And we shall call him stubby

  • Advertise with us
Blog entry by Webb posted 11-22-2009 10:15 PM 1896 reads 1 time favorited 18 comments Add to Favorites Watch

Hacked off the end of my thumb on the table saw last weekend. All things considered I got very lucky; but still had to have surgery to cut back the exposed bone and move some skin around. What is the most dangerous tool in the shop? My answer – whatever it is that you take your eye off, even, or especially, for a moment.

After due consideration, looking at the fact that I do consider myself careful on the TS, the stats for accidents there and the fact that I have kids I will want to use it someday, the loml and I have decided that a SawStop would be a good investment.

Now I have to sell the almost-new steel city hybrid. I’m actually very happy with the saw though it is obviously not in the same league as the SawStop so I’m looking forward to the upgrade.

Including links to pics as a horrible warning of what a very minor ts accident looks like…

Not for the squeamish :-) I kept them links so as to make seeing them optional.

18 comments so far

View Mike Gager's profile

Mike Gager

665 posts in 3261 days

#1 posted 11-22-2009 10:54 PM


what exactly were you doing when it happened? do you use a guard?

View dustbunny's profile


1149 posts in 3289 days

#2 posted 11-22-2009 10:56 PM

Eewwww :(
Sorry about your thumb.
You said you were distracted, did the wood kickback or did you run it with the wood into your blade.
I turned my saw to face the door in the shop, the family was always sneaking up from behind.
No surprises.
Good luck adjusting…it will get better with time.


-- Imagination rules the world. ~ Napoleon Bonaparte ~

View Scott Bryan's profile

Scott Bryan

27250 posts in 3816 days

#3 posted 11-22-2009 11:03 PM

Webb, I am so sorry for you. I am sure the thumb will heal in time and you should regain most of the lost tissue. By posting this you will make many of us a little more safety conscious and help to prevent something like this from happening to someone else. And I agree that a Sawstop would be a good addition to your shop.

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

View littlecope's profile


3071 posts in 3496 days

#4 posted 11-22-2009 11:16 PM

Yikes!! Those pics are really gruesome!! No mercy in those saws, is there?
Best wishes for quick healing, my Friend!! Be Careful Everybody!!! One moment of inattention or distraction and… :-O

-- Mike in Concord, NH---Unpleasant tasks are simply worthy challenges to improve skills.

View Webb's profile


46 posts in 3280 days

#5 posted 11-23-2009 12:10 AM

I was making a cutting board; I was ripping a 2’ or so section of 8/4 maple at about 1 1/4” to the fence side (using a push stick) and about 5/8” on the left of the blade. I think what happened is that i wanted to remove the small strip which had been grabbed by the pawls away from the blade and wasn’t paying attention to my thumb, but to be honest my memories of the exact moment of the accident are a little fuzzy. I may also have been paying attention to keeping the push stick out of the blade since there wasn’t much space there either.

Until recently, I did not use the blade guard/pawls etc. but I recently posted a comment that I thought they often did more harm than good and I figured I was taunting Murphy by leaving them off; additionally i realized that the entrance to the garage from the house is about a yard to the left behind me at the saw… just about right for somebody to be skewered entering the garage so I put them all back :-).

View Jimi_C's profile


507 posts in 3229 days

#6 posted 11-23-2009 12:17 AM

Ouch. That’s why I don’t touch anything till that blade stops moving, a good safety reminder for all of us. Glad it didn’t do any more harm than it did, and I hope you recover quickly.

-- The difference between being defeated and admitting defeat is what makes all the difference in the world - Upton Sinclair, "The Jungle"

View john's profile


2370 posts in 4376 days

#7 posted 11-23-2009 12:32 AM

That,s a masher !!

-- John in Belgrave (Website) ,

View IkeandBerry's profile


45 posts in 3258 days

#8 posted 11-23-2009 01:05 AM

I cut my middle finger on my left hand about 5 years ago. I was tired and knew that I should stop and tried to make on more mitre cut and cut my finger right along the fingernail. My finger looks normal and it now actually hyper sensitive. The doctor said that happens sometimes when the nerves have to completely rework their network. Now that finger is used to test the smoothness of boards. Kind of odd that a bad injury ended up giving a better sense of touch out of my finger. I hope all goes well in the healing of your thumb.

