Several folks have written to me regarding my last editorial where I confessed to exceedingly bad judgment and making a dangerous error while ripping narrow stock on the table saw. You can read those responses in our Feedback section. Some said I missed an opportunity to explain what I should have done to avoid the problem rather than what I did.
So here goes. First off, when the board started to twist away from the fence, I should have stopped pushing the stock forward and turned off the machine. End of story. Before that, I also should have made certain the push stick was at hand for the cut (it had fallen to the floor).
Let me add a couple of other observations. I was tired but also determined to get the job done. I was frustrated that the task was taking more time than I wanted it to take. I had other pressing tasks that needed to get done, but this one was standing in my way. And I think it was that mindset that allowed me to make the calculation (the wrong choice) that I could get my thumb in between the fence and the blade. That’s the long and short of it.
Here’s the lesson I learned from this mishap: Don’t work when you are frustrated to the point of not paying proper attention to what you are doing. I hope this may be helpful.
Rob Johnstone, Woodworker’s Journal
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