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My chiselling accident...

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chrisbenjy

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Yesterday I learned a bit about the importance of adequate work holding.

While I’ve never posted on the forum before, I’ve browsed it enough to know that what I’ve done can be described as being a bit of a Homer Simpson.

I’m mainly working from home at the moment, like many people, in my desk job. And I’ve found myself wanting to squeeze in some woodworking in the middle of the day whenever I get chance - spending a few minutes here and there working on my current project while I wait for the kettle to boil in between calls or as a quick break during the day.

This particular time I decided I would use a chisel to pare back some tenons I’d previously cut.

I don’t have a proper hand tool workbench (due to lack of space), but I do have a black & decker workmate, which can be a bit wobbly, but works ok. Needless to say, I wasn’t using this, because it was much quicker to just use the kitchen table.

I wasn’t using clamps because, well that would take too long for a quick 5 min woodworking break and plus I’m not sure I could even clamp anything to the type of kitchen table I’ve got.

So I had my work piece secured down on the kitchen table with my elbow/forearm, my chisel in my right hand, and my left hand doing a dual role of securing the work piece to stop it from rotating, and also guiding my chisel.

I started paring - I was probably taking a bit too much off as I needed to exert a lot of pressure to keep my chisel moving through. I increased my pressure for a particularly tricky bit which I think was a bit of a knot. After a second my chisel glided through the wood, but given the amount of pressure I’d applied, my hand slipped and I lost control of the chisel, which I managed to drive straight into the base knuckle of the index finger of my left hand leaving quite a deep gash.

I’m not usually squeamish about blood, however weirdly there wasn’t actually much anyway. The queaziest part about it was that when I clenched and unclenched my fist I could see my tendon moving 🤢

I thought it probably best to go to A&E and get it checked out, cleaned and stitched if needed. The nurse said I had nicked the tendon, but with it being a cut along the tendon rather than across it, it hadn’t severed it and so it should heal quite well without the need for surgery.

She was, however, particularly impressed with how neat the cut was, which I’m calling an endorsement for my sharpening skills and my whetstone collection...

It didn’t need stitches, it’s just been taped together, and should heal well, so I think it’s a lot better than it could have been.

The lessons I’ve learnt from this are the importance of adequate work holding and having the right set up; cutting corners on safety to save a little bit of time isn’t a good idea as A&E takes up several hours (plus public resources that are better spent on people that have had genuine unfortunate accidents, and not just been stupid); and that I probably shouldn’t dip in an out of it for a few mins at a time when I’m probably not fully concentrating.

Will it stop me doing the latter? Probably not. But I will certainly make sure my work is clamped down in my workbench and my hands and fingers are out of the way! Hopefully no more A&E visits for me!
 

NickM

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That's going to pick a bit.

It is frightening how sharp they are and how easily they slice through skin. No lasting harm though. You'll have learnt a valuable lesson!

When I started, I was forever nicking myself with chisels. I had to remove the blood stains from the work as well as pencil lines! Happens a lot less often now.
 

Fitzroy

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That is a very neat slice, good sharpening skills!

All fleshy bits behind the sharp thing is something I really adhere to, mainly as I've found out the hard way the damage that can be done in the blink of an eye. The temptation to get flesh in the line of fire is almost always due to poor work holding.

Hope it heals quickly for you.

Fitz.
 

Rorschach

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Yikes!

Well done on the sharpening though. Reminds me of my plane injury, stupidly put my hand underneath and nicked my little finger on the freshly sharpened blade, took it about 80% off. The cut was so clean though I was able to sit it back in place, glue around the edges and it healed up quite nicely. Tiny scar that really is only visible because the lines of the finger print aren't quite aligned anymore.
 

Jacob

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That is a very neat slice, good sharpening skills!

All fleshy bits behind the sharp thing is something I really adhere to, mainly as I've found out the hard way the damage that can be done in the blink of an eye. The temptation to get flesh in the line of fire is almost always due to poor work holding.

Hope it heals quickly for you.

Fitz.
Yep. Always behind the edge.
 

D_W

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yeah, the cuts look weird. I haven't had one that bad except filleting the tip of my middle finger when trying to hand finish an unhardened knife. I cleaned it out and glued it, but the sides of that one sucked in.

Lucky on the tendon. MIL hit hers with a dull knife, damaged it, and after many promises from hand surgeons, she now has minor chronic pain and a finger that stays mostly straight. After the first surgical debacle, the surgeon said "yeah, i don't now, I've had several people come back with that problem lately". (!!!!)

A second surgeon agreed that it's unfixable.

went through a window off of an ATV as a kid and made a gash similar in shape to that on the underside of my forearm - it never bled much but took 15 stitches. Also made my light headed back then and I'm usually immune to my own wounds other than getting angry about having to make some effort to fix them. oh, the inconvenience.
 

Ozi

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Ouch! There but for the grace of god. There may be someone on this forum whose never hurt themself doing something they new was stupid but it's not me
 

powertools

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I think that it is probable that we have all done similar and I think that the main think to learn from it is not to get involved in anything when you are short of time.
 

Billy_wizz

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Ouch! There but for the grace of god. There may be someone on this forum whose never hurt themself doing something they new was stupid but it's not me
That would be me lol but only because I know I'm doing something stupid and am extra careful! Mine are from not concentrating enough on normal run of the mill things!
 

Garno

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Very lucky regarding your tendon a couple of mm and it would of been a different story.

I hope the healing process is a fast and pain free one.
 

TRITON

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Ooh lovely.

Another lesson learned the hard way :LOL:

I did one in a similar manner. holding hand in line with chisel, a little more pressure and slip....
You immediately know its a nasty one. I initially clamped my thumb hard over the wound, and was scared to look at the damage done.

You were sensible getting it cleaned at the hospital. Mainly for the cleaning as it promotes healing, and doesn't lead to a nasty infection. And at least they pump in a local anesthetic, so you can get it sorted without wincing in pain.
 
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JobandKnock

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It will probably be stiff for a long time to come, possible for ever, and when you get old (like me) you may well end up with Reynaud's syndrome caused by damage to the blood vessels. That's the bad news, but the good news is that you didn't sever anything vital. I can tell you that anything requiring hand surgery to stitches is possibly going to make working in very cold weather really painful when you get older. It certainly points to the need of even a small first aid kit when carrying out any task which can result in injury, but as a First Aider I would say that
 

Spectric

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Thats why I dislike chisels, they can be extremely dangerous and don't take prisoners. I think they can be worse than a table saw because they look so harmless when just sitting in the tool rack but are just waiting to pounce. I would never attempt to use one on something not fixed down, I want both hands behind the blade and it's nice to give it a beating with a mallet occasionally, shows it who is boss.
 
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