldberg creates a dangerous kickback as journalists look on. The company recommends long push sticks for use with the new device. - CLICK TO ENLARGE

WoodStop's Reuben Goldberg creates a dangerous kickback as journalists look on. The company recommends long push sticks for use with the new device.

Photo: Bill Godfrey

Two Pennsylvania engineers recently demonstrated an innovative tablesaw safety device, called "WoodStop," which promises to put an end to dangerous kickback. At a March 29 Scranton, Pa., press event, WoodStop co-inventor Reuben Goldberg caused a piece of maple to kick back on a large cabinet saw, and industry journalists watched in shock as a small panel at the front of the saw sprang up to block the projectile, which smashed against the cast iron with an ear-splitting clang. 

"SawStop is great at sensing hand-to-blade contact, but it does nothing to prevent the most dangerous tablesaw event,” co-creator Martin Van Nostrand said proudly once order was restored. “WoodStop is better than a flack jacket, stopping the bullet before it reaches you."

The device works by sensing a rapid change in workpiece direction and velocity, and like the SawStop skin-sensing technology, fires a cartridge a few milliseconds after activation, which in turn raises a 12-in.-square, cast-iron panel at the front edge of the saw.

Journalists' main questions focused on that panel, which shoots up at a rate of 85 ft./second. "Doesn’t that pose a whole new threat to the operator?" asked Fine Woodworking’s Patrick McCombe. 

"Potentially, yes," admitted Van Nostrand, "but not if woodworkers use specially designed pushsticks to keep themselves out of harm’s way." He also passed out a well-illustrated, 95-page guide that details a host of other ways operators can handle common tasks while staying out of the panel’s path. 

Many of the journalists in attendance, including FWW’s McCombe, ordered a WoodStop-equipped tablesaw for their own testing, though some admitted they were hesitant to give it a whirl in their own shops. Stay tuned for McCombe’s report on this exciting new technology.

posted in: blogs, workshop, tool

Comments (50)

Members Members writes: Wow!! Where can I buy it?
Posted: 10:19 am on October 7th

Deltawoodworking Deltawoodworking writes: That is incredibly dangerous I would not recommend anyone uses push sticks that are that long.
Posted: 4:57 am on August 17th

AxlMyk AxlMyk writes: To add to my first comment, what happens if someone is ripping a 6' board. Does the board fly up, hitting you under your arm, smacking the crap out of you, before flying off?
Posted: 2:33 pm on July 20th

AxlMyk AxlMyk writes: Nobody, and I mean NOBODY, is going to convince me that those push-sticks are safe. This idea is ridiculous, at best.
Posted: 2:29 pm on July 20th

w8nay w8nay writes: This was all interesting till I saw a picture of the demonstration. Why would you let all those people stand in harms way, during demonstration just in case something went wrong.

Seems to me if you are thinking safety, posision of spectatiors would be a first consideration. Or is this picture a spoof?

No one stand behind a flack jacket being tested. Well no one who know anything.

Posted: 10:41 am on July 20th

Cadabra Cadabra writes: I'll bet those two engineers sell a dozen or two of their woodstop/crotchblockers, but only to a few old-school folks who think safety can be achieved with hardware add-ons.

Asa, please get back to us readers in a year or two with statistics on sales/popularity of this idiotic device.
A catcher's chest protector, a cup in your jock strap, and a hockey gaolie's helmet would make as more sense than this contraption; would be cheaper; would be portable; and would proably protect the user better. Ha!

Humor aside, these Bozos missed the whole point of shop safety altogether; that of prevention! Simply don't do the things that cause kickback, and there won't be any flying wood! A little forethought, some self-discipline, and some careful & deliberate motions is all it takes. All of those actions require one to engage his/her brain first!

This device may actually find a niche with those few Neanderthals who can't/won't learn safe shop practices that prevent mishaps.

By the way, if you are going to recommend safety devices instead of genuine safety, I have a better idea...... ..............a car's airbag, triggered by the sudden surge of pressure on the saw's arbor, would make a lot more sense.

