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Forum topic by Jim Crockett (USN Retired) posted 03-04-2009 05:00 AM 1730 views 0 times favorited 28 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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Jim Crockett (USN Retired)

852 posts in 3157 days

03-04-2009 05:00 AM

Yesterday, I was making a zero-clearance throat plate for my tablesaw. Since the blade, when lowered, only sits 1/16” below the table top, I inserted an old insert without a splitter, carefully aligned the new insert atop the old one, held it down with a piece of 2×4 and began raising the blade. I raised the blade a few turns, turned the saw off, and removed the 2×4 to check my progress. Since the slot was only a couple of inches long, I wanted to raise the blade some more and make it longer. But, instead of either using the piece of 2×4 again or lowering the blade and replacing the old insert with the new one, I decided to simply hold it with my hand.

I’m sure you can guess the results – the insert I was holding immediately kicked back and my hand went into the spinning blade. After six hours in the ER, bleeding profusely, and another six hours in the OR and Recovery, I left the hospital with all fingers still attached, the gaping wound and severed tendon and nerves of my middle finger and the the deep laceration on my index finger repaired. I’m typing this report one-handed because of an instant’s lack of attention and a very poor decision. Luckily, I still have all of my fingers and several weeks from now will be able to return to my woodworking hobby!

Please don’t let this happen to you!

Jim Crockett

-- A veteran is someone who, at one point in his/her life, wrote a blank check made payable to "The United States of America," for an amount of "up to and including his/her life".

28 replies so far

View Bob Costello's profile

Bob Costello

68 posts in 3078 days

#1 posted 03-04-2009 05:08 AM

A reminder of the need for safety is always a good thing . . . sorry about how this one came about. Living in a rural area like you do, glad you were able to get to aid and save all your pieces! Good luck in your recovery.

-- Bob Costello

View Max's profile


55996 posts in 3697 days

#2 posted 03-04-2009 05:09 AM


Boy!!!! OUCH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I am sorry to hear of your accident. But glad to here that you didn’t loose any fingers and that they were able to get you put back together. When you hear of these accidents you really start to pay attention (hopefully) to what you are doing…. I wish you a speedy recovery.

-- Max "Desperado", Salt Lake City, UT

View Jim Crockett (USN Retired)'s profile

Jim Crockett (USN Retired)

852 posts in 3157 days

#3 posted 03-04-2009 05:16 AM

Bob & Max, this was the intent of my message… to hopefully get everyone to be a little more careful and maybe prevent someone else from going through what I just did!


-- A veteran is someone who, at one point in his/her life, wrote a blank check made payable to "The United States of America," for an amount of "up to and including his/her life".

View Craftsman on the lake's profile

Craftsman on the lake

2506 posts in 2862 days

#4 posted 03-04-2009 05:22 AM

Aaaahhh! Everytime I read stuff like this I feel like it’s just a matter of time. I’m so glad you didn’t post pictures. The description paints a visual and a shudder and that’s enough. I always think that Sawstop saw, kind of expensive, is the saw I’ll get only after I have to. You know what I mean.

I hope all your digits work well after they heal. Hang in there.

-- The smell of wood, coffee in the cup, the wife let's me do my thing, the lake is peaceful.

View Jim Crockett (USN Retired)'s profile

Jim Crockett (USN Retired)

852 posts in 3157 days

#5 posted 03-04-2009 05:31 AM

Sawstop Contractor Tablesaw ~ $1800; yesterday’s hospital visit – probably well over $10,000!

Now if we could only convince the insurance companies that the would be saving money by giving us the money to buy one!


-- A veteran is someone who, at one point in his/her life, wrote a blank check made payable to "The United States of America," for an amount of "up to and including his/her life".

View PurpLev's profile


8523 posts in 3072 days

#6 posted 03-04-2009 05:41 AM

glad to hear you’ll have full recovery.

thanks for sharing and reminding us all that these machines don’t care what they are cutting… they just want to cut through…

PS. to make a safe slot for your zero clearance throat plate, do not place the plate ovr the blade and raise it slowly – instead: place your regular plate, position the fence so that it is at the edge of the plate, raise the blade enough to cut the slot, and then run your zero-clearance place and cut a dado all across it – it doesnt have to be ‘only’ where the blade will be at… this is much safer to make the cut, and if it’s not enough – you can repeat with the blade higher – it’s a regular dado/non-through cut, and with a push stick/block is quite safe. more over -you’ll have a full cut line that goes all the way to the back of the insert and follows the cut line of the blade incase you need to fit a splitter/riving knife into the same kerf.

