|Forum topic by Durnik150||posted 05-31-2009 04:12 AM||1616 views||0 times favorited||17 replies|
05-31-2009 04:12 AM
I am currently typing this story with all 10 of my fingers intact. This whole drama involves my Brother In Law (BIL) and his flubs. I was there when these accidents happened and thank my lucky stars they didn’t happen to me. I’m trying to be extra vigilant so I’m not the source of this type of story.
BIL and I have been doing a lot of woodworking together over the last 2 years or so. He’s never been extremely handy and he’s trying to make up for lost time. He’s 58 yoa so is not a spring chicken, just inexperienced in the shop.
In September of 2008 we were making band saw boxes (for those who know me..BIG SURPRISE!). We were at the stage where we would cut off the waste from the top of the box. This is done by laying the box face up on the band saw table and cutting along the line to give yourself the arc of the box top. I had already finished my top and BIL was getting started on his.
OK-HERE I HAVE TO PAUSE. The band saw is touted to be, and I do believe, one of the safest power tools in the shop. The blade goes in one direction and the only way to cut yourself is by unwisely putting your body parts in direct contact with the moving blade. Kickback is rare but not unheard of, especially if you are cutting round objects). OK-THAT SAID…..BACK TO OUR STORY…
Starting at the edge of the block, BIL works the blade up the line to the top of the arc, the top crown of the box. I don’t think he quite grasped the idea that the blades on band saw bend, especially when cutting through thick wood. We were using a 3/16 blade so we could turn corners. Well, the blade had bent in its travels and when he reached the thin covering of the box top, the blade came out of the top. This caused the pressure he had been applying to move the box to cause his right hand, which had been holding the box from behind, to push forward. His right index finger went into the blade and the swearing began. A quick trip to the ER and 10 stitches later he was on his way home.
DISCUSSION-In this particular instance it would have been very difficult to have been using a push stick, not impossible, just impractical. However, his lack of knowledge about the tool and how the blade can easily bend and come out of the work, caused him a lot of pain and recovery time. Luckily, no tendons or bones were damaged.
Time travel to yesterday May 29th. Again, making band saw boxes. BIL had messed up a band saw box earlier by cutting out a piece that shouldn’t have been cut out yet. He was a little high on the frustration scale. I had told him that our next project would have to be made from the cutoffs and odd pieces that were in my scrap box. He looked through it after clamping up a rescue glue job on his work piece. He found a piece of walnut that had already been laminated and said that he could make a box out of that with very little modification. Off to the band saw he went while I worked on something close by.
DANGER SIGNS—He was very frustrated about his earlier project and wanted to catch up with a new piece. He was in a hurry and using a machine that had bit him badly 9 months ago. Did either one of us catch these signs….NO.
BIL is now making a straight cut across the back of the block. He has his hands in what he thinks are good positions. His right hand is holding the end of the box that makes contact with the blade first, his left is supporting the block from behind. He’s not using push sticks because he thinks his hands are well out of the danger zone.
As he completes the cut his safety rationalization reaches out to bite him. He was pushing the block from behind but pulling the front of the block to adjust for a little bit of blade drift. This adjustment caused him to pull the block to the side as the blade came out the back side. As the block shifted his left hand pushed forward and into the blade. He got significant cuts to his middle and ring finger. Worthy of 9 stitches this time. Again, no tendons or bone involved, thank goodness.
DISCUSSION—There is a significant lesson to be learned here. If you are frustrated and in a hurry, it is not the time to be using a power tool. NEVER take for granted that you are at risk all the time and USE YOUR SAFETY TOOLS. Push sticks may be a little inconvenient but they take the beating intended for your hands. And you should always be aware of the condition your machine is in. Is the blade bending a bit? Is there stress in the machine or the workpiece that you should be aware of? If so, complensate for it so you don’t get hurt.
I apologize for the long post but hope that this message can help in a little way or help prevent a further accident.
Best and safe wishes to all.
-- Behind the Bark is a lot of Heartwood----Charles, Centennial, CO