No announcement yet.

New Guy - but an Old Soul - introduction

  • Filter
  • Time
  • Show
Clear All
new posts

  • New Guy - but an Old Soul - introduction

    Hello room, my name is Johnny and I am a Tool Junky !!

    I have been a lurker here for a very long time. I enjoy the topics that I am familiar with.
    I will be 70 years old this summer and have been around wood and woodworking tools
    since 1960 or so. After 21 years in the US Navy, I worked at Lockheed-Martin as a custom
    woodworker and carpenter in the aerospace division. Both of my grandfathers and several
    uncles were master craftsmen. My father was an accomplished woodcraftsman and metalsmith.
    so I sort of inherited the "craftsman" genes, so to speak.
    After 7 years with Lockheed-Martin, I opened my own business of handcrafted signs. mostly large
    handcarved and handcrafted dimensional signs from 6" emblems to 20ft main entry signs for
    private estates and golf courses.
    after retirement from the sign world, I worked for Mr. Handyman renovating private homes. that was fun.
    after 6 years of that, I took up messing with old wooden boats and that took up a lot of my spare time. (and $$.$$).
    I recently moved to a new home and severely downsized my life and my "stuff". I went from a
    2500sf climate controlled commercial shop in the country on 5 acres to a small home with a garage on a 1/4 acre
    city lot and am having a really hard time adjusting to the decision I made. LOL I need MORE ROOM !!.

    anyway, I bought another wood lathe and was playing with that. I do not make bowls. I like making
    ornamental spindles and carving mallets and just making household things out of wood.

    so this comes to why I want to make a post here on tool safety.
    all of us have one thing in common - - - - TABLE SAWS !!! one of the most dangerous tools a person could own.
    we have had kick-backs that bring a new awareness to just how fast a person can be hurt with these things.

    I was very moved with the very similar experience of CapnCarl in his thread: "My saw flung a chunk of wood at me!"
    we all must be aware of accident potential and just how fast they can happen to avoid being seriously hurt. (or worse).

    On Sept. 3rd, I was cutting a piece of cherry wood on my table saw. about 2"x2"x6". not big wood, but heavy.
    I don't know what happened, but, it somehow got wracked between the fence and the blade and it kicked back into my face.......
    I have had many kickbacks before in my lifetime but they always hit the mid torso with little or no damage to the ole bod......
    I usually stand off to the side of direct fire to avoid such injuries.
    anyway, as luck would have it, it hit me flat sided and vertical right across the left side of my face with the force of a line drive from a major league slugger.
    well . . . it dropped me half conscious to the ground right then and there !!! like having a #9 wood swung by Arnold Palmer
    right across the left cheek and nose ...... dang it HURT !!!
    anyway, I pulled off my tshirt and got the bleeding under control, staggered to the bathroom to check the damage - - - whoooooaaaaaa NOT GOOD !!!!
    No bueno at ALL.
    got my wallet, phone and a clean tshirt to take with me and dialed 911. it took quite awhile for the ambulance medic to get the
    bleeding under control and the trauma surgeon in the ER put me to sleep right away to reset my broken nose
    and sew it up (32 stitches) and then run me through the CT scanner. The scan showed I had a "slight" concussion
    and fluid on the brain as well as several facial fractures, 4 loose teeth and a broken jaw. Spent the next 3 days in the ICU.
    then the following that with 4 days in "elevated care" until the swelling went down and I was somewhat mobile on my own.
    my left eye looked like an over ripe plum for a few days but is very okay now. all the swelling is gone and my vision (by the Grace of God) is back to “somewhat” normal.
    4 weeks later, the plastic surgeon did his thing to repair the fractures with some screws and pins..... (another day and night in the hospital).

    My wife was at work when this fiasco happened and I could not get in touch with her......
    she came home and found the house unlocked, my car there and me gone....
    then she saw huge puddle of blood at the table saw and panicked - she went to the neighbor -
    he calmed her down and went to find me, he saw the table say, blood and me gone . . . . Then HE panicked . . .
    He called the ER and found me, he took my wife to the hospital and all was okay once she knew I wasn't dead or missing a hand or two. (or worse).
    I asked the nurse to snap me a few pics to document what NOT TO DO with a power tool !!!!
    I can't find my safety glasses around the table saw - I can't remember if I even had them on or not.
    I have a vague blurry memory of wrapping them up in my bloody tshirt but that was tossed at the ER.

