Tell us about your woodworking accidents

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Forum topic by timthetoolman posted 12-21-2009 02:40 AM 12345 views 0 times favorited 77 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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41 posts in 3352 days

12-21-2009 02:40 AM

Hello, just wanted to start a subject about woodworking safety dealing with our accidents that we have had in the shop. Let us know of the accidents you have had and what we could do to prevent them from happening.

I’ll start with mine:

I was making custom bed for a girl at work, and i was cutting the last bed rail to length, and dealing with a circular saw with a sticky saw blade cover, it didn’t come back around the saw blade, and i was setting it back on the floor, and all of a sudden the blade caught my pant leg as it was slowing down, without the guard coming back in place. i quickly set the saw down, and looked at my pant leg that was sliced in two places, and looked in the hole, and there was a cut in my leg. it started to bleed. went into the house, and my wife wondered why i was in such a hurry to get to the bathroom, she saw what i did, and cleaning it up, it was only just past the skin, no farther, and we agreed just to fix it up here, with butterfly bandages, after we shaved off the hairs of my leg. you can still see the scar a little in the right light.

Make sure the safetly parts of your saws are in working order.

-- Tim The Toolman Dayton, Ohio

77 replies so far

View paulcoyne's profile


133 posts in 3143 days

#1 posted 12-21-2009 03:06 AM

while roofing a building using a paslode express nailer i had an accident, i had nailed a 2×2 down too hold the felt down from flapping in the wind and when it was time to take up the 2×2 i used my claw hammer to pry it up my hand was on the rafter and i slipped my hand slipped up the roof thumb went under nail and lost grip of hammer 2×2 still under preasure sprung back down on my hand and the nail passed straight through my thumb, i let a yelp and pulled the 2×2 back up and slid my thumb off the nail, covered it up and continued working… it ended up i chiped a bone in my thumb when the nail passed straight through. i was lucky it was a straight nail and not one of those extra grip ringed nails ;)

-- thats not a mistake... i ment that

View MrsN's profile


986 posts in 3549 days

#2 posted 12-21-2009 04:02 AM

In college I cut 1/16” off my index finger with a table saw. It was a production class so we were “mass producing” Jenga knock off games in a wooden box (the wooden block stacking game) I was ripping stock to size, about 5”, and had a pile of pieces that I was cutting. One of the pieces had a rough edge with a taper that I didn’t notice so I ran it though skinny end first. As the board made it to the thicker end it wedged itself between the blade and the blade guard and got stuck. In a moment of not thinking I decided that I could pull the guard up a bit to un-stick my part and keep cutting, so I take my left hand and flick the guard and keep cutting. I grab my part to see if I burned it at all while it got stuck and noticed this red spot on the board then look at my hand and realize I got my finger. I walked calmly to the lab assistant and said “we have a problem” then went to the sink to wash off my hand. My college professor helped me get it cleaned up a bit and I held pressure on it while we talked to campus police to file the accident report, then he cleaned the blood drops off of my shoe. The cop took me to the urgent care to get looked at. My roommate freaked out when I called to tell her I would need a ride home from the hospital because I cut my finger, she actually beat me to the hospital and had hospital security looking for me. When I called my mom to tell her she said “I bet you wish you had that math minor”, my dad said “are you ok” followed by “how could you be so stupid. I was also taking a class called lab and classroom management at the time, we spent the rest of the week talking about how we can keep our students from doing things like it.
Now I tell my students about it and tell them that just because they know the safety rules, or can recite all of the rules, or have done it before, shit still can happen. it takes about 1/2 a second of not thinking for something bad to happen.

View Padre's profile


930 posts in 3512 days

#3 posted 12-21-2009 04:19 AM

After dinner one night I decided to cut up a 10 foot 16/4 board of cherry into bowl sized turning blanks. I cut the wood with my circular saw into 16” lengths, then started cutting the 16” lengths on my bandsaw. I have on my 1” rake tooth blade, so I’m all set.

