safety #1: stupidity in the shop

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Blog entry by woodsmithshop posted 08-24-2009 06:12 PM 1769 reads 0 times favorited 24 comments Add to Favorites Watch
no previous part Part 1 of safety series Part 2: Saw Stop Demo »

Wed evening I was working on a project in the shop,and in a split second of stupidity, a 14”x18”x3/4” piece of plywood was caught by the blade on my table saw and thrown back at me and hit me in the gut, it was like being kicked by a mule (I would imagine that is what a mule kick would feel like), I thought I would be ok, but after about an hour I started feeling faint, from loss of blood internally, that was the most scarey feeling I have ever had, I thought, this was it, I did pass out for a few seconds, the wife called 911, it took about 25 min for them to get here, they took me to Olney hosp I had a c scan and it showed bleeding around the spleen and liver, a surgeon was in Fairfield hosp, so they sent me over there,they said that I would have exploratory surgery, and may have to remove my spleen, I had another c scan at Fairfield, (more than 3.5 hours, only 40 miles away, had to wait on another ambulance) and since it took so long to get me over there , it showed the bleeding had stopped, they put me in ICU for 29 hours for observation, Fri morn they sent me home, and now I have to take it easy for a few days, still sore, but getting better, I was very fortunate that I did not have surgery, (yet) the next few days will tell.
I have always been very safety conscience when it comes to working in the shop, but this time I had a second of, all I can say is stupidity, the cutoff portion looked like it was going to hit the blade, so I released one hand to move it out of the way and that was just enough for the blade to grab my board, spin it 270 deg, and smack me, at least the corner did not hit me, also I was wearing my heavy canvas “Bucket Boss” apron, and I think it absorbed a lot of the blow. one good thing, my son and son in law are mowing the yard for me now, maybe I can take it “easy” for the rest of the summer, and let them

-- Smitty!!!

24 comments so far

View PurpLev's profile


8536 posts in 3671 days

#1 posted 08-24-2009 06:28 PM

holy crap!

glad to see that you’re well enough to post here… hope for a quick recovery (just don’t tell the mowing crew).

curious – do you have a riving knife on the table saw ? or a splitter? or none?

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

View lew's profile


12100 posts in 3778 days

#2 posted 08-24-2009 06:29 PM


Man, I hope you will not need surgery. What a scary time this must have been. Take it easy, mend and keep us up to date.

-- Lew- Time traveler. Purveyor of the Universe's finest custom rolling pins.

View KellyS's profile


78 posts in 3255 days

#3 posted 08-24-2009 06:37 PM

I’ve had the same thing happen to me a couple times. My biggest problem is that my table saw is up on a rolling frame and just a hair too high for me, and I did not have the wheels locked, I lost control of the piece. I was lucky that it did not hit me, but the first time, it threw a 1/4” piece of plywood and hit my wife who was standing about 10 foot away. She was not happy…for a day or two. The second time, it caught a piece of 3/4” plywood and chunked it out the shop door and into the yard about 10 or 15 foot away. I was lucky that I was not standing in the direct path, but off to the side. I’ve since changed the wheels on my caddy to make it lower to the ground and I’m working on a positive brake before I cut anything else. Because I have the Incra LS fence system, I din’t have the blade / kickback guard installed, but I do have a splitter that I am going to install. before I do anything else.

Good to hear you are ok…Sharing your story makes me definitely want to wait until I get my saw properly outfitted for work before I make another cut.

Thanks for sharing and I wish you a speedy recovery.

-- He who dies with the most tools wins!.....Just wait, I'm going to win!..ERR my wife will at least.

View woodsmithshop's profile


1319 posts in 3568 days

#4 posted 08-24-2009 06:51 PM

afterwards I took inventory, and found that I have at least 3 devices that I could, ( should) have been using, I have a splitter, I have the roller wheels to attach to the fence and another fence attachment I could have used, but I have had too many changes to make in set ups lately that I overlooked these devices, but I should know better than to release one hand to reach across to move the cutoff, it would not have hit me if the blade had caught it anyway.
the problem now with taking it easy is, that I have 3 clocks that HAVE to be done by the 12th of Sept. at least the milling portion is done, maybe I can get the sanding and glue up, then the finish on in time.

