Name that wound, or, stupidity knows no bounds

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Blog entry by BillyJ posted 03-07-2012 04:35 AM 5578 reads 0 times favorited 11 comments Add to Favorites Watch

With more then a half-century behind me, I’m rather comfortable in saying that I’ve seen a lot of stupid things in my life. Having been host to the greater number of them, I count myself both lucky and rather stupid at times. Take yesterday, as an example.

Take a close look at the picture below. What kind of wound is it?

No, it’s not a splinter. However, if you guessed a 23 ga pin-nail hole – you’ed be correct.

The next logical question should be – how stupid could you be?

Rather, my friend – rather stupid.

My son and grandson just came out to the shop and started to talk to me. They asked what I was doing. I showed them my Senco pin-nailer and explained how I had recently read an article in Fine Homebuilding (November, 2011) about pin-nailers. The author had shot a 1” pin into his palm, with his Senco, just below his thumb. He underwent surgery to have it removed. I explained how the Senco did not have a safety feature on it, and showed them how it fired without having pressure applied to the tip.

No, I’m not THAT stupid. I didn’t aim it at my palm just to recreate the event. Give me a little credit – ok?


I went in the house, had dinner, then went back out to continue working on the cabinets. Rats! The nailer jammed. Ok, not a problem. I’ll take it apart and remove the culprits. While I’m at it, I’ll put a little oil in there too.

Yep, it worked great. But what the heck is that oil coming out of the tip. That’s no good. So, I take the strip of 1/2” pins out, and wiped the oil out. I pulled the trigger a couple of times (shooting the gun AWAY from me), and looked at the tip. Hmmm, looks good. Guess it’s time to shoot my palm just to see if any more oil comes out.

You guessed it. The magnet that pulls the pins up must have retained three pins (which I never saw). I shot the nailer twice, then turned it on my palm. I was holding the gun about 2” away from my palm.

Oh, what a tingly feeling I got as it hit the nerves. I looked, and saw a little hole (no blood). Come on now – I didn’t!! Oh yes stupid – you did.

Like I said in the beginning, I’ve seen many stupid injuries in my life. A fellow worker once shot a 2 1/2” nail through his foot (safety shoe and all). I saw the results of a painter who was cleaning his sprayer with solvent and shot it through his arm (looked like two legs by the time he was in the hospital). I know better not to do stupid things like this, but it happened.

Lessons learned:

1. Like any gun – assume it’s loaded.

2. Like a gun – never point it at anything you don’t intend to shoot.

3. Buy a tool that has a safety on it.

4. If I do it again, even after following rules 1 – 3, pick something safer to do with my spare time. Like reading a book, watching TV, or sleeping.

A final note:

If there happens to be a person who is working for, or knows someone who does work for a government regulatory agency, OSHA, or any other group that likes to keep people safe – don’t use this as part of your testimony before Congress. I was stupid, I did it to myself.

And if I want to keep shooting myself with pin nailers, please let me.

The last thing I want, or need, is some ineptocratic agency telling me how to save myself from myself.

-- I've never seen a tree that I wouldn't like to repurpose into a project. I love the smell of wood in the morning - it smells like victory.

11 comments so far

View Martyroc's profile


2712 posts in 3430 days

#1 posted 03-07-2012 04:46 AM

We have all done stupid things, I have done my fair share as well, as long as you Ok now that’s all that counts.

-- Martin ....always count the number of fingers you have before, and after using the saw.