Put the first 16” on the bandsaw, cut in half like butter. Rounded both sides off. I then measured the true thickness and it was 5” not 4”. SOOOOOO, I said to myself, “Self, just resaw the bowl blank to 4” and you have a 1” piece for a plate to match.” I put the almost round blank up against my resaw fence, put it up to the blade and ZINGO, that very heavy piece of cherry bounced off my chin/cheek/mouth/nose in about 1 nanosecond. I used to box as a kid, and I never took a right as bad as this one hit.

I stood there for a second, dazed, wondering what the heck had happened. Then I felt some warm stuff on my mouth, nose and face, and I came inside. Looked in the mirror. Ouch. It had put my teeth through my bottom lip on the right hand side. It cut my upper lip inside and out and caused my nose to bleed. No loose teeth though! :) I’m bleeding like a stuck pig, so I grabbed a towel, headed out the door, and went to the ER. There I met a nice Physicians Assistant who stitched me up. She found a nice cherry splinter inside the laceration and in my mustache! :) When she went to inject the lidocaine, it squirted right through my lip from the outside to the inside. Man, that stuff tastes really bad.

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

View KevinVan's profile


91 posts in 3174 days

#4 posted 12-21-2009 04:34 AM

I basically bisected my thumb 4 weeks ago while cutting strips for the cutting boards I was making.

I said it before and I’ll say it again.

Don’t be fooled into thinking you are too skilled to have an accident.
The truth is you have been lucky…

Nobody plans an accident. Play it safe by using your guards and when you can’t, use sleds and/or jigs to keep your hands away from the blade.

I used to think I was experienced and would never be injured by a power tool.
I have now changed my tune..

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

View Rustic's profile


3253 posts in 3619 days

#5 posted 12-21-2009 04:35 AM

My father did you one better…He was using a circular saw to cut a board and had it propped up with his foot and damn near cut through the achilles tendon. I was cutting a piece of 4 inch PVC pipe on the TS and tried to turn into the blade (knowing I shouldn’t be doing this). Luckily I only mashed the skin on my right ring finger pretty bad.

--, Rick Kruse, Grand Rapids, MI

View bunkie's profile


412 posts in 3170 days

#6 posted 12-21-2009 05:10 AM

About 15 years ago, i was out in the garage. It was bitterly cold. So I was wearing my tough leather motorcycle jacket over a thick sweater on top of a flannel shirt and t-shirt. It was one of those “it will be okay just this once” moments and I was cross-cutting some 1/4” masonite on my table saw. The blade caught the workpiece and kicked it back into my abdomen. It felt like being kicked very hard. When I caught my breath, I went inside and discovered that despite all the layers, I was bleeding. Luckily it only broke the skin and all I suffered was serious bruising.

Since then, I have been very careful about kickback.

-- Altruism is, ultimately, self-serving

View dbhost's profile


5723 posts in 3255 days

#7 posted 12-21-2009 05:48 AM

Since I first used a power tool, I have had 2 accidents. Although only one was woodworking (the other was automotive).

Automotive, back in 1992, I was the station manager of a badly understaffed full service gas station in Tucson. We had one of the old stationary tire changers, the kind with the spindle that goes through the hub hole of the wheel, instead of the newer rim clamp style.

I was showing a new hire how to patch a tire, on a customers 4×4 pickup, 35×12.50/15 (same rubber size, smaller rim as my current tire). We let the air out, when I ran the bead breaker in the whole assembly, 95lb tire, wheel, spindle and all came right at me, knocked me over and twisted my back something fierce. I finished the job up, but went to the hospital nearly unable to move after my shift was over…

I have back trouble to this day related to that, and a car wreck in 2001…

Woodworking accident involves my lathe, and a tenon that failed. I was turning a 6” osage orange bowl blank, and had the tenon outright fail completely, the blank flew off of the lathe, bounced off my face shield giving me a small bruise on the bridge of my nose, and then grazed my scalp giving me a pretty annoying 3” long scraping cut.

