Tuesday, December 01, 2009


I've always prided myself on being very careful and aware when working with the tools in my shop. Power saws and routers and sanders require a concentration that is unwavering if the operator is going to work safely and avoid injury. Yesterday I disobeyed that rule and now I'm paying for my lack of concentration.

I was using the router mounted on a router table -as I have many times before- to cut a dado in a piece of zebrawood. I was in a hurry and that should have thrown up a red flag for me. Never do anything with power tools if you are in a hurry. Shortcuts create bad cuts in both the wood and any fingers that get in the way. Normally I use push sticks and jigs that help to make the particular operation as safe and efficient as possible. But for some reason I must have felt invincible and overly sure of my ability to control the material and the cutter because I stupidly used just my fingers to hold the wood in place and then advance it through the router.

I don't know exactly what happened or how it happened because it happened to quickly for me to react. Somehow two of my fingers slipped into the path of the router bit and the result is what you can readily imagine. A considerable chunk of my right index finger was ripped open and a smaller rip was made in my middle finger faster than you can say "oops". Copius amounts of blood drippings made a trail from basement workshop to upstairs kitchen. I managed to fold the skin back into place and applied lots of pressure to stop the bleeding long enough to get a compression bandage in place. I felt secure enough with my firstaid efforts to refuse a trip to the hospital.

But the wound is still bleeding a bit today and will probably take awhile longer to stop. It is nearly impossible to avoid moving the finger and causing the wound to reopen and start bleeding again. It is all very annoying. Just typing this has caused more bloodshed. Remarkably enough there is no pain involved so far. I am going to have to immobilize the finger for a day or so to get the bleeding to stop completely. What a hassle. And all because I was in a hurry and got careless.

Maybe the worst part of all this is that I have to listen to Mary"s lectures and her insistence that I stay out of the workshop forever. Geez, it's not like I cut the finger off.

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