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Thread: Ouch! Router mishap--what happened?

  1. #1
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    Default Ouch! Router mishap--what happened?

    I need to fess up for a screwup and hopefully I and others can learn from my mishap. I had a bad thing happen using the router table last week and Im not sure why. Granted Im not all that experienced but Im not a novice either.


    So heres what happened, I was making a mast step for a peapod that I was building. It was roughly a 7x3x1 piece of black locust. I had already dadoed a 1 3/4 x groove using a 3/4 straight bit on my router table, with a fence. It was a bit snug so I needed to make it smidge wider. I ran the block through on one side with no issue, then when I went to do trim the other side it grabbed the piece, and my finger, in a flash, shooting the piece across the shop. Luckily it didnt get to the bone. 4 hours in the emergency room to get stitches wasnt fun. It was my first visit to the ER, ever, so I consider myself lucky. Worse was not being able to continue working on the boat or doing much else with my right hand. It should grow back, according to my doc.


    I now have the stitches out and its healing nicely, but I still havent ventured near the router table. Not sure why it bit me???


    Thanks for any advice, really. Nothing personal but I have to show it off.
    Steve B
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    RIVUS 16' Melonseed

    "If a man must be obsessed by something, I suppose a boat is as good as anything, perhaps a bit better than most." E. B. White

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Ouch! Router mishap--what happened?

    You were moving the piece across the fence so the rotation of the blade was pushing the workpiece towards the fence?

  3. #3
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    Default Re: Ouch! Router mishap--what happened?

    That's a small piece of a very hard wood which can be a recipe for injury. I'm glad you weren't hurt any worse than that.

    For small pieces that need to be routed I look for ways to increase my leverage, which has the added advantage of moving my fingers back from the bit. I also avoid climb cutting unless it's on my shaper and fed with a power feeder. Jigs, feather boards, and routing before cutting the piece down if possible are my first thoughts.

    Good luck healing up.

    Mke

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    Default Re: Ouch! Router mishap--what happened?

    Quote Originally Posted by StevenBauer View Post
    You were moving the piece across the fence so the rotation of the blade was pushing the workpiece towards the fence?
    Yes, and I guess in hindsight since it was my 4th pass, and I was just trimming a "smidge" I might not have been as concerned as I obviously should have been.
    Steve B
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    RIVUS 16' Melonseed

    "If a man must be obsessed by something, I suppose a boat is as good as anything, perhaps a bit better than most." E. B. White

  5. #5
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    Default Re: Ouch! Router mishap--what happened?

    Any pics of the work piece and router setup?
    A "chicken stick" screwed to a scary-short workpiece is not something to be ashamed of.
    Heal well.
    R
    Sleep with one eye open.

  6. #6
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    Default Re: Ouch! Router mishap--what happened?

    Aw Fawk!
    Thats a bummer! Glad you still have that finger!
    Get well soon!
    Jay

  7. #7
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    Default Re: Ouch! Router mishap--what happened?

    Danged Maineiacs!!!

    Heal quickly. Heal well.
    David G
    Harbor Woodworks
    http://www.harborwoodworking.com/boat.html

    "It was a Sunday morning and Goddard gave thanks that there were still places where one could worship in temples not made by human hands." -- L. F. Herreshoff (The Compleat Cruiser)

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    Default Re: Ouch! Router mishap--what happened?

    Introducing a spinnig knife to a short piece with end grain is pretty scary. And fast! More than once I have sawn a cutout from a larger piece (like a 2x4) to hold a small delicate one like drawer pulls and such. Often with sheet rock screws or similar. Just a kickback on a little piece will hurt like hell.
    My first thought was a climbing cut?

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    Default Re: Ouch! Router mishap--what happened?



    You think you were unlucky, but actually you were lucky.

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    Default Re: Ouch! Router mishap--what happened?

