Neighbor just lost thumb

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Last friday, my next door neighbor lost her thumb in a miter saw accident. They couldn't find the thumb (disintegrated), and it was severed below the first segment. She was laying hardwood flooring, and was cutting the very last piece that would go in a closet. Said she got a bad feeling the way she was holding the wood in the saw, but went ahead anyway.
I watched her 3 girls for a little while before her husband and extended family arrived. Her 10 year old (oldest) daughter saw the whole thing. The shell shocked look in the childrens faces was enough to make me ALWAYS listen to that voice or funny feeling I get when I am doing something risky. Take the extra hour or two to make a jig, if not for your own good for those who may never explore this craft because of your decision.
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Ironic, all those perfect cuts and the last one is the one that is tragic.
A good reminder that it can happen to any one at any time. Good advice to remind us to take and use every precaution that we can.

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"Ironic, all those perfect cuts and the last one is the one that is tragic."
Its often why the LAST one is REALLY the last one.
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And don't rush to finish. Especially when you are tired!
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wrote:

Sort of what happens when you lose that healthy fear of sharp, spinning metal parts... usually in a case like you mentioned, where you're doing a lot of cuts and start taking things for granted.. bites you in the ass and you say "I knew better than to do that".. human nature, I guess.. BTDT..
Being a devote coward, I usually use a clamp on the CMS if I'm cutting anywhere near my hands.. Mac
https://home.comcast.net/~mac.davis https://home.comcast.net/~mac.davis/wood_stuff.htm
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Yeah, I learned to work 'scared' after my neighbor lopped off a finger on his table saw. A cutting sled adds immeasurably to safety on a table saw. I consider radials just plain dangerous and got rid of mine. Bugs
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Todd the wood junkie wrote:

Do you have more details on what happened. Was the thumb actually under the blade when making the cut, somehow drawn into the blade, was the blade gaurd operational...? With each of my tools I have always spent some time thinking of what can go wrong when using them so I have a mental images of what not to do. I have never come up with to many things for a CMS Thanks Joe
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I don't have a miter saw so, when I read of something like this I wonder HOW something like that could happen? I've read of people having their hand in the way of a radial arm saw, so I guess this is the same? Forgetting that your fingers are in line with the blade? Can the fingers be pulled into the blade if in close proximity? Just curious. Don't really have room for one so I probably will avoid the problem BUT still nice to be aware. I've been ww'ing for almost 50 years and still can play the piano with all 10.
Vic
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This makes me ill. So did my doctor's story ( he's a woodworker also) about a patient who had cut off both thumbs a few years apart on the same commercial shop table saw. Seems to happen more often than I want to think about.
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Reminds me of when I was a high school lad, we had a neighbor who was a retired surgon. Had the best woodworking shop I have seen, even though he had severed the fingers of his left hand on a table saw driving him into retirement. He was a very careful woodworker when I knew him. Made a lasting impression on safety. Someone on the rec. a number of years ago passed on their grandfathers advice "where will it go if it slips" if you can't give a good answer to that question, stop.
Work safe, David
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"Genedoc" wrote

Yep, that is a good rule. I had a couple of good shop teachers who lived by that rule. One guy was a fanatic about it. He would walk around and give demerits for safety violations. Enough demerits, you got kicked out of the class.
His explanation was simple and a bit dramatic. Get set up on the saw (or other shop equipment). Get your stock in place and be ready to turn on the saw. Now position yourself so if you were to have a heart attack, you would fall AWAY from the rapidly turning part with teeth. He went so far as to put some padding down and have us fall into the padding.
To this day, I position myself at a table saw to fall away from the blade. I have to put my feet a little wide to do this. I also have to lean away. It may seem extreme to some. But my fingers and other body parts have benefited from this perpetual safety exercise.
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When I bought a new miter saw, I intentionally got one with a laser. Partially for the neato factor and partially because I may acutally use it instead of measuing, but mainly because it casts a bright red light on my fingers whenever they're in the way.
brian
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I still like to bring the blade down to see where it is and where my hand is. I don't like the models that must have the blade running for the light to come on. That seems too dangerous to me.
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wrote:

While reading this thread I was thinking, that couldn't really happen to me. It could only happen to a really careless person. Leave a finger in the path of a mitre saw??? Geez.
As I read more of the posts it occurred to me that that is probably exactly the attitude that got those people hurt.
Thanks for the reminder.
Greg Guarino
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My miter-saw doesn,t have a light either. Pay attention to where your hands are. I get nervous when I let go of the trigger n its still going around, the electric brake wearing down. Figured that one out.....the blade nut needed tightening....works better. Lil things that need adjusting should be taking care of....
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You are absolutely dead on. It's the people that think that they use all the safety precautions that end up in the ER. It's the people that know that it could happen and know that they do not know every possible scenario that probably have the least amount of accidents.
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On Thu, 13 Apr 2006 20:16:43 GMT, "Leon"

You're right. even those most cognizant of all the safety precautions can have a momentary lapse or become overconfident and it's hard to slow down and think about each action.
I've taken to putting my safety glasses (prescription) in a place where I have to bump into them the minute I walk in the shop. Did this after multiple times catching myself with them off.
Frank
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On Thu, 13 Apr 2006 16:50:17 -0500, Frank Boettcher

Me too, in the chest pocket of the apron.
Prescription safety glasses are a godsend to glasses wearers. They also save wear and tear, as well as finish splashes, on the expensive "street" glasses.
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Ba r r y wrote:

I would second that I absolutely love my prescription safety glasses the first thing I do when getting into the shop is take off my good glasses and throw on the prescription safety glasses. Its like a bonus being that there prescription and you dont want to scratch/dirty up your day glasses you actualy remind yourself to change to the safety glasses so you dont mess up your good glasses.
Untill a few years ago I never used safety glasses, a few years ago I got my first pair of prescription glasses..... I will never have laser surgery because I value my eyesight to much, glasses any kind of glasses could save my eyesight on a daily bases im glad my eyesight got a little worse will most likely have saved it in the longrun.
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wrote:

I always try to get my prescription glasses so the lens won't shatter shards into my eye if anything makes it through my goggles. I always wear goggles, and whenever I catch myself wanting to make a simple bandsaw cut or drill a small hole without putting them on, I hear myself thinking, "Zero tolerance!" and on go the goggles.
I have never understood why people think safety glasses alone are safe. The top part of my cheeks (just under my eyes) seems like a little deflection ramp, perfectly angled to ricochet any incoming matter directly into my eye.
My only problem with the goggles is that when I wear a dust mask my glasses seem to fog up.
- Owen -
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