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View cathyb's profile

What happened when you lost your finger?

by cathyb
posted 11-27-2018 11:11 PM

27 replies so far

View NormG's profile


6506 posts in 3812 days

#1 posted 11-27-2018 11:19 PM

That is how fast things can happen, glad to hear it was not worse and the pain was at the level it was.

-- Norman - I never never make a mistake, I just change the design.

View BurlyBob's profile


7712 posts in 3073 days

#2 posted 11-27-2018 11:29 PM

So sorry to hear about your accident. I sure hope you recover quickly.

View Dark_Lightning's profile


4147 posts in 3917 days

#3 posted 11-27-2018 11:42 PM

Yowch! Thanks for not posting a picture, I’ve seen enough carnage on my own hands and feet, though the pieces are still there. Get well soon!

-- Steven.......Random Orbital Nailer

View muleskinner's profile


941 posts in 3244 days

#4 posted 11-27-2018 11:47 PM


When I was a lad my father had our 3000 sq. ft. home framed and then proceeded to finish the rest of it himself. A Craftsman TS and 4 .in jointer being his only stationary power tools. After about 3 years, he was putting the last touches on some built-ins is the last room to be finished. That jointer took off about 3/8 inch of his index finger. I’ve always been cautious with the jointer. And I pretty much eschew gloves when operating machines in the shop.

Hope things heal fast.

P.S. Thank you for NOT posting pictures.

-- Visualize whirled peas

View shipwright's profile


8570 posts in 3606 days

#5 posted 11-28-2018 12:05 AM

Wow Cathy! Really sorry to hear that.

Life will go on of course but someone saying that won’t help a lot I know. The hardest thing is to stop beating yourself up for being so STUPID!!! ... right. least it was for me. I have a fair bit less volume behind my left thumbnail than behind my right. I took my mind off it at the time by trying to calculate how many carbide teeth passed through the area in the half second or so it was there. It turns out it’s really a lot.
Again sorry to hear the news. Get better soon.

-- Paul M ..............the early bird may get the worm but it’s the second mouse that gets the cheese!

View vonhagen's profile


547 posts in 3173 days

#6 posted 11-28-2018 12:40 AM

Sorry to hear this Cathy! I never wear gloves on any machine or ring. We always have a apple or 2 in the shop fridge in case of a accident as eating a apple after a accident will keep you from going into shock .

-- no matter what size job big or small do a job right or don't do it at all.

View Druid's profile


2205 posts in 3603 days

#7 posted 11-28-2018 12:42 AM

Really sorry to hear about this happening to you, and I hope that the healing phase will be short and without any complication. When you are talking to any of the hospital staff who ask “what is a jointer” (you’ll mention this in the 3rd reply after this one), remember to let them know that this tool is NOT for working on finger joints in hands. ;)
Heal well.

-- John, British Columbia, Canada

View Manitario's profile


2816 posts in 3691 days

#8 posted 11-28-2018 12:50 AM

Sorry to hear that this happened to you. I am an ER physician and I see accidents like this all too often. It always gives me pause, because it could happen to any of us, and I can only imagine how devastating it would be.

-- Sometimes the creative process requires foul language. -- Charles Neil

View Benji Reyes's profile

Benji Reyes

339 posts in 3886 days

#9 posted 11-28-2018 01:08 AM

I’m so sorry to hear about your accident Cathy. You are a warrior and the good Lord will give you strength and guidance to continue with your woodworking. Hugs from my corner of the woods.

-- Benji Reyes, Antipolo, Philippines, Instagram benji reyes

View cathyb's profile


843 posts in 4052 days

#10 posted 11-28-2018 02:46 AM

Thanks guys. I would rather share this tale with you than others. Just getting past “what is a jointer” in the ER was enough to complicate the explanation for my situation. I am sure it will be an ice breaker at parties with woodworkers and artist, maybe not for the general population though :).

I am just going to take one day at a time.

Be careful out there…



-- cathyb, Hawaii,

View EarlS's profile


3781 posts in 3156 days

#11 posted 11-28-2018 02:51 AM

Thank you for sharing your bad experience with us. Losing a finger to a knife or blade is my worst wood working nightmare. I know my dad has had a couple of run ins with the jointer and the table saw blade. In both cases he was extremely lucky and only wound up with deep cuts.

Your story reiterates the need to be constantly aware of your tools and the risks and dangers they pose.

My thoughts and prayers for you.

-- Earl "I'm a pessamist - generally that increases the chance that things will turn out better than expected"

View tyvekboy's profile


2033 posts in 3821 days

#12 posted 11-28-2018 03:08 AM

So sorry to hear about your lolo shop accident. I had one of those 3-OH-S t days my self while cleaning my lawnmower. Sliced up the tip of my right index finger. It no longer looks like the other one but still works.

