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Thread: Two foolish mistakes at table saw cost me, dearly - Graphic Photos!

  1. #61
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    I was travelling and didn't get to respond right away, but I wanted to tell you that I did something similar, which ended up cutting off the tip of my thumb. Thankfully, it left 1mm of skin over the bone, and as long as there is some skin over the bone, there is a chance of a skin graft taking hold. They took skin from my elbow and made a new thumb tip. IT LOOKED HORRIBLE at first, and I was so self-conscious about it that I kept a band-aid on it all the time. I wanted to let you know that over time it healed to the point that today you almost cannot tell which thumb was injured. In fact, the doctor told me that because it cut into the quick of the nail, I would most likely lose the nail because quick doesn't grow back when damaged. Well, he was wrong. Not only did I not lose the nail, but the quick regrew and the nail looks normal. I also still have feeling in the tip of my thumb, although it is a little numb.

    Image is of thumb a few days after the skin graft was sewn on. Today it looks totally normal. Don't be dismayed at how it looks now. The body is amazing and it will eventually heal to where people will not notice.

    Frankenthumb.jpg

  2. #62
    Quote Originally Posted by Malcolm Schweizer View Post

    Image is of thumb a few days after the skin graft was sewn on. Today it looks totally normal. Don't be dismayed at how it looks now. The body is amazing and it will eventually heal to where people will not notice.
    Your story reminds me of a TV episode (youtube video) I saw about an Asian wood factory owner (Vietnamese?) who told the hostess that he had his fingers cut three times over the years. The kind of table saw he used was a circular saw mounted under a plywood sheet, and the fence was a wooden strip. When he talked about it, he was like the injuries he suffered were paper cuts!

    The most serious injury I learned from another woodworker was someone who had his palm cut by a dado cutter when the board he held down and pushed kicked back. He lost the function of the injured hand afterwards. Non-through cuts can be equally devastating.

    Simon

  3. #63
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    It seems that every time i hear accidents described i get totally confused, and have a lot of questions; Like how and why does a dado kickback? What actually happened? and how did his hand get into the blade? was it his left hand or his right hand? Blades don't just randomly decide to kickback, something triggers it, and for a better understanding of how to prevent it we need to understand what went wrong when it happened.

    Quote Originally Posted by Simon MacGowen View Post
    The most serious injury I learned from another woodworker was someone who had his palm cut by a dado cutter when the board he held down and pushed kicked back. He lost the function of the injured hand afterwards. Non-through cuts can be equally devastating.

    Simon

  4. #64
    Quote Originally Posted by Mark Hennebury View Post
    Blades don't just randomly decide to kickback, something triggers it, and for a better understanding of how to prevent it we need to understand what went wrong when it happened.
    If the story was related to me correctly, the worker was pushing the board forward with his right hand near the fence while having his left hand on the board (knowingly or unknowingly) directly over the line of fire path. Not sure if the kickback occurred because his right hand hooked to the edge of the board too close to the fence (hence pivoting the far edge away from the fence) or what, the board got lifted up and shot to the left of his body, and at the same time, his left hand pushing down was exposed to the dado cutter.

    According to the story teller (a woodworker himself knowing the victim), the damage was too severe (as can be imagined) for any function of the fingers to recover.

    This story has etched into my head, reminding me every time I use a dado cutter that I use a push pad as well as using it outside the line of fire (even though I use a sawstop).

    Simon
    Last edited by Simon MacGowen; 03-19-2019 at 6:50 PM.

  5. #65
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    I commend the type of push device that Frank Howarth uses for most tasks, very stable, no wider than a conventional push stick and could be changed for direct over the blade use.
    Chris

    Everything I like is either illegal, immoral or fattening

  6. #66
    Join Date
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    Bruce - sorry about your injury. And thanks for sharing your experience and lessons. Wish the reminder I received wasn't at your (or anyone's) expense.

    Everyone - Bruce talked about not using a Gripper, and I get why the push stick is a bad design and how it contributed. But I went and looked at a couple of videos on the Gripper, and while I get that it provides a lot of control that can be valuable for some cuts, every video shows the operator reaching fully and directly over the top of the spinning blade. It also clearly requires dumping the blade guard.

