Chaos or shoulda' had a SawStop

JohnnyR

John
Corporate Member
Just got back in the shop after a month+ off after deeply slicing my right thumb on a kitchen mandolin on Christmas day. Was making a chaotic cutting board as a gift for friends who had invited us down to Fl for a holiday. No matter how light a 'cut' on the drum sander, I always end up with burn marks that take forever to sand out with a ROS while trying not to scallop the top. So instead, I opted for the planer. I had previously done this by gluing on sacrificial board around it to avoid tear-out on the end grain. My process was to glue on the end boarder and sacrificial end, then rip the sides square then do the sides. Well, the Sunday before we were to leave (Wednesday) I had glued on the ends but I had left them too proud. So back to the table saw holding the board vertically to slice off most of the excess. Ran it through with no problem, remember looking down at the thin slice I took off and then don't remember what happened until I was hopping around the shop with blood spurting out of my left index finger like a super soaker and sreaming F$&%*&, F*&%, F%*&^*& YOU STUPID A.H. going over to the sink and wrapping it in a blue shop towel.

Now my wife's upstairs and she's used to hearing these expletives. Usually (far to often) when I've cut to short, glued something out of square, tightened the vice on my finger instead of the wood or sharpened my finger along with the blade I was working on. Well this time she knew it was a little more serious so she bounded down and asked "are you alright?" I'm still apologizing for my answer. So drove myself to Urgent Care. While there my wife calls and she says she found the tip on the floor, "do I want it?" So she drives it to me, meanwhile U.C. says they can't help, go to E.R. I wait a few minutes for my wife and she arrives with the tip in a jar and tells me she was so grossed out that she had to pick it up with a pair of pliers. Drove off to E.R. where they said tip not salvageable, took Xrays, bandaged it without cleaning, prescribed antibiotics and pain pills and "call the Dr. in the morning".

So not knowing what was happening next and would I make it to Fl, I went on the assumption I'd still make it so on the way home (bout 1 or 3? P.M.) I called on our good friend, PhilS and asked if he had an hour or two to finish the project. Of course he was more than willing, wouldn't have me drive down with the parts but came to my home and picked them up. Said he'd have it back by Tuesday so I could make my Wednesday flight. Well, on Monday he shows up with it done - and done well- all finish sanded ready for me to finish it which was easy, even one handed. We had a beer and shot a game of pool - me using my wrist as a bridge. Thanks again Phil!

Luckily because of my Chrismas incicdent I had already made the acquaintance of a great orthepedic hand surgeon, Erica Taylor, (can't recommend her enough) and she saw me Monday and scheduled surgery for Wednesday. Moved my flight forward a day before going under the knife. The cut was about a third to half way down my nail and caught some bone. (cut was somewhat jagged - next time I'll use a cross cut blade). After cleaning out the bone fragments she used a product meant for skin grafts called Integra over the tip with the hope of growing an new epidermas. Surgery and follow up went better than I expected and I should be back juggling sharp objects in a little over a month.

I wonder what I've learned. Still not sure what happened. I certainly wasn't reaching for the scrap as I would never do that with my bare hand. The blade was probably a half inch too high because I didn't lower it after using a sled. I couldn't use a blade guard for that operation. I think I'm pretty careful around power tools. I didn't even have music on so there was nothing to distract me. I'm guessing a moment of inattentiveness reaching for the board to pick it up and do the other end. Maybe age (69) is showing it's ugly head.

I'm better now having known a wonderful person who's also a good doctor but would have been physically better not to have had the need. If I were buying a new saw I would certainly buy a Saw Stop or one with similar technology but I can't wrap my head around spending around 3 grand after selling my otherwise perfectly good Powermatic. Besides, my finger's now a little farther from the blade.

So be attentive, and thanks again Phil.



IMG_20200218_174651.jpg
 

Bas

Recovering tool addict
Bas
Corporate Member
Thanks for sharing your story, good reminder to always pay attention. Doesn't take much for the mind to wander in the shop. Hope you're back to making sawdust soon!

cut was somewhat jagged - next time I'll use a cross cut blade
How many teeth do you recommend for slicing a finger? And for tooth shape, triple grind or ATB?

(sorry, couldn't resist...)
 

sawman101

Bruce Swanson
Corporate Member
A Freud Glue Line Rip would have made a much smoother cut--like Bas, I just couldn't resist. Sorry about your accident, but what a beautiful cutting board you ended up with. Nicely done John!
 

tri4sale

Daniel
Corporate Member
Stories like this remind me why when I get a table saw, it'll be a SawStop. Glad the damage was (relatively) minor. And thank you for NOT sharing photos of the finger.
 

drw

Donn
Corporate Member
John, I am so sorry that you had to experience another hand injury. That said, I am appreciate you sharing your experience with us...it makes us all a bit more careful. The cutting board is beautiful and is aptly named!
 

patlaw

Mike
Corporate Member
John, your story about @PhilS is nothing new. He's ALWAYS that helpful to anyone who asks. Seriously, we're lucky to have Phil in this community. He's beyond amazing.

Good luck with the finger. I'm not sure what it will ultimately cost you to lose the tip of your finger, but I would be surprised if it were less than $3000 unless you have an excellent supplement.

