Woodworking Safety Day

Woodworking Safety Day

“And remember this: there are no more important safety rule than to wear these — safety glasses.”

– Norm Abram

Ah yes, reminiscing from countless Saturdays being glued to the TV and watching Norm. Many out in the woodworking community refer to the first week of May each year as “Woodworkers Safety Week”. Mac Spagnuolo over at The Wood Whisperer has started the motion to turn it into “Woodworking Safety Day” since after all, every day should be safety day. One slip up with a table saw, router, or something as simple as a utility knife can drastically change someone’s life.

superknifeI’d like to share my story about doing something incredibly stupid as well as the results of doing so. Frankly put, don’t cut things with a utility knife that were never meant to be.

A wonderful Sunday evening after being in the woodshop all evening, Mom came by to get a headlight changed out. Since most of my tools are out in her garage, I took the opportunity to use a new set of sockets that I had not yet opened. Rather than walk the required 20 steps inside or 10 steps to my truck for a pair of snips, I decided the trusted Superknife would be more than adequate to get the job done cutting the plastic tabs (about 1/8″ square).


The following photos will answer any questions…

Finger 1     Finger 2

These were taken 5 days after the initial slice so much of the swelling had already went down. The entire blade went into my finger, deflected off the joint, and then proceeded to continue down the side of my finger. While the pain wasn’t that excruciating, the numbness, hot and cold phases, and swelling were certainly uncomfortable to say the least. I ended up wearing the split for a full two weeks before I was really able to even bend it without manipulating the digit with my other hand. This posed quite a challenge working for an IT service company!

I am very grateful though that I’m a fast healer and have no lasting effects from the cut. I completely expected to have some loss of feeling or reduced range of motion. There is plenty of scar tissue there to remind me each time I put pressure on the joint that although it may be a great tool to use, a utility knife isn’t always the answer.

An injury can effect us each in a different way. Imagine a slip up with the same knife for a professional baseball player, it would very easily end their career. Enjoy playing saxophone? You won’t have such a great time if you’re missing three fingers and a thumb because you did use a push stick.

Stay safe out there!