    I had a similar accident with a skill saw that my foreman had jury-rigged as a table saw. What could possibly go wrong? Lost two fingernails and the ends of two fingers looked like yours. The soft fingertip tissue never grew back and I always feel it on low humidity days. That was about 35 years ago.
    Hope yours heals better.
    I was born on a wooden boat that I built myself.

  11. #11
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    Default Re: Ouch! Router mishap--what happened?

    The rotation of the bit caught the work piece, flung it and pulled you hand with it. I try to keep my hands clear of the line that the router will take if it grabs the work piece and climbs off of it. Moreso after I saw a foot long scar on a friends inner forearm, he was routing in the trim router bucked off of the work piece and worked its way from his wrist to elbow. He was flown in an air ambulance to the hospital and was close to not making it for blood loss.

    Table saws and 2x4s pinched between the blade and fence, I learned to not stand behind the rotation plane of the blade. The wood was kicked back back and hit me right in the family jewels, I stumbled inside and laid on the couch for about an hour :/

    Glad you'll be ok.

    k

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    Default Re: Ouch! Router mishap--what happened?

    Of all the tools in my shop, my router scares me the most. I'll spend hours figuring out ways I can keep clear of the bloody thing and am a firm believer in feather boards, push sticks, or just standing across the room and throwing the wood at it. Glad you'll heal with little more to show for your travails than some gristly pictures and cautionary advice for others.

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    Default Re: Ouch! Router mishap--what happened?

    Quote Originally Posted by SBrookman View Post
    Yes, and I guess in hindsight since it was my 4th pass, and I was just trimming a "smidge" I might not have been as concerned as I obviously should have been.
    I've had a couple of near misses on my shaper, they behave pretty much the same as your router table but on steroids. When working on small pieces it pays to fasten them to a sledge or a template, or a backing piece. That can both make it safer to work and improve accuracy.

    Yes, fingers can recover remarkably well from damage like that, even grow nerves back, but it takes a while for the latter.

    John Welsford
    An expert is but a beginner with experience.

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    Default Re: Ouch! Router mishap--what happened?

    You are very lucky. The good news is you learned a lesson and still have all your fingers.
    The taking off a smidge thing without resetting the fence is what got you I think. The rotation of the bit should force you to hold the work against the fence and force the work through the cutters. Sounds lime you climb cut against the fence which rarely ends well.
    In any case you need oush blocks like Gib shows. If its smaller than foot square you want someting other than your flesh holding it down.

  15. #15
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    Default Re: Ouch! Router mishap--what happened?

    Quote Originally Posted by signalcharlie View Post
    Table saws and 2x4s pinched between the blade and fence, I learned to not stand behind the rotation plane of the blade. The wood was kicked back back and hit me right in the family jewels, I stumbled inside and laid on the couch for about an hour :/
    It's at at times like this I'm glad that I'm short and everything below my waist is below the tabletop ...........

    It's often the last cut or pass through the cutter when I screw up. I really have to focus on what I'm doing and not be thinking about the next step.

    Glad you made it through with just a warning.

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    Default Re: Ouch! Router mishap--what happened?

    let'z see...

    32,000 rpm w/ 2 cutting surfaces = 62,000 cuts/minute

    that'z over 1,000 cuts/second

    it only feels like a THUMP when it happens

    the pain doesn't start registering 'till later

    and PAIN it is

    i might surmise you were feeding the wood in the same direction the blade was cutting when feeding the wood against the cutting direction is my preferred method

    when feeding with the direction of the cut can jerk the work piece at the end of a cut and drawing your finger into the bit

    many folks will feed in the direction of the cut to avoid the dust/chips being thrown into their face and on their clothes

    as stated above A PUSH STICK/BLOCK is advisable

    and figure on it being SACRIFICIAL and having to be regularly replaced

    GLAD THE INJURY WAS ONLY ON THE TIP OF YOUR FINGER

    sw
    "we are the people, our parents warned us about" (jb)

    steve

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    Default Re: Ouch! Router mishap--what happened?

