Well last night I was doing to mortises by hand. This was the first attempt I was making at these. At first they were a little bit tough. I couldn’t get a good amount removed and it seemed like it was taking forever, just like anything for the first time. I was determined to learn and not just give up. It would be nice to have an additional skill added to the woodworking bank. It was right around 10:30 or 11pm and I was getting a little tired (I’ll deal with that point later). I was making my 5th mortise and they were finally starting to move a little quicker and looking a little nicer, lots of improvement still needed though. I like how they were coming along. I had just got finished with one mortise and decided to test it with the matching tenon. It was a no go, the tenon was just a little too wide for it. Instead of messing with the mortise anymore I decided that I would shave a little bit off the tenon and get it fit. That was my second mistake. I should have just chipped a little bit more out of the mortise. Now I said that was my second mistake, so where is the first? It was being tired. I thought around 10 that I should have stopped, but I felt that I was on a roll and decided to push it. As I started to shave the tenon a little bit I felt some resistance, so what did I do? Pushed a little harder (sleepiness doesn’t help with judgement). All of a sudden I felt the chisel push through the little bit of resistance and then an extreme pain in my hand. Rule of thumb is that when using chisels you always keep both hands occupied, either both on the chisel or one on the chisel and one on the mallet. I was doing the first one, with carelessness. I had both hands on the chisel, but hand my point finger out in front for some “added stability”. After the chisel slipped through I looked and saw a about a 3/4” gash in my pointer finger/palm joining area, blood was pouring out of my hand. I grabbed a rag and wrapped it up quick. Headed to the bathroom and washed it the best I could. I got it bandaged up and after getting the blood to stop, it isn’t as bad as once thought (no stitches needed). I learned, and hope you learn from my mistake, that stop once you get tired. That’s the best time to make costly mistakes that can take fingers and maybe even arms. Also be very mindful of where your hands are. I’m brand new to hand mortises and have already learned a very valuable lesson. Take it easy and go get in the shop!!
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