I am praying those are my worst…

-- Please like and subscribe to my YouTube Channel

View grizzman's profile


7836 posts in 3326 days

#8 posted 12-21-2009 06:03 AM

i was making a table for a friend who was coming on short notice from out west…so i was trying to get this project done before he came..i was useing my chisel to clean a tennon on the table apron and was holding it with my left hand..the chisel of coarse in my right hand…NEVER,, have a hand above the chisel..yep it slipped and i saw a nice 2 inch cut ..thinking it was just a light laceration…..wrong…it layed my hand open..6 stiches later…it made me mad because i was thinking i didnt have time for this…wanted to use butterflys but my wife said to the dr we went…....

-- GRIZZMAN ...[''''']

View ajosephg's profile


1880 posts in 3584 days

#9 posted 12-21-2009 07:12 AM

A month ago I had a pint bottle of mineral spirits setting on my workbench, and a bottle of water setting about a foot away. You know what’s coming right?

So I’m working on something with my back to the bench, felt the need for a gulp of water, reached around without looking grabbed what I thought was the water and took a big gulp. Whoops – drank from the wrong container.

Thankfully the Lord was watching me, and my involunatary reflexes took over and I spit the MS out (all over the floor and project) before I swallowed any of it.

I rinsed my mouth with copius amounts of water and called poison control just in case. They said as long as I hadn’t swallowed or inhaled any of it I would be ok – and I was.

Lesson learned: Besides watching what you’re doing – keep chemicals a long distance away from anything that you intend to drink.

-- Joe

View SnowyRiver's profile


51457 posts in 3503 days

#10 posted 12-22-2009 06:29 AM

Although I have used table saws for years, the worst accident that I ever had, happened just about a year ago. I was cutting a small cherry drawer front on the table saw. As the cut off piece fell away, the blade slid it towards me…no big deal it was moving very slowly. I stepped to the right to let it slide off the table and when I did that I must have turned the piece I had just cut slightly into the back of the blade with the bush stick. Next thing I heard was a loud bang as the wood drawer front hit the floor in front of me. I couldnt get my breath at first and I had no feeling from mid chest to by belt line. I staggered around the shop for a few minutes trying to get my bearings. The feeling finally came back after a few minutes. I pulled up my shirt and had a cut from mid chest to my belt that was all black and blue on both sides. My plastic push boot had the end sawed off too. I wasnt sure if I should go to emergency or not, but got some ice out and sat watching TV with an ice bag. Things finally started to feel better so I went back to the shop and finished for the night. It took months for the red mark to disappear. I used to box, was in karate, and I played hockey so I used to get hit in the chest and stomach all the time, but never was I ever hit that hard.

The funny thing was that a couple of weeks later I had gotten a cold, so went to the doc and they shot an XRAY. They saw a spot on my lung, so they did a CT scan and said there were several calcium deposits or swollen limph glands in my right lung which werent serious, but they felt it came from the impact.

I put a riving knife on the saw now. I dont want to take any more chances. One episode of clearing the cobwebs was enough.

-- Wayne - Plymouth MN

View cliffton's profile


117 posts in 3104 days

#11 posted 12-22-2009 07:07 AM

When i was a kid in rural PA we would buy full cords of slatwood to burn in the winter. We usually had 10 to 12 cords to cut into 24 inch pieces so they would fit in the stoves. we used a 36 inch tractor driven crosscut saw that had a tilt table on it and absolutly no safety mechanism at all. As i was standing at that saw I fell asleep a little and grabbed a stack of boards and tilted it into the saw and BAAAM! i was awake. Ran the saw blade down the side of my right hand from the tip of the pinky to my wrist. I was bleeding like a stuck pig, I mean there was blood everywhere, my arms, face, chest, the saw, my brother next to me. My mom called the vet and he stiched me up, put a bandage on me and we finished cutting firewood, not me running the saw though. To this day i wont put my hands within 6 inches of my running table saw.