    Click image for larger version  Name:	 Views:	2 Size:	74.1 KB ID:	832208
    Click image for larger version  Name:	 Views:	2 Size:	96.2 KB ID:	832209
    Click image for larger version  Name:	 Views:	2 Size:	93.1 KB ID:	832210
    Click image for larger version  Name:	 Views:	1 Size:	94.8 KB ID:	832211

    my overall vision is slowly coming back to normal, but, I get headaches from too much glare from a computer screen or TV and floaters the size of a fishhook.
    the fluid on the brain is gone and the concussion did not cause any permnt - permen - parmnt - premant - permanent drain bamage (LOL).
    no matter how experienced you "think" you are with power tools, and how many safety parameters you have in place - - - accidents DO HAPPEN !!
    so far, this little episode has cost over $87.000.00 and I have not seen the bills from the plastic surgeon yet.... thank GOD for INSURANCE !!!!

    Looking forward to getting to know all of you !!!
    John Smith
    Central Florida
    Last edited by J.H.Smith; 12-02-2017, 11:14 AM.

  • #2
    Gosh that had to hurt! I’ve always heard what doesn’t kill us makes us stronger, but that was too close.
    Cutting small pieces on the table saw scares the heck out of me. The BT3 with a sliding miter table is much safer for cutting small pieces, and for those of us with a conventional table saw, a sled is great for small pieces.
    Pull up a chair and enjoy the company!


    • #3
      Hi John, welcome to the forum. Man, that was some hit! That's pretty good recovery for just 3 weeks--cosmetically speaking. Best of luck on your continued healing.



      • #4
        Whoa! That's one heck of a warning!

        Thanks for posting, John, and for the pictures - nothing jolts one awake more than such posts!

        That was not a big piece of wood at 6" long; or did you mean 6 feet long? And do you remember if you were ripping it? Maybe your saw did not have a rivving knife at that point?
        (I'm just trying to see where I need to tighten up my cutting methods).

        I am happy to note you are better now and improving, if those medical bills don't kill ya! (kidding!)

        Stay safe and keep posting!
        It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it.
        - Aristotle


        • #5
          Thanks for the reminder in detail. Hope you continue to heal. Take care of yourself . . . and listen to the wife!

          We would love to hear more of your stories of your woodworking.

          This is a reminder that even an expensive SawStop would not have prevented that.
          Hank Lee

          Experience is what you get when you don't get what you wanted!


          • #6
            Welcome to the forum John, it's good to have another "Smith" here!

            I have to admit that your post had to be the most dramatic introduction that I have ever read though.... it just made me wince through the whole thing. I can only imagine the pain and anguish that you went through, as well as that of your wife's very frightening experience. I'm so glad that you are healing so quickly, and hope that you have a full recovery.

            Your post was certainly frightening to read and let it be a cautionary one for all of us. Even with your vast experience, such things can happen; and, for anyone reading, we should all be keenly aware that it only takes a second to be seriously hurt.

            I look forward to your continued interest in this forum and sharing of your experience. There is a great membership here and I look forward to reading more of your posts in the future.

            Best wishes for your continued recovery and good health,


            Think it Through Before You Do!


            • #7
              Thanks guys - I have been a "visitor" since the old forum - I just had too many irons in the fire to join.
              yes - the block of wood that hit me was 2x2x6" (inches - not feet). it was to be a mallet handle.

              4 weeks after the hit and all the swelling went down, I went to the plastic surgeon to repair the fractures.
              the first incision was to cut into the left eyebrow, open it up and put the pins and screws in the eye orbit from the top.
              the second incision was to re-open the nose laceration and put screws and pins in the nasal cavity and cheek bone area.
              the third incision was to go inside my mouth, cut through the inside of the upper lip, and put pins and screws in the frontal area.
              the fourth incision was inside my mouth inside the right cheek to explore the right side of the nasal cavity "just in case" he missed something.
              I think I remember something like 7 pins and 16 screws - not sure - will wait on the next visit to get some x-rays to count everything.
              here are a couple of photos of the first CT scan in the emergency room.

              Click image for larger version  Name:	CT-1.png Views:	1 Size:	528.4 KB ID:	832221

              Click image for larger version  Name:	CT-2.png Views:	1 Size:	629.6 KB ID:	832222

              I know all this is totally gross - and I deeply appollogize it it offends anyone, but - I could have lost an eye, broken teeth, brain damage,
              and all sorts of ugly stuff that goes bump in the night.
              to the untrained eye, you have to bounce back and forth from the right side to the left side to notice the differences in the bone structure.

