Tablesaw Accident

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jimwill48

Moderator
James
Well today is the 1st time I really hurt myself in woodworking. Some how I managed to cut the whole ball of my left thumb off on the tablesaw. From 1st joint to tip and from nail side to nail side. Good news no bone damage. Was ripping a 1 1/2" square from a larger board when the I hit a hidden knot and the board pulled forward and slid the ball of my thumb of my thumb threw the blade. I was using a push stick with my right hand. ER visit and now have to see a orthopedic doc next week. Don't know what he can do as there is no ball and skin left its on shop floor (now trash). Sorry if this is to graphic, but be safe out there and not get to complacent in the use of our power tools!

James
 

leftoflefty

New User
Ricky
Well the good thing is there is no bone damage. You will probably have a gnarly scar-ish looking thumb. But hey, chicks dig scars right? :rotflm:

But in all seriousness, I'm glad nothing more serious happened.
 

eyekode

New User
Salem
Thanks for sharing. It can't be easy. But I don't quite understand. Your technique sounded similar to mine (push stick etc.). But If you were using a push stick how did your hand get so low to the blade?

Good luck healing!
Salem
 

Gofor

Mark
Corporate Member
Sorry to hear about the injury. Hope you heal quickly. I am sure the orthopedic doc will have several options for you.

Go
 

Bill Clemmons

Bill
Corporate Member
My condolences James. I chewed up 4 fingers on my right hand about 12 years ago on the TS. Didn't lose anything, but it sure got my attention. It was six weeks before I got back in the shop.

Good luck.

Bill
 

drw

Donn
Corporate Member
James, I am so sorry about your accident; I wish you a speedy and uneventful recovery. Also, thank you for sharing this incident with us; by sharing your misfortune you help the rest of us to be more vigilant.

Donn
 

ehpoole

Administrator
Ethan
Thanks for sharing. It can't be easy. But I don't quite understand. Your technique sounded similar to mine (push stick etc.). But If you were using a push stick how did your hand get so low to the blade? Salem
If I understand correctly, he was saying the knot caused the short section of board he was holding against the fence/miter gauge with his left hand to rotate (i.e. pivot about the corner of the fence nearest the blade) and carry his left hand (thumb) into the path of the blade.

For cuts where there is very little wood to reference against my miter gauge fence I usually resort to clamping the wood against the fence. This way my hand is not a part of the equation. I also try to avoid cutting through knots of any significance because they are inherently unpredictable and loose knots can be quite dangerous if they get thrown back at your. For those of us with a bandsaw, sometimes these potential 'close call' cuts are more safely performed at the bandsaw rather than the tablesaw.

None of us is perfect and this accident could just as easily have happened to anyone of us, so this is a good reminder for all of us to take a moment before each cut to think about what could go wrong and identify the best and safest approach to the cut.

I'm very grateful your experience was a relatively minor accident and one that you should largely, if not entirely, recover from in the coming months.

Best wishes.
 
M

McRabbet

Jim,

Sorry to hear of your accident, but it just points out another reason that conventional push sticks are a "No-no" -- they almost all require the user to push down and forward in the direction of the blade and if any slippage occurs, the hand is aimed and thrust toward the blade. I strongly recommend the use of Grr-rippers from Micro-Jig, which keep the hand pushing straight and away from the blade and the blade passing below the push device.
 

Matt Furjanic

Matt
Senior User
OUCH! Makes me shrudder when I think about it. I sure hope your gonna be okay...
A couple years ago, I brushed the top of my table-saw blade with the same thumb area of my hand. I was lucky. It just barely broke the skin and I ended up with just a scratch. BUT, it really woke me up! Table saws are dangerous. Hey, all woodworking tools are dangerous! Everyone should use guards, but sometimes this is not possible. I make inlay bandings which requires cutting lots of small pieces using crosscut jigs and sleds of various sorts, so using guards just won't work for me.
The biggest safety problem is complacency. One always has to be aware of the safety aspects and pay attention to what you are doing. This becomes a problem when doing repetitive and boring tasks.
But it's not always power tools. I have drawn a lot of woodworking blood over the years, but my worst accident was when using a 1/4" chisel. I drove it into my left index finger and severed its tendon.
Jim: glad you made this post - maybe it will save someone a finger (or a thumb)!
Matt.
PS: I now own a Sawstop saw. If you can afford one, I think this is the way to go.
 

PChristy

New User
Phillip
James - sorry to hear of your accident - wishing you a speedy recovery - I had one finger tip chewed up on a double head shaper and a few others chewed up on an overhead router -
 

CaptnA

Andy
Corporate Member
OUCH!!
Very sorry to hear about your accident. As you know it could so easily have been much worse...
As mentioed it could have been any one of us, or any of our tools.
Heal quickly and best wishes for as complete a recovery as possible!
 

hockey1

New User
Jesse
I'm sorry to hear about your incident. However incidents such as these every couple of months(to include my own) although terrible seem help keep the rest of diligent in what we do in our own shops. Thank you for sharing.
 

adowden

New User
Amy
I cut myself about four years ago. The strange thing is I cut my right index finger by rotating into the blade while trying to keep wood against the rip fence (when I should have been using the miter gauge). It happens so fast. I left the blood on the floor as a reminder to be careful. I also bought a Micro Jig MJ Pro splitter, GRR-Ripper, and a magnetic featherboard. These three safety tools have helped considerably and reduced any "scary outcomes" on the tablesaw.

I saw a TV show about a year ago about how they can "regrow" fingers. A gentleman cut the entire tip of his finger off in a model airplane accident. He put some powder on it made I think from pig intestines or cells, and the finger slowly regenerated (even the nail). I don't know if this is still in the research stage or not, but it would be great if that was an option. The progress pictures were nothing short of amazing! I think he was one of his sons was in charge of the research so when the accident happened he called him to get the powder. I will see if I can find anymore about this.

Best of luck in a speedy recovery. I am so sorry this happened.

Amy
 
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