Small cautionary tale

Ronkirn

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I've been around wood workers for most of my adult life.... it's rare to find one that been employed in the craft of woodworking that doesn't have a serious scar to backup an accompanying story... I tore up my left hand in a table saw incident some 15 years ago.. it pretty much cost me the ability to play, my dexterity is gone.. Now, comparedt o how I used to play, I just stumble across the fingerboard...

I have one major rule in my shop.. NEVER interrupt me when a machine is running.... and always know where your pinkies are relative to anything whirring at a very fast speed.
 

Wheelhouse

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Woodworking doesn't bother me too much. Metal working carries a very healthy fear & caution. Grinders aren't bad, but wire wheels... nothing like a bunch of stiff metal wires whirring in a circle at 10,000+ RPM. I've never had anything go into my eyes, thank goodness (and constant eye protection). Ripped through gloves, shirts, or pants, yes. And that's what I wear them for. A little torn skin & blood is getting off easy when you see the hole you just ripped into a sturdy leather work glove. ;) I LOVE work gloves & safety glasses, and I don't regret for a second the time & effort it takes to use them.

Oh, and I just love the feel of welding spatter burn through a pair of jeans, LOL. Can't let it distract you, though, lest something worse happens!
 

Greg70

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Years ago I developed a hand safety presentation for a Safety Week event that my plant was putting on. Most hand injuries are to the thumb and pointer finger of the dominant hand since this is what we tend to "explore" with. How often do you use your pinky to see if something is hot? The other mode is the dominant hand using a tool and injuring the non-dominant hand. If you're right-handed, how many times have you held something in your left hand while you're using a lot of force with a screwdriver and then it slips and carves into your left hand? Use a vice or pliers to do the holding.

Coincidentally, I was also training our maintenance guys on how to properly tension V-belts. I built a fixture that consisted of a base plate with two pulleys on shafts about two feet apart. I put a belt between the pulleys and then you could adjust a threaded rod, put tension on the belt, and check the tension with a gauge. I used this belt training fixture as part of my hand safety presentation. I had a latex hand from my Halloween stash and put the fingers between the belt and pulley to show what would happen if your finger got caught in a running belt drive. It was grotesque how the fingers on the hand distorted backwards as the knuckles got crushed between the belt and pulley! It was quite a visual demonstration and I get several groans from the audience.
 

Old Deaf Roadie

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I always ensure my hair is tied back before starting any shop tool. I don't know if it would be worse to lose a finger or get hair caught in a drill press. I shudder to think about getting sucked into the table saw...
 

Boxla

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I'm 46. I've been working with wood, saws and the like for as far back as I can remember. I zip around my shop with ease and have generally been very confident, and sometimes complacent with my saw, especially my table saw (using the guard etc.) Last night I had to cut wood (bourbon barrel oak which is hard wood) for about an hour. For the first time I started getting a little nervous about it. All the nerves did was make me be extra cautious but it was the first time I had felt it that strongly. I have a nightmare about going inside the house and telling my wife or kids that I finally got myself.

After college I was playing in band and we were trying to make it. I was also working a job in a cabinet factory doing different jobs. About a year into the job I was on the large table saw and somehow was pushing a board through when the finger nail on my left hand middle finger hit the blade. It left a perfect saw sized cut and must have missed going all the way through my nail by a hair. It was at that moment that I went to my boss and said I had to quit. My hands were too important to risk them doing this for $10 a hour.

I love woodworking, in fact I just posted a thread about the making of my ten foot Tele on the DYI page, but it continues to fear me as I get older. Just like heights are starting to do. But so far, the fear just makes me work more cautious.
 

StoneH

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I had a cheap-a$$ multi-tool table that didn't have a proper split fence you should have for a router table. I hit a knot, and suddenly the hand that was the furthest away was pulled into the bit. The very tip of my left index finger was broken and I don't know if I lost a bit meat or the stitches puckered the skin. I can play an A7dim4sus9WTF, but a cowboy C chord will buzz half the time. . . and I consider myself extraordinarily lucky I can still play guitar.
 

Kiwi_Neil

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I have a healthy respect for all power tools these days. I was cutting a big piece of polystyrene on a dimension saw (yes I know, the wrong tool for the job...by far), and in the blink of an eye, half my thumb had vanished. I don't know exactly what happened, but it's a mistake that taught me to use the right tool for the job, and to respect every power tool and to concentrate on what I'm doing!!

IMG_20211201_111834828.jpg
 

telemnemonics

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I get cavalier with my routers, the last close call was routing a pickup opening in a blank Strat guard with my porter cable router sitting upside down on the bench. Holding the guard with both hands, I caught it on the bit and it jumped, got fingers closer to the cutter than intended. No injury but some chatter on the new opening and a reminder that fingers are for keeping, not for hamburger.
 