              Now for the really scary part - the plastic surgeon found a piece of wood the size of a teaspoon inside my nasal cavity that the CT scan
              did not pick up. (it is adjusted for bone material only - not foreign objects).
              this piece of wood was inside my face for FOUR WEEKS - my whole face was totally numb so I never noticed it.
              thank GOD that it did not cause an infection like a splinter does in your hand....... that is just mind boggling that that happened.
              the doctor said he will try to get it from the pathology lab to let me see it and take a picture...... it just astounds me as to just how dangerous this episode was.

              Click image for larger version  Name:	image_23692.jpg Views:	1 Size:	66.5 KB ID:	832224

              update to 12/02/2017: my sense of balance is getting better, my vision is much better, but my sense of distance and depth perception is still a little whacky.
              the numbness in my face is all but gone. inside of my mouth on the upper left side is still totally numb. really weird feeling when brushing my teeth.
              the plastics guy said that some major nerves on my left side were totally destroyed - gone. and I "may" get back 50% of feeling after 6 to 12 months.
              and for me not to expect any miracle of total recovery - - - wow - is he ever going to be surprised when I see him next month !!!!

              and here is a photo of the back of my head into the brain cavity - - - - if you notice carefully,
              the cavity is totally EMPTY !!! LOL LOL - no brains at all !!!! (or else I would not have done this to myself).

              Click image for larger version  Name:	CT-3.png Views:	1 Size:	569.6 KB ID:	832223

              Thank you all so much for your concern and well wishes !!!

              now - everyone back to work !! and I hope you gain a new respect for ALL of your power tools !!!
              (I know I sure have !!)



              Last edited by J.H.Smith; 12-02-2017, 03:15 PM.


              • #8
                Radhak, the smaller the size the piece of wood is the more dangerous it is! A small piece can get caught between the blade and the rip fence, hit a bit of a snag and twist a bit and bind the blade. If we still used 1/4 hp motors on our saws it wouldn’t be as bad, but a 1 1/2 hp motor spinning a 10” flexable sawblade can flex enough to really get the small chunk of wood in a bind and impart all of the energy in throwing your darling piece of wood directly between your eyes! A larger piece of wood wouldn’t have gotten pinched between the blade and the fence quite this bad. I like to think of it like a baseball pitching machine where the ball gets pinched against the wheel and is launched., if you were able to shove in a baseball bat rather than a ball the machine wouldn’t have enough energy to throw the bat that far.


                • #9
                  Carl - yes the smaller the piece being cut - the higher the chance of something going wrong fairly quickly.
                  Radhak - if you go to YouTube and put "table saw kickback" in the search block, you will find some pretty
                  scary examples about kick backs and how they happen and how to prevent them.
                  when I was doing carpentry for a living, we did not have YouTube or a computer to teach us tool safety procedures.
                  we had to "learn as we go". sometimes with injuries or death learned the hard way.
                  Even when I worked at Lockeed-Martin aerospace, there were no specific written procedures for the woodshop.
                  just whatever safety instructions that came with a specific piece of equipment is what we had to follow. which was minimal, at best.
                  and you know the old saying . . . . safety procedures are written in BLOOD !!!

                  The table saw I was hurt on was a fairly new (less than an hour's use) Skilsaw 3310. it is a job site portable version with a stand . . . very entry level.

                  Click image for larger version  Name:	Skilsaw 3310.jpg Views:	1 Size:	40.3 KB ID:	832234
                  I bought it 3 years ago and just now got it out of the box and set up for minor cut work.
                  the miter gage fits very loose in the track. the rip fence must be measured carefully each time to be true.
                  the table is pressed sheet metal and plastic and is a hunka junk. I will be selling this thing on craigslist Monday for sure !!!
                  I will be getting out my old vintage 1985 Sears Pro-Craftsman 10" which has a full cast iron table with a very tight miter gage
                  and true fitting Biesemeyer Fence . it just needs some TLC and a new motor. only problem is that it is HEAVY !! 300 pounds at least.
                  I will be making a sled and a few other safety features before I cut anything on it.

                  I do not recommend this style of Skilsaw to anyone !!!

                  Last edited by J.H.Smith; 12-04-2017, 11:48 AM.


