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Five cords, one finger

Post in 'The Wood Shed' started by Joful, Nov 25, 2012.

  1. Joful

    Joful Minister of Fire

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    Rented a splitter for Sunday, and the rental place let me pick it up 10am Saturday. Got started about 11am Saturday, and by the same time Sunday I had close to five cords split, three if them stacked by my father-in-law, and the rest thrown into a pile when he got tired and had to take breaks.

    We took a break to relocate the splitter before noon Sunday, and were talking about getting lunch when he pulled out a sheet of melamine backed particle board he wanted to cut for an unrelated project. I just moved, and don't have my big equipment set up yet, so he pulled out a small contractor table saw he had given me, and got to it, while I finished moving the splitter. I went over to watch and catch off-feed shortly after he started, and then watched him cut his finger off. A pretty gruesome and upsetting sight, I can assure you.

    Needless to say, not much splitting happened after that. The nearest hospital with a proper hand surgeon was 45 minutes away, but he did get a good one, who was able to stitch the finger back on, and close up the mangled fingers on either side of the one he cut off. They're postponing the major surgery until Christmas, to minimize risk of infection.

    Split another three quarters of a cord when I got home from all that, as it was getting dark, trying to just take my mind off what had happened.

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  2. golfandwoodnut

    golfandwoodnut Minister of Fire

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    Oh my, that is ashame, hope he is OK. I thought the splitter did it
  3. bogydave

    bogydave Minister of Fire

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    HOLLY SHEEP CRAP :eek:

    Almost upchucked thinking about what you watched happen.
    I guess your wood stacking helper is out of service for a while, hope it heals well & is usable .

    Coming back & splitting some wood was good therapy for you. Wind down after several hours of stress.
    Give you time to think about the days events & put them in their necessary place ;)
  4. albert1029

    albert1029 Feeling the Heat

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    every saw operator's nightmare...hope his finger heals like new...
  5. Beer Belly

    Beer Belly Minister of Fire

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    I would of hit the floor like a bag of cement....hope it works out
  6. Joful

    Joful Minister of Fire

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    Watching it happen, and seeing the aftermath, what I think happened was he stuck is middle finger directly into the leading edge of the spinning blade. The spinning blade caused his finger to roll, and his middle nuckle on that finger to go into the blade. He had a clean saw kerf right thru the end of his finger and his finger nail, and then the whole finger torn off at the middle nuckle. It was hanging by the still-connected skin on the palm side of his finger.

    The surgeon said he will keep what's left of his finger, but lost the middle joint, so he'll fuse the two bones there. Luckily it was his left hand, so it won't trouble him with writing, fine motor skill stuff, etc. He'll have trouble reaching EDC on the keyboard, though.
  7. swagler85

    swagler85 Minister of Fire

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    Wow that's terrible, I saw that happen many years ago on my cousins thumb. Makes me sick just thinking about it. He had the same result with keeping his thumb but lost the joint. Glad it was t worse for your dad and that he got to keep his finger.
  8. TimJ

    TimJ Minister of Fire

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    Good that you kept your head and got him to the hospital asap. Also good that he was not alone when it happened.
  9. chazcarr

    chazcarr Feeling the Heat

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    Happened to my father at work, his finger is shorter now, but usable. I only notice it when I shake his hand. Doctors can do amazing things these days. Hope he heals fast.

    Also this is the first thread I can remember where I am glad there are no pics.
  10. PapaDave

    PapaDave Minister of Fire

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    One of my worst nightmares. >>
    Sounds like he was already tired and probably shouldn't have been operating anything.
    I know,... too late.:(
    Thistle and Backwoods Savage like this.
  11. Joful

    Joful Minister of Fire

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    Good point, but likely did not make a difference. This was a combination of a careless attitude and poor eyesight. Sometimes a scare like this is exactly what's needed to re-learn respect for spinning cutters. I'm just glad they were able to save most of the finger.

    On the up-side... I got about 5.5 cords split this weekend. ::-)
  12. PapaDave

    PapaDave Minister of Fire

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    Ah, gotcha.
    +1 on the firewood.:cool:
  13. Tramontana

    Tramontana Burning Hunk

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    OUCH doesn't quite convey it!? Holy cow I cringe reading this recount.

    In the midst of remodeling my home and work with power tools nearly every day, and this is a fresh reminder to maintain safety.

    On a side note, I would encourage anyone shopping for a table saw to strongly consider a SawStop saw. The cost is certainly less than an ER visit. Unfortunately they didn't have a mobile contractor saw when I purchased my Bosch (they do now) otherwise I would have bought one.

    Wishing your FIL a speedy recovery.