Wheelhouse

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A former friend of mine lost eye sight with a table saw by a splinter that fired from the blade right into his pupil.
Any time you are aligned with the motion of something spinning at high speed, you are in a hazardous position. Grinding metal in dusk illustrates this vividly, but the exact same risk is present with all spinning things - table saws, circ saws, grinders (bench or hand-held), etc.

I don't fear table saws, but even with the safety cover I still put on the glasses. Your friend's story just proves the need.

Funny how getting older has made me more risk-averse. ;)
 

tigger

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I sanded off a top of my thumb on a massively overpowered belt sander we have. To this day I don't know what happened, I was being super careful.

It grew back thanks to modern bandaging.
 

Peegoo

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Too close for comfort indeed.

Back in the early 2000s was working with an experienced carpenter installing a countertop, and he went to catch the end of a circ saw cutoff instead of allowing it to drop to the ground. The waste fell anyway, as did the first inch or so of his index and middle fingers. It was pretty gruesome.

Tools have no compassion for flesh and bone.

Be careful, but not fearful.

And always wear eye protection, even when doing simple stuff in the shop. An eyeball is more fragile than a grape.

Look up "angle grinder injuries" in Google Images when you're bored. People have died when Zipcut wheels come apart.
 

fretWalkr

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This thread is scaring the crap out of me. My power tools are all getting some side eye for a while.
 

eallen

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About a month ago I was setting up a fresh build, doing bends on the high e checking for fret out & buzz, when I noticed blood on the fretboard and on the bench. I little inspection revealed that the high e string had been cutting into my left middle finger until it was bleeding quite profusely without me realizing it. That's not the story.

How does an high e string cut into your finger and not realize it? It is actually quite easy. 1st you take a router table and a piece of wood. Then while you are getting too comfortable while pushing a piece of wood across a cove bit the wood decides it doesn't like where it is anymore and jumps off the bit so you shove your finger straight onto the 20,000 rpm bit. A trip to the emergency room, a stop the next day at the cosmetic surgeon who specializes in hands to jig saw pieces of flesh back together in a masterpiece that results in almost normal appearance, and a month later all us well! Well, except having no feeling where that finger was pieced together so when a high e string is cutting into it you just keep sawing away like a beaver in a lumberjack contest!

To top it off, not once has that router offered an apology!:D
 

Meteorman

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so you shove your finger straight onto the 20,000 rpm bit

nightmare fuel right there

It only took one "grab and eject" incident for me to despise the router table more than anything in the shop - I avoid it at all costs.
I much prefer to have the flesh-devouring cutting tool controlled by my own two hands, with the wood clamped securely.
 

eallen

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nightmare fuel right there

It only took one "grab and eject" incident for me to despise the router table more than anything in the shop - I avoid it at all costs.
I much prefer to have the flesh-devouring cutting tool controlled by my own two hands, with the wood clamped securely.

I hear you! I still use one regularly but certainly changed my respect level & hand placement!
 

Fiesta Red

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My wastrel brother (a well-noted expert on everything—just ask him!) nailed his foot to the roof of a house he was re-decking, because he left his finger on the trigger and grazed the safety mechanism across the top of his boot…he was working alone, and couldn’t pull the nail out because it went through his foot and embedded it into a stud.

What made this even funnier was the fact the homeowner was gone, and he couldn’t reach a hammer or pry bar to pull the nail out, so had to wait for his wife to bring him his lunch 45 minutes later (pre-cell phone days).

This was somehow my fault, because I’d refused to take a day off from my regular (read: “sure thing” job) to help him roof a house in the middle of an August day in Texas (read: upper 90s/low 100s temperature), just so he could make some extra money.

He’d just gotten a tetanus shot earlier that summer, due to another incident with the same nail gun.

Idiot.
 

ChicknPickn

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After my hand missed a router bit by fractions of an inch while turning a piece on a table, I realized something. It's good to take a moment before every cut and movement to think about what you're doing and going to do. Just a moment to meditate and focus. You can get hurt very badly with routers, band saws, and others.
 

ChicknPickn

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My wastrel brother (a well-noted expert on everything—just ask him!) nailed his foot to the roof of a house he was re-decking, because he left his finger on the trigger and grazed the safety mechanism across the top of his boot…he was working alone, and couldn’t pull the nail out because it went through his foot and embedded it into a stud.

What made this even funnier was the fact the homeowner was gone, and he couldn’t reach a hammer or pry bar to pull the nail out, so had to wait for his wife to bring him his lunch 45 minutes later (pre-cell phone days).

This was somehow my fault, because I’d refused to take a day off from my regular (read: “sure thing” job) to help him roof a house in the middle of an August day in Texas (read: upper 90s/low 100s temperature), just so he could make some extra money.

He’d just gotten a tetanus shot earlier that summer, due to another incident with the same nail gun.

Idiot.

That's gnarly.
 




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