I would like to thank everyone who helped me this evening in the woodshop. I apologize for leaving a mess. I am okay, the cuts looked bad, but I still have all of my body parts intact.
For everyone’s information, be careful on the equipment. It really can take off your fingers. Fortunately, I still have mine.
My accident was on the router. I was trying to route a piece cross grain. In retrospect, I realize this was a problem. But, I must have missed that part of the training class. I thought I held onto it well, but I got a kick back all of a sudden and my finger went into the router bit.
I should be back at the Makerspace later this evening to pick up some of my things. Again, thank you to everybody who took care of me and the mess that I left behind.
That sounds great! I definitely have a project that I would like to finish up. Obviously, it’s going to have to wait a couple of weeks until this heals a little bit. It looks like I took about an eighth of an inch chunk out of my thumb and a little bit out of my index finger.
Routing end grain isn’t a problem in itself and tear-out is usually the biggest danger unless you back the trailing edge of your work. Probably why it wasn’t covered.
I’m guessing without really knowing that perhaps you were trying to take too big a bite at once. It’s usually best to sneak up on your final cut by inching the fence back (and/or bit up) in a series of cuts.
Feeding a workpiece with the rotation of the bit is known as climb cutting. An example is shown in Figure 4.
Warning: A climb cut on a router table is extremely dangerous and should never be attempted.
Figure 4: Freehand set-up for climb cut. Arrows show bit rotation and feed direction. (Chips exaggerated for clarity.) Figure 5: Router bit “climbing” along workpiece.
In a climb cut, the bit is cutting on entry and has the effect of pushing the router away from the workpiece. If not resisted by the operator, the bit can exit fully from the cut and “climb” its way along the workpiece, as shown in Figure 5. For a router running at 10,000 rpm, this can mean a sudden loss of control and high risk of injury.
As the bit is cutting on entry, it compresses the fibers before cutting them. This is effective in preventing tear-out. However, climb cutting can create chatter, particularly when a straightfluted bit is used (see Figure 6). A spiral-fluted bit will induce much less chatter.
The chatter is a result of the bit pushing away from the workpiece each time a cutting edge strikes the wood but coming back in when the cutting edge exits. This cycle repeats itself twice per revolution (for a double-fluted bit).
Rebecca was using the hand sanders. Fortunately, I was calm and immediately walked over to her and told her that I had cut my fingers badly. I asked her to follow me to the sink. I ran water over the fingers for about 5 minutes before putting them in a cup of ice. She went back into the woodshop to start cleaning up as soon as I had my fingers under the running water and, I believe, that is the first time anyone really knew that I got hurt. Rebecca took me to the ER after everything was under control in the woodshop.
So, I did not use any of the medical supplies. (I know the cabinet is well stocked.)
I walked through the woodshop on the way out and was asked what my plans were for medical care. I got the idea that the person asking me knew the right questions to ask and was prepared to act appropriately.
I’ve mentioned this before, but when I worked at Rockler we would hear, and see, stories of wood shop injuries regularly. The router, which most people consider less dangerous than say the table saw, was notorious for taking fingers from people who misused it. Spinning at 22,000 RPMs doesn’t take long to cause a lot of injury. We saw a number of people with router injuries. One guy dropped his handheld router while it was running and tried to grab it before it hit the floor. It was not a good thing to do.
The most common story, however, involved contractors who would remove the safety guard from everything they used, like table saws, so that they could complete their job quicker or so they said.
Many a contractor company owner talked about his “workmen’s comp” costs because of this.
One guy came in with two fingers of his left hand missing. He wanted to buy a Sawstop for “his boys” because the Jet tables saw he owned was responsible for his accident. It is always the saws fault somehow. I was happy to sell him a Sawstop though. Hopefully, he’ll just have to buy a replacement blade the next time he’s careless.
In any case, I’m very glad you’re ok and the accident wasn’t much worse. I also hope others learn from the experience.