Count them OUT, Count them IN

We’ve all had close calls with machinery. A casual flick of the hand across the bed at the end of a repetitive stint of moulding can land you in hospital (as I know to my detriment).

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A 3mm slot cutter can do a fair amount of harm if you’re not careful. This was back in May 2015.

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This isn’t as bad as it looks. Most of that is dried blood. The Steri-strips hold everything back in place while the healing process does its thing, and you’d be amazed by the regenerative capabilities of the fingers.


This is now and all I have left to show is a few scars that show up under dirt where the pores have been destroyed. I mention all this because today I came close to doing something similar. I felt the heart-stopping buzz of the cutter on my thumb as I finished passing the blank across the fence. I pulled away expecting to see blood seeping from a ragged wound, only to find that I had been lucky enough to get away with my thumb intact. In fact there didn’t even seem to be a mark at all! I began to think I had imagined the whole thing, but on closer inspection, I could see that I had indeed received a neat and very shallow shallow cove, about 2mm across on the tip of my thumb, going perhaps only a single layer of skin deep. Not even enough to merit a plaster!

I had been fortunate. Safety is a serious matter and the world of woodworking is full of folk who have not been so lucky with their digits. I’ll be more careful in future, and certainly it’s things like this that make you wake up and switch on to the risks. To the craftsman, hands and fingers are the most valuable tools you own. Count them out at the start of the day, and count them back in at the end of the day, and don’t take them for granted!




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