It's Not Just The Table Saw

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Forum topic by rsmith71 posted 02-08-2010 05:28 AM 5762 views 0 times favorited 20 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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269 posts in 2467 days

02-08-2010 05:28 AM

Topic tags/keywords: question router safety injury

I know that the majority of injuries in the shop seem to be table saw accidents but I thought I ought to share this story with everyone.
If tha table saw is the most used tool in the shop, then the router is a close second. Between handheld operations and the router table, how often do you use it every day? I know for me it’s a lot. In fact, about half the time I use my routers more than the saw. That said, I’ve always tried to be safe and careful with them. Something about carbide spinning at 22,000 RPMs + an inch or two from my hand makes me think.

On March 13th of last year (Friday the 13th, go figure) I was building a Red Oak china cabinet for a guy. I had to do some routing to trim a panel. Used a straightedge and a top roller flush trim bit. The cutter was 2” long. Somehow, and I still don’t know how, the bit hit SOMETHING and kicked back so hard and fast the the router did a backflip out of my hands. The torque of the free spinning motor spun it back and over- right to left. I reacted by jerking my hands back as soon as it left them, which is probably the only thing that saved my thumb. As it came down the bit landed on my left thumb at the knuckle on it’s side and the cutters ran down my thumb getting deeper as it went.
Router Injury

I was lucky. The doc said if I hadn’t been pulling away as quickly as I had, they’d be re-attaching my thumb instead of cleaning it and sending me home with pain pills.

I’m curious about injuries other than the table saw. Those seem to be shared pretty quickly. There are so many dangerous tools in our shops to be cautious with. Sometimes we get too comfortable with many of them and things like this happen. I still don’t know if the cord got pulled tight causing it to tip and bite or if I hit somthing with the bit or shavings got between the bit and part causing the kick back. Maybe other stories will help. Anyway, thanks for looking. I hope it helps someone else avoid this. The scarring’s there for life but I do have full use of the thumb still.

-- Robert - Haven Wood Crafts

20 replies so far

View a1Jim's profile


115177 posts in 3001 days

#1 posted 02-08-2010 06:43 AM

That’s scary. I’m glad it wasn’t worse. It’s not a good idea to be using a 2” router bit any were but in a router table and then your need to be extra careful. I think you know that now?

-- Custom furniture

View Gary's profile


8965 posts in 2857 days

#2 posted 02-08-2010 07:25 AM

Robert….we have more in common than I thought

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

View rsmith71's profile


269 posts in 2467 days

#3 posted 02-08-2010 07:27 AM

That’s what I thought yesterday!

-- Robert - Haven Wood Crafts

View jasony's profile


47 posts in 2502 days

#4 posted 02-08-2010 08:06 AM

Holy cow, man, that made me sit up and suck in some air. Really glad you’re okay, and it reminds me again to wear my protective gear, always use guards, and THINK. Hope you’re healing well, and glad you’ll have total use of it.

View Jeison's profile


951 posts in 2532 days

#5 posted 02-08-2010 08:17 AM

yikes :(

-- - Jei, Rockford IL - When in doubt, spray it with WD-40 and wrap it with duct tape. The details will attend to themselves.

View KayBee's profile


1083 posts in 2670 days

#6 posted 02-08-2010 08:23 AM

Ouch!! Glad nothing more permanent than a scar. Routers always scare me. Too many people get to comfortable with them. Too much cutter spinning around and the whole spinning thing is moving around. At least table saws aren’t moving around and half of the cutting surface is below the table.

-- Karen - a little bit of stupid goes a long way

View SnowyRiver's profile


51452 posts in 2904 days

#7 posted 02-09-2010 05:11 PM

Routers can be dangerous. I posted a picture on here a couple of weeks ago (under post “Big Bang Theory) where the router bit slipped in the collet and took out the entire base plate of my router. Some years ago I was doing dovetails. Like an idiot I had a long sleeve shirt on with the sleeves rolled up mid forearm. When I got done doing the last dovetail, I let go of the power switch and removed the router from the jig. As I pulled the router out I let go of it with one hand and the router kind of swung up near my left forearm and cut my shirt cuff off. Fortunately it didnt come in contact with my skin. Needless to say, I work in short sleeve shirts now and keep both hands on it until it stops.

-- Wayne - Plymouth MN

View Beginningwoodworker's profile


13347 posts in 3097 days

#8 posted 02-09-2010 05:24 PM

Ouch thats hurt, was you using a push block?

View williams's profile


53 posts in 2441 days

#9 posted 02-21-2010 11:30 PM

Ow. Have a dumb router question. Can you safely route an edge on a router table with stock *between the bit and the fence? Say to square a board against the flat fence. Or is this an anti-pattern?

-- William, Brighton, MI

View Ger21's profile


1047 posts in 2555 days

#10 posted 02-22-2010 12:16 AM

Never run a piece between the bit and the fence. The router will grab it and throw it back at you, or worse. Not a dumb question.

-- Gerry,

View matt garcia's profile

matt garcia

1877 posts in 3096 days

#11 posted 02-22-2010 12:33 AM

I’ve got one of those!!!

-- Matt Garcia Wannabe Period Furniture Maker, Houston TX

View dannymac's profile


144 posts in 2440 days

#12 posted 02-25-2010 04:34 AM

Since an accident as a kid with a hacksaw i’ve maintain a heathy respect for all my tools.

Until recently working on my new shop no less

applying vapor barrior in preparetion of a new shingle job. I stapled my finger to the sheathing. you wouldn’t believe the language that spouted forth.

Then shingling said building i left my 9 in block plane on top of a 24ft ladder. you can guess what happened when i had to move that ladder. what a freaken headache.

-- dannymac

View Padre's profile


930 posts in 2913 days

#13 posted 02-25-2010 04:51 AM

Ouch. OUCH!!! How is the hand today, almost a year later?

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

View rsmith71's profile


269 posts in 2467 days

#14 posted 02-25-2010 04:59 AM

Hand’s fine. Luckily, very little damage to muscle. I have an interesting scar and full use. I got lucky, no doubt. I’ve used routers nearly every day for 20 years and never have seen anything like this happen to me or anybody else. I still don’t know for sure why it kicked back but it kept me awake a few nights wondering.

-- Robert - Haven Wood Crafts

View miles125's profile


2180 posts in 3430 days

#15 posted 02-25-2010 05:22 AM

I’ve seen router bits heat up and go into like an ocillating warp much like a tablesaw blade will do when overheated. Only last a couple seconds and it goes back completely normal. May been what threw you for a loop? Really would almost have to be a dull bit getting dogged pretty hard to produce such a thing though.

-- "The way to make a small fortune in woodworking- start with a large one"

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