I had a piece of 3" square Pecan that I wanted to rip down into 5/8" square pieces. I set the fence to 5/8" and raised the blade so I had 3 teeth sticking above. I ripped all that I could, now I have 3"wide x 5/8" thick pieces. I laid these pieces down so now I am cutting 5/8" thick. Stupid me never lowered the saw blade and I guess improper position of the push stick (one of those mass produced plastic ones) I got my finger just a little to close. I am blaming it on the fact that if I would have stopped for a minute and looked at what I was doing and lowered the saw blade, this would have never happened.
I never like to see someone hurt, but I'm glad that you realize why it happened. I've heard so many stories about people getting hurt and blaming the machine when it was really operator error. Fortunately, it's only a minor flesh wound. Just imagine what could have happened if you were wearing gloves, or didn't use the push stick for whatever reason. Hopefully, this thread will remind someone else to check the blade height before making that last cut.
I just took 1/6 of my ring finger off from the tip to the 1st joint. I cant stop thinking how fortunate i am to still have a finger. It shaved it clean. Nothing to stitch so its just gonna be a while to heal.
When i hit the blade i imediately made the tightest fist i could. I kept is squeezed as i calmly walked into the house and told my girlfriend that we were going to the hospital. I was 100% sure this was going to be another trip to the ER. She said "your not bleeding even". I said "wait till I open my hand, i've been squezzing it since the second it hit".
When i opened my hand it was full of blood, but after looking i couldnt believe how NOT bad it was. Don't get me wrong, it wasnt just a knick..but i was not expecting the end of my finger to be there, or at a minimum it was going to be a "cut" into the finger. I guess i hit it at just the right angle and it simply sheered off the side. No bone was hit. it basically just took of from the side of my nail to the edge. WOW. 20 minutes later when i was in the shop working again i just kept thinking how close i came to only being able to count to 9 1/2 when my shoes are on.
All night i kept thinking how careful i am when using the TS, but i dont think i really realized just how careful one needs to be. For the remained of the weekend everything on the TS and router and miter were done with attention and purpose.
It seems like the trick is to not get into a routine. What i mean is that alot of times when you do the same task over and over, your body kind of takes over and you dont even think about what your doing anymore. For example i was in the middle of my 3rd set of 40 pieces being cut the same width. Pick up with right hand..place on the fence, move left hand towards edge, sldie fingers over, watch the fence that im flush...zooom. pick up with the right..place on the fence, move.... And on and on.
One piece moves a bit different and without thinking you simply adjust and WAM!
I heard a story of a guy working at a McDonalds or some other "fryer" fast food joint. He was working near the fryer, he had to lift small things onto a rack above eye level and place them organized on the table next to the fryer. over and over. some times one item would slip and he would simply reach and catch it before it hit the ground. Over and over...until one day the "thing" fell towards the fry and bam...he reaches right into the fryer without thinking. YIKES.
We do this alot as we drive our cars... how many times have you been driving and cant recall even seeing the road for XX amount of time? Our eyes are looking and our hands and feet are wroking, but our brain is on auto pilot.
This is why i will NEVER set up my work on a TS to be TOO comfortable again. I sure thought i was smart and being efficient when i had all 40 pieces laying the right way, ready to simply pop them over the fence and start sliding. All of my cuts after that were from pulling the needed to be cut pieces out of a cleaned 5 gallon bucket. I had to look at each piece, turn it to the correct side and THINK...no Auto-pilot.
I was cutting, of all things, hard craft styrofoam. The table saw cuts it perfect with no flaking. However the pieces are about twice the hight of the table saw blade extended all the way up. So one pass on one side, the flip and cut the other side to get all the way through. Cant get them done with a gaurd on. And..there you have it.
I'm not making light of the injury. Eveyone here has done something stupid and paid for it with blood loss...some bad, some not so bad. But years ago when I first got married I didn't have a garage and kept my table saw at my brother in laws. One day I went there and he had his thumb bandaged. Apparently he didnt think that spinning blade was anything to worry about. It's unfortunate that so many power tool users forget the basics and think the tools take care of everything and all you have to do is turn them on and watch them work. But it happens to even the most experienced. I saw a carpenter of 30 years run a circular saw across his leg when cutting a 2 X 4....stupid move but it happens. I've seen guys drill their finger, get a glove caught in a saw blade, and one guy stuck his knuckle into a grinder. I'm sure there are many more that I have forgotten, but all in all, chit happens. I'm just glad that whoever posts here can still talk about it afterward. Keep your mind on the job, your hands to yourself and your eyes on the blade.
It's because of these posts that I kept pursuing getting my blade guard fixed. Had some missing parts. My nephew is an industrial designer and made the mount I needed to be able to use the blade guard. I still remove it on occasion for "special cuts" but I use it more often than not.
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