As attentive readers of my blog will know, I have a bandsaw. It’s not your usual type, which is fixed in the upright position. Mine is the type that is meant for an engineering workshop, and usually used with the main body in the horizontal, exerting pressure on the piece to be cut.
However, the main body can be lifted into the vertical, and a (small) table can be screwed onto the blade guides, thereby converting it into a convenient tool to cut wood (and other materials) on this little table. It doesn’t go as fast as I’d like, but it works, and I have cut pieces up to 6″ thick on it.
The other day I was doing just that, cutting a round blank out of a largish piece of elm, to yield a bowl blank about 15″ diameter.
As the attentive reader of my blog will know, my workshop is not very big. In fact, it is positively on the small side. In consequence, the piece of elm was fouling against my carpenter’s vice. And that’s where I made a big mistake. Instead of switching the saw off, then moving it and switching it back on, I just tried to lift it a little and shift it towards the lathe to create the necessary space.
Now, it is only a small bandsaw, but it does have some weight. About 40kg, to be precise. So a good hold is required. As I grabbed the saw with both hands, trying to find that good hold, my left hand thumb protruded into the saw blade at precisely the only spot where it could possibly make contact. So it made contact, for about 1 second. That was enough:
Let me tell you: It hurt. A lot. And it bled. A lot.
As it turns out, I got lucky. I only really cut through the top 2-3mm of skin (yes, skin is that thick, even on your fingers), so the damage is limited. And thanks to the bleeding, no dirt was left in the wound (isn’t that ingenious of Mother Nature?). In any case, I really did learn my lesson that evening.
So please, please, all you readers: do not repeat what I did. Work safe. Switch your machines off before you faff around with them.
(sorry for the fuzzy picture, my phone did not want to focus on the finger, but I guess it shows enough gruesome detail anyway).