-- Smitty!!!

View reggiek's profile


2240 posts in 3293 days

#5 posted 08-24-2009 06:53 PM

Wow!...Thankfully you are ok….

Just goes to show why safety is not something to take for granted…..Safety in this hobby/profession is ultimate….and it is stories like this that remind us everytime we go into our shops that we need to take the time to make sure we are being as safe as we can…and even then we need to maintain high vigilence…

Thank you for the reminder…and get well soon…

-- Woodworking.....My small slice of heaven!

View woodsmithshop's profile


1319 posts in 3568 days

#6 posted 08-24-2009 07:05 PM

thanks to all of you!!!

-- Smitty!!!

View Will Mego's profile

Will Mego

307 posts in 3735 days

#7 posted 08-24-2009 07:26 PM

wow…that’s quite a story! Glad you’re doing ok! This is part of the reason I move farther and farther away from power tools.

-- "That which has in itself the greatest use, possesses the greatest beauty." -

View Martina's profile


43 posts in 3247 days

#8 posted 08-24-2009 07:28 PM

Hope you feel better, and hopfuly you get to keep your parts… =)

-- Martina, Houston, TX

View sIKE's profile


1271 posts in 3777 days

#9 posted 08-24-2009 07:35 PM

Ack, that hurts! This is my bobo from over a year ago…

the board bounced off of my hip, back onto the TS the blade grabbed it again and hit me in the same spot…time elapsed…about 2 seconds…still have a nasty little scar. That was through a Denim Shop Apron, a leather belt, jeans, and my drawers…. that is right over my hip bone…

-- //FC - Round Rock, TX - "Experience is what you get just after you need it"

View RBWoodworker's profile


441 posts in 3374 days

#10 posted 08-24-2009 07:57 PM

Thanks for sharing this harrowing ordeal.. reminds me of when I was cutting some scribe and my pushstick was a little too worn out to hold onto the piece.. the saw shot it out with such a force that it shot across the room and completely went thru a 3/4 solid oak board.. COMPLETELY THRU!! if that had hit me or my co of us would be seriously hurt..

So your ordeal needs to be a reminder to always use extra caution.. Again..thanks for sharing and thank God your ok..

-- Randall Child

View Carlos 's profile


7 posts in 3280 days

#11 posted 08-24-2009 09:36 PM

Wow I sure hope everyone gets well from their accidents soon. I know I had a wake up call yesterday with my router and it trimed the end of my thumb nearly off. I have to see a hand doc in a couple of days but dont think its going to be anything to major. I sure can tell everyone an accident can happen in the blink of an eye. Mine sure has me thinking of ways to make my shop safer, which I will do as soon as I am ungrounded from my shop by my wife. haha

-- Carlos

View Greg Wurst's profile

Greg Wurst

794 posts in 3855 days

#12 posted 08-24-2009 09:39 PM

After almost getting the home vasectomy treatment myself the other day I understand completely. Makes me a little gun-shy using the table saw now. I try to stay away from the back of the blade if possible.

-- You're a unique and special person, just like everyone else.

View degoose's profile


7234 posts in 3377 days

#13 posted 08-24-2009 11:40 PM

I empathize with you.
Glad you are ok mate.

-- Don't drink and use power tools @

View a1Jim's profile


117115 posts in 3600 days

#14 posted 08-24-2009 11:47 PM

I’m glad It’s not worse. I hope no further medical treatment is necessary.

-- wood crafting & woodworking classes

View woodsmithshop's profile


1319 posts in 3568 days

#15 posted 08-25-2009 02:07 AM

thank you all for your concern, I checked today and the board went around more than 360deg, more like 400deg, there was a place on the edge that was slightly rounded, that had to be where it hit me, the odd thing is I have no bruising (on the outside at least) still some muscle soreness, anxious to get back to work in the shop.

-- Smitty!!!

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