I Think The Router Won!

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Blog entry by Dustin Ward (aka Tearen) posted 05-17-2009 05:32 PM 1722 reads 0 times favorited 21 comments Add to Favorites Watch

Since Rustic had to let my secret out of the bag, I figured I should post the picks and tell the story.

On Thursday night I was working on some cutting boards and business card holders for a local craft show on Saturday morning. While making a groove cut on one of the business card holders on the router I ran into a bunch of issues. After some investigation this morning I think I can finally say what fully happened.

1) The router bit ran into a hard knot in the black walnut piece.

2) The router bit twisted the part.

3) The router table has a plastic insert (craftsman table saw with router wing). This insert flexed and allowed the twisting wood to catch the edge of the cast iron wing.

4) The black walnut piece DISINTEGRATED!

5) I was using a shorter push stick then normal to improve my control over the small piece I was working with. When the wood disappeared, the stick and my hand move toward the bit.

6) My middle finger got pulled into the bit. I pulled and twisted my hand free, but still had this damage done.

The Side of the Middle Finger. As you can see, there is a large piece of missing material. It is also hard to see, but the skin just below this is also peeled away. The doctor thinks this will stay attached as long as I keep pressure on in with bandages.
The Damage 1

My nail was also damaged in two locations. All the way down to the meat under the nail.
The Damage 2

The Damage 3

The Damage 4

Most of the damage is done to the side on my middle finger, but somehow I got damage 360 degrees around the finger. To much damage for stitches, so I will also be 3-4 weeks before I am up to 100%.

Lessons Learned:

1) Make or buy a router table with metal inserts!

2) Cut the grooves while the piece is larger and then cut the part down to size on the table saw.

3) Don’t use a smaller push stick. Keep those fingers as far away as possible.

Even with this happening on Thursday night, I still finished 35 cutting boards, 15 business card holders, and some other odds and ends for my craft show today.

21 comments so far

View lew's profile


12061 posts in 3755 days

#1 posted 05-17-2009 05:39 PM


-- Lew- Time traveler. Purveyor of the Universe's finest custom rolling pins.

View Todd A. Clippinger's profile

Todd A. Clippinger

8901 posts in 4099 days

#2 posted 05-17-2009 05:44 PM

lew said it all -

-- Todd A. Clippinger, Montana,

View a1Jim's profile


117091 posts in 3576 days

#3 posted 05-17-2009 05:48 PM

I’m sorry about you injury I hope you post will encourage all of us to be more careful .I hope your fingers heal quickly.

-- wood crafting & woodworking classes

View Dustin Ward (aka Tearen)'s profile

Dustin Ward (aka Tearen)

176 posts in 3950 days

#4 posted 05-17-2009 05:59 PM

If this is the only injury I ever get I will be very happy. It has made life a little difficult, and I am taking pain meds every 6 hours so it is not so bad. All of the daily tasks have become interesting also. I am right handed and of course it damaged the right middle finger.

View Rustic's profile


3253 posts in 3596 days

#5 posted 05-17-2009 06:32 PM

Sorry Tearen, I didn’t mean to. Hop e the finger feels better.

--, Rick Kruse, Grand Rapids, MI

View RBWoodworker's profile


441 posts in 3351 days

#6 posted 05-17-2009 06:37 PM

Seeing your blog and the pictures made me shudder….ooooooow!! while I have not had this happen to me..your blog made me that much more aware we need to be while using cutters that spin at a whopping 25,000+ RPM.. my closest call was while using a fingerpull cutter on my router table and got distracted during set-up..forgot to tighten the bit in the router and accidently turned it on.. the bit spun for about 3 seconds before flying out of the collets and bouncing all over inside the router table..the carbide cutter cracked and chipped itself to pieces and landed a few feet away from me..I thank God it didn’t hit me anywhere and considered myself very, very fortunate.. but it taught me a valuable lesson to double check EVERYTHING twice and stand clear when first turning it on to make sure it’s properly seated..again..thanks for posting and I hope you heal well..

-- Randall Child

View oldskoolmodder's profile


801 posts in 3679 days

#7 posted 05-17-2009 06:42 PM

I often wonder why I read these kinds of posts and look at the pictures, while I’m eating breakfast or any meal for that matter. Your observations, after the fact as they are, are very correct about cutting smaller pieces after they’ve been routed. I’ve never understood why people risk injuring themselves with small pieces on a router. I guess so they can find out for themselves.

The more injuries that get posted here, the more I wish there was a special section for all of OUR postings about how we got injured and follow-ups on how we are doing days, weeks, months, years alter. Being in this not so exclusive group who’s permanently damaged a digit, I also find myself wondering how it was that I could look at my own injury and not feel queasy, but when I look at injuries from other people, bring on that queasiness.

Our forefathers are probably laughing at the fact that they never got kickbacks from tablesaws or running their fingers into router bits, because they didn’t have power tools. Their injuries were far less. They never had the luxury of having a piece of wood come back at their mouth and leave them bleeding like we get to have.

-- Respect your shop tools and they will respect you - Ric

View cabinetmaster's profile


10874 posts in 3557 days

#8 posted 05-17-2009 06:51 PM

Once again, been there, done that…...........Ooooooow it hurts as I well know. I guess you learned your lesson.

-- Jerry--A man can never have enough tools or clamps

View sIKE's profile


1271 posts in 3753 days

#9 posted 05-17-2009 06:57 PM

Ouch, hope you finger get to feeling better here soon!

-- //FC - Round Rock, TX - "Experience is what you get just after you need it"

View Dusty56's profile


11819 posts in 3687 days

#10 posted 05-17-2009 07:46 PM

Speedy recovery to you !
There’s nothing like the feeling of flesh meeting power cutting tool by accident : (
Would’ve , could’ve , should have used that darned push stick ! Thanks for sharing your pix with us . I never got any pix of my injury.

-- I'm absolutely positive that I couldn't be more uncertain!

View Scott Bryan's profile

Scott Bryan

27250 posts in 3821 days

#11 posted 05-17-2009 08:24 PM

Wow!!! This is a serious injury but I am glad it was not any worse. This will put you out of commission for a little while but I am hoping that you get back into the shop and back to your “normal” routine soon.

-- Challenges are what make life interesting; overcoming them is what makes life meaningful- Joshua Marine

View Dustin Ward (aka Tearen)'s profile

Dustin Ward (aka Tearen)

176 posts in 3950 days

#12 posted 05-17-2009 09:56 PM

I forgive you Rustic.

I plan on being back to work in the shop tonight. Need to make some more stock for the next couple of craft shows. Some new ideas to try out and some other ideas that I have seen on here. I hope I don’t get any emails about stealing ideas!

View Myron Wooley's profile

Myron Wooley

226 posts in 3895 days

#13 posted 05-17-2009 11:42 PM

Ow ow ow! Hope everything heals up OK, and thankful you weren’t hurt worse!

-- The days are long and the years are short...

View Beginningwoodworker's profile


13345 posts in 3672 days

#14 posted 05-17-2009 11:55 PM

Ouch! thats hurt!

View BethMartin's profile


111 posts in 3377 days

#15 posted 05-18-2009 01:55 AM

These threads always give me the heebie jeebies but I open them to keep myself paranoid when I’m working.

Hope your finger feels better soon!


-- Beth

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