    But was the wood damaged? (kidding)

    it can happen .. me even after 4 safety runs

    http://forum.woodenboat.com/showthre...t=like+a+scene
    Denise, Bristol PA, Oday30, Anchor Yacht Club, On tidal Delaware River. my current project; http://forum.woodenboat.com/showthre...0-Ducker-Resto

  18. #18
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    Default Re: Ouch! Router mishap--what happened?

    Quote Originally Posted by Ron Williamson View Post
    Any pics of the work piece and router setup?
    A "chicken stick" screwed to a scary-short workpiece is not something to be ashamed of.
    Heal well.
    R


    Thanks to all. Obviously while I thought I had enough fear and respect for this monster, it was not enough and I (luckily) only got a flesh wound. Usually I dadoe with the table saw which is a SawStop, (too bad they don't make a RouterStop) Since it was only 1/4" and I thought the piece was substantial enough (and it was for the other passes!) I used the router this time.
    For those of you who have had it happen, you know how fast it occurs. Even my lightning fast pilot reflexes were no match...make that former fast reflexes. Could be why they kick us out of the cockpit at 65!
    Looking at the photo now, I can see how it happened. It still turns my stomach thinking how fast it can grab.
    Steve B
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    RIVUS 16' Melonseed

    "If a man must be obsessed by something, I suppose a boat is as good as anything, perhaps a bit better than most." E. B. White

  19. #19
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    Default Re: Ouch! Router mishap--what happened?

    1. Edged tools are dangerous.

    I'll never forget the day, when I was about fourteen years old, that I dropped an X-acto knife and caught it in my foot. Yep, imbedded in my foot. My stomach knots up right now, fifty years later, just thinking about that aluminum handle standing up, held up by the steel blade. Then there was the moment of arrogance while splitting kindling with a razor sharp hatchet, which resulted in my first trip to the ER and my first stitches. And then, three months later a mishap with a machete, more stitches, less than an inch from the cut that had just healed. Learning Opportunities. Gah.

    1.a. Edged tools plus power = Even More Danger.

    Just a couple of months ago I was rewiring the lights on a boat trailer. The wire wouldn't go on the stud at the tail light, because I'd bought the wrong size crimping terminal. I thought, "I can drill it out, and avoid a trip back to the hardware store." The drill bit grabbed the metal of the hole in the terminal, pulled it out of the pliers I was holding it with, and, before I knew it, the wire wrapped itself painfully tight around my right middle finger tip, cutting an irregular slot across the very tip of the finger. Not a lot of blood. No need for stitches, but it was quite tender for a month or so.

    I learn some things by what I read about, or by what I hear or see happening to others. I still, though, have to learn lots of lessons the hard way, one on one. I wonder what today's lesson will be?

  20. #20
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    Default Re: Ouch! Router mishap--what happened?

    Quote Originally Posted by DeniseO30 View Post
    But was the wood damaged? (kidding)

    it can happen .. me even after 4 safety runs

    http://forum.woodenboat.com/showthre...t=like+a+scene
    That was scary...goes to show. it's always something.

    And no, the wood wasn't damaged. Black locust is tough stuff. But it still waits finishing.

    A strange coincidence, as I was making it into a mast step and about five years ago I broke my wrist making a mast step for Rivus. I should stick to making rowboats.

    That's it for my workshop injury confessions...for now.
    Steve B
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    RIVUS 16' Melonseed

    "If a man must be obsessed by something, I suppose a boat is as good as anything, perhaps a bit better than most." E. B. White

  21. #21
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    Default Re: Ouch! Router mishap--what happened?

    This is my router mishap from last year on the finger.
    the photo of me in the ICU hospital bed with tubes and hoses
    coming out of all parts of my body is what happens when a block
    of 2x2x6" cherry comes off of a table saw at 95 miles an hour
    and hits you broadside on the face . . . . long story.
    Thumb 002.JPG

    Day One.jpg

    Day Four.jpg

    and yes, I have been around woodworking equipment since 1963.......
    it only takes one tenth of a nano second for something serious to go terribly wrong very quickly.

