Reply by DustyMojave

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Posted on A Near Tragedy

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4 posts in 2072 days

#1 posted 09-20-2012 05:21 AM

Working with power tools of any sort can be quite dangerous and we all need to be careful of what we do. I often make a living as a metal fabricator. There are lots of things I work with in that which could alter my life permanently.

I’d say the teacher Uncle Salty above has done quite well to have only 2 incidents in 25 years of teaching shop. Since the mid 70s, I’ve been to the emergency room 3x myself for “Industrial Accidents”.

Once was for a power tool incident. It wasn’t woodworking, but the equipment involved does get used for woodworking. It was a belt sander. 2” x 72” “Square Wheel”. I was prepping bronze casting pieces to weld them together to assemble an 8’ high x 6’ wide sculpture of “The Burning Bush” for a Jewish Synagogue. The pieces needed to get a “brushed finish” lengthwise on all sides, then the joint areas needed to be chamfered about 5/16” all around both sides of the joint for the weld. then the welds would later be ground and the finish matched. So in chamfering one of the pieces with 36 grit on the belt sander, the 20-some pound piece slipped off the belt and my right thumb jammed in with all the force I was applying. The nail was obliterated back to the knuckle. To date, that was the most painful injury I’ve ever experienced. It grew back almost undetectable though.

The other 2 times were for stitches in cuts in exactly the identical spot between the thumb and forefinger of my left hand. Both times were with the same wood chisel.

In the late 70s, I worked for a cabinet shop. I was an installer, so didn’t normally work inside the shop. One time, I was held up waiting for cabinets to be made as the shop was behind in production. So to make things happen, I was told the only way I could get the cabinets in the next 2 weeks was if I came into the shop and built them myself. Working in construction, there were plenty of injuries on the job. but when I went into that shop, I learned that every employee who had been doing that job for 5 years or more was missing digits from one or both hands. It was bizarre at break time the 1st day when the gang of 30-or so employees were sitting around outside on stacks of lumber munching on burritos and whatever. One of the older employees and I were talking about the subject of missing digits and he raised his voice and asked for a show of fingers. Gave me the willies working in there and I was glad when I was done with the set of cabinets and out of there! Not my idea of a safe shop.

-- Richard

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