The be safe post OR the when you go head-to-head with a saw you will always be the loser post
So you know that I struggle with the amount of non-DIY posts I feel that I should subject you guys to, and I tend to end up with not too many of them because I think the reason you visit here is to learn about tools and not so much about me. If that is you, then I will begin with the message of this post and you can decide whether or not to read on: Never lose respect for any tool no matter how comfortable you become with it. It is like a wild animal–it will hurt you when you least expect it to. If you are ever asking yourself whether what you are doing is safe, that should automatically be a huge red flag.
I lost to a hacksaw last night. The little mark was my warning injury–yes, pvc pipe is slippery and when you are trying to cut little pieces, your fingers are right next to the blade. I was a dummy and I paid, I will spare you the injury details. My neighbor is a nurse, but wasn’t home. I was able to wash it out with water before I lost all the blood in my face, got nauseous, and had ringing in my ears. Hubs is worse with blood than me, so he wasn’t getting near it! My friend’s mother-in-law saved the day bandaging it up for me, but turns out today after I went to my friend for her to check it out today, that I probably should have gone in for stitches.
And this is with a hand tool!
When you are working with any tool, you must be present in the moment and safety gear IS NOT OPTIONAL. This includes pesky eye protection that always seems to be at the opposite side of the garage from where you are working. I had a friend in middle school who was trying to repair a camera and a spring hit her in the eye. She lost depth perception in her eyes (cover one of your eyes and try to touch something in front of you). Every time I am tempted to “just do this one real quick cut” without my eye protection on, I think of her and I go and find the goggles.
One of the reasons that I shy away from the idea of a table saw is that I feel like when I am using my circular saw, I am operating where the blade goes, so I always know where it is. I hesitate to include the following info, in fact I’ve written and deleted this twice already, because I don’t want to scare anyone off from learning to use power tools, but this is the dark reality in my immediate family–my grandfather took off 2 fingers at the top knuckle and one uncle took off the pad of a finger (that they had to fix with a skin graft–not a fun recovery at all).
As an aside, wouldn’t I be a perfect advertisement for SawStop??? I mean come on! I even had a cousin nick his finger in a table saw. That is 4 saw injuries in one family. We would be a perfect match, SawStop and I…maybe I need to contact them…
Anyway, I’ll finish by telling you the story about my uncle, that in hindsight was a little funny. My uncles Larry and Jack were working in the shop and my cousin Heather, who was 7 or 8 months pregnant, was in the house. She looked out the window and saw them both lying there in the yard and was like “What is going on?”. She went out and discovered that Larry had taken off the tip of his finger, was trying to make it to the house and passed out. Jack, who cannot handle the sight of blood, was trying to help him, but kept passing out too. Apparently they would revive for a short while to make it a little further and then would pass out again. Heather, with her big belly, had to get them both into the car to take them to the hospital.
I could totally see this in a Will Ferrell movie. Hmmm, maybe I should contact him too…
Don’t be scared, but ALWAYS BE SAFE. It only takes the time of “one quick cut” to mess you up. I’m glad it’s my left hand so I can still operate the circular saw trigger. And I am really happy with the project I was working on. Anyone interested in seeing how I keep the deer from eating my veggies? It involves PVC and a hacksaw, lol!