Use Guards

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Blog entry by beginner1 posted 07-01-2011 03:27 AM 1399 reads 0 times favorited 12 comments Add to Favorites Watch

Well today was a close call. Was in the shop working on a trellis for my wife. I was ripping a 2×4. Lost concentration for a SPLIT second. Wrapped my figers in a dirty shop towel and ran for my wife. Went to ER. Told them what happened and went to room 2. Doctor came and said let me see. Opened the towel and he said “Man that is bad.” We can’t do anything for you here, you’ll need a surgeon.

Let me explain. Our hospital here has only 20 beds, 3 floors, but dedicated people. They brought my uncle down the street from me, back twice from hearts attacks. So I new they were good. They shot me full of pain killers (3) and sent me to the surgeon. 4 hours later, lots of nylon and cat gut my tip of my finger is back together.

I lost about 1/4 inch in length and a small chip of the bone on my left index finger. I was really lucky. The first thing I’ll do went I get back to the shop, INSTALL guard back on saw. I was using a push stick, but it was the other piece that twisted and put my finger into the blade.

I hope everyone learns from me. Use them guards and concentrate.

Signed (My new nickname)

-- Gerald, Illinois

12 comments so far

View rance's profile


4259 posts in 3212 days

#1 posted 07-01-2011 03:39 AM

Sorry to hear of this. Glad it wasn’t any worse than it was. Looks like you’ll get most of your use back.

Could you explain more of how it happened, that will help us more than anything. Tell us about hand placement, featherboards, your experience level, hat size, etc. Thanks. :)

-- Backer boards, stop blocks, build oversized, and never buy a hand plane--

View Gary's profile


9336 posts in 3485 days

#2 posted 07-01-2011 04:23 AM

Been there, done that. Worst part is the scar tissue build up. Hurts… Plus, makes it hard to hold small objects. Sure teaches a good lesson though

-- Gary, DeKalb Texas only 4 miles from the mill

View Todd A. Clippinger's profile

Todd A. Clippinger

8901 posts in 4151 days

#3 posted 07-01-2011 05:15 AM

Sorry for your pain but thanks for sharing. It really has made me more aware of how I work with my own tools as I see people get hurt on a regular basis.

It always happens in an instant and often while the person is performing an action that they are familiar with.

When others share what has happened it continues to raise my own awareness. This is important as I use my tools to make a living and thank goodness I have not had a bad accident since I started working as a contractor back in 97.

-- Todd A. Clippinger, Montana,

View Bob Downing's profile

Bob Downing

43 posts in 2878 days

#4 posted 07-01-2011 05:36 AM

This kind of thing is one reason I am trying to use hand tools as much as possible. Not to try to one up Stubby here, but 2 days ago I was cutting a piece of wood with a hand saw. This involves a series of steps.
1- Notch corner of wood with chisel to make a starting groove for saw
2- Place saw in notch
3- Use left index finger to guide saw on backstroke
I forgot to do step 4
4- Remove index finger from saw on forward stroke
Just goes to show that even using handtools you always need to pay attention.

-- BobD Chandler, AZ

View yrob's profile


340 posts in 3704 days

#5 posted 07-01-2011 05:46 AM

I am glad you avoided a worse outcome. A few years ago I had just bought a contractor saw and was getting started using it. Got gradually more confident. A few weeks later I was ripping 2×4’s and it got stuck between blade and fence and kicked back. It shot back like a missile, barely missed me and planted itself into the vinyl siding of my house (i was setup on my porch). I probably did something wrong and lost my concentration and I barely avoided major trauma.

Since then , I decided that the potential risk of power tool was not worth taking for a hobby (at least the table saw. I still use a planner which i consider relatively safe and some drills and things like that for work around the house). So I totally switched to hand tools. It takes me longer to do things but I feel much more safe. I am not suggesting you should do that of course, this is just what I decided to do for myself.

-- Yves

View Manitario's profile


2630 posts in 2935 days

#6 posted 07-01-2011 06:31 AM

sorry to hear about the injury. I’m glad that it wasn’t worse. Once it is healed over, massage it lots to prevent scar tissue.

-- Sometimes the creative process requires foul language. -- Charles Neil

View lilredweldingrod's profile


2496 posts in 3159 days

#7 posted 07-01-2011 08:29 AM

Yep, been there dun that. Stuck my left thumb in the blade of a bandsaw. I’m sorry to hear of your mishap, but very glad it was no worse that it is. My experience was back in 1980. Since then I keep my fingers away from the blade by a safety margin of at least 6 inches. Haven’t had any more issues since and plan on it staying that way too.

As soon as you heal up make a nice set of push sticks and push blocks. Best wishes on the healing and a ditto on Rob’s advice of rubbing the repair to reduce the scarring.

View Victor708's profile


44 posts in 3365 days

#8 posted 07-01-2011 02:29 PM

I feel your pain, did the same thing on my jointer back in march. I now have a copy of the xray on the wall behind it as a reminder. I also have an impressive first aid kit on the wall too.

be safe,
stay focused.


-- "If a man is alone in the forrest with no woman to hear him. Is he still Wrong?"

View HerbC's profile


1772 posts in 2911 days

#9 posted 07-01-2011 04:28 PM


Sorry to hear about your injury. As you can see from my avitar photo, I’ve been there and done that...

Hope you have a good recovery and remember…



-- Herb, Florida - Here's why I close most messages with "Be Careful!"

View rrdesigns's profile


531 posts in 3238 days

#10 posted 07-02-2011 08:06 AM

One table saw accident occurs every nine minutes. It’s not a question of if, it’s a question of when. Yes, I am a Sawstop owner. Best purchase I ever made. In your experience, clearly the guard would have helped.
but sometimes the guard can’t be used. In these instances I always use a Grr-ripper ( Better safe than sorry. Glad your experience wasn’t worse. It only takes a second.

-- Beth, Oklahoma, Rambling Road Designs

View cloakie1's profile


204 posts in 2607 days

#11 posted 07-02-2011 10:41 AM

like a few others have commented i’m sorry for your accident too.i have also been there done that and it was on a tanner saw,it happened in 87 and i was 18 at the time.i reached around the sawblade to tailout a small piece that i was cutting a groove into,it grabbed and shot back out the front just as i got a got a hold of it and dragged my finger back thru the saw.didn’t hurt at the time as my hands were cold but i had a nice wide groove from the first knuckle to the finger tip.took about 2 years to get all the feeling back and the nail now grows in two pieces.i don’t use guards because most of what i do i can’t use them, but i’m a big fan of push sticks, back fences, fingerboards and powerfeeds these days.touch wood i have never had another accident since but was a huge wake up call at the time.

-- just get stuck in and have a go!!!

View beginner1's profile


74 posts in 2610 days

#12 posted 07-05-2011 03:23 AM

I was using a push tool, but what did wrong was this. I was ripping a 2×4. I had the push stick closest to the fence. What did wrong was push that piece away and not do the free piece. That free piece caught the blade and flipped my finger into the blade. I should have had the guard on and I should have had a outfeed table. I will make a outfeed table asap. Have to wait until finger gets better. Thanks for all the support and remember to be safe.

-- Gerald, Illinois

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