Posted: 9:36 am on July 20th

woodpeckerhead woodpeckerhead writes: Let's put this article in proper perspective. Life does sometimes imitate parody. After giving the idea serious consideration, I can see some genuine merit in the invention, and the concept could be extended to so many other workplace dangers. What workshop tool causes more injuries than all others combined? The hammer, of course. How many human thumbs might be saved bruising, how many swear words spared utterance, if only hammers came packaged with a pair of chopsticks with which to hold tacks and brads from a safe distance? As a gesture of humble benevolence, I offer this idea to the public domain, free of licensing fees. As for the springing shield, let's not toss it on the garbage heap of history's silliest ideas merely because it was used here as cheap satire. What serious applications might it have? Mr. Goldberg, how might your invention be used to help us hapless weight watchers to enforce limitations on calorie intake? Taking the Crotch-Stop 2000 to the next decade, please tell us fathers of teenage girls, can your shield be built into chastity belts? Could the thing be employed to save a Kryptonite-weakened Superman from a speeding bullet? Might the Wood-Stop idea be commercially viable if you loaded the shield with airbags to cushion the blow? OK, that's enough for now, Reuben. I look forward to your answers. I do have one more: How can anything man-made achieve a speed of 85 feet per second?? Do you realize that's nearly 58 miles an hour? That alone makes your innovation newsworthy. As my fellow Hoosier Dan Quayle famously noted, What a waste it is to lose one's mind. How very true that is.
Posted: 7:58 pm on April 16th

Wylie Wylie writes: Now we need something for mental block.

Posted: 5:18 pm on April 14th

1blessed1 1blessed1 writes: I'm thinking a Sawstop still does it all. When losing control just put your hand in the blade.
Posted: 9:12 pm on April 13th

Lateralgrove Lateralgrove writes: Good one, you've just got to love a good ole April Fool's gag. Thanks for the laugh, I enjoyed it tremendously.
Posted: 10:20 am on April 13th

Periodcraftsmen Periodcraftsmen writes: All I have to say is SERIOUSLY! Give me a break. This is the stupidest thing ever. If you get kickbacks it is either your tired or you are not doing something right. These guys are idiots. If you need this than don't be working wood.

Posted: 9:48 pm on April 12th

bradman bradman writes: I'm confused. Does the Wood Stop protect the user from dangerous kickback or from his response to being that close to a pretty blonde.
Posted: 9:31 pm on April 12th

Ghostwood Ghostwood writes: Well I reckon I'm a day late and a dollar short in reading about this but here is my take on it.
First off, two foot long push sticks, that is a bit too much. Can you really control and keep control of the wood with them? The length alone scares me.
Secound, I don't stand right against the saw when I am cutting nor do I stand directly behind the blade,but something popping up between me and the table screams, OUCH!!! in every part of me. I can just see a rib or two broken, lacerated intestinal track and I could go on but I believe you get the pic. I think I'll wait for something better to come along before I drop my dollars on the counter, thank you very much.
Posted: 5:49 pm on April 12th

Pathrat06 Pathrat06 writes: I'm a pathologist - I can hardly contain my excitement thinking about the neat bruises, contusions and abdominal lacerations that I'm going to get to see if this thing catches on! Engage Woodstop - disengage brain...
Posted: 11:28 am on April 12th

PeteonWhidbey PeteonWhidbey writes: My put is that using push sticks that long you will be guaranteed a kick back at least 90% of the time. The other 10% of the time will probably chop your hands off!!!!
Posted: 6:59 pm on April 10th

joefree777 joefree777 writes: I think the other comments have said it but I would like to say that a splitter should be on and used when you can and that little piece of metal can do wonders. Also I must say that I have a great sense of humor and safety is no joke.
Posted: 3:42 am on April 9th

CYoung CYoung writes: I love it. Well done!
Posted: 9:37 pm on April 7th

bobinboerne bobinboerne writes: Cool, a bun slicer for the SawStop hot dogs!!

Good one guys.

