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Forum topic by Jon Anderson posted 01-17-2012 06:53 AM 1782 views 0 times favorited 16 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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Jon Anderson

31 posts in 2328 days

01-17-2012 06:53 AM

I’ve written two questions in this group and got just the greatest answers anyone could ask for. I have to share this with you in the hope that maybe it might give someone a second chance. I’m a potter by trade and One of the most important things in my life is playing quitars. I’ve been told by many people that maybe woodworking wasn’t the best way for me to express myself as a artist and that I was jeopradizing my living with all the tools used in woodworking. So I took a position, since I love working in wood, that I would take extra caution in working in my woodshop. I’m well equipped and have lots of space. I was working with a router in the way that I felt was neccessary to do what I wanted done. What happened is that the router, even with sharp bits, grabed the wood piece and launched it across the room and sucked my hand into the router. As soon as it happened and how it happened, I realized instantly that my techneke was wrong. I felt some pain and I knew that it had cut me but I thought maybe it was Ok, I looked down and it wasn’t. What I did was routered off the tip of my middle finger at a angle to my finger that made the largest wound possible. It was amazing it didn’t hurt that much and it didn’t bleed at all ,even though it was basically hamburger. So we drove 10 miles to the nearest hospital and while I checked in at the office workers table it decided that it was blood free long enough and started actually squirting blood all over the place. A nurse came and put a dressing on it but it worked very lttle to stop the bleeding. Along with the blood came the pain I took off much of the soft tissue at the end of my finder ,I ground off some of the bone and it also broke the bone. So he said he would sew it up but to do that he had to cut off much of the tip of the finger(half my nail and quite a bit of tissue) and snip the bone that was protruding. He said it would take a real long time to heal because it would stay only a partially closed wound. He took 1 1/2 hours trying to stop the bleeding , it wouldn’t stop and when he was done i looked at it and said that won’t do, he hadn’t closed it hardly at all , He said it might take 5 months to heal, which didn’t exactly fit into my schedule ,I have had skin graphs before so I asked him about it. After a while he suggested that I see a hand specialist, with the hope and posibility of a skin graph. I gave you all the gory details because Ihopefully I want this to be a example on our working with wood. Plus I’m 3/4 stoned out on drugs. I could have been shown by another more knowledable woodworker or I could have asked questions to a group like this. Think it out completely and ask the right questions.

-- jbander

16 replies so far

View a1Jim's profile


117090 posts in 3573 days

#1 posted 01-17-2012 07:03 AM

Sorry to hear about your accident I hope your finger heals quickly .

-- wood crafting & woodworking classes

View TCCcabinetmaker's profile


932 posts in 2351 days

#2 posted 01-17-2012 07:30 AM

I’m sorry to hear about your wounding, but you left out the important part for the beginners, what you did that went horribly wrong. I know it takes alot to type, but if you want to teach the lesson, that’s what is needed.

-- The mark of a good carpenter is not how few mistakes he makes, but rather how well he fixes them.

View NateX's profile


98 posts in 2992 days

#3 posted 01-17-2012 07:31 AM

There but for the grace of god go I.

Here’s to a speedy recovery.

View Jon Anderson's profile

Jon Anderson

31 posts in 2328 days

#4 posted 01-17-2012 08:31 AM

Sure, I put my hands closer then was safe to the cutting surface. Thinking that that was the way to do what I wanted done and I wanted it done well ,just like all of us. What I didn’t know was that the router could take hold of the wood, even with sharp cutting surfaces and litteral launch the wood like 100 miles and hour across the room( put a whole in the garage door) and sucking my hand into the router. If someone would had shown me or if I took the time to ask, I think I would have known better. Thats the point, I was willing to take the chance because I wanted it done right, what I know now ,is simply, if you can’t push the wood through these fast moving blades with something other then your hand then it is something that shouldn’t be done. Thats what I did while I was in the hospital for 5 hours, Figured out pushing and holding tools that I could and should have used. It’s a mechanical problem to be able to hold it secure, push it and hold it to the edge that you are following ,like the fence. Different situations call for different push/holding tools, you have to take the time to make them ,Ask someone. Study. . I’m going to a hand specialist in the morning and I’m hoping for a skin graph otherwise he said it could take up to 5 months to heal over. The doctor was unable to close it, in fact it took him putting in and taking out stiches to get it to stop bleeding, I’ve always have had trouble bleading to much all my life.

-- jbander

View TCCcabinetmaker's profile


932 posts in 2351 days

#5 posted 01-17-2012 08:55 AM

I’m sorry to hear all of it, I know some people who have had simiiliar mishaps, but none so bad.

Yes the router bit can grab the wood, and a sharp blade will actually lesson the damage it does to you though.
Also if you try to push a workpiece backwards on a router bit, it can also grab. These aren’t things you want to do with your hands anywhere near the blades.

It’s usually best to use a router table with a fence for doing some kinds of routing. And yes, please use push sticks.

-- The mark of a good carpenter is not how few mistakes he makes, but rather how well he fixes them.

View Pimzedd's profile


602 posts in 4139 days

#6 posted 01-17-2012 09:03 AM

Saw something similar happen to a co-worker routing 1/2 in. lexan. He lost the ends of two fingers.

I lost half on my index finger in a 75 ton press. Had an excellent hand/plastic surgeon. He saved all he could.

Keep us updated on how you are doing. Hoping for the best for you.

