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Woodworking on a Half-Shoestring #27: Slice-n-Dice

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Blog entry by Paul Bucalo posted 02-09-2015 11:41 PM 1556 reads 0 times favorited 7 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 26: Hemlock woes Part 27 of Woodworking on a Half-Shoestring series Part 28: Old Hand Tools Acquisition »

Last week I decided I couldn’t hold off any longer in transferring the wife to what used to be my computer business workshop. I have scaled down the business to be mostly remote access and Linux installations and service, and she really needed the space for her school work and seamstress work.

Five days ago I was heavily into the tear-down of her office upstairs when I went for the paper cutter, on its side and wedged between a folding table leg and small cabinet. What I should have done was move the cabinet and then grab the unit by its front edge. Instead, being in a focused hurry, I grabbed the top edge where the blade is. On this model, and most that I have seen advertised or in office environments, the cutting bade is exposed even when parked in the completed-cut position. This is the most ridiculous design consideration ever. After I grabbed it I allowed my hand to slide on the pull. As soon as I did it I knew I was in trouble. The blade cut a deep, shallow-angled cut into the fleshy underside of my first finger.

I know you can cut a finger off and it won’t be life threatening if properly dealt with. I was still amazed at how much blood was coming out of the wound. I left some here and there as I searched for sterile bandages and gauze wrap. Trying to apply the dressing one-handed was almost comic to watch. I kept the dressing on for two days, hoping the wound had coagulated enough to allow removal of the dressing without tearing off the flap of skin laying over the cut. In retrospect, I wish I had applied cyanoacrylate and a non-stick pad over the wound before bandaging it up. That might have avoided the skin coming off with the pad. Oh well.

The wound was still oozing profusely when I applied the second dressing three days ago. This time I went with a NexCare water-proof bandage. This turned out to be a good choice.

Yesterday I removed the NexCare bandage. This is what the wound looked liked then:

It looks nasty, but what you are really seeing is the dried blood in and around the wound. The new skin is coming in nicely. No sign of infection. I wasn’t in any pain. Five hours later I was able to wash the finger with soap and water. Most of the dried blood washed off. There was still a crack within the wound running parallel to the knuckle that could bleed if I stretched it. I decided not to cover it back up, noting that it was healing much faster in the hours it had been left to air.

This picture was taken this morning. Quite an improvement over yesterday:

Looking at it now, you would never know what I had done. I am thankful that I am a quick healer. I am also thankful I will be getting back to work sooner over later. And to think, I didn’t even do this while woodworking. Who would have thought?

-- -- Paul Bucalo, Norwich NY USA



7 comments so far

View changeoffocus's profile

changeoffocus

457 posts in 1076 days


#1 posted 02-10-2015 01:11 AM

I have that same unsafe design paper cutter and every time I lift of it’s storage shelf I expect to see a cut.
After see the damage you experienced I’ll need to take the caution up a notch. Your post was not what I expected from the title but thanks for the warning.

View Paul Bucalo's profile

Paul Bucalo

619 posts in 819 days


#2 posted 02-10-2015 01:20 AM



I have that same unsafe design paper cutter and every time I lift of it s storage shelf I expect to see a cut.
After see the damage you experienced I ll need to take the caution up a notch. Your post was not what I expected from the title but thanks for the warning.

- Bob Current

It was a stupid mistake on my part, Bob, but nonetheless, cutters should have a guard to protect stray hands when lifting and moving it. I plan on making a simple, effective guard for the one we own, and one for the wife’s machine at her school, once I heal enough to be out in the saw dust. There is no excuse for paper cutters not having protective guards. Thanks for reading and I hope you never find a moment to be as careless asI was.

-- -- Paul Bucalo, Norwich NY USA

View jinkyjock's profile

jinkyjock

487 posts in 1033 days


#3 posted 02-10-2015 11:06 AM

On the upside your wound seems to be healing pretty well.
Never ceases to amaze me how the body re-generates and heals.
Be safe and make some (half-shoestring) dust.
Cheers, Jinky (James).

View Paul Bucalo's profile

Paul Bucalo

619 posts in 819 days


#4 posted 02-10-2015 01:09 PM



On the upside your wound seems to be healing pretty well.

It is, thankfully. I’m glad my pudginess had put some fat between skin and moving parts. If this had gone straight in instead of at a shallow angle, it would have been a quick trip to the E.R. for stitches.


Never ceases to amaze me how the body re-generates and heals.

Same here. I have always been a fast healer, which has surprised a few medical people over time. Seeing the daily change in the wound has made me thoughtful about how the body does this. Amazing machines, we are.


Be safe and make some (half-shoestring) dust.
Cheers, Jinky (James).

Thanks, James. Cheers!

-- -- Paul Bucalo, Norwich NY USA

View handsawgeek's profile

handsawgeek

591 posts in 855 days


#5 posted 02-10-2015 05:12 PM

Egads, Man!!! That looks nasty, but it is healing well. Glad it wasn’t more serious. Do be careful around things that can bite.
It’s always in the back of my mind while I’m in the shop, or anywhere else, to keep my fingers in good shape. Not only does a cut or scrape hinder woodworking, but it also effects playing stringed instruments. It always seems that whenever I get even a stupid lttle paper cut, it always has to be right on the part of the finger that has to fret notes or place for chords. Highly irritating.

Anyway, glad you’re OK!

-- Ed

View luv2learn's profile

luv2learn

2458 posts in 1762 days


#6 posted 02-10-2015 05:31 PM

Paul, things like that can happen in a flash. I am glad it wasn’t more serious and that you appear to be on the mend.

-- Lee - Northern idaho~"If the women don't find you handsome, at least they ought to find you handy"~ Red Green

View Paul Bucalo's profile

Paul Bucalo

619 posts in 819 days


#7 posted 02-10-2015 06:39 PM

Thanks Ed and Lee!

As I mentioned to Bob here earlier, it was totally my fault that it happened. I was in a hurry, as we tend to be when moving things around in a room. It’s easy to forget, when you are moving household and office materials around, how dangerous such a tool can be. I’ll have a guard on that beast as soon as I get back into my workshop and post my solution here for anyone needing similar.

When I am working with cutting tools, I am extremely cautious and ultra-aware of where the cutting edge is and what could draw me into it. Some would say I am too cautious, uncomfortable with the tool I am working with. It’s just that I know how fast things happen and this injury was a case of not thinking before I grabbed. Plus, I have such an active imagination. I tend to dramatize the worse in my head, quite often. So it was sort of a slap in the face for me to do this to myself. A woodworker is generally going to get hurt in his workshop doing…woodworking. Oh no, not me. I have to do it while moving stuff around in the house. Sheesh. :)

-- -- Paul Bucalo, Norwich NY USA

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