Posted: 2:42 pm on April 7th

Beej76 Beej76 writes: Love it! I think my favorite part is Asa's awesome eye protection.
Posted: 1:10 pm on April 7th

Bajanturner Bajanturner writes: Thanks guys...I laughed so much, I weeed my pants. Please supply name of FW's lawyer, so I can sue. On second thought, just come on down to sunny Barbados..i'll buy you a few cold lathe-turned beers. Tony webster, Barbados
Posted: 7:02 am on April 7th

DamienF DamienF writes: The '2ft. push tools' seem mandatory to avoid that your hands are cut off. But I can live without hands, not without a liver.
Posted: 5:24 am on April 7th

professorss professorss writes: No hints necessary. I knew it was a fake right away. Rube Goldberg died years ago!
Posted: 3:56 am on April 7th

ulib ulib writes: Hey guys that "Wood Stop" April fools joke is great. Congratulation that you found really such a "risk taking" jury. I would have been running for shelter - if someone would try to work on a circular saw with 2ft. push tools.
Posted: 3:14 am on April 7th

MotorT MotorT writes: He said this thing is better than a Flak-Jacket, they never stopped bullets. I guess the new Kevlar's do but the originals didn't. 85F/S is almost 60 miles/hour.

I guess they removed the guard for demonstration purposes, ONLY, eh ? Can anyone imagine using a 2 foot Push Stick that has got to be awkward too.

This must be the cheap version of the Saw Stop Brake. Like using 5kv rated gloves on a 20kv line.
Posted: 1:11 pm on April 6th

KParrilla KParrilla writes: That was a good April Fool's joke!
Posted: 4:32 pm on April 5th

JJ_Lewis JJ_Lewis writes: That thing has LAWSUIT written all over it.

And, I'm sure it will be easy to convince woodworkers to use 2-3 foot long push sticks. About as easy as it would be to convince any human to eat a meal with a 2 ft. long fork.

Posted: 1:32 pm on April 5th

kaschmid3 kaschmid3 writes: i guess the joke was on me i read it on april 2nd and didnt read the other comments
Posted: 8:23 pm on April 3rd

kaschmid3 kaschmid3 writes: I guess i would be partially biased(dont know if i spelled that right but hell im a carpenter not an engineer) because ive never actually been hurt by a kickback. I feel that a sharp blade and total concentration should work pretty good. i am also fond of using thumb behind piece of wood and 1 or 2 fingers pushing down on it while the rest of my hand stradles the fence. when possible try to keep no part of my body directly behind the blade. i feel i would be more worried about the wood stop breaking my arm, im sure it would be a pain to keep activating to deactivating the wood stop. but like i said i am biased
Posted: 8:21 pm on April 3rd

mikeniner mikeniner writes: From the position of the onlookers, they must be the catchers of the team. At least the blade fence displayed in the photo is correctly used as in my shop. No accidents
or near misses yet in almost 20 years. Chaulk that up to good training by smart teachers.
Wraping you hand over the top of the fence and pushing the piece through would be both safer and more practical. Was this presented on April first for an obvious reasons?
What a bunch of chickweeds in jeans and plaids!
Posted: 11:46 am on April 3rd

Ruffnek Ruffnek writes: I'm curious. Will FWW try to get the CPSC to make the Woodstop device mandatory on all new tablesaws?

I think woodstop will be a pun intended. From reading the various woodworking forums, it seems that the majority of new woodworkers out there are looking for some gizmo that will keep them safe.
Posted: 12:08 am on April 3rd

Augeologist Augeologist writes: Given this article was posted on April 1st I'm going to assume that it's a good April Fools joke and leave it at that.
Posted: 4:42 pm on April 2nd

byhammerandhand byhammerandhand writes: "Blade guard removed for photographic clarity." Geez - you guys are getting lax in your disclaimers.
Posted: 2:02 pm on April 2nd

saschafer saschafer writes:
The idea of a "Crotch Block" reminds me of a photo I saw at the Warther Museum in Dover OH. It shows Mooney Warther as a young man working in a steel mill, wearing a sort of chain-mail apron of his own invention. He wore it to protect himself from the shrapnel that would sometimes come shooting out of the punch presses.

Posted: 11:01 pm on April 1st

rsetina rsetina writes: Look at the picture and you see long push stick, very dangerous and no blade guard when it could have been used in this situation with already installed anti kickback technology. You can avoid the kickback by pushing the material through the blade properly with the right push pad if the piece is small like the one shown. I guess this is for woodworkers who don't follow proper safety procedures.
Posted: 9:29 pm on April 1st

barville barville writes: Good to see that Rube Goldberg is still hard at work at 127 years old! (He was born in 1883). If you enjoyed this miracle kick-back shield, you'll love a modern version of his inventions at:

What a fun surprise from the FWW staff!
Posted: 5:10 pm on April 1st

BingoBoy BingoBoy writes: This is ridiculous.