    This does not seem like a good thing to me. Isn't this exactly what we want to teach people to not do?

  7. #67
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    Quote Originally Posted by Steve Demuth View Post
    Bruce - sorry about your injury. And thanks for sharing your experience and lessons. Wish the reminder I received wasn't at your (or anyone's) expense.

    Everyone - Bruce talked about not using a Gripper, and I get why the push stick is a bad design and how it contributed. But I went and looked at a couple of videos on the Gripper, and while I get that it provides a lot of control that can be valuable for some cuts, every video shows the operator reaching fully and directly over the top of the spinning blade. It also clearly requires dumping the blade guard.

    This does not seem like a good thing to me. Isn't this exactly what we want to teach people to not do?
    Correct, the Gripper would not be allowed in industry because it requires the removal of the guard, which is never a good idea. There are far safer methods of stock control, including using a proper length rip fence, not the long type so common in North America........Regards, Rod.

  8. #68
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    Dec 2008
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    Bruce, I am missing the left index finger, startled when doing an operation that was obviously not safe. In time it is basically forgotten as you just soldier on, but still not a great experience. But then, someone needs to be the example of what not to do.

  9. #69
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    Nov 2010
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    Upstate South Carolina
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    There should be a sign next to the on/off switch of every power tool that says. If you do not show me proper respect I will hurt you.

    Hope you have a quick recovery.

    Ed
    Some claim to want to give a hearing to other views, but then are shocked and offended to discover that there are other views.

    William F, Buckley, Jr.

  10. #70
    Join Date
    Oct 2005
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rod Sheridan View Post
    Correct, the Gripper would not be allowed in industry because it requires the removal of the guard, which is never a good idea. There are far safer methods of stock control, including using a proper length rip fence, not the long type so common in North America........Regards, Rod.
    Very few believe a short fence can work, why that is has to be one of life's mysteries. The concept that the blade takes over from the fence is yet to be understood by most TS users.
    Chris

    Everything I like is either illegal, immoral or fattening

  11. #71
    Quote Originally Posted by Steve Demuth View Post
    It also clearly requires dumping the blade guard.

    This does not seem like a good thing to me. Isn't this exactly what we want to teach people to not do?
    Yes, the blade guard is not used if or when the Gripper is used directly over the blade. The blade guard can still be put in place if the Gripper is used like a push shoe or block on wider stock.

    The Gripper is particularly useful for resawing stock (up to 3" wide, depending on the saw fence) as the operation does not require the operator's hand passing directly over the blade.

    Interested to know if anyone ever got hurt because of using this type of push aid.

    Simon

  12. #72
    Join Date
    Feb 2018
    Location
    Fairfax, VA
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    Those push sticks are my least favorite things in the shop, and I prefer the push shoes. That said, the push sticks are meant to be used as dual sticks with one in each hands. That way, you push the lumber with one stick and press the lumber down and against the fence with the other stick in your other hand. But of course, TS only comes with one for some stupid reason and most people toss theirs out for good reason. But a bright side of using two sticks is that you're not left with a free hand to do something stupid like grab at an offcut while the blade is spinning down.


    Quote Originally Posted by Rick Potter View Post
    Plus one for Simon and Ole's responses. Several times in the past, I have had those basic push sticks slip or the workpiece twisted while using them. Years ago, I copied the handle on my hand saw, and made several push shoe types. I have much more control over the workpiece now.


    My local WW club has a raffle at each meeting. I think I will make a couple extras and donate them. It would be nice if someone there has a laser, and we could make up some with our logo for club members who are just getting started.


    EDIT: I also have the Gripper, as well as Jessem's roller guides, and several special purpose push sticks/shoes. All work well for their intended purpose, but none are good for all uses. The above push shoe is my go to for about 75% of the time.