                  • #10
                    John, well, welcome to the forum. Sorry to hear about the misfortunes, I guess in retrospect it could come out a lot worse. Thank goodness for your insurance and the good doctors.
                    I don't know if I would have picked up that block of wood again. I guess it will be a mallet to remember!
                    Good luck and be careful.

                    Loring in Katy, TX USA
                    If your only tool is a hammer, you tend to treat all problems as if they were nails.
                    BT3 FAQ -


                    • #11
                      Hi and welcome to the talk, John.
                      I am in a unique position to see many many accident photo's from a table saw. None are easy to look at, but by far kickback injuries look far worse than lacerations and amputations caused by blade contact.
                      To me this means that a splitter or riving knife is the most critical part of a safety system to have in place. Even that is only a deterrent against some types of kickback. A guard to provide a barrier against blade contact is secondary.
                      No matter what you decide to use, nothing beats good training and work habits.
                      Don't take short cuts and don't work when you are tired or stressed out. And never be guilty of a WWUI. (wood working under influence)

                      Now off my orange crate.
                      Good to see that you are healing well and pretty fast.
                      The older we get, the slower the healing process.
                      Good to see that you toughed it out and finished that project as well.

                      That has some history that should be included with it.


                      • #12
                        I was stunned the first time I read this a few days ago. I still stunned at my entire second reading today.

                        Part of the shock was your description... "I have had many kickbacks before in my lifetime but they always hit the mid torso with little or no damage to the ole bod..." It brought back memories of my sole kickback on an old Craftsman table saw in my pre-BT3000 days - somewhere around 1990. (The saw was old at that time). I got hit in the lower torso, really close to dropping me to my knees, if you know what I mean! (I may have had one other kickback with that saw, but it was a glancing blow).

                        I had never thought about the table saw kicking back to my face. Your experience is chilling. I enjoyed the part about the neighbor calming the wife down, until he saw the mess at the saw.

                        Your recovery is actually amazing, considering your injuries. And while you still are struggling with some of the residual issues, my impression is that you are extremely fortunate to have the restoration that your 3 weeks later photo reveals. An incredible recovery.

                        Going forward, I heartily endorse "Skytooner's" splitter / riving knife recommendation. That will improve your saw safety substantially. His (Lee's) Shark Guard revolutionized my table saw safety. I went from "table saw blade guard hater" to "hate to use the table saw without the (shark) guard". And I got superb dust collection as an added bonus.

                        Thank you for your story - we need to hear these reminders periodically. And please heed Lee's advice and improve your safety.


                        • #13
                          what started this fiasco was a few days earlier, I was using the dado blade and had to remove the guards and riving knife.
                          having just put the 10" sawblade back on, I noticed this block of wood that still needed one more pass through the blade to square it up prior to the lathe.
                          my lapse in judgement for 1/10th of a nano second, dropped me to the ground. I don't remember losing consciousness, but I was
                          knocked stupid for a while because there was maybe a puddle of blood about 12-14" round. I do remember hitting the STOP button right away.
                          my memory is improving (somewhat) and I have been trying to relive the moment and piece together just what went wrong so quickly
                          and how to avoid any issues in the future - - - plus, share with others so they can tighten up on ALL safety procedures around ALL power tools.
                          even the hand-held router has bitten me a few times - but that was due to my own carelessness (and stupid). [ but aren't all accidents the result of carelessness] ???
                          the motto in the wood carvers circuit I belong to is - - - If you're gonna be dumb ~ you gotta be tuff !!
                          I will be making some sleds before I use the table saw again. at 70 years old, I can't afford to mess myself up (any more than I already have).
                          and I will NEVER cut anything freehand again without that darned riving knife firmly in place !!!

                          Thank you all again for your kind words and best wishes !!!

                          in Central Florida, where the Palm Trees meet the Ocean
                          Last edited by J.H.Smith; 12-07-2017, 07:57 PM.


                          • #14
                            Don't be too hard on yourself. Most (all?) of us have lapses in judgment, do something foolish, or get in a hurry and have a mishap. Most of the time we aren't hurt, or have a minor cut or a bruise, and nobody every knows what happened. You were just unfortunate that your mishap resulted in a serious injury. I cut myself badly last winter early one morning with a utility knife. The stupidity is that this happened moments after I cautioned myself to slow down. I realized that I was late for work, so I started hurrying - then cautioned myself - and then cut myself very badly.
                            Sheer stupidity.
                            You were unfortunate, perhaps careless in proceeding without restoring the protections on your saw. I was just plain stupid.