Disregard for Safety and lack of common sense

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Forum topic by bluekingfisher posted 03-01-2012 09:08 AM 1929 views 0 times favorited 22 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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1250 posts in 3005 days

03-01-2012 09:08 AM

While watching a repeat of the TV show “This old House” the other evening on TV, I was watching one of the contractors scribe and fit a baseboard to a kitchen standalone island. While conducting this application I noticed the contractor, Patrick Malone, had a thumb missing. After scribing the line along the base with a pencil and compass, he took the 2 ft long lenght of baseboard to a bench top table saw with no guard, then pushed it through free hand, (No push stick) following the pencil line with the blade.

I was about to leap behind the couch fearing the iminent horror about to ensue, but thankfully he made the cut without mishap. I was amazed however that he had only lost the one digit during his career????

What is your take on this kind of practice, particularly in light of the guy who won a squillion bucks payout in a fairly recent lawsuit undertaking a simialr move.


-- No one plans to fail, they just, just fail to plan

22 replies so far

View Dan's profile


3630 posts in 2906 days

#1 posted 03-01-2012 09:52 AM

He’s fine not using a push stick or guard now that he doesn’t have that big thumb of his in the way of things :)

-- Dan - "Collector of Hand Planes"

View lunn's profile


215 posts in 2334 days

#2 posted 03-01-2012 11:20 AM

When building log homes. I worked with a guy that pushed 1×3/4 strips through the tablesaw with his finger tips. The rip fence in place so figure how close his fingers was to the blade. He also kept the guard on a 12” Dewalt miter saw wedged up out of the way. Worked good till i was sawing a board that pinched and kicked up in my face. I finally told him my saws and keep your fingers and wedge out of them.

-- What started as a hobbie is now a full time JOB!

View bluekingfisher's profile


1250 posts in 3005 days

#3 posted 03-01-2012 11:32 AM

The thought torments me!

-- No one plans to fail, they just, just fail to plan

View saddletramp's profile


1180 posts in 2664 days

#4 posted 03-01-2012 11:38 AM

The ignorant can be taught but there is no cure for stupid!

-- ♫♪♪♫♫ Saddletramp, saddletramp, I'm as free as the breeze and I ride where I please, saddletramp ♪♪♪♫♪ ...... Bob W....NW Michigan (Traverse City area)

View bluekingfisher's profile


1250 posts in 3005 days

#5 posted 03-01-2012 11:52 AM

Saddle – It wasn’t as if he was a youngster, looked like he had been around the block a bit so should have known better. The subtle hint is that he had already lost one finger, perhaps he thought if it had happened once it wouldn’t happen again?

-- No one plans to fail, they just, just fail to plan

View dbol's profile


136 posts in 3023 days

#6 posted 03-01-2012 12:00 PM

When doing wood flooring I always make cuts without a fence.
Walls are not perfectly straight and you need to keep your cuts close to the wall.
rip your cut half way thru pull it up out of the blade then repeat the other half waste does not get caught against fence it just falls to the side. If you pay attention you wont lose any digits. Maybe he lost his finger by slamming it in a car door. :)

View bluekingfisher's profile


1250 posts in 3005 days

#7 posted 03-01-2012 12:09 PM

Rather you than me dbol – maybe I’m just chicken?

-- No one plans to fail, they just, just fail to plan

View Lilskip's profile


20 posts in 2304 days

#8 posted 03-01-2012 01:46 PM

While I have never made cuts on my table saw without a fence I don’t use a gaurd on my table saw or use a pushstick on anything bigger that 1 1/2in although I probably should since I have cut 1 thumb and a middlefinger off of my left hand. Lucky they both got put back on with little loss of function. I guess my biggest issue with the gaurds and pushsticks is I don’t feel like i am in control of the material while I making the cut. So I guess my point is some of us will compromise safety to an extent for comfort or speed. I try to always be aware of what will happen with any cutting process. Accidents will always happen with you are to comfortable with the process and you don’t respect the Tools you are using.


View ChuckV's profile


3124 posts in 3553 days

#9 posted 03-01-2012 01:53 PM

Little known fact:
The carpenter Patrick Malone was born with seven fingers on each hand.

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

View NBeener's profile


4816 posts in 3199 days

#10 posted 03-01-2012 02:23 PM

It seems there is—once again—a delicate balance in this world, David.

In my shop, I’m ALL thumbs ;-)

-- -- Neil

View canadianchips's profile


2602 posts in 3022 days

#11 posted 03-01-2012 02:29 PM

I’m gonna be SLAPPED BIG TIME when I say this. Cutting that baseboard freehand was not that big of a deal. WHY:
Cutting small irregular shapes on a table saw with the fence set wrong is just as dangerous. The fence will bind the material between the blade and fence and cause the kickback . When “freehanding” make sure you have the piece held firmly front and back, (push sticks ) not just pushing and letting the board travel through the blade.
Push the board entirely PAST the blade just as you should do when using a fence.
QUESTION: When you cut apiece with a hand skil saw do you use a fence or do you freehand along the line you have drawn.? (If a fence was needed most framers would still be building the first house they started !)
I am NOT saying it is SAFE TO DO for EVERYONE, I am saying this is when experience using and knowing how tools react is helpful.

-- "My mission in life - make everyone smile !"

View bluekingfisher's profile


1250 posts in 3005 days

#12 posted 03-01-2012 03:15 PM

Maybe that’s it then, born with too many fingers and thumbs on each hand, and, as a kid was bullied at school because of it, so old Patrick aspired to be a Carpenter, so he could conduct his own on the job amputations.

I got it wrong and I apologise for naming and shaming Patrick -;(


-- No one plans to fail, they just, just fail to plan

View Mainiac Matt 's profile

Mainiac Matt

8090 posts in 2354 days

#13 posted 03-01-2012 03:23 PM

Your in for it now Chips…

It’s not a cut I would make….

It’s not a cut I would want someone in one of our shops at work to make, as we’re really pushing to lower our workers comp insurance premiums.

What Patrick Malone does is his business …..untill the hospital, insurance company and gub’ment require me to indirectly pay his medical bill :^(

Sounds like This Old House missed an opportunity to have a candid conversation about TS safety with their viewers.

-- It’s the knowledge in your head, skill in your hands and motivation to create in you heart that makes you a woodworker. - Mainiac Matt

View canadianchips's profile


2602 posts in 3022 days

#14 posted 03-01-2012 04:23 PM

ssnvet: I appreciate your concern. I do understand why you CANNOT ask someone in your shop to make that type of cut. I do emphase “knowing your tools”
I wouldn’t ask someone elseto make a risky cut, I would feel better if I did it myself. Life is about taking risks !
I watch a LOT of TV , diy shows, over the years a lot methods have changed. A local TV personality came to our city for the GRAND OPENING of a big box store. HE admitted that they have edited certain parts of the program NOW because of people TRYING to do things that they saw on TV and were not safe.
I am quite clear: I do NOT think SAFETY is a joke, it is serious stuff.

-- "My mission in life - make everyone smile !"

View BobM001's profile


388 posts in 2356 days

#15 posted 03-01-2012 04:46 PM

TABLE SAWS TAKE NO PRISONERS! Fingers and thumbs yes. Maybe an occasional eye as well. I’m sure that many “professionals” have had their “mishaps” with power tools. You cannot stress safety enough with rotating machinery with sharp edges. Hell, how many fingers/thumbs have been mashed with a 20 oz Estwing?

-- OK, who's the wise guy that shrunk the plywood?

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