I agree not to wear gloves when using power tools. Also no long hair or long sleeves around power tools. With the jointer and table saw I’d make and start using push blocks or push sticks to use with both the jointer and table saw if you don’t already have some.

Also, I also make it a rule to never pass my hand over the jointer blade area.

I know a very good woodcarver that is missing half of 3 fingers on one hand due to separate jointer mishaps.

Get well soon and I hope it doesn’t impact your woodworking.

-- Tyvekboy -- Marietta, GA ………….. one can never be too organized

View HokieKen's profile (online now)


14547 posts in 1946 days

#13 posted 11-28-2018 02:27 PM

Sorry Kathy! Thanks for the reminder to keep our focus. If I had my gloves on for something else, I would have likely ran the board without removing them as well.

I know a very good woodcarver that is missing half of 3 fingers on one hand due to separate jointer mishaps.
- tyvekboy

Holy crap! Buy that person a handplane and get that jointer away from them ;-)

-- Kenny, SW VA, Go Hokies!!!

View a1Jim's profile


118104 posts in 4385 days

#14 posted 11-28-2018 03:49 PM

Kathy, I’m very sorry to hear of your injury, As a woodshop teach I always give a safety tour of the woodshop talking about each piece of equipment’s safe use and safety in general. It’s so easy to press forward when we think for a second maybe I should do this first, in your case, it was taking off gloves but we think it will be alright,but in just seconds later we are injured.
I know an amazing woodworking who has 65 years experience who recently lost 3 fingers on a jointer, this points out you don’t have to be new to woodworking to get hurt. we hear so much about the possibility of injury on table saws but sometimes lose focus on other machines that are dangerous in their own right. There are many ways to injure yourself while working in a woodshop from simple things like tripping on clutter or slipping on sawdust and of course, all that wonderful machinery that can cut off, sand, plane, shave body parts even hand tools like sharp chisels can give you nasty cuts. If we can give ourselves a mental safety tour before using any tools or machinery we might just save ourselves from serious bodily injury. As in the old days when teaching children to “stop, look and listen’ before crossing the street, we need to stop, think and take action for those 2-second actions we need to do before proceeding with that woodworking operation.
Sorry to go on and on, these thoughts are meant for all of us not just referring to Kathy’s terrible accident.


View cathyb's profile


843 posts in 4052 days

#15 posted 11-28-2018 04:48 PM

Kenny, thanks for the chuckle this morning. I needed a good laugh..
Jim, you are absolutely correct. I started at the Hickam Air Force wood shop back in the 90’s. I saw so many injuries and knew the dangers. I learned the safety instructor lost a few fingers a several years ago with a circular saw. Ed??!! No way!

I hope everyone will heed your advice. I am pretty anal about safety, always using push sticks, no jewelry, always t-shirts, tucked in and certainly no gloves. I realize I had carried the wood from the side of the house into the shop and forgot to remove the gloves. I paid dearly for that slip up. The fact it was my ring finger and not a little finger means it was likely a thread from the glove seam. Pretty amazing how on seemly minor factor leads to a traumatic injury.

I hope everyone will double down and work safer.



-- cathyb, Hawaii,

View DocSavage45's profile


9008 posts in 3650 days

#16 posted 11-28-2018 09:02 PM


Not been on site for awhile, dealing with small catastrophes. Saw your email and came to site. Didn’t loose my finger but not being respectful thought I could hold a piece of wood on my chop saw while I cut it. Snap! Thought I cut my finger. Washing it found I’d broken the bone in my left ring finger.

It’s amazing how many professional woodworkers have lost some part of their hands. Charles Neil tells of falling asleep while pushing to finish a project on time. He now owns a saw stop.

Thanks for telling your story to people who care even if we’re not there with you. As Benji says, “You are a warrior!” Courage is to act in the face of our fears. Easy to say, hard to do?

Take care of yourself.

-- Cau Haus Designs, Thomas J. Tieffenbacher

View Goatlocker's profile


59 posts in 2780 days

#17 posted 11-30-2018 09:09 PM

Sorry to hear about your accident. I wish you well and hope for a speedy recovery.

-- All tyranny needs to gain a foothold is for people of good conscience to remain silent - Thomas Jefferson

View DrDirt's profile


4614 posts in 4550 days

#18 posted 11-30-2018 10:45 PM

Youch…. Always heard that actually the jointer is the “most dangerous” tool….
There are MORE table saw accidents, but that is because it is used more of the time.