-- ㊍ When in doubt - There is no doubt - Go the safer route.

View TimberMan's profile


113 posts in 2888 days

#7 posted 03-04-2009 06:12 AM

Sorry to hear about your accident. I wish you a fast recovery and hope you keep all functionality of your fingers.

View WoodSpanker's profile


519 posts in 2816 days

#8 posted 03-04-2009 06:36 AM

Dang man, yeowwwch! Sorry to hear that happened to you! Glad to hear you’re going to make a good recovery! I’ll certainly be more careful around my saw from now on… certainly until I get my insurance company to buy me a sawstop! :) Godspeed, my friend, I’m pulling for ya! Do keep us posted, will ya?

-- Adventure? Heh! Excitement? Heh! A Woodworker craves not these things!

View Hacksaw's profile


185 posts in 2800 days

#9 posted 03-04-2009 06:48 AM

I feel your pain.I have two that were shortened up 10 years ago now.Hang in there,enjoy the pain meds while you have ‘em and get back on the saw when they are gone.The first operation I did on the saw after my accident was 5 weeks later cutting 1” wide laminate for edge banding. Oh yeah one thing I suggest is turning the blade from your accident into a clock and hang it on the wall directly behind your saw that way every time you see that clock you’ll immediately remeber your accident and think safety.Recover well ,stay positive and be thankful.

-- Nothing's just gets expensive

View oldskoolmodder's profile


799 posts in 3104 days

#10 posted 03-04-2009 07:59 AM

While I’m actually glad you didn’t post pics too, (as I’m trying to eat right now), My tag line says it all, and it’s a result of carelessness on the table saw, in which I spent all day and most of the night in the ER, having my thumb sewn back together.

I doubt that your hospital visit will be $10,000 BUT, (mine was $1500 2 hospitals, Ambulance ride in order for the 2nd hospital to even consider taking me and 3 follow up visits for “rehab”) without insurance sure a Sawstop sounds cheap. Hindsight and all. Common sense tells you not to do certain things, reality doesn’t always listen to common sense though.

-- Respect your shop tools and they will respect you - Ric

View GMman's profile


3902 posts in 3121 days

#11 posted 03-04-2009 02:15 PM

I am so sorry still you have your fingers…these things happen and after that we say what was I thinking. Thanks for posting it is a reminder for all of us

View Scott Bryan's profile

Scott Bryan

27251 posts in 3246 days

#12 posted 03-04-2009 02:17 PM

Jim, I have so sorry to hear about this. The only bright side of this is that by posting this “reminder” you will increase the safety awareness factor for a number of us that will undoubtedly prevent a similar misfortune. I hope you have a speedy recovery and this has just pushed a Sawstop higher on my list.

-- Challenges are what make life interesting; overcoming them is what makes life meaningful- Joshua Marine

View Julian's profile


880 posts in 2949 days

#13 posted 03-04-2009 04:22 PM

Jim, sorry to heaqr about your misfortune. Next time, you should try using the fence to hold down the insert in place while raising the blade through it for the first time.

-- Julian, Park Forest, IL

View CutNRun's profile


122 posts in 3270 days

#14 posted 03-04-2009 05:23 PM

What I have done to make the saw cut in zero clearance inserts is to use a smaller diameter blade instead of the usual 10” diameter blade. Typically, dado blades are ~8” diameter. This smaller size clears the insert and then you can raise the blade, using the fence locked in place (not over the blade) to hold down the insert.

-- CutNRun - So much wood, so many trails, so little time

View woodnut's profile


393 posts in 3476 days

#15 posted 03-05-2009 03:55 AM

Man I hate to hear this has happened. Hope you have a fast recovery and can get back to making sawdust soon. Take care and heal fast.

-- F.Little

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