I just thought I would post a reminder to my rec. friends to think about
safety. As some of you know I teach HS woodshop (greatest job in the
world!). Our school is one of a decreasing number of schools in SoCal
that have an outstanding voc. ed. program. We have (had) two wood
teachers. Yesterday afternoon the other teacher was working in the shop
cutting some stock for the new term. He is a nice guy but is somewhat
complacent in his personal concern for safety. I have mentioned it to
him a few times, but his answer was always something like, "I know this
isn't the best way, but I'm in a hurry. Besides, I know what I'm doing."
Well, to make a long story short, he was ripping a short board
(wider than long), guard removed and no pushstick. The board kicked
back and his right hand continued forward into the blade. He lost about
3/4 to an inch of his middle finger (can't be reattached) and about two
inches of his pointer. The did reattach it, but they are doubtful about
if it will keep.
Here is a guy, experienced, but over confident who will have a long time
to think about safety every time he looks at his hand. Please, guys, as
I tell my kids, never rush. Be safe!
Even when beginning to read these stories, you know something unfortunate is
coming. When I finally get to what happens, it always makes my toes curl up
inside my shoes and I grit my teeth. EVERY time I turn on my saws I think
about these things and use a push stick and take my time. It doesn't take
any longer to be safe rather than sorry. Too bad he had to sacrifice
himself to learn that lesson. But it's a lesson not lost on me.
This reminds me of a movie they showed in every shop class I had taken.
IIRC it was called the ABS's of Hand Tools produced by GM. It featured a
little cartoon caveman named Primitive Pete. The narrator would say
something like "Don't do it that way Pete, you could smash your knuckles!"
and sure enough the tool would slip and ol' Pete would be screaming.
My Junior High wood shop teacher would explain that if a blade was spinning
at 1750 RPM and the blade had 80 teeth that would be 2333 teeth per second
so if you only tapped your finger on the blade for one second and each sharp
edge only shaved .001" inches of flesh or bone you would be all the way
through a 1/2 inch finger in less than a 1/4 second. Then he would show the
pictures of wounds and say this guy was fast, but not fast enough.
Junior High shop was 1973 and I still remember this. I can also attest to
the fact that setting the blade only high enough has saved two of my
About the time I had mastered getting the toothpaste back in the tube, then
Sure boards can kick back, that is why you don't stand directly behind the
blade. If I had not set the blade just high enough I would be missing the
tip of my thumb and one finger tip instead of a band-aid and a scar.
If knowledge is power, and power corrupts, what does this say about the
I had a high school shop teacher who was a safety fanatic.
I thought he overdid it a bit. But all my fingers are still intact.
I thought that all high school teachers were safety fanatics. Apparently
He has no legitimate excuse for what happened to him. He is supposed to be
teaching shop safety. And practising it as well.
Reminds me of the guy they sent around every year to the grade schools who
lectured on never picking up blasting caps. He had almost no fingers. It
made an impression on me. I can still see his mangled hands today.
I had a drafting (For some reason it was called "mechanical drawing")
class in Junior High. I'll always remember the teacher holding up
his right hand, which was missing most of the index and ring fingers,
and saying, "I used to be a wood shop teacher until this happened..."
I think we went to the same school. Old Court JHS? I don't want to
name the teacher on line but if you contact me off group I'll tell you.
Are you related to other Wassermans from Randallstown?
Just curious, how was he able to teach drafting yet not be able to
continue to teach woodshop? ... or was it that he no longer wanted to have
anything to do with woodshop after the accident?
I ask because it seems that a significant amount of manual dexterity is
required for good mechanical drawing work.
If you're gonna be dumb, you better be tough
On Fri, 01 Sep 2006 21:03:34 -0700, Mark & Juanita
Try holding a pencil with it between your index and middle fingers and
hold between your thumb and middle finger instead of the index. I'll
bet you'll find it not very difficult to get used to. It gets a
little bit harder with the ring finger instead of the middle, but
again, you'd get used to it.
Interestingly, I've actually sometimes seen my penmanship improve by
holding the wrtiting implement in a little bit of an odd way. It
forces you to think more about what you're doing. I used to amuse
myself sometimes during school doing that sort of thing. Now a cut on
my index finger isn't an issue.
With drafting though you're pretty much always following some kind of
aid to make a straight line/arc/whatever so I can't really see it
being much of an issue.
Typing on the other hand (no pun intended), you're screwed.
He never explained that, but I really don't know any reason he
couldn't have continued to teach wood shop. He still had one hand
intact. Maybe he wanted to quit teaching wood shop while he still had
enough fingers left to switch to drafting!
That's the one! I know you! I lived accross the street from you. Your
brother Larry is my age, in fact if I remember right, he is exactly
one day older. (I remember because of the draft lottery)
Small world, huh? How are you doing?
I was working in the shop today with a guy who had NO fingers on his right
hand. He is employed on the cornice crew working on a house I'm building, so
there is little doubt where those fingers went. I was adding "laps" to cedar
planks using a dado set on the table saw and, although I started out in a
hurry, I kept seeing that hand with no fingers saying "here's what being in
a hurry looks like".
I have been at the local high school and watched a 8x24x6" deep drawer
being thinned down to 4" deep on the 12" Powermatic tablesaw. The
teacher was in front of the blade holding the drawer on end as he
pushed it through. There was a student on the left side, reaching over
to help stabilise the drawer and another on the back side of the saw
doing the same. Six hands on the drawer, no safety glasses, no guards,
no pushsticks. There was an 8" jointer with the guard removed (broken)
and the metal fence for the bandsaw laying on the table ,across the
cutterhead. The shaper had a 3"wing cutter mounted on the spindle, no
guards and the table covered with paint cans. Kids wearing hooded
sweatshirts with the pull strings dangling down using the 6" belt
sander. Many more things just too numerous to detail. 100%
incompetence, but the bumper sticker mentality prevails, "We don't care
how you do it up North". Sam
When the school board gets the workman's comp. claims, the program will
be lucky to survive. The medical claims could be half a million easy.
He should have been fired when you noted the safety violations, schools
can no longer afford such luxuries with the massive lawsuits the
ambulance chasers will bring.
In the immediate budget should be a sawstop, period. Our poorest local
school district is buying two for their highschool program.
It would be hard to fathom that a grant cannot be found for schools to
Frankly, I would not want young kids learning on SS. I believe it
would result in a complacency that follows them to an accident later
Instead, I would teach safety and procedure for use of the machine.
When operated properly a TS is *not* a dangerous piece of equipment.
HomeOwnersHub.com is a website for homeowners and building and maintenance pros. It is not affiliated with any of the manufacturers or service providers discussed here.
All logos and trade names are the property of their respective owners.