If these guys just put there (tiny) thinking hats on for a few seconds it would dawn on them that kickback is really no threat.

All you have to do to dodge a kickback thingy is stand to the backside of the saw and pull the piece through instead of pushing it. No way will it hit you.

If necessary have your mother-in-law stand in front of the saw to catch the workpiece.

Posted: 4:31 pm on April 1st

John_Como John_Como writes: Us retired police officers just reconfigure our Kevlar vests. Works great although it can get a little hot in summer.
Posted: 3:45 pm on April 1st

jpat jpat writes: Way back in my younger days I worked in a formica shop. The owner had a brother that was by far not the sharpest tool in the shop. Any time he would use the table saw, he would ware an apron that he made out of plywood, this of course was after he got hit in the gut by a cut off. I wonder if he is one of the inventors!
Thanks for the laugh,
Posted: 2:51 pm on April 1st

RalphBarker RalphBarker writes: When will these be available at Woodcraft? ;-)

Posted: 11:59 am on April 1st

FlyingRon FlyingRon writes: Yeah, gotta have those push sticks!

Posted: 11:25 am on April 1st

JerryW JerryW writes: While this is the latest in new technology, it will have a hard time competing with my approach. I keep a series of Stanley planes (block, smoothing, and jack) in my tool apron at all times. Kick backs don't stand a chance of getting to me!!
Posted: 11:17 am on April 1st

gparas gparas writes: Make sure this makes it to Carlos Osorio.

Posted: 10:16 am on April 1st

patwreck patwreck writes: It had to be an april's fool. Search the famous engineers name on google. LOL

Posted: 9:20 am on April 1st

AsaC AsaC writes: My favorite comment so far is "Crotch Block 2000." That would come in handy for all those people on America's Funniest Videos.
Posted: 9:10 am on April 1st

chucktown chucktown writes: HA!!!
April Fools is awesome!!
Love you guy's
Posted: 9:08 am on April 1st

DavidWeaver DavidWeaver writes: The woodworking world will not be fully safe until we have virtual reality 3d full body woodworking simulators that allow us to make hologram projects that we can display in our living rooms and bedrooms.

Some thought will have to be given to how we can have a hologram kitchen cabinet makover that will still hold dishes.
Posted: 8:47 am on April 1st

APO APO writes: Nice looking push sticks, I think I will make some for my shop so I can hang them on the wall and look at them.
Posted: 8:47 am on April 1st

patwreck patwreck writes: Is that an april's fool?

So the guy avoids a kickback, but get's a punch in the stomach at 85 ft/secs by the device panel? Wow that's safe!

What happens if your ripping a plywood panel and something goes wrong(a split or knot provoques the device to detect a false kickback)?

What if you saw a dadoed piece with uneven thickness every 2 inches(this will cause little speed variation and density so maybe velocity will be affected?)

This thing is nothing but an engineer trophy who say's look what I invented. If things keep on going this way, I'll just go for hand tools.

Congats pal, but I defenetly won't buy it.

Posted: 8:39 am on April 1st

woodtodust woodtodust writes: Really nice review of a product that could take the entire world by storm. Just imagine the other applications: A larger, floor mounted version to protect china cabinets contents from children and pets, a cycle mounted 'stop' to prevent those ugly 'over the handlebar' moments. I could go on (my wife says that I do).
Nicely timed at the beginining of April where (here in the UK at least) the weather is turning fine again and minds and bodies are coming out of hibernation.

Posted: 7:50 am on April 1st

ncosman ncosman writes: Old Rube shouldn't waist time trying to licensing the technology to the tool industry. He should focus on marketing directly to the jeans or plaid shirt industry. I can see the headlines now: crotch-block 2000, revolutionary high velocity crotch protection system saves family jewels, heralds the demise of crotch-shot-related-internet videos.
Posted: 1:49 am on April 1st

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