    Be Safe, boys n gurls !!



    ,


  22. #22
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    Default Re: Ouch! Router mishap--what happened?

    Quote Originally Posted by SBrookman View Post



    Looking at the photo now, I can see how it happened. It still turns my stomach thinking how fast it can grab.

    I presume that your conclusion is the same as mine: The fence is on the wrong side of the work piece. There is no room for error. To do a cut as you attempted, one should employ feather boards or other hold-in devices so that the work will maintain contact with the fence.

    I also have presumed that you fed from the left to the right. If you fed from the right side, you need to take a few remedial woodworking lessons.

    Jeff

  23. #23
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    Default Re: Ouch! Router mishap--what happened?

    Yikes! So glad it wasn't any worse, Steve.
    My after-the-fact, second guess, back-seat, arm-chair comment...
    Do that cut with a dado blade in the table saw.

    Well there, at least I feel better!

  24. #24
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    Default Re: Ouch! Router mishap--what happened?

    Quote Originally Posted by John-1948 View Post
    This is my router mishap from last year on the finger.
    the photo of me in the ICU hospital bed with tubes and hoses
    coming out of all parts of my body is what happens when a block
    of 2x2x6" cherry comes off of a table saw at 95 miles an hour
    and hits you broadside on the face . . . . long story.
    Thumb 002.JPG

    Day One.jpg

    Day Four.jpg

    and yes, I have been around woodworking equipment since 1963.......
    it only takes one tenth of a nano second for something serious to go terribly wrong very quickly.

    Be Safe, boys n gurls !!



    ,
    Gawd! I hope you're on the mend.

    I think its time to take that watercolor class. Nothing more dangerous than a sharp pencil.
    Steve B
    TraditionalSmallCraftAssociation
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    RIVUS 16' Melonseed

    "If a man must be obsessed by something, I suppose a boat is as good as anything, perhaps a bit better than most." E. B. White

  25. #25
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    Default Re: Ouch! Router mishap--what happened?

    Quote Originally Posted by Gib Etheridge View Post


    You think you were unlucky, but actually you were lucky.
    YES, these, for router table, jointer and push sticks on the table saw/band saw, please keep your fingers away from cutting edges, sh#t happens fast.

  26. #26
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    Default Re: Ouch! Router mishap--what happened?

    The title had me prepped to see a big gouge in a piece of work, and YES I was eating lunch when the photo came into view.

    Thanks for no warning.. not amusing...

  27. #27
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    Default Re: Ouch! Router mishap--what happened?

    Quote Originally Posted by BrianM View Post
    The title had me prepped to see a big gouge in a piece of work, and YES I was eating lunch when the photo came into view.

    Thanks for no warning.. not amusing...
    Sorry 'bout that. It spoiled my dinner too...and night's sleep...and most of the next week.
    Steve B
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    RIVUS 16' Melonseed

    "If a man must be obsessed by something, I suppose a boat is as good as anything, perhaps a bit better than most." E. B. White

  28. #28
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    Default Re: Ouch! Router mishap--what happened?

    Quote Originally Posted by jackster View Post
    Yikes! So glad it wasn't any worse, Steve.
    My after-the-fact, second guess, back-seat, arm-chair comment...
    Do that cut with a dado blade in the table saw.
    Well there, at least I feel better!
    Thanks, yep back to using that nice DeWalt dado set. I thought I'd save so much time just using the router but I didn't take into consideration the time lost in going to the ER, or not being able to use that hand for awhile.
    Steve B
    TraditionalSmallCraftAssociation
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    RIVUS 16' Melonseed

    "If a man must be obsessed by something, I suppose a boat is as good as anything, perhaps a bit better than most." E. B. White

  29. #29
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    Default Re: Ouch! Router mishap--what happened?

