: Last year I cut the tip of my left index finger off on the TS. I was
: cutting some thin strips from a 2x4 on a friends crappy contractor
: saw. Dull blade, underpowered saw, and light saw frame, so I was
: holding down the saw with my left foot while feeding with both hands.
: I was down to the last strip from a 2x4 and was pushing with my right
: hand using a pushstick. Since the wood was so hard to feed into the
: crap blade, my left hand ended up doing some pushing instead of just
: guiding the wood against the fence. The saw also had a gaping wide
: throat plate, and the sliver of an offcut ended up getting sucked into
: the throatplate, which sucked the workpiece into the blade really
: fast. I tried to pull my left hand back, but it was too late and I
: watched it go in. Felt like someone hit my fingers with a big stick or
: something, and I pulled my hand back and saw hanging parts of meat
: from my fingers with a bunch of blood. At that point I didn't feel I
: could look at it any more and just said "Oh shit. I think you'd better
: drive me to the hospital." So I ended up in the emergency room with a
: bloody rag wrapped around my hand. Kind of the "walk of shame" for a
: woodworker, eh? I was blacking out by thinking about my fingers
: getting cut off, since at that point I wasn't really sure what the
: extent of the damage was.
: Luckily the hunk that got cut off was hanging off by a little piece of
: skin, so we didn't have to go looking for it in the saw. The blade
: chewed off the end of the bone, but they were able to kind of file it
: off and cover it up with the chunk of flesh. I had a good orthopedic
: surgeon, and the repair seems to have taken, and even regrown some
: nerves in the chunk that was cut off. The nail sort of grew out from
: the piece of cuticle that was left and out over the repaired piece. So
: now its a little shorter, is shaped funny, has a wierd nail, and
: doesn't have good feeling in it. But my surgeon said thats about as
: good as you can hope for when you put your hand in the table saw. He
: also said that the most popular injury for him was fingers in the
: table saw and toes in the lawnmower. So I feel relatively lucky.
: Well, thats probably more detail than you wanted to hear. Kind of
: gross, really!
: Now I'm scared to cut my fingers off every single time I use the table
: saw, and have started imagining how I could be hurt by nearly every
: other tool I use too. I guess that is for the better, and it could
: have been a more costly lesson.
: Lessons learned:
: - use a zero clearance throat plate
: - use a sharp blade
: - use good tools
: - don't get into a situation where if something goes wrong your hands
: will end up in the cutter. I of course knew this, and actually right
: before the incident happened I was starting to get little alarm bells
: in my head that this might not be the best situation.
: So even before my finger was out from under dressings, I went out and
: bought a 1973 Powermatic 66 and have been restoring it for the last
: year. Now its up and running with a WWII and a zero clearance insert,
: good fence, etc. It cuts well and I don't need to jam wood through it,
: and isn't tipping over when I feed boards. Much harder for things to
: be sucked into the throat plate now as well.
: After reading about TS injuries though, I am probably even more scared
: about kickback, so I now have a little screw in splitter in my throat
: plate too. Probably will get a blade guard at some point but I haven't
: decided which option will be the least annoying.
Yikes, made my heart beat faster just reading about your injury. The
blade guard on my Delta is pretty standard and I've gotten used to it very
quickly, I was surprised. I now think thrice before removing it, working
out the steps I need to take exactly. And I put it back asap. Doesn't
look expensive - are they sold in catalogues? Glad you are back