Wednesday, February 29, 2012

My injury…

On Monday I was showing a simple technique to my high school students on the table saw that I had performed safely hundreds of times before. This time was different. Trying to put my best foot forward I used a push stick, and as a result, had a less secure grip on the wood than normal. The off-cut portion of wood was kicked back slightly, allowing three fingers and my thumb to come in contact with the blade. Fortunately, my injury was not as severe as it could have been. It involved some flesh and nail removal from the thumb, pointer and middle finger of my left hand. The doctor assures me that recovery to full use of each finger will be quick.

A more direct grip would have made the operation safe as it had been for me countless times before. It is most ironic that it occurred while thinking I was demonstrating a safer approach. With a bit of further thought, it WILL become a safer approach, as I already have a special purpose push stick in mind.

In the meantime, I am doing my typing on an iPad, as the computer keyboard would be a bit much for sore fingertips. This is the most serious workshop accident I've had. So don’t expect much from the blog at least for a few days.

I will have more to share about this when I am better able to type with both hands.

Make, fix and create...


  1. Doug, that sounds terrible. Thank goodness your injury was no worse than it is...still... Best wishes for a speedy recovery.


  2. I had a similar brush in 2006. So I bought a SawStop.

    I've heard the arguments about how you shouldn't need one if you're safe. But learning about the glitchy side first hand convinced me otherwise. It's different when you become a statistic.

  3. Ouch!

    Sorry to hear that Doug. I came very close to cutting off the top half-inch of my left thumb in a band saw accident years ago and have the scar to prove it. Thankfully all of my fingers are intact but I know of other people who have lost their fingers to band saws, circular saws and other power tools.

    I hope you do recover fully and reasonably quickly.

    Robin Edgar

  4. Dear Doug:
    My sincere regret at what has happened.
    Twenty years ago I had a bad time with my planer. Luckly it was just at one finger, medial of left hand. The finger still here...and working very well!
    A hug,

  5. Hi Doug,
    I am sorry to hear about your injury.
    Sounds like you got lucky, all things considered. I found myself in a similar situation about a year ago, while doing a task i thought relatively harmless. It was a firm reminder that one can never be too careful (mindful). Here's wishing a speedy recovery and many more years of accident free work.

  6. "Luckly it was just at one finger, medial of left hand. The finger still here...and working very well!"

    Is that a coy reference to what we citizens of Soviet Canuckistan call a 'Trudeau Salute'? ;-)

  7. Anonymous8:23 PM

    Best wishes on your recovery! My in-laws are from Holiday Island. Not actually on the island but near. Beautiful country!

  8. Anonymous2:17 AM

    This summer while I was spending time at a boat building school one of the students damaged his fingers on a table saw. Ironically it was the only table saw they had that was not a SawStop product.

  9. Just to say that my comment wasn't a 'coy reference' to nothing beyond a sincere sorry for the injury. I hope Doug's fingers get fine like mine, after the accident.

  10. It's always the "safe" cuts that take your fingers. Glad to hear it was a minor injury and wish you well on your recovery.

  11. Doug,

    Very sorry to hear of your accident but glad it wasn't worse. I hope you heal quickly and get back to the shop soon.

  12. Hope you are doing better Doug. Always appreciate your posts and reflective nature.

    Music Teacher