    Steve - I recovered from the cut finger within a week or so.

    the facial damage was a little more severe...... 3 days in the ICU and 4 more
    in "elevated care" as I also had a slight concussion.
    so all in all, one full week in the hospital due to doing something stupid on a machine that BITES.
    4 weeks later after the swelling went down, I went in for the repairs with the plastic surgeon
    which was a 4 hour procedure. the initial ER trauma team did not see a piece of wood
    the size of a teaspoon lodged within the nasal cavity !!!! apparently, a piece of the corner had
    broken off and stuck like an arrowhead in the nasal cavity. there was so much trauma, they just did not see it.
    it was in there for 4 weeks with no signs of infection. (like a splinter in the hand would do).
    the plastics team was shocked to say the least. the facial bones were put back
    together with a handful of pins and screws. I have 50% vision in the left eye and must wear a patch outside in the sun.
    another visit to the opthamologist next week. something about the retina that needs to be fixed/repaired/adjusted.

    we have become so comfortable and complacent with tools that most of us have used since high school,
    will, in some way, at some time, come back to bite us !!! (literally).

    glad to see you did not lose much meat or the nail off your digit !!

    as for my thumb issue, I was free-handing a piece of soft pine on a handheld router turned upside down
    using a piece of hardboard as the pattern and a 1/2" pattern bit. something I have done dozens of times.
    when rounding the corner, the bit caught the end grain and - - - - pffftttttt- - - - it bit me !!
    yes, I have a router table, and yes, it is covered with junk in the corner and just too much trouble to get it out.
    this was for a prototype bow handle that was to be cast out of aluminum, which came out pretty snazzy
    after it was all said and done.

    Bow Handle Pattern 015.JPG

    Bow Handle Pattern 028.JPG
    boat paint 049.jpg


    .
    Last edited by John-1948; 11-09-2017 at 06:55 PM.


  30. #30
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    Default Re: Ouch! Router mishap--what happened?

    If possible, I try to plan so that I clamp the wood, and move the router across it.

    It keeps your hands far away from the bit.

    And as for small things, clamp them too and use a rasp, or even an angle grinder.

    However I am guilty of not always following this advice. So far I have been saved by my rank fear of the router.

  31. #31
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    Default Re: Ouch! Router mishap--what happened?

    Quote Originally Posted by SBrookman View Post
    Thanks, yep back to using that nice DeWalt dado set.

    No one should think, for even a moment, that a dado set is not a dangerous tool.

    Jeff

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    Default Re: Ouch! Router mishap--what happened?

    Senator Mitch McConnell (whose politics do not necessarily agree with mine) has a saying I like: "There's no education in the second kick of a mule."
    Sorry for your misfortune.
    pvg

  33. #33
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    Default Re: Ouch! Router mishap--what happened?

    Somewhat congruently with the above, and sorry to hear about the injuries, I have avoided routers. But then I commenced building a pair of telecasters, which are almost done, and those who cannot use hand tools well convinced me I needed to use routers with jigs on a couple of procedures. I had a couple of bad cuts, wherein the blade grabbed and dug in, but then I had my first close call. My router, a pretty good Bosch, about 1.5 horse, dug in and I lost grip of the machine. Hit the floor with the motor at full speed. It has an on.off switch, not a trigger so it hopped around on the floor, tearing around like a banshee around my feet. I was wearing leather boots but nothing too protective. I wasn't injured, but I do not like routers and I believe I will go back to hand cut joints on the next guitar.
    Re-naming straits as necessary.

  34. #34
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    Default Re: Ouch! Router mishap--what happened?

    Yeah, I dropped a router once. It was exciting! But I got back on that horse right away. Now a hand held electric die-grinder..... that is another kettle of fish. A stinky one.

    Jeff

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    Default Re: Ouch! Router mishap--what happened?

    Jeeze...glad you are ok. I've often thought I needed a router. Not any more. I don't understand enough to get what happened or to benefit from the advice above. Leaning more and more towards hand tools. I think Leigh Valley has a nice router plane.

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