My Stupid Mistake

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Forum topic by RussellAP posted 12-13-2013 05:14 PM 1676 views 0 times favorited 33 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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3103 posts in 2249 days

12-13-2013 05:14 PM

A lot of times we’ve been faced with a piece of wood that has to have something done to it out of the ordinary, something we don’t have the right tool for, or jig, or imagination. Sometimes we just don’t think about what we’re doing at the moment.

Such was the case for me a couple weeks ago when I decided to use half lap on some vanity doors I was making for a customer.

I had purchased a Frued Dado set about a year back. Never used it till two weeks ago. Got it on fine, then took out my zero clearance insert that I bought at the same time. It needed to be cut out, so not really thinking about it, I grabbed a cedar 4×4 about 6” long and set it on the zero clearance insert and slowly brought the blade up.

You can probably guess the next part.

That little voice in my head caught up to what I was doing and told me to STOP just a fraction of a second too late. The blade grabbed the cedar and sent it flying into the fan across the room, destroying it and pulling my hand into the blade.

The injury went across the back of my hand and down about half of my pinkie which I thought was lost.

I was alone of course, so I wrapped the bloody mess in a wad of paper towels and went to ER.

It looked like hamburger.

The finger is broken at the tip of the joint and has a pin in it. The rest is healing up. The pin comes out Monday 3-4 days from now.

I finally don’t need the pain pills anymore or maybe just one a day. Bone pain is bad.

What happened is I was so caught up in what I had planned to do, that I didn’t pay attention to what I WAS doing.

Had this been a regular blade I’d have lost a couple fingers….but then if it were a regular blade I wouldn’t have been doing it at all.

Anyway, I’m embarrassed about it. Took me a couple weeks to even fess up to you guys.

Don’t be too hard on me.

-- A positive attitude will take you much further than positive thinking ever will.

33 replies so far

View Ocelot's profile


1956 posts in 2601 days

#1 posted 12-13-2013 05:19 PM


View NinjaAssassin's profile


633 posts in 1687 days

#2 posted 12-13-2013 05:20 PM

Glad you’re OK Russel.

-- - Billy

View UncannyValleyWoods's profile


542 posts in 1826 days

#3 posted 12-13-2013 05:20 PM

Holy cow man. I’m glad it’s not more serious.

I had a close call with a Dado not long ago…I got through the cut without any injury but afterwards I realized what could have happened and was righteously pissed at myself.

Hope you heal up fast and tight.

-- “If Jesus had been killed twenty years ago, Catholic school children would be wearing little electric chairs around their necks instead of crosses.” ― Lenny Bruce

View SCOTSMAN's profile


5849 posts in 3548 days

#4 posted 12-13-2013 05:30 PM

Yes I understand how quickly these things can happen. I was in hospital for ten days a few years back when a woodturning accident caused me almost to lose my thumb.The wood split and disintegrated during sanding so my hand was inside the bowl when the half of the bowl which was left on the lathe brought the lathe to a screeching halt momentarilly using the back of my hand to do so.Many stitches and pins inserted into my hand and a four hour operation later (now a few years back) everything apart from a scar is now perfect .So I say good old National health service it cost me not a penny at the point of delivery and I had a private room too. Alistair

-- excuse my typing as I have a form of parkinsons disease

View RussellAP's profile


3103 posts in 2249 days

#5 posted 12-13-2013 05:35 PM

SCOTSMAN – I wish I lived in a country with civilized health care. In America, the rich are like sharks trolling the waters not caring who they destroy.

-- A positive attitude will take you much further than positive thinking ever will.

View CharlieM1958's profile


16274 posts in 4181 days

#6 posted 12-13-2013 05:38 PM

It just proves the point that it’s not the tools that are dangerous…. it’s us! The vast majority of accidents are caused by having a short lapse in really thinking about what we are doing.

I’m glad it wasn’t even more serious, and that you are healing up, Russell.

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

View bbc557ci's profile


595 posts in 2037 days

#7 posted 12-13-2013 05:45 PM

I feel your pain RussellAP. 20+ years ago I caught my right hand forefinger and thumb in the spinning blade of my ol’ Rockwell elec. miter box. Had a metal pin in my finger for a week to 10 days. Few years after that I messed up my left thumb in the table saw. Same as you, just not paying attention as I should have been….stupid me.

I had a small const. co. at the time. After the table saw gig, my guys told me they would only let me use power saws with rubber blades …. gotta love wize azzes LOL.

Needless to say, now I do my best to THINK before I move forward on a cut using a TS and or any other power tool.

-- Bill, central where near the "big apple"

View jumbojack's profile


1674 posts in 2587 days

#8 posted 12-13-2013 06:00 PM

I have been wondering where the heck you were. We ‘get away’ with so much stuff in our shops, I think we become complacent. I sometimes skoff at the safety gurus, but experience has taught them, and they try to instruct others not to make the mistakes they obviously made.

-- Made in America, with American made tools....Shopsmith

View BigRedKnothead's profile


8512 posts in 1945 days

#9 posted 12-13-2013 06:01 PM

Ahhhh man. Sorry to hear that.

-- "At the end of the day, try and make it beautiful....because the world is full of ugly." Konrad Sauer

View Sanding2day's profile


1011 posts in 1809 days

#10 posted 12-13-2013 06:11 PM

Sorry to hear about this Russell, glad that it wasn’t any more serious of an injury… Unfortunate that I dont know but, what is it that should have been done differently? Lengthier chunk of 4 by 4? When I made the ZCI for my dado set I just held it in place with a push stick while raising the blade but wouldn’t have even had the last second thought of issue holding it down with the 4 by 4 (just wouldn’t want to waste the wood) until reading this… Will certainly keep it mind for the future…

-- Dan

View RussellAP's profile


3103 posts in 2249 days

#11 posted 12-13-2013 06:14 PM

Dan – I think the proper way would be to clamp a piece of wood down next to the rising blade, not over it. Had I put the 4×4 to the side of the blade it would have been okay.

-- A positive attitude will take you much further than positive thinking ever will.

View mloy365's profile


444 posts in 3093 days

#12 posted 12-13-2013 06:37 PM

Hope your hand is better soon!

-- Mike - Northern Upper Michigan

View Sanding2day's profile


1011 posts in 1809 days

#13 posted 12-13-2013 06:50 PM

Makes sense Russell… Thanks, and here is to a speedy full recovery…

-- Dan

View TheDane's profile


5399 posts in 3626 days

#14 posted 12-13-2013 06:51 PM

Russell—We all make mistakes … some just hurt more than others. I have had a few nasty accidents (took a chunk out of my forearm on the live center on the lathe a few weeks ago), so I sort of feel your pain.

I have been watching Izzy Swan’s videos on YouTube … he has the word THINK stenciled and posted all over his workshop. I’m beginning to think I should follow his lead and post some reminders to myself to THINK before I do anything!

-- Gerry -- "I don't plan to ever really grow up ... I'm just going to learn how to act in public!"

View Bob817's profile


670 posts in 2345 days

#15 posted 12-13-2013 08:01 PM

Sorry Russ hope you heal fast, That’s why it’s called an accident, we all have one of those days, glad it wasn’t worse

-- ~ Bob ~ Newton, N.H.

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