  13. #73
    Quote Originally Posted by Mark Hennebury View Post
    It seems that every time i hear accidents described i get totally confused, and have a lot of questions; Like how and why does a dado kickback? What actually happened? and how did his hand get into the blade? was it his left hand or his right hand? Blades don't just randomly decide to kickback, something triggers it, and for a better understanding of how to prevent it we need to understand what went wrong when it happened.
    Mark,

    I don't know anything about the story Simon is relating, but I'll share a dado kickback story in response to your question. I was in a shop where the most experienced woodworker among us was cutting a dado across the grain in 1/2" ply using the fence. He was pushing with his right hand along the fence when partway through the cut, the blade set's back teeth grabbed the workpiece throwing it forward and in the process dragging his hand into the blade.

    The good part of the story is that it was a SawStop machine so the cartridge triggered and his cut was enough to bleed quite a bit, but not require anything more than some basic bandaging.

    About 20 minutes later he insisted on demonstrating what happened and what he did wrong. A group of 5 of us spent 15 minutes talking about several root causes that combined to create the outcome.
    One of them was his failure to use a push block.
    Another was that the workpiece was wider than it was long which just increased the potential to lever away from the fence.
    Another factor we concluded was that the table could have used a waxing because there was too much drag between this particular ply and the table surface. The drag only made the lever situation worse.
    We also concluded that a dado blade set is the same thing as multiple blades in other words much more forward force fighting against keeping the workpiece against the fence and moving forward. This is a meaningful factor with just one normal blade. A 3/4" dado set increases this factor by 6x. Also lots of teeth available to grab.
    I had my own theory that he was not keeping his attention on the fence to notice that the workpiece was drifting at the earliest point possible but he didn't mention it so I kept this suspicion to myself.

    My co-worker said he suffered more injury to his ego than his hand, but had it not been for the Sawstop, I think his hand would have been mincemeat. I learned a lot from this fellow in general and thought it was very professional for him to swallow his pride and review the incident with everyone else.

    BTW, when this incident happened, I was on the other side of the shop using (I think) a bandsaw. When the SawStop cartridge fired, I thought a gunshot went off and it was totally startling. It made me wonder whether anyone has ever gotten hurt on a whole other machine due to being startled by a SawStop being triggered elsewhere in the shop. Wouldn't that be ironic.

    Edwin

  14. #74
    I have scraped push sticks and will never own a sawstop. $1k full blown retail for a feeder and a few half wheels, and using it, in combination with a slider that (unless you just have a disposition to be callous/reckless) keeps your hands completely free and clear of the blade, makes the most sense. I can rip horrifically thin strips on the slider with simple jigs (F&F), and can then rip 2000/LF of base or case with the feeder, and my (and more so my employees) fingers are never within a foot of the blade.. ever.

    Sad for the injury. When I saw the initial post I didnt look at it until there were a few pages of replies because I dont do the "visuals" of fingers mauled and cut off.
    Sometimes I just want to look at pretty pictures,... Thats when I go to the Turners Forum

  15. #75
    Quote Originally Posted by Edwin Santos View Post
    Another was that the workpiece was wider than it was long which just increased the potential to lever away from the fence.
    This is your delimiter. Paying attention to the fence relies on your reaction time which will never be fast enough. A pushblock is useless in overcoming the power an inertia of a dado stack or a single blade. Waxed table would simply have gotten you to the bloody conclusion faster. I sat for a period trying to conclude how a blade rotating counter to the feed could have back teeth that would throw the piece forward.. its impossible. The part got pinched and the operators imposed force on the part is what caused the part to move forward. A blade spinning in opposition the the force applied can only send the part back at the operator (kickback).

    What likely happened (I have unfortunately seen it) is the dado kicked back, the part raised up and rode along the top of the blade like a tire, and the blade didnt throw the part forwards (against the blades rotation) the operators influence (shoving the part forward) pushed the part forward which firsbee'd the part forward and exposed the blade, and he fell into the blade. (nano-second). There is no way possible for a blade to throw a part forward. It may catch and whip or frisbee forward. But his influence was what caused the forward movement.

    This is why the best advice is always to think of "if the part were to disappear... where is the force I am applying to my hands.. going to put my hands.. "
    Last edited by Mark Bolton; 03-21-2019 at 5:23 PM.
    Sometimes I just want to look at pretty pictures,... Thats when I go to the Turners Forum

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