Scariest moment in your shop?

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Forum topic by Vrtigo1 posted 11-19-2011 07:33 AM 2073 views 0 times favorited 43 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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434 posts in 4044 days

11-19-2011 07:33 AM

Just wondering what your scariest moments working with your tools have been? Maybe you’ve had some close calls or worse. Mine was a few months ago, I had my hand down inside my table saw with a brush cleaning some of the builtup dust out and at that moment my air compressor kicked on and I thought it was the saw. I knew I was about to lose an arm. Of course the saw was unplugged, but it still scared the crap outta me.

43 replies so far

View Dan's profile


3653 posts in 3933 days

#1 posted 11-19-2011 07:49 AM

I have a couple that are up there..

I was ripping a larger sheet of plywood once and something went wrong because the TS kicked the whole sheet of plywood back at me. It was a rather large sheet but the saw still threw it all the way back and it hit the wall. Luckily I was standing way off to the side when pushing it through so it did not hit me… Now anytime I have to rip a large sheet I will often go get my wife and have her kind of help support it as I push it through..

Another one that comes to mind is I was using the drill press and I cant remember what I was drilling but the piece I was drilling somehow got stuck on the drill bit and took it out of my hands.. So the press was spinning fast with the bit and small piece of wood stuck to it.. My first reaction was to duck which I did, but in order to turn the press off I had to reach above it… Again, nothing bad happened as I got it shut off and the wood never went flying but it was a scare.

-- Dan - "Collector of Hand Planes"

View Greedo's profile


473 posts in 4013 days

#2 posted 11-19-2011 09:31 AM

from the first two posts i am confident in thinking that close-calls are way more scary than actual accidents.
I have had two or three actual incidents in the shop, from hand getting grabbed by miter saw, thumb getting mangled by belt sander, to deep cut in arm with cutter that was sticking out of my pocket. but none of these incidents actually felt like a scary experience, no time to be scared when the danger arrived already.
the scariest moment i can come up with would be when i was cutting on the TS and behind me a panel that was leaning against the wall fell over and slammed to the ground in an enormous clap sound. That scared the hell out of me.

View shopdog's profile


581 posts in 4538 days

#3 posted 11-19-2011 02:28 PM

From my own personal experiences, it’s scarier to actually touch a spinning blade than it is to almost touch one.
I’ve been kissed twice by my table saw blade, but I was lucky both times, as I still have 10 working fingers.
Both times, I wrapped the affected digits with my bandana, left the shop, and fixed a drink. The scary part came when I took off the bandana.

-- Steve--

View RONFINCH's profile


143 posts in 3977 days

#4 posted 11-19-2011 06:12 PM

Trust me, better to be almost hit by the blade, than by actually getting hit by the blade…..

View jeepturner's profile


946 posts in 3845 days

#5 posted 11-19-2011 06:57 PM

The air-compressor has startled me more than once. I have become somewhat accustomed to it as time goes by, but like you it can still get me when I am around sharp or hot objects.
I think one of the scariest “Startles” I have ever had is when my wife called me from the door when I was cutting something on the lathe. Normally I am aware of what’s going on around me, but it’s those times of intense concentration where I am susceptible to being startled.

-- Mel,

View Sawkerf's profile


1730 posts in 4121 days

#6 posted 11-19-2011 07:15 PM

My family long ago learned that I wasn’t to be disturbed when I was running a tool. I always told them to move into my field of vision and wait for me to stop whatever I was doing before saying anything.

This lesson came hard for #2 daughter, however. One day I was cutting something on my radial arm saw and she came up behind me and grabbed my legs (she was only about 5 yrs old). I’m not sure how I managed it, but I just froze, turned off the saw, and turned around. All I could see was a mop of blond hair and the biggest blue eyes ever. She was petrified!! I gave her the infamous “look” and said “Don’t EVER do something like that again”.

She stayed far away from the shop for a couple of weeks, and when she started coming back, she would carefully move into view and wait for me to say something.

-- Adversity doesn't build reveals it.

View shopdog's profile


581 posts in 4538 days

#7 posted 11-19-2011 07:19 PM


You’re either very careful, very lucky, very young, or you have a bad memory. Which is it?

In 35 years of woodworking, I’ve had a lot of scary moments. The ones that made me bleed the most stand out more than the others. If I knew then what I know now, I would have stayed in college, and been an accountant :-) ...not.

