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
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.
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.
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..
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.
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
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.
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
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
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
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.
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.
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.
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....
wrote in message
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.
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.
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.
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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