Hello again everyone;
You guys and gals must be starting to think I like writing. Well I don’t, but does give me something to do when I’m sitting at my computer!
Threefingerspat, which I believe is a Mafia nickname, (lol), made a point about the dangers of hand tools:
“I would like to add one thing to this email string, power tools are not the only way woodworkers can sustain serious injury. Just look at my picture, my injury was made with a 1/2” chisel, no power tools were involved. After a couple of surgeries and lots of physical therapy, I almost have 75% use of my left index finger again. I consider myself quite lucky, but it was my inattention and disregard for established safety practices that caused this injury. Which is what I believe is one of the points you are trying to make, the safety equipment is only as good as the woodworker who uses it”.
A couple of other fellows made a point of the dangers of using hand tools.
Most often, injuries are a result of “lost presence of mind”. That title appeared in a woodworking magazine I believe, about a brick layer who used that term as the cause of his accident in the insurance report he was filling out. http://www.ocf.berkeley.edu/~mbarrien/jokes/insmind.txt
When I first read this I almost died laughing. Really!
Unfortunately, even though our pride tries to convince us otherwise, this is very often the bottom line.
I personally have never had it happen, I’ve just read about it. Yeah right!
I have a set of wood chisels, which after 20 years or so we worked out an agreement. When I drop them, they are to turn themselves over to ensure only the handle hits the ground.( Much easier on the edge, you know).
I soon developed the habit of placing my leg below the falling chisel, (part of the agreement we worked out),
so they wouldn’t hit the concrete floor too hard. Keep in mind, I work on an anti fatigue mat, which covers the area I’m working in, but somehow the chisels fall sideways for a while before following the laws of gravity.
This chisel set was made in Italy, and apparently the laws of gravity are different there.
Well I bought a set of Japanese chisels. They seem to use the same gravitational laws we use here. A straight line drop, with no deviations, I initially thought that was a good thing.
Not having developed that same turn yourself over agreement with them, I still lived up to my part and stuck my leg under the falling chisel. WRONG MOVE!
This chisel actually went right ahead and cut me! And my pants. Fortunately, Japanese chisels really are as sharp as they claim to be, so the cut was very clean.
Little by little I weaned myself off sticking my leg in the path of the falling samurai chisels. I can now proudly proclaim that only my pants are in danger at this point of my training.
While I make fun of that experience, hand tools can be every bit as dangerous as machines. What’s worse is often our “guard” is down, since it is only a hand tool.
I came VERY close to poking my eye out with a screwdriver when I was a teenager. Trying to unscrew a window shutter from it’s hinge, the screwdriver slipped out of the slot in the screw, and with the force and direction I was pushing, ended up hitting the corner of my eye, in that little spot between the eye and the nose. A very unlucky boy getting very lucky.
I’ve also planned off part of a finger nail, with a well tuned block plane, due to poor hand placement. Fortunately that fingernail was too long anyway so no harm done. If I had a choice, I would have left a bit more on, but okay, I could live with it.
I have developed a policy over the years, where I TRY not to carve or chisel towards myself or any of my parts. This is working out pretty well, so far.
You notice those carving jigs I post are alway multi positional. See, I can learn!
I could go on for a number of weeks, writing about the stupid things I have done to myself, but since I’m supposed to be a professional, and would like to keep what little dignity I have, I will stop here.
I’m beginning to think my parents were onto something when they used to tell me, “think BEFORE you act”.
The really sad part is just about the time you learn all the things to watch out for, it’s time to retire.
Anyone else care to confess? It feels good. Really!