Well, just got back from the emergency room where I got 9 stitches in
my right index finger. I'm a relative newbie to serious woodworking,
and I took a decent chunk out of my finger. It apparently got down to
the bone and took a small chip out. The angle of the cut was pretty
lucky, though. There was no tendon damage. Took part of the nail
out, but I was told the part that was cut will grow back.
The worst part of this isn't the (incredibly small amount) of pain, or
the few months of healing. But that I feel like an idiot. This could
have been easily prevent with a pushstick. Hopefully this is a wake
up call to me.
The injury could have been much worse. The blade was only up about
1/4", and was cutting a rabbit in a small board, about 8x10 in. I was
happily running the board through when I believe it began to bind up,
then it suddenly kicked back. Not sure if the board pushed my finger
into the blade, or if I slipped when the board kicked back. It all
happened so fast. My hand was a good 6-7" away when I was making the
cut. I didn't even realize I was cut until the blood started
dripping. I thought the board came back and bashed into my finder,
and numbed it. No such luck.
Anyway, thought I'd share my story.
Sorry to hear of this. You say a push stick could have saved you, but why
did it bind up to begin with? Splitter in place? Pawls used?
Perhaps you can save another finger for the rest of us if you know the
As someone else mentioned, I was rabbiting. Good question of why it
bound up. I'll have to go see if thefence is out of alignment. I
looked at the board itself, and there's a dent in it where my finger
fits nicely. So it looks like the board kicked back into my finger,
and then knocked my finger into the blade.
I'm guessing the board was between the fence and the blade, pulled
away from (or was pinched by) the fence, and kicked back. If so,
maybe next time you could use Norm's method, clamp a "sacrificial"
board to the fence and cut the rabbet along the fence side of your
email@example.com (Larry Bud) wrote:
Good to hear you didn't lose a finger. It happens so fast and in my case, I
still swear my finger wasn't near the blade when it was butterflied. I was
ripping bunches of small strips. I would push it through using my right
hand and a push stick, then I would reach behind the blade with my left to
retrieve it. After several hundred of these, obviously I must have gotten
lazy, although I still say my finger was nowhere near the blade, and I still
don't know how it happened. I apparently drug my left forefinger across the
blade as I brought back the ripped piece. Man, what a sick sound it makes
when your finger is being mangled by the blade. It butterflied my finger
from the tip, up near to the first knuckle. Fortunately, it was next to the
bone and I was using a Woodworker II. I still think the finger cleared the
blade and I still can't figure out how it got cut.
And don't even start posting about using guards, safety guidelines and other
BS. I do this for money, so I am allowed operator stupidity in the pursuit
of fast production. Of course, I won't mention the two weeks I sat at home
watching Oprah, Rosie and Jerry Springer while I was waiting for it to heal.
Preston, 14 years ago I cut the end of my left thumb off. For months I
thought that I had a kick back situation on the last board that I was
cutting, but oddly none of the wood had blood or tooth marks on it. I later
found that I had apparently blanked that out of my memory. I actually cut
my thumb after I had turned the saw off and was attempting to remove the
fence before the blade had completely stopped. Something to think about,
especially when you cannot remember. ;~)
I was a newbie......12 if I remember right, and I watched as the blade made
its cut at the surface of the wood, not thinking that because of the curve
the bottom of the blade couldn't be seen..........no push stick, just
ripping it in half.........you're so right, it is a sound you'll never
forget, as the bone hits the steel. The top of my thumb from the nail up was
dangling by the cuticle. They sewed it on, but there's no feeling. But,
there was when my father came home. After going off on me for a half hour,
he took me back to the saw and showed me the correct, and safe way to use a
table saw. That was forty years ago.......haven't been cut since.
Safe and slow is the way to go............
I wasn't so lucky, I lost the ring finger on my left hand down to the first
knuckle (from the hand).
I was using a long push stick (about a 12") which ended up being caugth by
the blade pulling my hand into the wobble dado blade; can we say ouch! The
funny part is I never felt a thing, never went into "full" shock, and never
passed out. The finger was destroyed, all the paramedic could say was,
"...get in the abulance..." but I have payed my dues since! I ended up with
25+ stiches, no finger, and a hand that is still pretty much useless. The
pain has come and gone since and the "phantom" pain is probably the
strangest part of all. There is just something not rioght about the part
being gone hurting the worst. The use of my left hand is coming back,
fortunately I am right handed, but I still can't close my hand or grip
things too tight.
It took me two months before I went near thew table saw again and am now
v-e-r-y wary of the moving blade.
A new motto, "Think twice, don't cut at all!". <:-)
We in America reserve the right to take our chances. Now if we were
talking about moulding head cutters, I'd be with you on banning those
The idea of being an American is to be free to take a chance based on
one's ability to forsee what the outcome might be. Sadly, too many
want to remove all risk from society. Risk = Reward in many cases.
BTW, Germany is a lovely country. I lived there for 2 years as a
small boy in the early 60's. Someday I would love to visit it again.
I applaud West Germany's efforts to rebuild East Germany after
Whiskey Echo Sierra Sierra AT Gee Tee EYE EYE dot COM
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