Yesterday, my uncle lost most of the first joint of left ring finger
in a jointer. Last year I almost lost my left ring finger while
adjusting lower guides on a band saw that was running with lower cover
For those that track these kind of things, which fingers seem to get
bit most often? I'm thinking that thumb, fore finger, and index
finger don't get hit as often as ring finger since we tend to work
with those three vs all five.
I think we fixate on the key three and loose track of the other two
The whole point of this message is to remind people to think about all
your fingers and not just the ones that are guiding your stock.
Whiskey Echo Sierra Sierra AT Gee Tee EYE EYE dot COM
Well, as clutch found out, adjusting blade guides on a running bandsaw is not
conducive to maintaining one's full finger count for a lifetime.
I'm not sure how you would factor that into any stats.
"The modern conservative is engaged in one of man's oldest exercises in moral
philosophy; that is, the search for a superior moral justification for
selfishness." John Kenneth Galbraith
High School chum using hid fathers TS has a sliver fall through the
table and rest one end ON the blade under the table. Lost four
fingers from first knuckle beyond palm attempting to flick them away
from the blade. Mid 1940s when reattach was a dream. Couple of years
earlier a lad lost similar finger when his older brother slammed the
car door on his hand not realizing he was trying to get out of the car
I never wear my wedding ring in the shop. When I was a boy, I met several men
who were missing their left ring finger. They had worn their wedding ring to
work in the mines. Left a lasting impression on me!
"Donald Drew, Jr" wrote:
I did right ring finger knuckle. Almost lengthwise cut on the bandsaw.
When the doc, a woodworker himself, asked me how, I had to admit that I had
turned off the saw, then went to brush dust away. Stupid for a moment,
maimed for life.
Seems to me that a better point would be to remind people not to adjust
machinery while it's running. Hope you've recovered from your injury.
Doug Miller (alphageek-at-milmac-dot-com)
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Every time I go into my shop I take a second to consider that most of the
machines in that room are trying to kill me. Even though I'm just an
amateur, I've tried to condition myself to the basic rules such as turning
off and disarming equipment and letting it come to a stop before reaching
near the moving parts. (Those little pull-out arming pins are a pain the
neck and easily lost, but I very nearly turned on my band saw accidentally
with my knuckles pressed up against the band.)
When I was eight or so I watched my dad sacrifice his finger and thumb tips
in a fine red mist to a very sturdy jointer while building our house. (And
he was using a pusher stick just as he'd been taught.) Maybe everyone needs
to be indoctrinated into the reality of power tools at such an early age.
But whenever I'm tempted to be cavalier, I try to think of how stupid I'm
going to look sitting in the emergency room with a bloody towel around my
Remember, it's not paranoia if they really are out to get you.
As an experiemnt, I once placed a couple of sausages into an old
welding glove and went at it with the plasma cutter. Given that one
day I'm inevitably going to try and plasma-cut my hand, it was quite a
relief to find that leather and sausage is considerably more
plasma-resistant than steel.
When I get the time machine working, I plan to cause havoc in the
Patience. You can spend 10 minutes cutting on the bandsaw or table saw but
it seems so long waiting the 15 seconds or so for the blade to stop before
moving away the scrap. Very tempting to just reach in and grab.
Isn't that why you should have a push stick in each hand? I started out
making neat push sticks maybe 18" long by about 3/4 and cutting a neat "v"
or 45 degree angle in the pointed in and then round up the handle end to
just fit comfortably in my hand. I'd take off a chunk here and chunk there
and they'd get shorter and shorter 'til I'd throw them away. Now I make
then a lot less often (fewer "Oops") and with a lot less fuss. The "shoe"
type I haven't damaged at all so far.
I was showing a friend that's getting into woodworking my old
shopsmith push stick.. one of those red plastic ones with the notch in
it got retired years ago with too many notches and dings in it and
better designs available, but it sure is a good teaching tool.. *g*
I told him that every ding in it was one that wasn't on my HANDS, and
to keep that in mind no matter how "safe" a tool seems at the time..
I spend the days working in a machine shop so, to me, the reflexive way of
clearing a chip or offcut is the airgun. Mine is always in easy reach
(though I do miss the 30 horse compressor when working at home).
I do a little metalworking in my woodshop. I don't dare use the airgun
to move swarf- the last thing I want is airborne cutting oil around
all of that wood. I do sometimes use it to clear stuff away from
spinning cutters on woodworking machines though.
Sounds like as an amature, you have developed the right kind of respect.
Don't let the fear fade too much as it did with me a few years ago. I was
cutting some small pieces for spacers on my table saw. I turned the saw off
and as I was walking away, realized I had left some of them on the table. I
absent-mindedly reached over to retrieve them and heard "tink-tink-tink" as
the blade was being stopped by my right index finger. I was very, very
lucky. In spite of the bloody towel and not having enought good meat to
stitch, it was fairly superficial and healed in a month or two.
Oh, it is better than that. As we sat in the emergency room my wife
commented "Didn't you tell me a couple of weeks ago how well you were doing?
30 years of power tools and no significant injuries!" (Grrrrr!)
Also, it was neat when I walked into work Monday with the big wad gauze and
metal brace. So far it has taken 3 years to live it down.
I've never hurt myself (yet) but the closest calls seem to come from
impatience waiting for the saw to stop. Those 15 seconds waiting for
the blade to stop sure are long.
I'm working on a mod to my saw right now to add resistive braking. I
figure I need about 10 ohms, but I'm not sure how much power rating it
will need. Perhaps a heater coil would be best.
Anyway, the resistor across the motor windings should slow it down much
faster than just letting inertia do the job and hopefully reduce the
risk of being impatient.
I'll keep you posted.
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