Blog Post #1: Ya'll Be Careful Now, Ya Hear?

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Blog entry by HerbC posted 07-29-2010 08:21 AM 25226 reads 1 time favorited 27 comments Add to Favorites Watch

This is my first blog post here at LumberJocks.

First I’d like to thank each of you for the warm welcome I have already received.

My name is Herb Cumbie and I live in Panama City, Florida. I’m 61 years old. I’ve worked with wood off and on since I was six years old. When I was a young boy I began helping my Dad in our workshop. We made a lot of cedar “hope” chests over the years. We also made some other furniture items and quite a few sets of kitchen cabinets. When I was 13 we built our first house and we build one each summer for the next five years. My parents died in an auto accident when I was 18. In the years since then I have made a few things but got out of woodworking for quite a while. About four years ago I began to work towards getting back into woodworking.

Over all these years I have worked with just about every kind of tool and never had any injury more serious than a blister. Until March 8, 2010…

I was using my Ryobi tablesaw to rip stickers for airdrying some lumber I had just had milled from some logs I had collected over the last couple of years. Of course I had removed and discarded the blade guard shortly after purchasing the saw in 1996. Since the wood I was ripping was roughcut lumber I was wearing kid leather work gloves. I was using a pushstick. I had been ripping stickers for almost two hours. I ripped one and used my left hand to pull the remaining portion of the board back to start the next one. My hand got to close to the blade which caught the glove on my little finger and pulled the remaining fingers down into the blade…

Well, I managed to get to the local emergency room in just 15 minutes and got excellent care. The surgeon who did the repairs did an excellent job. I have feeling and movement of all four injured fingers. As the photo below shows, the damage to my index finger was so severe that the doctor had to remove the first joint. I’m going to physical rehab for the hand twice a week and the movement and control of the worst injured fingers is improving gradually.

So as I begin this blog and return to my woodworking endevours my first and strongest message to each and every one of you is to be careful. I have a constant reminder that although I have a lifetime of experience I am still capable of doing something STUPID…

Thanks for checking out my blog.


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

27 comments so far

View littlecope's profile


3097 posts in 4301 days

#1 posted 07-29-2010 11:05 AM

Welcome to LJ’s, Herb… Sorry to hear about your accident
Absolutely Yes on your advice about Safety!! Careful, careful, careful…

-- Mike in Concord, NH---Unpleasant tasks are simply worthy challenges to improve skills.

View live4ever's profile


983 posts in 3809 days

#2 posted 07-29-2010 11:29 AM

Welcome to LJs! You’ll have a great time here.

I’m saddened to hear of your accident. If you hang around the woodworking forums enough, it seems there is no shortage of long-time woodworkers who suffer a tragic injury after a lifetime of being injury-free. Stories such as yours keep us on our toes. Thank you for the reminder and I hope you’re able to get back into the shop soon after a successful recovery.

-- Optimists are usually disappointed. Pessimists are either right or pleasantly surprised. I tend to be a disappointed pessimist.

View Eagle1's profile


2066 posts in 3864 days

#3 posted 07-29-2010 11:38 AM

Welcome to Lumberjocks. Sorry to hear about your accident. We all know that sometimes we have to remove the guards, to get something done. Thanks for the reminder about everybody needs to be careful when that happens.

-- Tim, Missouri ....Inside every older person is a younger person wondering what the heck happened

View Sailor's profile


543 posts in 4064 days

#4 posted 07-29-2010 01:05 PM

Welcome Herb, glad you decided to join our fun little group, and thank you for the words of wisdom.

I live in Dothan Al, which isn’t very far from you at all. I make my way down there fairly often to enjoy a reloaxing weekend on my sailboat that I have slipped at City Marina. Nice to meet another Jock fairly close to home.

-- Dothan, Alabama Check out my woodworking blog! Also my Youtube Channel's Facebook page

View rando1's profile


163 posts in 3723 days

#5 posted 07-29-2010 01:37 PM

Herb, thanks for the reminder on safety. Welcome to the team and host of overwhelming info and knowledge!

-- Randon Riegsecker,

View Don Butler's profile

Don Butler

1092 posts in 4195 days

#6 posted 07-29-2010 01:50 PM

Herb, thanks for your post.
I’m seventy seven years old and still have all of my body parts (except the ones removed on purpose).
That doesn’t mean I’m smart, and I could still do something that would injure me.
I’m as careful as I know how and if something feels scary I find some other way to do what I’m trying to do.
Still, we all need to think about the thing we should all know and understand.
Power tools, even the best ones, have a danger of harming us and we should do all we can to protect ourselves.

AS one LJer says, (quoted as well as I can remember) We should not only be protecting ourselves from injury, but also from extinction!


