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Blog entry by SST posted 02-20-2007 03:27 AM 1245 reads 0 times favorited 10 comments Add to Favorites Watch

Well, for the first time in my life (and my dad started teaching me woodworking in the 50’s)
I had an “encounter” with my table saw blade. I was ripping a small piece of wood, and decided to reach to the other side of the blade to pull it the rest of the way through, and caught the end of my thumb as I reached over the blade. The good news (at least for me) is that, while it looked really bad initially, it was mostly superficial, and all my thumb is still there.
It did, however, cause me to think about the fact that I long ago removed the blade safety guard because it got in the way. I’m pretty sure nobody else has done that, but in the very remote case that anyone has…
Anyway, it was a thump upside the head insofar as it brought me back to one of my old standby phrases relating to tool use, which is, NEVER LOSE FOCUS. Had I been focusing, this wouldn’t have happened, even without the guard.
Well, that’s my story for today. Here’s a big “thumbs up” to all you guys who still use the blade guards. -Shopsmithtom

-- Accuracy is not in your power tool, it's in you

10 comments so far

View dennis mitchell's profile

dennis mitchell

3994 posts in 4511 days

#1 posted 02-20-2007 03:45 AM

Good to hear you are OK! Scars make great reminders.

View Obi's profile


2213 posts in 4433 days

#2 posted 02-20-2007 03:51 AM

I did that about a month ago. I posted it. Same same. Tip of the thumb caught the blade and it was all I needed to regain focus. I still havent put my blade guard back on, won’t do it. I have gotten into the habit of shutting the saw off before I start reaching over/under around or through.

Glad you still got all yer digits

View Don's profile


2603 posts in 4373 days

#3 posted 02-20-2007 06:34 AM

Of course, Obi, even a stationary sharp blade can do injury.

-- CanuckDon "I just love small wooden boxes!"

View MsDebbieP's profile


18618 posts in 4357 days

#4 posted 02-20-2007 01:13 PM

and what’s the problem with using the guard?
Thanks for the safety reminder

-- ~ Debbie, Canada (, Young Living Wellness )

View Don's profile


2603 posts in 4373 days

#5 posted 02-20-2007 01:31 PM

SST, Obi, buy one of these.

-- CanuckDon "I just love small wooden boxes!"

View MsDebbieP's profile


18618 posts in 4357 days

#6 posted 02-20-2007 02:40 PM

oh my goodness. Did you watch the video???
No wonder I’m afraid of the big bad machine.

1 accident for every 20 saws.. How many lumberjocks do we have using table saws???

-- ~ Debbie, Canada (, Young Living Wellness )

View Ethan Sincox's profile

Ethan Sincox

767 posts in 4370 days

#7 posted 02-20-2007 04:10 PM

Not everyone can shell out the $3500 cost of a Sawstop… Unfortunate, but true. Until then, you just have to keep your wits about you at all times around ANY power tool.

Every time I use my cordless drill, and I start getting “flippant” with it, I try to remember that my little brother has drilled through his thumb twice with his. Now… I could possibly chalk that up to the ineptitude of little brothers in general, but it is also a good reminder that even the most common of our power tools can be harmful when we aren’t paying attention.

-- Ethan,

View Don's profile


2603 posts in 4373 days

#8 posted 02-21-2007 02:12 AM

You are so right, Ethan.

I established a Health and Safety Policy in the company I managed before retiring. The more we got into the process, the more we realized that accidents just didn’t “happen” – they were planned. We also discovered that there was seldom one single cause for an accident, but a whole chain of events. Preventing accidents is not easy, but planning for them happens when we are complacent.

Here’s a very simple preventative measure. When you are not using your table saw, unplug it from the power source, and lower the saw’s blade below the table surface. It only takes seconds and may prevent a life-altering accident.

I absolutely cringe when I see someone remove a saw-blade from a table saw without unplugging the saw – but I bet this is the norm amongst most woodworkers.

-- CanuckDon "I just love small wooden boxes!"

View SST's profile


790 posts in 4391 days

#9 posted 02-21-2007 06:27 AM

Yeow! I guess I opened a can of worms, but I suppose it’s not a bad idea to revisit the basic safety issues every now and again. I have a pic I took of my thumb just for the halibut, but I’m guessing I’m the only one that’s interested in that, so I won’t be posting it. I suppose I could slip it into the middle of other pics I could post if I ever finish another project….naw, don’t worry, I won’t. As a sidebar, I was wondering if the sawstop machine uses “digital” circuitry to save fingers…Aw, come on, give me a hand for that one…knuckle down and give me a big thumbs up, ‘cause I think I really nailed that one. OK, I’m done, there just aren’t any more hand parts left.

-- Accuracy is not in your power tool, it's in you

View oscorner's profile


4563 posts in 4507 days

#10 posted 02-21-2007 03:34 PM

There is no replacement for a push stick. My push stick suffer a nick a while back and I was more than happy to let it take the injury instead of my hand. My blade guard is removed, not that I suggest anybody else remove theirs. I put it back from time to time depending on what I’m doing. I’m happy to hear that you didn’t suffer the loss of a finger or worse.

-- Jesus is Lord!

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