Youngest got to see a kid in shop class a couple weeks ago shave the tip of his thumb, because he had hooked his thumb over the back of his board to use as a “Push stick”.... and it shaved him.

-- “The two most important days in your life are the day you are born and the day you find out why.” Mark Twain

View cathyb's profile


843 posts in 4052 days

#19 posted 12-01-2018 04:31 AM

Jointers do quick work for sure without leaving a trace. I should have just tossed that crazy piece of wood. It was so warped. Dang!!

Doc, I hope you are feeling better.

Have a good weekend guys!



-- cathyb, Hawaii,

View CharlieK's profile


605 posts in 4601 days

#20 posted 12-01-2018 07:00 PM

What a horrible story. First you have an awful accident and then you encounter a jerk wad doctor. I admire you for having such a good perspective and attitude! Heal quickly.

-- Adjustable Height Workbench Plans

View cathyb's profile


843 posts in 4052 days

#21 posted 12-01-2018 10:22 PM

Thank you Charlie. I was supposed to have a follow up with that physician on Monday, which I cancelled. There are two types of physicians: healers and herders. Healers have compassion and genuinely care for their patients. My husband has the distinction of “master physician” from the American College of Physicians. This is the highest award they bestow. His patients love him because he is an advocate for patient care. To think that a “herder” (a doctor who moves people through the clinic as quickly as possible, with no compassion) saw me and made my situation even worse, was infuriating to my husband. I am fortunate he came to my side and in time my finger will heal and I can get back to the shop. The wood show isn’t until next fall. I want to make something special to celebrate my indefatigable spirit. Your work is amazing. For now, I can watch videos of masters, like you, and long for more time out there in the shop.
Have a great weekend!


-- cathyb, Hawaii,

View Aravin's profile


1 post in 994 days

#22 posted 12-03-2018 01:36 PM

I am sorry to hear. I wish you a fast recovery physically as well as mentally.

Reading your accident, i remember my stupid one with a chisel, 4 stitches was all i required but could have been lot worse.

View johnstoneb's profile


3147 posts in 2981 days

#23 posted 12-03-2018 02:27 PM

sorry about you’re accident. Thank you for posting. Hopefully somebody will read it and learn from it. I had what could have been a major accident on a drill press dropped my guard for just an instant and a trip to the emergency room and 5 stitches. I owned a Sawstop within 2 weeks of that happening.

-- Bruce, Boise, ID

View stefang's profile


17039 posts in 4142 days

#24 posted 12-07-2018 07:47 PM

Very sorry and a bit shocked to hear about your accident Cathy and the aftermath too. You are so right about the difference between caring doctors and the other kind. Most of us have experienced both at one time or another. I’m pretty sure that after we read about your experience most of us realised it could just as easily been us instead of you. The reminder is much appreciated. I hope you make a quick recovery and don’t let it keep you out of the shop for long. We do enjoy seeing your work!

-- Mike, an American living in Norway.

View cathyb's profile


843 posts in 4052 days

#25 posted 12-10-2018 06:52 AM

Thank you Stefang.

The finger looks a little better. It has a way to go, but is not as painful now. This is quite a blessing :)

Have a wonderful week ahead!



-- cathyb, Hawaii,

View therealSteveN's profile


5953 posts in 1382 days

#26 posted 12-10-2018 02:39 PM

Thanks for posting, very sorry to hear of your ordeal with the poser who took an oath to “do no harm” but mostly thanks for the message your post sends, as I know several woodworkers who think gloves are supposed to be worn when using a jointer.

Going forward, I envision a 4” before the cutter, and 4 after where I call that the no fly zone, because even without gloves I have had a few “unseen” knots fly apart when jointing over the years. If my hands would have been in the no fly, when the board suddenly wasn’t there my fingers would have been. Plus instead of gloves I use grippy foam padded push blocks to maneuver wood through the jointer. I’ve taken to using one with a heel to better grab the wood on the trailing edge since I first saw them. I have almost replaced all but a few of the many pushers I had used before getting the Microjig push block Watch the video.

The work you do is inspirational. I hope this doesn’t dampen your wish to keep creating.

-- Think safe, be safe

View Jim Jakosh's profile

Jim Jakosh

24979 posts in 3913 days

#27 posted 12-22-2018 09:13 PM

Hi Cathy, sorry to hear about your accident. Accidents happen so fast sometime it is hard to say how it caught you. You were fortunate that it only got the one finger. Have a Merry Christmas in spite of this accident and move on to more woodworking!!

Cheers, Jim

-- Jim Jakosh.....Practical Wood Products...........Learn something new every day!! Variety is the Spice of Life!!

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