-- There is nothing like the sound of a hand plane passing across a board in an otherwise quiet shop.

View KevinVan's profile


91 posts in 3145 days

#9 posted 11-23-2009 01:49 AM

I did it too last weekend. I was also making a cutting board.
A saw stop would be nice, but it’s just too expensive for me.
Hopefully the price of the safety feature will come down and other manufactures will be allowed to put it on their saws. I’m sure there are a lot of legal patent issues involved. Too bad for us. For now we must pay the price or live with the risks.

I’m getting better every day, hope you are too.

Edit: I just saw that you replied to my almost identical story. I guess you, me and others like us are members or should I say dismembers of a not so elite club. LOL

-- ALS IK KAN “to the best of my ability,”

View NBeener's profile


4816 posts in 3168 days

#10 posted 11-23-2009 02:28 AM

I’m not particularly squeamish, but … you did a fine job, there (EEK!)

I’m so sorry. I can’t imagine the shock, horror, pain, and even the frightful moment of “Did I REALLY just DO that??” that you must have gone through. If you’re a family man, stuff like this sends ripples through the home, too.

My hopes for a speedy recovery and return of full use of the digit.

Sadly … It truly COULD have been worse…..

-- -- Neil

View NBeener's profile


4816 posts in 3168 days

#11 posted 11-23-2009 02:29 AM

Wow, Kevin. Just noticed YOUR post, too!! My same best wishes to YOU for a full and speedy recovery.


-- -- Neil

View Jim Bertelson's profile

Jim Bertelson

4173 posts in 3159 days

#12 posted 11-23-2009 03:30 AM

Sounds like you will be OK. Hope it is true. Thanks for sharing, this is the way we all learn.

The most dangerous tool is the table saw. The most dangerous thing we do is to try to reach cut off pieces before the saw stops. Read that somewhere. Let the saw stop, or at worst, use a piece of wood to reach it.

-- Jim, Anchorage Alaska

View Jimi_C's profile


507 posts in 3229 days

#13 posted 11-23-2009 03:37 AM

@Jim: I agree. When I bought my jointer, the guy selling it said he considered it his most dangerous tool (and he had a RAS…). After reading sites like this for a while, I’m sure he’s dead wrong, and that the most dangerous is the table saw (followed closely by the router/router table).

-- The difference between being defeated and admitting defeat is what makes all the difference in the world - Upton Sinclair, "The Jungle"

View Jim Bertelson's profile

Jim Bertelson

4173 posts in 3159 days

#14 posted 11-23-2009 04:15 AM


We can see this from the posts. And it is only through the victims that we learn it. Thanks to Webb and fine folks like him that tell about their misfortune, again, thanks Webb, this is the way we learn. Appreciate it. You may well have saved someone a similar fate.

-- Jim, Anchorage Alaska

View Rj's profile


1047 posts in 3625 days

#15 posted 11-23-2009 04:37 AM

Webb your situation is almost exactly why I bought a Saw Stop. I whacked off the end of my right hand middle finger, someone came up from behind me tapped me on my shoulder I turned around and dragged my finger over the blade it sure doesn’t take much … those blades are hungry beasts get to close and wham bam thank you ma‘am your seeing a seamstress to stitch you back up . I figured the SS is just one less tool in the shop to bite me .It does cost more but I feel its like buying insurance ! I don’t like pain and I don’t like not being able to do the thing I like best SHOP TIME oh and I better add (or the wife will have her say) Bed time with the wifey got to make her happy!!!

I did the same thing to my left middle finger on the jointer, I live across from a school a parent pulled up in my driveway …Honked her horn (to ask me if she could park in my driveway) I jumped/turned around dragged my finger over the knife blade and was at the seamstress Again. I did show her my hand with blood streaming down my arm and politely told her Hell NO .Now I shut the garage door Etc.

Hope you recover soon!!

-- Rj's Woodworks,San Jose & Weed Ca,

showing 1 through 15 of 18 comments

Have your say...

You must be signed in to post the comments.

DISCLAIMER: Any posts on LJ are posted by individuals acting in their own right and do not necessarily reflect the views of LJ. LJ will not be held liable for the actions of any user.

Latest Projects | Latest Blog Entries | Latest Forum Topics