-- Steve--

View Maverick44spec's profile


391 posts in 3537 days

#8 posted 11-19-2011 10:25 PM

I have had many scares. Most from the tablesaw, a couple from the drill press, and a few from the mini lathe. The biggest one I have had happened when I was working on my lathe. My mom’s boyfreind came in to the shop to tell me something. I was deep in concentration and did not notice him until he was right behind me. When I finally noticed him, it startled me and I almost hit him in the gut with the butt of my chisel. (reflexes).

-- Only two things are infinite, the universe and human stupidity, and I'm not sure about the former. -- Albert Einstein

View CharlieM1958's profile


16292 posts in 5271 days

#9 posted 11-20-2011 03:29 AM

A few years back I was making a cut on the table saw. I can’t recall exactly how it happened, but there was a bind, a loud bang, a chunk of wood went flying straight back, and ended up embedded in the sheet rock wall about 15 feet behind me. Definitely a brown stain moment.

-- Charlie M. "Woodworking - patience = firewood"

View BentheViking's profile


1782 posts in 3616 days

#10 posted 11-20-2011 03:48 AM

few years ago i was working at a table and bent over to tie my shoe. buddy was working on the table saw and a rather sizeable chunk kicked back hit my tool bag that was sitting on top of the table only inches from my head. between that and a hardhat i was quite lucky because it very well could have been my end

-- It's made of wood. Real sturdy.--Chubbs Peterson

View TopamaxSurvivor's profile


20624 posts in 4728 days

#11 posted 11-20-2011 03:51 AM

That is mine too Charlie, a kick back. Pays to be out of the way when it goes down ;-)

Shopdog, I think you hit the nail on the head. Just like the guy who has never been lost in the mountains; either lying to hasn’t been in them much. My dad packed and guided on the Lochsa in central Idaho. He was gathering firewood when the fog moved in. He finally sat down to wait it out. Nobody else in camp at the time. Sat there 1/2 day about 200 feet from camp. Lots of nights he couldn’t see his horses ears on the trail. No idea where he and about 30 or 40 head of mules and horses were. His saddle horse would bring him to a line camp and he’d know which way to head out to the next one. Hubert Nettleton of Owyhee County, ID offered him any 3 of several hundred head of horses he had on the ranch for King, the horse he rode up there on the Locsha. No deal ;-)) Sort of off topic, but illustrates the point.

-- Bob in WW ~ "some old things are lovely, warm still with life ... of the forgotten men who made them." - D.H. Lawrence

View StumpyNubs's profile


7851 posts in 3853 days

#12 posted 11-20-2011 04:04 AM

I shoved a chisel through my hand last year. Went right in my palm right between the thumb and index finger and came out the back side. Bled like crazy but I stitched it up myself and saved an emergency room visit. The chisel hurt, but the stitches hurt even more, and let me tell you, it’s HARD to push a sewing needle through flesh, they are not that sharp. I’ve since bought some proper suture needles for the first aid kit. (No joke)

-- Subscribe to "Stumpy Nubs Woodworking Journal"- One of the crafts' most unique publications:

View TopamaxSurvivor's profile


20624 posts in 4728 days

#13 posted 11-20-2011 04:30 AM

Stumpy, You are crazy!! & very lucky ! I had a dr sew up my foot to tight and it got inffected big time.

-- Bob in WW ~ "some old things are lovely, warm still with life ... of the forgotten men who made them." - D.H. Lawrence

View StumpyNubs's profile


7851 posts in 3853 days

#14 posted 11-20-2011 04:38 AM

Only a few stitches Topa. And I cleaned it very well, even soaked the thread in alcohol (not the drinking kind). And I kept a close eye on it for signs of infection. If there was any reddening or swelling in the following days, I would have gone to a doctor.

It’s really not difficult to do your own stitches if you have a strong stomach (my wife refused to watch) and can grit your teeth long enough. I’m not a “tough guy” or anything, I just would rather take ten of fifteen minutes of self inflicted pain over the kind of pain the emergency room bill would have inflicted!

Maybe I’ll show how to do stitches on my woodworking show some time. Bet that would drive the critics around here nuts!

-- Subscribe to "Stumpy Nubs Woodworking Journal"- One of the crafts' most unique publications:

View therookie's profile


887 posts in 3880 days

#15 posted 11-20-2011 05:03 AM

Umm lets See,
1. Lopped my finger tips off on a jointer
2. Got hit with a piece of 8/4 kick back in the center of the chest
3. Cut my thumb open on a scroll saw
4. (not in the shop but it happened) I got shot in the head with my own air rifle
5. Got hit by wood coming off the wood lathe Thats it for now i would normally saw it wont happen any more but I would be lying. So these are my tails thus far…


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