A SawStop doesn't guarantee that you wouldn't have had the problem, but it does improve the chances of it not happening by at least 75%. I got one because of my age and lack of experience. I already tripped it once, but I don't think the sensor was working as it should. (I'm an engineer, too.) SawStop and I spent some time on the phone discussing it, and I must have made a good case because they replaced the brake for free. The blade that was damaged was the original SawStop blade, which is not a good one.
 

ScottM

Scott
Staff member
Corporate Member
I have a friend who like you lost the tip of his finger on a table saw. No bone damage but lots of pain and blood. Lucky for him his daughter who is an ER nurse was there so no trip to the ER. After that his CFO allowed him to get a SawStop. Guess what? Lightning struck again.....He tripped. This time not even a Band-Aid was required. Worth every penny.
 

Melinapex

Mark
User
Thanks for sharing that John. I feel your pain....(yup, stuck a finger in a blade too). Fortunately not as much damage as you.....
beautiful cutting board, I think I can see the extra color you added...
 

Bear Republic

Steve
Corporate Member
Thanks for the funny and helpful story. Sorry about the finger but the cutting board is beautiful. Maybe your should change the name to kitchen board so you don't get cut next time.;)
 

Billm0066

Bill
User
I bought a used sawstop several months ago. I hate to spend that much but being a woodworker for just a few years I wanted to be safe in the shop. It's worth the peace of mind. It's a fantastic saw and I hope I never activate the brake.
 

Michael Mathews

Michael
Corporate Member
BTW, regarding Sawstop saws and setting off the brake....IF you have an Osborne Miter Gauge, you know, the one that has the adjustable fence.... Well, it'll set off the brake! I adjusted the angle of the Osborne and FORGOT to check clearance to the blade! I'll NEVER make that mistake again!
 

JimD

Jim
Senior User
I haven't tripped my SawStop yet and it was painful to spend that much but it was an early retirement gift to myself. At least it is a good table saw, best I have owned or used. I never hurt myself on any of my older table saws but I am not getting younger... My most serious injury was on a little 10 inch CMS. I had injured my left hand with a reciprocating saw the previous day. So I was holding a long piece of trim with my right hand while operating the saw with my left. I could not see my right hand's position in relation to the blade. Both hands were hurt at the end of a long days when I should have quit an hour earlier. But my ex-wife really wanted her house fixed up so she could sell it. So I pushed and got bit. She complained it was inconvenient to have to take me to the hospital (we tried urgent care but they sent me, in an ambulance, to the hospital). I also nicked the bone. Right index finger. It is functional but will never look the same. I did not need a graft, they pulled together what was left of the tip of the finger. The hand surgeon I visited several times said he could make it look better by grafting on additional material but I would probably have better feel if we just let it heal up. So that is what I did. It does not feel right, and typing still isn't as easy as it was, but it works.

I use that CMS but I quit when I get tired.

I hope you heal up at least as well as I have.
 

Oka

Oka
Corporate Member
Glad you are on the mend. Like others I have been lucky, I have had several work type injuries but none that did irreparable harm.

I heard the Tenryu have a very thin cut ... might want to use that one if you ever feel the need to get a slice Sushi thin ........;) :p

I know sorry, too soon ?

Also, the Saw stop is 2500.00
 

Jim M.

Woody
Corporate Member
Sorry about your finger, do beat yourself up to much, it can happen in a flash.
 

PChristy

New User
Phillip
Sorry to hear about your finger I know all to well about the pain and the why did I do this feeling you have. I lost my middle finger to the tablesaw. Hope you feel better
 

Ralrick

Rick
Corporate Member
Mike - Curious to know what did not work with your Sawstop sensor and how did you know it didn't operate properly? Was it tripped from touching flesh or did you hit metal?

Rick

John, your story about @PhilS is nothing new. He's ALWAYS that helpful to anyone who asks. Seriously, we're lucky to have Phil in this community. He's beyond amazing.

Good luck with the finger. I'm not sure what it will ultimately cost you to lose the tip of your finger, but I would be surprised if it were less than $3000 unless you have an excellent supplement.

A SawStop doesn't guarantee that you wouldn't have had the problem, but it does improve the chances of it not happening by at least 75%. I got one because of my age and lack of experience. I already tripped it once, but I don't think the sensor was working as it should. (I'm an engineer, too.) SawStop and I spent some time on the phone discussing it, and I must have made a good case because they replaced the brake for free. The blade that was damaged was the original SawStop blade, which is not a good one.
 

Jeremy Scuteri

Jeremy
Staff member
Corporate Member
Now my wife's upstairs and she's used to hearing these expletives. Usually (far to often) when I've cut to short, glued something out of square, tightened the vice on my finger instead of the wood or sharpened my finger along with the blade I was working on. Well this time she knew it was a little more serious so she bounded down and asked "are you alright?" I'm still apologizing for my answer.
That had me laughing so hard! (not the injury of course) Mostly because my wife and I can both relate to this behavior. As I was telling her about it at the computer, my daughter chimes in "that sounds like you". Glad you are on the mend and hope you have a speedy recovery.

I wonder if a coarser grit would help with burning on the drum sander? Just a thought.
 

Our Sponsors

LATEST FOR SALE LISTINGS

Top