View Ben's profile


302 posts in 3454 days

#2 posted 03-07-2012 05:00 AM

I shot myself last week. Had my finger on the other side of the wood and i misjudged the angle I was going for. Just the end of the nail got me but I got a similar hole. Years ago working for a box and pallet company, I was trying to pull a box together because all the wood was warped. We cut everything, then the order got put on hold. As I was trying to hold it together and fire, The nail hit a knot and went out through my thumb. Looked like one of those fake nail through the finger toys. OWCH

-- Welcome to downtown Coolsville, Population: US! --Hogarth Hughes

View Betsy's profile


3394 posts in 5020 days

#3 posted 03-07-2012 05:02 AM

Glad that you have a sense of humor about it. I know several people who have been “shot” with a nail gun. None of them came out as lucky as you. One lost an eye, one a finger from a resulting infection from the wound (he was one of those people with no understanding about cleaning a wound and he paid dearly for it) and a third who hit a nerve and has no feeling in the ring and pinky finger of his right hand.

Nail guns can speed the assembly process, but they can be just as dangerous and damaging as any other power tool.

I will stand up for your right to continue to shoot yourself, but please keep it to a bare minimum of just once in a lifetime, think you could live with that? -:)

-- "Our past judges our present." JFK - 1962; American Heritage Magazine

View Ben's profile


302 posts in 3454 days

#4 posted 03-07-2012 05:11 AM

They interviewed a guy on Letterman a few years ago that had a framing nail shot into his skull. Came out without brain damage amazingly enough, and he was laughing about it. they showed the xray and it looked like it had to have gone into his brain.

-- Welcome to downtown Coolsville, Population: US! --Hogarth Hughes

View Kjuly's profile


311 posts in 4409 days

#5 posted 03-07-2012 11:49 AM

Hi Billy,
Sorry to read of your mishap. My pin nailer is lacking the same safety feature.
Thanks for sharing.

-- Keith, Charlotte, MI

View Howie's profile


2656 posts in 4047 days

#6 posted 03-07-2012 12:18 PM

Brother in law got his finger with 18 ga nailer.
I stuck myself with a pin nailer holding two small pieces of wood, shot right thru it. Duh!
Just keep the kids away and be more careful is all you can do.

-- Life is good.

View HerbC's profile


1820 posts in 3983 days

#7 posted 03-07-2012 03:30 PM

It’s embarassing to admit but perhaps someone else will remember this post and avoid a simular accident.

I was assembling a small framework of two by fours on my driveway using a pneumatic nailgun. I was holding one of the pieces against the other and the gun shot a “double” moving slightly between the two shots. The second nail went through the edge of the wood and came to rest embedded in the palm of my hand. Heres a picture of the nail and my hand:

And here’s the puncture wounds:

Note that this is the same hand that I tangled with a table saw on a few years later…

Be Careful!


-- Herb, Florida - Here's why I close most messages with "Be Careful!"

View spanky46's profile


995 posts in 4514 days

#8 posted 03-07-2012 05:58 PM

Ouch neighbor, glad your ok! I think it helps to share our mishaps! We all have them.

-- spanky46 -- Never enough clamps...Never enough tools...Never enough time.

View BillyJ's profile


622 posts in 4327 days

#9 posted 03-07-2012 06:25 PM

Thanks spanky. It really shocked me (not my stupidity) that the pin burred itself about a 1/16” below my skin. It took me several minutes of digging with a pair of tick tweezers until I could finally pull it out. That was from 2” or so above my palm!

Things happen SO fast, and we work with many tools that will permanently change our lives if handled the wrong way.

I know pin nailers have changed over the past several years. They are somewhat safer. It’s sort of like a BB gun. It’s difficult to conceive that such a small item could actually kill someone.

-- I've never seen a tree that I wouldn't like to repurpose into a project. I love the smell of wood in the morning - it smells like victory.

View a1Jim's profile


118162 posts in 4701 days

#10 posted 03-07-2012 06:37 PM

The only nail gun incidents I’ve had was I was rushing to meet a shipping dead line to get a piece of furniture out and was crating it up and grazed 7penny nails off my fingers 5 times, Talk about Dumb!!!!
It just goes to show rushing and safety seldom go together.


View Rustic's profile


3260 posts in 4720 days

#11 posted 03-07-2012 11:11 PM

Been there done that.

--, Rick Kruse, Grand Rapids, MI

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