-- Bill - Mesquite, TX --- "Everything with a power cord eventually winds up in the trash.” John Sarge , timber framer and blacksmith instructor at Tillers International school

View David Kirtley's profile

David Kirtley

1286 posts in 2994 days

#7 posted 01-17-2012 08:11 PM

We are pretty fragile creatures. Flesh gives little resistance to tools made for cutting through wood. On the other side though, you could have mangled it just as badly on a car door so I wouldn’t say that it is something unique to woodworking. It doesn’t even have to be powered tools. I spent the better part of a Saturday the other week with my mother at the ER when she sliced off the side of her finger with a rotary cutter while cutting material for her quilting.

Thankfully, when I had my “lessons” on safety, they were near misses that didn’t involve serious permanent injury. Nothing beyond a few stitches. I just have to constantly remind myself not to get bitten by the next phase. The one where you think you are too experienced to get injured.

-- Woodworking shouldn't cost a fortune:

View DrDirt's profile


4424 posts in 3738 days

#8 posted 01-17-2012 08:20 PM

I hope you heal well enough to continue your activities soon. Sure it will take a while to get to the guitar with a fingertip injury like that.
Sorry it is after the fact but perhaps a trip to one of the WW schools would give you a jump start -

Not to specifically plug MASW – but Marc teaches a intro class every year – this time in May below is the description:

This class will advance your woodworking skills by leaps and bounds and is perfect for beginners or a husband-and-wife team wanting to spend a week together building new woodworking skills. Students begin the week by learning tool safety and setup, and proper techniques for using both stationary power equipment and hand tools. Design, wood movement, joinery techniques and veneer applications are presented next. Each student will have the opportunity to practice hand skills such as sharpening, scraping techniques, hand cutting dovetails, mortise-and-tenon joints, and ways to cut and lay up veneer patterns called parquetry. On Wednesday, students begin making a sculpted nightstand that will put into practice the Monday lesson on stationary power tools and hand tools. Students are required to use hand shaping techniques to give the nightstand a personality all its own. By Thursday, students begin assembling the nightstand and start preparing it for finishing. The goal is to complete the table (except finishing) by Friday afternoon. By the end of the week students will be on their way to a better understanding of fine craftsmanship.
Key Points:
  • Learn the safe ways to use power tools
  • Joinery selection, including how to cut dovetails
  • Working with veneer
  • Develop hand skills
  • Learn sharpening techniques
  • Learn how to sculpt wood to flow
  • Sanding and finishing techniques

-- “The two most important days in your life are the day you are born and the day you find out why.” Mark Twain

View rance's profile


4258 posts in 3156 days

#9 posted 01-17-2012 08:25 PM

Bummer dude. Glad it wasn’t any worse.

So what angle? You said ”...routered off the tip of my middle finger at a angle”. What precise angle was it cut at? You’re not giving us the whole scoop.

-- Backer boards, stop blocks, build oversized, and never buy a hand plane--

View terry603's profile


320 posts in 2909 days

#10 posted 01-17-2012 08:30 PM

tough break,,hope it heals w/o too much problems

-- may not always be right,but,never in doubt.

View helluvawreck's profile


31056 posts in 2863 days

#11 posted 01-17-2012 10:00 PM

When I was a young lad, not old enough to have a driver’s licsence, I took someone’s automatic pistol down to the creek to take some pot shot’s at some turtles and what not. As I was standing on a bridge and after taking a pot shot into the creek I dropped my hand down by my side and the pistol went off and the round hit about two inches to the right of my right foot. It scared me but I didn’t panic although I had come closer than I ever want to again of shooting myself in the right foot. I thought to myself that I just about shot my foot off. At that point I pulled the magazine out, emptied the chamber, and put the safety on and thought a little about what had just happened. Without hurting myself, fortunately, I had just been taught a valuable lesson. After being taught a little about an automatic pistol I didn’t realize how easily they can go off and how you must use extreme caution at all times while using them. I wasn’t ready to go out by myself and should have had a few more lessons. I then went on back to shooting but exercised a great deal more caution while doing so. This is a true story. I’m sorry about your finger and I certainly hope that it heals up and that it doesn’t mess up your music career but like me at the creek with a pistol you have just received a very valuable lesson from a router. I’m sorry that part of your lesson was an injured finger. May it heal real soon.


-- helluvawreck aka Charles,

View 404 - Not Found's profile

404 - Not Found

2544 posts in 2965 days

#12 posted 01-18-2012 01:13 AM

It’s a terrible thing that happened to you. I hope you make a speedy recovery and are still able to play guitar.
I hope anyone reading your post will take time to think about operating tools and machines safely.

View doncutlip's profile


2832 posts in 3552 days

#13 posted 01-18-2012 01:22 AM

So sorry for your accident, and thank you for reminding all of us just how fast accidents can happen. My vow to you is to remember your story and be careful with my tools.

-- Don, Royersford, PA

View KevinH's profile


100 posts in 3803 days

#14 posted 01-18-2012 02:28 AM

Thank you for sharing your story. It’s good for me to be reminded to always be vigilant of the hazards that are real in this hobby.
I’m very sorry to hear about your injury and pray that healing will be quick.

-- Timing has a lot to do with the outcome of a rain dance. --Kevin in Happy Valley

View ChuckV's profile


3118 posts in 3523 days

#15 posted 01-18-2012 03:04 AM


I am very sorry to learn about your injury. I hope that the visit to the hand specialist goes (went) well.

As others have said, thank you for sharing this experience with us all. I know that I can always use a wake-up reminder such as I get from reading this.

Wishing you all the best.

- Chuck

-- “Big man, pig man, ha ha, charade you are.” ― R. Waters

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