After 10 + years....A momentary lapse of reason WARNING GRAPHIC PHOTOS!

  • Advertise with us

« back to Safety in the Woodworking Shop forum

Forum topic by BennyG posted 07-07-2014 09:25 PM 4393 views 1 time favorited 41 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View BennyG's profile


15 posts in 3138 days

07-07-2014 09:25 PM

Topic tags/keywords: injury kickback tablesaw safety

I’m posting the details of my shop accident solely for the purpose of an all to real reminder of what a split second of complacency can end up looking like. Please be kind with the shoulda’, coulda’, wouldas’ because trust me, I’ve been harder on myself than anyone else could possibly be. Really this is just me trying to save somebody else the physical, financial and emotional toll that comes with an accident like this.

A few weeks ago, I was working on a kitchen that I am finishing up for a client. I had mounted my moulder head, the old Craftsman 3 knife version, into my grizzly 12” 5hp saw and was cutting profiles for the edge of some drawer fronts and doors. I had what I thought was a safe setup, a sacrificial fence and just enough knife out to perform the task. After running ten or so drawer fronts I changed the angle by just a few degrees to cut a relief under the drawer front as the client didn’t want pulls on them.
I grabbed an old piece of scrap framing lumber I had laying around and proceeded to run a few test cuts. On the very first pass without really looking at the underside of my scrap piece I hit a knot in the first few inches and it kicked the piece back throwing my left thumb right into the knife. I new it couldn’t be good but for the life of me I couldn’t bring myself to look. I finally peeked and could see this was going to require some medical attention.

Six hours and twenty stiches later this is what I am left with. A mangled nub that has really affected my day-to-day routine. Tying my shoes, buttoning my shirt, etc. Everyday I find something new that is a little bit tougher without the use of my thumb. Granted I will have much better use of it as it heals. I get my stiches out tomorrow and most likely will have to go back for a flap revision. I’ve always prided myself on being safe, I have gone over it a hundred times in my head and asked, “what should I have done differently”?
First, I should have inspected the tailing I used and made sure it was sound and clean before running it. Second, where I had my left hand was a big factor in it being pulled into the knife. And lastly, I have no excuse for not using one of my three “Grippers” just sitting in the accessory drawer, two feet to my right. I rationalized that it was just a few cuts and that I had performed these cuts countless times before with no incident, so it had to be o.k. Lets be safe in our shops and remember the safety practices that we have been taught. I’m anxious to get back to work but I wont lie, I’m a little nervous about getting back behind my saw. Hopefully this ugly little stub will be the “every time” reminder of SAFTEY, SAFTEY, SAFTEY. Thanks for reading, BennyG

-- "Dear Lord, when I die, please let my wife have enough sense to sell my tools for their true value and not for what I told her I paid."

41 replies so far

View ChuckV's profile


3437 posts in 4765 days

#1 posted 07-07-2014 09:33 PM


I am very sorry to learn about your accident. I hope that your recovery is quick and complete.

Thank you for sharing the experience for the benefit of others.

-- "Join the chorus if you can. It'll make of you an honest man." - I. Anderson

View Ocelot's profile


3386 posts in 3876 days

#2 posted 07-07-2014 10:24 PM

Wow! Thanks for posting! I don’t have a shaper head (tho I’ve considered buying one), but any tool can do a number on me, so it’s good to be reminded.

I had a little table-saw kickback incident Thursday. In my case, no harm done, but woke me up a little – just ripped a piece 6” long. I don’t have a riving knife, just old-fashioned guard/splitter. I pushed the keeper piece clear of the blade with a push stick, the reached over to tap the cutoff away from the blade. Should have just turned off the saw – cause I accidently pushed it agaist the back edge of the blade and got it thrown at me.

Maybe I need to get out now while I’m still whole.

I wish you a rapid and complete recovery (so far as is possible).


-- I intended to be a woodworker, but turned into a tool and lumber collector.

View Gary's profile


9419 posts in 4671 days

#3 posted 07-07-2014 10:31 PM

Benny, I had a similar experience 3-4 years ago. First two or three times back on the saw I had to really force myself. Just didn’t want to do it. Got over that. My problem was the scar tissue. It hurt for a good year everytime I tried to use the thumb with something hard. Doesn’t hurt any more but, I still have a loss of feeling in part of my thumb. Makes it hard to pick up small items.
Hope you heal quick..

-- Gary, DeKalb Texas only 4 miles from the mill

View soapmaker's profile


50 posts in 2919 days

#4 posted 07-07-2014 10:34 PM

Just want to say thanks for sharing, it reminds us all of what a moment can bring.

