I got a kick out of Mona Oster’s letter to the editor entitled “Saw Safety Ignored” (April PW #175). Thanks for the chuckle, Mona. Mona referenced this shot:
Mona reminds us of yet another important advantage to working wood with hand tools; You’re never going to cut your finger off with one of your hand saws. I appreciated the good natured way she made this point.
While I’m happy to laugh along (and I’ve heard and made these sorts of jokes before), I think it’s important not to underestimate your hand tools’ ability to hurt you. Tools, ANY tools and carelessness simply do not mix well.
Folks often focus on chisel safety and ignore their hand saws. Hand saws are hardened steel with (if you’re lucky) very sharp teeth. Their typical good nature can create a false sense of safety. I was recently ripping a piece of green lumber. It was wet and irregularly shaped and I was supporting it on a single saw horse with my foot upon it. I was using a very coarse rip saw. You know the rest, the work piece slipped and pulled the saw into my leg, putting a runner into one of my favorite stockings.
So let this be a lesson to all of you. Tragedies like this can happen if you aren’t careful with your hand tools.
P.S. I’m adding to Mona’s sentiments here, but this really is a real issue. I could easily cut a finger to the bone with one of my chisels. This could be just as debilitating as loosing a finger or hitting it with a chop saw. Be careful with your tools everybody. We’re in this for the long haul. I’ve never met someone who regretting wearing eye protection. You may not need the bullet proof lenses for normal work. But if you are whacking something with a mallet, hammer, or hatchet, protect yourself.
P.P.S. The story about ripping my stocking is true, of course. No one can make up stuff this bizzarre. As it turns out, I’m wearing those very same stockings in the photo Mona referred to and the tear can be seen. Of course the stocking was on the other leg when I tore it.