    Cheers!
  14. Lumber-Jack

    Lumber-Jack Minister of Fire

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    Sorry to hear about your FILs finger, or lack there of. ;hm
    You know I have talked to dozens of old guys with missing parts of their fingers, and fully 95% of them lost them when they were past retirement age and working on a table saws. I'm starting to see a pattern here. Something for the older guys in this forum to think about.
    Of course accidents can happen at any time, ask me how I know. ;)
  15. rottiman

    rottiman Minister of Fire

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    Rotating steel has no conscience. Hope his recovery goes well.
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  16. AJS56

    AJS56 Burning Hunk

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    Ouch for sure. Man ya just can never bee too careful with eqipment of any kind. Hope he heals well and completely ASAP. Be careful!
  17. Tramontana

    Tramontana Burning Hunk

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    After my earlier post to this thread, I happened to go to the SawStop website, and was bemused to find that they have a countdown timer clock on their home page, counting down the minutes until the next table saw accident.

    I decided that I better check this clock regularly when working, and make certain that the timer isn't close! ;)

    Cheers!
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  18. Joful

    Joful Minister of Fire

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    It sure has me thinking. A few pieces of my equipment would really scare most seasoned woodworkers:

    1903 Oliver USB tablesaw with rolling table: carries two 14" blades on 1" arbors, or a single 22" blade, no guards, no riving knife, etc.
    1948 DeWalt GE radial saw: 1" arbor and guards for 16" or 20" blades
    1912 Colladay 16" jointer with 6" clamshell cutterhead (a.k.a. the widow-maker), converted from flat belt lineshaft to dual V-belts
    1923 Crescent bandsaw with no guards (how they made it), converted from flat belt lineshaft to dual V-belts

    Many more vintage pieces, but all tamer / more safe than these four. With a boy who may want to grow up to play in dad's shop, I only have a few years to decide how to handle this. It's sad to see an old man lose a finger, but far worse to see it happen to a younger boy.
    Thistle likes this.
  19. DanCorcoran

    DanCorcoran Minister of Fire

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    Heh, heh. Pretty funny!
  20. timusp40

    timusp40 Feeling the Heat

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    Joful,
    I hope this short story doesn't turn your thread into a "Injury Forum", but this is a true story. Back in the 70's when we were building our cottage in Michigan's Upper, we usually ended the day at the local tavern that was about 20 miles from town. About 6 pm one evening, a local pulp cutter burst into the bar. His shirt was soaked with blood in the chest area. Apparently he had a kickback and the bar caught him in the center of his chest. It cut thru the skin and knicked bone, made a nasty gash, but he had stopped most of the bleeding by compression to the wound. To our amazment, he ordered a pack of cigarettes and 3 beers to go! Said that should get him to town. No one said a word till he left.
  21. red oak

    red oak Minister of Fire

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    If that isn't a reminder to be careful I don't know what is! No matter how many times we operate the saw it only takes one mistake for serious injuries to happen.
  22. DianeB

    DianeB Feeling the Heat

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    Was just going to comment to say his eyesight should be checked...macular degeneration?
  23. Realstone

    Realstone Lord of Fire

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    Good thing it is cold out. If it ever happens to any of you in the summer, remember that time and warmth are your enemies, but don't freeze the severed member. Keep it on snow or ice.

    My grandfather (a mechanic that worked on Spitfires during WWII) was missing most of his right index finger. As a little boy I asked what happened. He would always tell me that "a monkey bit it off". I came to believe that that was his way of saying "don't bother me with silly questions". When I was a young man he passed on and I asked my grandmother what really happened to the finger. Apparently he stuck his finger in a monkey cage in South Africa and the monkey really did bite it off. I was buffaloed.
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  24. Thistle

    Thistle Minister of Fire

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    I'm very glad he's gonna be OK. Things happen in a flash,no matter how 'experienced' we might be.

    In Jan.'95 one day I was cutting 2" wide x 8" long tapered wedges on my Delta 14" Bandsaw freehand with no push stick & a blade that was getting dull.I was tired & rushing to finish a project.Having to use more force than usual pushing the wood through. (Yeah....I know;em) Ended up cutting into the fat part on bottom of my left thumb,a very jagged gash.I jerked my hand back,shut off the saw & grabbed an old clean rag to wrap it.Called the ER & said "I'm on my way...." Apparantly severed 2 tendons in the process. Ended up with 40 some stitches & it throbbed for several weeks afterwards.Large scar still today & there's still no feeling just past the joint to the thumbnail.


    PLEASE BE CAREFUL EVERYONE. I was lucky.
  25. Tramontana

    Tramontana Burning Hunk

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    I just finished a Wilderness First Responder course last semester, and our current instruction was to keep clean as possible, rinse but don't wash/scrub it. Seal up in baggie, or wrap in a clean dressing or towel (if available) and then put this all on ice. The point being, don't introduce any more moisture to the severed part than is necessary.

    Cheers!
    Realstone likes this.

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