View DIYaholic's profile


19921 posts in 3913 days

#5 posted 07-07-2014 10:53 PM

I had to quickly scroll past the images…. I saw enough!!!

Hope your pain eases quickly, for I know the recovery will feel like an eternity.

Your a stand up guy…. willing to post your accident. Thanks for not being to embarrassed to share.
Knowing that you are a pro, should remind everyone that this can happen to anyone!!!

Again, I hope you pain ends soon…. & thanks for the reminder!!!

SAFETY, first…. SAFETY, last…. SAFETY, always!!!

-- Randy-- I may not be good...but I am slow! If good things come to those who wait.... Why is procrastination a bad thing?

View bigblockyeti's profile


7610 posts in 2958 days

#6 posted 07-07-2014 11:06 PM

Hope you heal up quickly!! My grandfather had one of those three cutter shapers hanging on the wall for a long time. I’ve been eyeing it up every time I go down to his old shop just to make sure the roof isn’t falling down. I think I’ll let it sit there indefinitely.

-- "Lack of effort will result in failure with amazing predictability" - Me

View ColonelTravis's profile


1976 posts in 3132 days

#7 posted 07-07-2014 11:09 PM

Man, sorry about that. Hope you heal fast and can adjust.
But thanks for posting. Wish there could be better reminders for us but there really aren’t.

View Paul's profile


721 posts in 2803 days

#8 posted 07-08-2014 12:34 AM

I’m terribly sorry for your injury. I hope you heal up soon. I want to commend you on having the guts to post this, it’s unfortunate but it does remind everyone of the dangers we face every time we enter our shops.

The only close calls I’ve had were at the end of long days where it’s “just one more cut and I’ll call it a day” after seeing more and more of these incidents lately it has made me make a cut off time that I don’t allow myself to work after.

Heal up, hope your pain goes away soon.


View Holbs's profile


2383 posts in 3267 days

#9 posted 07-08-2014 12:46 AM

thanks for sharing, Benny. I came to LumberJocks to learn what I can do with wood. But this site is not just limited to what the end projects are but also safety, do’s, dont’s, etc. I doubt I would have many fingers or toes left after 2-3 years of working on wood machinery if not for people like yourself who share their experiences.

-- The Carpenter Bee is derived from the Ancient Greek word wood-cutter "xylokopos/ξυλοκὀπος"

View whitebeast88's profile


4128 posts in 3428 days

#10 posted 07-08-2014 12:47 AM

sorry to hear about your accident.i hope for a speedy recovery for you.thanks for the reminder to work safe,i like many others get rushed sometimes like paul said just one more cut and you hurry to get it done and something bad happens.

-- Marty.Athens,AL

View mahdee's profile


4291 posts in 3005 days

#11 posted 07-08-2014 12:54 AM

Thank you for the story. Most people don’t assess or anticipate what a sharp, or worst yet, a dull blade can do to them. Fearing your machine can get you in a lot more trouble than respecting its capabilities.


View distrbd's profile


2252 posts in 3684 days

#12 posted 07-08-2014 01:19 AM

I hope you regain your confidence as soon as possible,you will get better physically but emotionally you have to overcome your inhibitions and go back to your shop as soon as possible.some day all of it will be history.
Get well soon.

-- Ken from Ontario, Canada

View Nubsnstubs's profile


1800 posts in 2968 days

#13 posted 07-08-2014 01:38 AM

Benny, I felt your pain once. I hope you’re right handed because if you’re left handed, it’s going to take some getting used to not having the end of that thumb. Heal and get back to working wood as it’s the best therapy.
You oughta see me handling lug nuts with my right hand wuth the same amount of thumb missing. It’s quite a funny thing to see.. ....... Jerry (in Tucson)

-- Jerry (in Tucson)

View Christov's profile


1 post in 4084 days

#14 posted 07-08-2014 01:46 AM

Thank you for posting this as a reminder to all of us who grow complacent as time goes by. I am very sorry for all you have gone through and wish you a speedy return.

-- Christov

View Monte Pittman's profile

Monte Pittman

30644 posts in 3576 days

#15 posted 07-08-2014 01:47 AM

Gut wrenching. Some would say that you shouldn’t post the pictures. I commend you for it. It’s the grim reality of what can happen. I wish you a speedy recovery. I hope you continue down the woodworking journey.

-- Nature created it, I just assemble it.

showing 1 through 15 of 41 replies

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