My name is Kern Hagg, and I am writing a book which will be entitled, Horrors from the Home Workshop. I cannot do it alone, because it would be a compilation of about 400 stories of accidents or close-calls with tools (powered or not) in the home basement or garage. My own story is below. I’m hoping to learn 399 more like mine.
I own a printing company (which is convenient), but I need help with the stories. They should be 150-400 words which explain: (1) What happened? (2) How did it happen?
(3) What lesson did you learn? I’m not paying for these stories because I don’t want a pile of fictional tales from someone trying to make more money by sitting at home spinning tales all weekend. True stories are the good stuff, so useful to the readers of this book. If someone along the way had told me never to pull wood from the backside of a table saw, I would not have had to keyboard this letter with numbness in the pad of my right thumb.
I cannot mention names, other than yours if you want credit for sending me your story at email@example.com. If you would prefer, I can show your story as being “anonymous”. I cannot list names of stores, brand names or names of tool manufacturers. I want the consequences of accidents to be clear, but not macabre.
I am only interested in accidents which could have happened in our basement workshops with hand tools or powered tools like saws, drills, lathes, bench grinders, jointers, planers, etc. If you submit one or more stories, I will, in the future, mail you a free copy of the book, but you must provide to me a mailing address. I do learn from my mistakes, but when it comes to powered tools, I would like to learn from yours. I would greatly appreciate your help.
Hagg Press, Inc.
1165 Jansen Farm Court
Elgin, Illinois 60123-2595
How Short is a “Nanosecond”?
It was December 11, 2013, exactly two weeks before Christmas. Considering the time needed for staining and varnishing, I felt a sense of urgency trying to complete my project before Christmas. I was making three (3) small, short oaken tables on which my wife could situate her favorite houseplants.
I was cutting three-quarter inch square, twelve inch long pieces from a 1”x6” board to make legs for the tables. The three-quarter inch gap between the rip fence and the blade was the same width as my plastic push stick which was getting chewed-up in the process. I decided to push the wood to within a safe distance from the blade (2 inches), and then I reached my right hand way to the back of the table where I could pull the wood through those last two inches. BIG MISTAKE!
As I guided the front with my left hand and awkwardly pulled from the back with my right hand, the wood bound up between the fence and the blade and shot forward instantaneously, like fodder from a cannon. In a nanosecond, my right thumb pad and right index fingernail shot over the top of the spinning blade. Fortunately, it had always been my habit to set the blade only a whisker above the work. This exacerbates kick-back problems, but it minimizes the depth of cut in injuries like mine.
My Lesson Learned:
Never try to “pull” wood through a table saw and go back to buying my wife an affordable bauble for Christmas.