Irrational fear

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Forum topic by richgreer posted 08-22-2012 12:50 PM 2227 views 0 times favorited 63 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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4541 posts in 3217 days

08-22-2012 12:50 PM

I can think rationally and logically about the risks I face in the workshop. I try to be very careful, but there are still dangers in the shop and I have made 2 trips to the emergency room that confirm this.

My question is about irrational fear. I confess that I suffer from it with respect to my 18” bandsaw. When resawing, I always use feather boards and push sticks and I stay as far away from the blade as possible. Yet, I retain a fear of that tool. I fear an injury on that band saw more than any other tool in the shop.

I have not checked any statistics, but I expect that, relative to the band saw, the table saw and jointer cause many more accidents per minute of use. Yet, I fear the bandsaw the most.

Does anyone else have an irrational fear regarding a particular tool in their shop?

As an FYI – the 2 tools that have sent me to the emergency room are the lathe and the drill press.

-- Rich, Cedar Rapids, IA - I'm a woodworker. I don't create beauty, I reveal it.

63 replies so far

View Bertha's profile


13550 posts in 2836 days

#1 posted 08-22-2012 12:54 PM

I SHOULD fear my bandsaw but I’m pretty careless with it. The jointer, of all tools, scares me the most. I always feel like I’m going to get sucked in somehow.

-- My dad and I built a 65 chev pick up.I killed trannys in that thing for some reason-Hog

View poopiekat's profile


4379 posts in 3877 days

#2 posted 08-22-2012 01:12 PM

What I’ve noticed about myself is that I’ve never been injured on equipment that I feared/respected. I’m more apt to get careless or take unnecessary chances with a small tablesaw than a 5 hp UniSaw for example. Same is true of motorcycles, I’ve come real close to injury doing stupid stuff on a Honda 360 than any bigger bikes I’ved owned or driven. Better to have that respect for big machinery. Come to think of it, though, I DO run my bandsaw on the slowest pulley ratio….it’s that fear thing you mentioned, Rich.

-- Einstein: "The intuitive mind is a sacred gift, and the rational mind is a faithful servant. We have created a society that honors the servant and has forgotten the gift." I'm Poopiekat!!

View teejk's profile


1215 posts in 2827 days

#3 posted 08-22-2012 01:18 PM

gotta vote for the jointer also. I get nasty cuts just cleaning it.

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Don Butler

1092 posts in 3538 days

#4 posted 08-22-2012 01:25 PM

My worst injury (not all that bad, really) was on a router table.
In all likelihood, it was because I had little fear of it and was careless.
In every case of injury (all small ones), I was careless because I felt little fear.
Even though I was cut once on the bandsaw, I consider it to be one of the safest tools. I will admit, however, that when a blade breaks it scares me. That bang is what does it. No matter what tool I use, if there is an unusual noise I jump. The louder the higher.


-- No trees were damaged in posting this message, but thousands of electrons were seriously inconvenienced.

View CharlieM1958's profile


16276 posts in 4361 days

#5 posted 08-22-2012 01:27 PM

I think one of the reasons I don’t even own a jointer is that they just look really nasty to me.

-- Charlie M. "Woodworking - patience = firewood"

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17671 posts in 3149 days

#6 posted 08-22-2012 01:34 PM

Rational or not Rich, fear is a good thing in the shop. Keep using sticks and featherboards, i should really take some tips.

-- Its not a crack, its a casting imperfection.

View JesseTutt's profile


854 posts in 2253 days

#7 posted 08-22-2012 01:35 PM

My father worked in the GM Truck & Coach factory in Michigan. He spoke of band saw blades breaking and “shooting” across the factory floor. I would suspect that these were big metal cutting band saws.

I have broken one blade and it stayed in the band saw.

My worst accident in the shop was when a chisel slipped and cut my hand.

-- Jesse, Saint Louis, Missouri

View hairy's profile


2764 posts in 3675 days

#8 posted 08-22-2012 01:37 PM

Poopiekat’s onto something about taking simple tasks for granted. Although not ww’ing it’s still shop talk – I worked lotsa years in maintenance garages, big wheels. I know more people that lost fingers on a benchgrinder than anything else.

Getting in a hurry is just as bad.

-- My reality check bounced...

View ChuckC's profile


842 posts in 3078 days

#9 posted 08-22-2012 01:44 PM

Good timing, I was thinking about this very question the other day. It’s funny how we all work with (almost) the same set of tools yet we regard them differently. I have almost no fear of the jointer but the TS scares the bejesus out of me. The BS gets my attention but I wouldn’t say I am afraid of it.

Tools are like guns, neither is dangerous. It’s how you use them that makes them dangerous.

View Lee Barker's profile

Lee Barker

2170 posts in 2993 days

#10 posted 08-22-2012 01:45 PM

Your question is about irrational fear. A very important post, I might add.

First, that you can identify it as irrational is very important.

Second, I’d like to see you seriously consider addressing it. Here’s the reason: Because it is irrational, and because you are taking several steps to prevent an unlikely event, (the bandsaw is the most benign of the cutting tools in the shop) you are much closer to a bad experience than you would think. The self talk like “don’t touch this, don’t push that, watch over there, no watch over here” is not a path to safe (and therefore enjoyable) work.

Imagine you are 12 and you’re riding your bike down the sidewalk and there’s a rock the size of half a cantaloupe just to the left of the center of the sidewalk. It is actually very likely that you will hit that rock even though you are telling yourself, “don’t hit that rock!” It’s about how the brain hears self talk.

Likewise, don’t expect to see on the podium an Olympic athlete who got there by saying, “Don’t fall down, don’t let yourself get passed, don’t hit the bar with your foot, don’t etc etc etc.

There are some pretty amazing and simple ways to deal with this sort of fear, and it’s not an embarrassment for you, I hope, to talk about it and encounter it. You’re valuable around here!



-- " his brain, which is as dry as the remainder biscuit after a voyage, he hath strange places cramm'd with observation, the which he vents in mangled forms." --Shakespeare, "As You Like It"

View JAGWAH's profile


929 posts in 3227 days

#11 posted 08-22-2012 02:21 PM

Like Poopie sez… It’s that fear one should respect, you’ll keep your fingers.

Mine came from mountaing a chain saw type disc setup on my side grinder for some carving. This was a 4” diameter of nothing but eaturass teeth. Adding to the fear was knowing I had to leave the guard off to mount this bad boy and the number of times I’ve had the tool kick back on me with other attachments.

There isn’t a time I mount this up that I don’t fear loosing fingers or worse. But after 10 years using this setup I have had no injuries yet.

Fear is another word for respect.

-- ~Just A Guy With A Hammer~

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64 posts in 2324 days

#12 posted 08-22-2012 02:24 PM

I hope you get past your fear. You do all the necessary precautions, you should be fine with it.

View Bertha's profile


13550 posts in 2836 days

#13 posted 08-22-2012 02:26 PM

The worst injury I’ve had in the shop was with a box knife, trying to cut a wire tie off something. lol.

-- My dad and I built a 65 chev pick up.I killed trannys in that thing for some reason-Hog

View JAGWAH's profile


929 posts in 3227 days

#14 posted 08-22-2012 02:28 PM

It’s not dull box blade that ever cut me, it’s the sharp one I just replaced it with on my next cut.

-- ~Just A Guy With A Hammer~

View BTimmons's profile


2303 posts in 2628 days

#15 posted 08-22-2012 02:46 PM

Rich, I can totally understand how a lathe can send you to the ER, but a drill press? How did that happen?

-- Brian Timmons -

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