• Advertise with us

« back to Safety in the Woodworking Shop forum

Forum topic by amagineer posted 02-03-2014 12:16 AM 1540 views 0 times favorited 11 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View amagineer's profile


1415 posts in 3130 days

02-03-2014 12:16 AM

Topic tags/keywords: question

I just got back from the hospital where my 80 y.o father cut off this ring and middle finger and damaged the index finger on his table saw. I was wondering if anyone has had experience with this and had any advice that I can convey to my father about the healing process. He feels bad about this happening and I do not want him to get depressed. He was careless and removed the blade guard and was ripping 1” strips when the wood kicked back and he responded by pushing harder with the push stick which caused his left hand to go into the blade. I appreciate any advice anyone can offer.

-- Flaws are only in the eye of the artisan!

11 replies so far

View Paul Mayer's profile

Paul Mayer

1078 posts in 3599 days

#1 posted 02-03-2014 12:43 AM

Sorry to hear about your father’s injury. I suffered a similar injury many years ago as I was just getting started in woodworking. Tell him that, according to SawStop, 65,000 people in the US alone have accidents on a table saw each year. He shouldn’t beat himself up, as there are a lot of smart, experienced woodworkers in that number. He will need to be diligent about physical therapy to regain as much use of the digits as possible, but a year from now, this will ancient history for him.

The emotional healing is more difficult than the physical part. The sooner he can get back into the shop, the faster he will work through the emotional part. Don’t let him think about quitting woodworking. While he is healing, talk to him about some design ideas, and get him looking forward to when he can get back out there. Another thought would be to get him a nice piece of figured wood, and have him put it somewhere visible in the house where he can look at it a lot and think about what he will do with it when he can resume woodworking.

Tell your father that the LJ community is pulling for him!

-- Paul Mayer,

View jeff's profile


1172 posts in 3998 days

#2 posted 02-03-2014 01:14 AM

I’m sure he feels bad about what happened…Just support him the best you can…He will need emotional and most definitly physical therapy…As a nurse he needs to keep the sites nice and clean…

-- Jeff,Tucson,Az.

View Monte Pittman's profile

Monte Pittman

30458 posts in 2871 days

#3 posted 02-03-2014 01:34 AM

I think this is all of our greatest fear. Sickens me to hear of it happening. I am a “get back on the horse” person. I would emphasize that his mistake has been made by all of us. Unfortunately it caused the loss of fingers. However it is not life threatening. He can recover and show the world that he can learn, recover and show how it can be done right.

-- Nature created it, I just assemble it.

View NoLongerHere's profile


893 posts in 3209 days

#4 posted 02-03-2014 02:13 AM

3 months for me – from a skill saw….still reeling from the experience but so much better than the first few weeks.

You would’ve thought I cut my arm off. It’s a traumatic thing to get over but you do. Now it’s more of a nuisance than the end of the world. It helped that my wife was very supportive.

I beat myself up pretty bad overthinking what I did wrong. At some point, you have to forgive yourself and admit it was just a bad mistake. Shit happens as they say. Welcome to the club, pop.

View HerbC's profile


1801 posts in 3393 days

#5 posted 02-03-2014 02:42 AM

My dad lost two joints of the ring finger and little finger on his left hand in a joiner accident when I was six years old. I was watching when it happened. I don’t ever recall him complaining about pain or the inability to do anything because of this injury.

Because of my dad’s accident, I was always extra careful working around tools and thought I was too smart to make a mistake like he did…

That worked fine until I was 60 years old. You can read all the details about it HERE

Tell your dad that anyone can make a mistake. Hopefully he will be able to work through both the physical and emotional injury and resume working in the shop.

Be Careful!


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

View BENTWOOD's profile


401 posts in 2315 days

#6 posted 02-07-2014 05:41 PM

I am so sorry to hear about your father’s accident. Often the emotional damage will take longer to heal but with your support I truly believe time will heal his wounds. My thoughts and prayers go out to you and your family.


View Nicholas Hall's profile

Nicholas Hall

352 posts in 2640 days

#7 posted 02-07-2014 06:20 PM

It could have happened to any one of us. In fact it did happen to me. I messed up my right hand pretty bad. After years of working around dangerous machinery, I let my guard down for just one second. That’s all it took.

Like everyone says, the psychological damage is the worse part. The physical pain was terrible, and it took me 3 months of surgery and physical therapy before I had full use of the hand again. Two of my fingers are a bit shorter now, and one just looks a little funny. The loss of confidence and the weird guilt was way worse.

The hardest part is the loss of confidence, and knowledge that I did something really stupid and messed up my hand forever. I imagine it’s doubly difficult for your father, because of his age, and the fact that he’s already unable to do many things he used to do just because that’s what getting older does to you. I’m just 35 years old so it’s a little different for me, probably not as bad as it is for him.

I guess the only upside is that it has made me a much safer woodworker. I use guards. I make elaborate push sticks. If I’m not sure I can’t do something safely, I just don’t do it.

I hope your father recovers quickly, and that he regains his confidence and doesn’t let it get to him. It’s tough to forgive yourself when you really screw up and injure yourself when you do something like not use a riving knife, or remove a guard, or don’t use a proper push stick.

When there are power tools with sharp blades involved, we’re all just a micro-second away from serious injury. It’s best not to forget it.

-- Outside of a dog, a book is a man's best friend. Inside of a dog, it's too dark to read. -Groucho Marx

View helluvawreck's profile


32086 posts in 3400 days

#8 posted 02-07-2014 06:31 PM

That’s a terrible thing to happen and I can imagine how you are worried about what to say. Unless he has some health issues that makes it really unsafe to do so I think that he should stay in it. He could also go into parts of woodworking that are not as dangerous if there are some issues. No matter what, I hope that he heals up quickly and gets back on track with his life.

helluvawreck aka Charles

-- helluvawreck aka Charles,

View amagineer's profile


1415 posts in 3130 days

#9 posted 02-07-2014 06:49 PM

Thanks all for the advice. He came home yesterday and will begin the process of healing.

-- Flaws are only in the eye of the artisan!

View Nicholas Hall's profile

Nicholas Hall

352 posts in 2640 days

#10 posted 02-07-2014 07:00 PM

One quick thing I’ll throw in, which is probably obvious, is that the anti-biotics are really, really important. The risk of infection is incredibly high with a wound like this. Every pill is important, and he’s got to take incredible care to keep the cut clean and sterile.

Even though I took every pill at the recommended time, I didn’t take good enough care of my injury. I thought I was careful, but I wasn’t careful enough. The cut got infected 2 months into my recovery and I had quite a scare. I had to go right back into the hospital, and it set my recovery back by quite a few weeks! It’s really easy for an injury like this to get infected, and the implications can be very serious. I got lucky.

Also, ice-packs make a world of difference. You’ll want to have a half dozen that you can rotate through. In the first week, it felt like my hand was on fire when it wasn’t iced and elevated.

I wish your Dad a speedy recovery!

-- Outside of a dog, a book is a man's best friend. Inside of a dog, it's too dark to read. -Groucho Marx

View crank49's profile


4032 posts in 3504 days

#11 posted 02-08-2014 05:08 AM

My dad did that when he was about 84. He was cutting thin strips to make the racks to go inside his bee hives.
He did not have a clue what happened.
Did the exact same thing again about 6 months later.
We had to take the table saw away.

Have your say...

You must be signed in to reply.

DISCLAIMER: Any posts on LJ are posted by individuals acting in their own right and do not necessarily reflect the views of LJ. LJ will not be held liable for the actions of any user.

Latest Projects | Latest Blog Entries | Latest Forum Topics