Table saws aren't the only thing to be careful of...

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Blog entry by ryno101 posted 02-14-2010 05:22 PM 2953 reads 0 times favorited 18 comments Add to Favorites Watch

I was just about to start on the first glue up of the walnut entertainment center I’m working on… well, needless to say, I didn’t end up finishing.

One of the tenons was about 1/32” too long, and I was just in that “finish quick and get on to the glue-up” mindset. One inattentive cut, and I ended up with a razor-sharp 3/4” bench chisel through the back side of my thumb.

I put this up as a reminder…BE CAREFUL!

Whenever I am using my chisels, I always think to myself “If I slip, is my hand in the path of the chisel?”. It’s not like setting up a table saw, laying out a cut, etc. where the process forces the safety issue into your thoughts. Hand tools are easy to grab, use for 2 seconds, and move on. But those 2 seconds need to be as important to you safety-wise as the time on the big power tools. Every time you use a chisel, make sure you’re not in it’s path!

Seven stitches, and two days of lost shop time, not to mention the fact that I came within a millimeter of severing a tendon, and it seems like I’ve lost all the nerves on the back of my thumb from the knuckle to the end.

Be careful out there, my fellow Jocks!

-- Ryno

18 comments so far

View rtb's profile


1099 posts in 2747 days

#1 posted 02-14-2010 05:33 PM

We can always use a reminder, thanks for sharing your accident and especially the photos, which always bring the lessen home.

-- RTB. stray animals are just looking for love

View bluchz's profile


187 posts in 2408 days

#2 posted 02-14-2010 05:44 PM

I did the same thing this past summer only to my index finger. See my seven stitch pencil box project. Now it’s 2 hands on the chisel for me.

-- flash=250,100][/flash]

View rsmith71's profile


269 posts in 2077 days

#3 posted 02-14-2010 06:13 PM

Did something similar several years ago. Quick trim with chisel in right hand, holding part down with left. Chisel skipped off, down 2nd finger and buries between 1st and 2nd fingers. 6 stitches in the meat between fingers at the base. Yeah, it happens fast.

-- Robert - Haven Wood Crafts

View Todd A. Clippinger's profile

Todd A. Clippinger

8800 posts in 3134 days

#4 posted 02-14-2010 06:31 PM


-- Todd A. Clippinger, Montana,

View a1Jim's profile


113725 posts in 2611 days

#5 posted 02-14-2010 06:47 PM

YEEEEEEEEWWWWe That’s gotta hurt. Wish you a speedy recovery

-- Custom furniture

View PurpLev's profile


8520 posts in 2683 days

#6 posted 02-14-2010 07:05 PM

ouch! sorry to hear you’ve been woodworked ON. what I find amusing in this is that WE ALL seem to be using paper towel/TP and tape as first aid supplies… except those lucky enough to have pads around.

this is where the need for workbench+vises+stops came from. when you don’t use your hands/body parts to support the wood while working on it, there’s (usually) nothing in the way of the blades that can get hurt. I always make sure that there’s NOTHING in the direction of the cut when working with hand tools. been there done that – and didn’t like it.

hope the feelings come back soon, and this will be nothing more than a good lesson.

-- ㊍ When in doubt - There is no doubt - Go the safer route.

View Brad_Nailor's profile


2534 posts in 2992 days

#7 posted 02-14-2010 07:44 PM

The one downside to having extremely sharp chisels! Hope you regain the feeling soon….

It is so true that most accidents happen when we are in a rush…SLOW DOWN AND THINK ABOUT WHAT YOUR DOING!


View Padre's profile


930 posts in 2523 days

#8 posted 02-14-2010 07:47 PM

So sorry to hear about your accident. I hope it heals quickly and you are back to full health quickly. And thank you for posting this reminder about shop safety. We all need to be reminded time and again.

-- Chip ----------- 6:8

View sras's profile (online now)


4236 posts in 2164 days

#9 posted 02-14-2010 08:29 PM

The only time I have drawn blood with a tool was with a chisel. Hand was in the path and I knew better. Lucky for me, it was only a small cut – no down time. Any tool that can cut wood will cut flesh. Thanks for the reminder.

-- Steve - Impatience is Expensive

View Dez's profile


1149 posts in 3112 days

#10 posted 02-14-2010 08:40 PM

No matter how tough we think we are we are not near as hard as wood.

-- Folly ever comes cloaked in opportunity!

View rsmith71's profile


269 posts in 2077 days

#11 posted 02-14-2010 08:43 PM

Except we’re usually more hard(headed) than wood!

-- Robert - Haven Wood Crafts

View lou's profile


340 posts in 2477 days

#12 posted 02-14-2010 09:04 PM

SAFETY FIRST,but we seem to learn the hard way.glad it was not worse.get well quick.

View RandyMarine's profile


236 posts in 2404 days

#13 posted 02-14-2010 10:02 PM

And sometimes it just happens….I was taking a 3 1/2” deck screw out of a deck, when the bit broke at a good clip causing the drill to slip and drill into my knuckle…yup that was a fun injury.

Hope your recovery is quick.

-- Semper Fi, Randy Sr.

View WoodshopJoe's profile


99 posts in 2294 days

#14 posted 02-15-2010 02:14 AM

Yup, that’s gonna leave a mark

-- Joe Truehart - The Craftsmans Woodshop

View DocK16's profile


1162 posts in 3121 days

#15 posted 02-15-2010 05:06 AM

I did this exact same thing last weekend except I managed to put a nice gash in my left index finger. (Should have been using my new shoulder plane instead of a chisel. The diagonal slice went clear thru the skin but lucklily mised the underlying tendons. Skiipped the ER and have been keeping it bandaged, healing but slowly. got to use that first aid kit that has been hanging on my shop wall for the past few years. One thing about those shop mishaps is you always think afterwards “that was dumb” Hope you’re healing well.

-- Common sense is so rare anymore when you do see it, it looks like pure genius.

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