View Rick  Dennington's profile

Rick Dennington

5909 posts in 3217 days

#12 posted 12-22-2009 07:47 AM

Several years ago when I lived in Memphis, I was in the shop cutting some 1/4” birch ply to go on the back of a cabinet I was building. Done this a dozen times, right? So I’m feeding the ply through, and I thought I was all past the blade and through the cut, but I wasn’t. The blade caught the last little bit of the ply and shot that sucker back at me and hit my left hand and my hand went instantly numb for a bit. I looked at my hand, and my index finger was all boogered up and bleeding, layed open, and hurt like a banshee. This was about 10:00 a.m., so I grabbed some shop towels, wrapped it up, and went in and told my wife I might have to go to the Minor Medical Emergency. Went up there and there were about 30 people waiting to see a doctor. To heck with this. Went home, called our family doctor, and he didn’t even sew it up. He put that yellow goop on it, wrapped it up, and said let it heal from the niside out. Ok. The bad thing was, it was in the summertime, and I had to fish a night bass tournament that night. Guess I won’t be winning any mun tonight.

-- " At my age, happy hour is a crap and a nap".....

View ellen35's profile


2738 posts in 3455 days

#13 posted 12-22-2009 01:37 PM

Last summer I was working on a bandsaw box cutting out the overall shape. I was distracted (thinking of something else) and watched my thumb hit the blade as I said to myself… “my thumb is gonna hit that blade”!! Sure enough I had a 1 inch gash in my thumb. Being a nurse practitioner (and being a terrible patient), I decided that I was too busy to stop what I was doing. So… I “approximated the edges” as I learned in NP school and bandaged the finger with 4 band aids. It continued to bleed a little but not on the wood so I continued for another 6 hours (you have up to 12 hours to get stitches – that I know from my training). At the end of the day, I took the band aid off and that little 1 inch gash was about 1/2 inch deep and bleeding well. Off I went to the local ER where everyone knows me from my paying job. They all had a good laugh on me when the heard the story. They also put lots of novocaine into my thumb… that is the most painful part of getting sutures as most of you already know. Five sutures later I was fine. All my colleagues at work read me the riot act and told me to be more careful… duh!

-- "Don't let the perfect be the enemy of the good." Voltaire

View Moron's profile


5032 posts in 3916 days

#14 posted 12-22-2009 03:01 PM

pushing a slab of 1/4” thick x 20” wide lumber through the vintage planer, the board slipped up, hands went under, wood slapped down and was feeding both hands and arms into the planer… stopped before entering but it sure pinched my fingers into one big blood blister.

slipping on junk on the floor, loose balance, fall and hand slides across moving jointer knives…........just shaved the skin off

cutting a board on the TS, kicked and jammed hand against saw blade….....burnt the skin off

cutting cove on the TS, multiple passes on a 45 degree angle and had the fence on the wrong side of the blade, kicked back and sharpened index finger into apencil point.

drove screw through finger, into ceiling, dropped screw driver and was crucified to ceiling forthe next couple hours

pulled nail from ceiling, hammer came down and sliced my forehead open.

TWICE…...........I’ve ripped small strips on the TS and cut index finger, then baby finger into liver patte’

Saw a piece of white oak shatter on a TS, driving huge splinters through a fellas eye and forearm

saw a guy rip wood, ran his hand across the rip blade removing all four fingers and his thumb

saw a guy put a piece of lumber across the shaper, kicked back and removed thumb, index finger and next finger

saw a guy push lumber through the planer, knot fell half way out and stopped lumber from going through, he pushed the knot back up with his thumb and his thumb was sheered off.

watched a guy adjust the spring on an industrial overhead door…....clamps let go and in seconds he looked like a disected Frankenstein

-- "Good artists borrow, great artists steal”…..Picasso

View Don's profile


551 posts in 3265 days

#15 posted 12-22-2009 07:13 PM

Two weeks ago to the day, I allowed my mind to wander for just a split second but that’s all it took for my right thumb to kiss the tablesaw blade and leave a rather nasty rip up the side of it. Not a slice, as in a plunge, more of a paring or peeling action. Hope to be back in action next week.

A few years back I was pushing a large piece of plywood through the tablesaw, went to grab the cutoff which was falling off the table and saw the piece I was cutting get picked up by the blade and get thrown into the wall.

-- -- Don in Ottawa,

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