-- No trees were damaged in posting this message, but thousands of electrons were seriously inconvenienced.

View 8iowa's profile


1591 posts in 4561 days

#7 posted 07-29-2010 02:17 PM


Best wishes for a speedy recovery. Thanks for posting your experience. Perhaps it will help others to avoid injury.

According to emergency room personnel it’s the professional and experienced woodworkers that they see more often than the newbie. Rush to deadlines and fatigue are often contributing factors.

-- "Heaven is North of the Bridge"

View jockmike2's profile


10635 posts in 5046 days

#8 posted 07-29-2010 04:44 PM

Thanks for the reminder, but I just had two of my own, double stupid accidents. One two days before xmas 2009, hurrying to make presents, in which I lost the tip of the tip of my ring finger on my right hand. Then about 2 months ago I racked the first two fingers on my left hand, back side, accross the blade on the same TS. I found out my fence was crooked, but I wasn’t using featherboards, I was using a push stickk, but I also have a blade guard I promised my wife I would start using, which I stopped shortly after I started because of the hassles it caused. It is now back on and I’m writting a letter to Hitachi to see if I can get an aftermarket fence that is straight. I’ve worked over 40 yrs with TS’s w/o an accident except hitting my thumb with a hammer. LOL, who hasn’t. Good reminder anyway. Thanks and I feel for you and that’s how I felt STUPID!!! CARELESS, AND ANGRY AT MYSELF. Let it go, It can happen to anyone, with just a lapse in consintration. Best of Luck and Welcome, Jockmike2, call me mike.

-- (You just have to please the man in the Mirror) Mike from Michigan -

View HokieMojo's profile


2104 posts in 4527 days

#9 posted 07-29-2010 05:03 PM

Not to start a huge argument about Sawstop, but do you think this would have prevented your injury when your hand touched the blade or do you think the blade being yanked down into the cabinet would have still caused serious injury (because your glove was hooked on the teeth). I’m just curious about your thought on what happened.

Welcome to the site and I hope you find yourself at home here!

View HerbC's profile


1805 posts in 3659 days

#10 posted 07-29-2010 05:42 PM


Based on my limited knowledge of the SawStop technology, I believe that if my saw was equiped with that system it would have significantly reduced the extent of my injuries.

On the other hand, a few simple steps would have greatly reduced the potential for this accident:

1. I should have been Using a properly designed and installed blade guard system.
2. I should not have been wearing a glove.
3. I shold have taken more frequent breaks to minimize the tendency to “zone out” which occurs when permforming repetative tasks.

Thanks for your question. I think the SawStop technology is great. I don’y want to argue either, but the existance of the technology does not relieve the user of their individual responsibility to NOT BE STUPID…


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

View woodcrafter47's profile


353 posts in 3905 days

#11 posted 07-29-2010 05:54 PM

Sorry to hear about your injuries, Hope and pray for speedy recovery,I know about shop injuries, band saw got my right index finger,nothing serious ,but a reminder for me ,Be careful and don’t get in a hurry.
glad to have you here on LJ’s.

-- In His service ,Richard

View ClayandNancy's profile


527 posts in 3814 days

#12 posted 07-29-2010 05:58 PM

I’ve been very fortunate that the two accidents to my left thumb, one on the band saw at 18 yrs. old, and the other at 54, only left the tip with a scar. Stupid me. My only concern with Sawstop saws is that it might make us over confident about injury prevention. It is our responsibility to pay attention at all times to what we are cutting and how we are using these powerful tools. I believe impatience, familiarity and fatigue are our worst enemy’s. Remember, you can’t buy fingers at Rockler or Woodcraft.

View HokieMojo's profile


2104 posts in 4527 days

#13 posted 07-29-2010 07:36 PM

Thanks for the reply. I can’t argue with any of your points. I guess what I was mostly trying to determine (for quite some time now) is whether there are injuries that could be worse as a result of having a sawstop than not. Kind of like the airbags on a car injuring someone. The airbags save many many lives, but I was just intrigued to know. I hope the injury doesn’t have too many lingering pains. Thanks again!

View brunob's profile


2277 posts in 4969 days

#14 posted 07-29-2010 08:00 PM

Always sorry to hear about the other persons troubles. Hopefully we’ll all learn from it. Thanks for posting.

-- Bruce from Central New, if you'll pardon me, I have some sawdust to make.

View ClayandNancy's profile


527 posts in 3814 days

#15 posted 07-30-2010 02:38 AM

HokieMojo I wonder about wearing the gloves would it have made it worse? Would it drag the hand in, then touch the finger, activating the stop and then dragging the hand down as the blade drops? Just my bored mind thinking.

showing 1 through 15 of 27 comments

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