Hand tools can be dangerous too! (or: Why I need an actual workbench)

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Blog entry by BTimmons posted 01-29-2012 04:50 AM 10216 reads 0 times favorited 9 comments Add to Favorites Watch

Yeah, this was me today. Since I was just using a block plane and not some power tool, the moment I got smacked in the forehead with a hunk of red oak took me rather by surprise.

I’m pretty new to all this, and I haven’t built myself a workbench yet. So while I’m working on a little side table for my mother in law, I need to do some hand planing to take the burn marks off the legs after I ran them through my homemade tapering jig. Lacking an actual bench, I rig up a way to clamp the legs to the side of my table saw. For a while this crazy half-assed rig actually worked pretty well.

There was a really stubborn spot along the bottom of one leg and I needed to move around to that end so I’m not planing against the grain. As you can see from the picture above, I didn’t think to clamp the leg vertically. So as I’m planing and putting some muscle into that tough spot, the clamp furthest from me loses its grip on the leg, the rail for the table saw fence suddenly becomes a fulcrum, and the thicker end comes flying up at my forehead.

Got me with the corner, I think. I have a cut above my eyebrow that looks like a big bloody “Y”. At least there isn’t any blood on the table leg! That would’ve been annoying getting that out of bare wood. I guess next week at work I can tell everyone, “Yeah, you should see the other guy”.

Stylish, eh? It’s a truism that one should use the right tool for the job. And unlike many cliched phrases, this one has a very good reason to stick around. And in this case, the right tool for the job was a woodworker’s bench to hold that leg while I planed it. So keep this in mind, everyone! You always hear about tablesaw accidents, and handtools feel so non-dangerous in comparison, but crazy things happen. Well, they do when you’re improvising in extremely strange ways to make up for a lack of equipment.

Now go forth and makes lots of sawdust and shavings. And stay safe!

-- Brian Timmons -

9 comments so far

View KTMM (Krunkthemadman)'s profile

KTMM (Krunkthemadman)

1055 posts in 3159 days

#1 posted 01-29-2012 05:02 AM

Wow, and I though I was the only guy that drew blood from myself every other day in the shop…..

-- Practice does not make perfect. Only perfect practice makes perfect. Vince Lombardi

View willie's profile


533 posts in 2419 days

#2 posted 01-29-2012 05:27 AM

That sucks, but I’ll bet you never do that again! Lesson learned?

-- Every day above ground is a good day!!!

View exelectrician's profile


2327 posts in 2392 days

#3 posted 01-29-2012 05:53 AM

Yep! get a bench! any bench, but get a bench! 2 – 3” thick maple on a really stout base is always preferred.

-- Love thy neighbour as thyself

View derosa's profile


1572 posts in 2801 days

#4 posted 01-29-2012 07:09 AM

It gets just as bad with sharp chisels and no bench as well.

-- --Rev. Russ in NY-- A posse ad esse

View BritBoxmaker's profile


4611 posts in 3001 days

#5 posted 01-29-2012 12:10 PM

The most dangerous tool in my shop is the one using all the others!

-- Martyn -- Boxologist, Pattern Juggler and Candyman of the visually challenging.

View BTimmons's profile


2303 posts in 2450 days

#6 posted 01-29-2012 08:09 PM

Yes, the lesson had definitely been learned. I made a point to remember this, hence posting this embarassing injury online for the whole world to see mere hours after the fact. It’s doing penance in a way. Beyond having a new gash on the forehead that took a whole damn day to stop bleeding, anyway.

-- Brian Timmons -

View DIYaholic's profile


19597 posts in 2640 days

#7 posted 01-29-2012 08:29 PM

As they say No Pain, No Gain!
I’m willing to bet, you just wish it wasn’t sooo much pain to gain that amount of wisdom!

Glad it was nothing too serious.

-- Randy-- I may not be good...but I am slow! If good things come to those who wait.... Why is procrastination a bad thing?

View willie's profile


533 posts in 2419 days

#8 posted 01-29-2012 11:48 PM

Glad you’re OK. Sometimes those are the lessons best remembered!

-- Every day above ground is a good day!!!

View Don W's profile

Don W

18685 posts in 2533 days

#9 posted 01-30-2012 02:40 AM

blood sweat and tears. Not just good music.

-- - Collecting is an investment in the past, and the future.

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