Admitting our dangerous (and dumb) mistakes might help others.

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When I decided to start this wonderful hobby, I bought on my first trip shopping the following: a table saw, planer, a scroll saw and a drill press. Having no idea how they worked, I unpacked, set them up and plugged them in. I was of course depending on my superior intelligence, so there was really no need to read very much from the instruction manuals. (Yeah right). I yelled for the wife to come down to the basement and see all this wonderful stuff. With her standing beside me, I turned the table saw on to make a cut on a wood scrap. As I pushed the wood, it began to drift a little. Not knowing what was happening, I pushed, the fence moved because I fail to lock it and I cut the end of my left thumb off. OUCH! The blade threw a piece of flesh, bone or nail back and hit her on the cheek. She screamed, I said a couple of really bad words and we headed for the emergency room. Moral of the story is if you are a newbie or been at it all your life most people get in a hurry and get a little careless on occasion. I have heard it said your machines will lay in wait for years just waiting for you to get careless. Be careful my friends. Now, who else will fess up?

-- Jack

40 Replies

You just never know, do you? I was working on my tablesaw one day, fully protected, dust extractor howling pointlessly outside my ear defenders, chips falling harmlessly against the face shield and respirator I wore. All good.
I finished the cut and wondered slightly, even abstractly, why there was so much dust hitting the face shield. Since the saw had stopped I removed the armour and looked around.
There up in a corner in the clear plastic tubes that carry the dust was a small party of shavings mixing it up at an elbow. I took the board I was cutting and knocked it gently.
The elbow came apart and I was covered in shavings, dust and probably spiders. One of the shavings found it’s way into my right eye and I had to wear a patch (just like a pirate, much to Rabbit’s dismay) for a few days.
Yarr, Billy, these be dangerous beasts, don’t cha know, even when they seem ta be sleepin’!

-- -- Alec (Friends call me Wolf, no idea why)

I thought I was the only one with superior intelligence…

Now you’ve spoiled it.

I learned that one should not hold the band saw blade guard while the saw is running to reach for a piece that fell on the floor. I got out of this with a little scratch :)

After that scare, I have been extremely careful.

-- Abbas, Castro Valley, CA

great topic! Basically every project I’ve done has my blood on it; usually just small stuff like cutting myself on a chisel or pinching a finger between boards or sanding a bit of a finger off on the belt sander. Only trip to the ER so far was for drilling a hole above my head for electrical wires and sawdust got in my eye… thanksfully so far I’ve avoided serious injuries and stitches…

-- Rob, Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario

Wanting to save some wood and use scrape i used a too short of a plywood to make a jig to cut 45 degrees chevron. the last unsupported broke and hit me in the tammy. could have been worst. Got lucky again.

-- Abbas, Castro Valley, CA

I discovered that you should never get in a hurry in the shop. I was finishing up a project and had some 2" circles cut from 1/2" stock that I wanted to round over. With the router mounted in a table, thought it would be easy to do. Managed a couple before disaster struck. Was holding the piece down with a forefinger and turning the piece with the other hand. Of course, the wood flew out from under my finger and it went into the bit. I jerked back thinking geez that was close until I noticed the spray of blood on the wall. So an expensive trip the the ER and a finger with the nerves cut and a bit of bone missing. Didn’t make it back to the shop for a couple of days and then didn’t want to approach the router but still had a job to finish. Seeing dried blood and even a piece of my hide on the table sure didn’t make it easy to go back to work. Took a 1" dowel and put in 2 finish nails that I then ground to a point and used that to hold the circles and my hand was 12" away and worked great. Just goes to prove that you should think before you act.
They did tell me that in about 20 yrs I might get some feeling back in the tip of my finger.