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Author Topic:   Tools that bite
Binkster posted 12-23-2014 02:07 PM ET (US)   Profile for Binkster   Send Email to Binkster  
Being a career carpenter and home builder and a what seems like a lifetime of restoring and remodeling boats, I have extensive experience using most electric power tools. Its common knowledge that electric saws whether they are circular saws, table saws, chop saws, or even hand saws are responsible for the lost fingers or bad cuts for the careless operator. But saw safety is pretty much obvious and easy to learn. Yes, a planer and nail gun can hurt you if your not paying attention, and I smashed my right wrist with a framing hammer trying to dislodge something a few years ago. (This caused me to become a left handed bowler, fortunately I'm mostly ambidextrous.) But the one tool that I respect the most is a 1/2" plug in drill. They have a trendous amount of torque, and if the bit hangs up the drill itself will spin wildly. Thing is if you just release the trigger it will stop, but normal reaction makes you hang on tighter to the spinning drill. I normally keep my trigger finger at the very bottom of the trigger, so my finger will fall off the trigger if it hangs up. Also hold on tightly to the side handle and always use it.
Most 1/2" drill hangups happen when using hole saws or larger drill bits through steel such as a trailer frame. Years ago on a house we were building I saw a young electrician cutting a hole in a piece of plywood over his head, using such a drill with about a 5" hole saw bit. Well the bit hung up, the drill spun aroung and took out most of his front teeth.
A couple of weeks ago I got a bit careless. I was drilling a hole through the mahogany dash my 15 footer using a 2 1/2" hole saw. I guess I wasn't paying alot of attentiom, and although I was holding the saw with two hands the side handle wasn't tightend down well, the bit hung up as I was almost through the dash. The cord wrapped around my left hand taking a good size piece of skin off my knuckle and thumb. Really no big deal, but that evening was my league bowling night, and I lost that night and the next league night a week later. Can't get your thumb in the ball with a bandage on it.

Be careful with those 1/2' drills.


dfmcintyre posted 12-23-2014 04:11 PM ET (US)     Profile for dfmcintyre  Send Email to dfmcintyre     
I've subscribed to Fine Homebuilding ever since they started publishing. For years they had some sort of user submitted article on the last page. Here's one of them (a great one was titled the "Wand of Death, about a power washer experience. This is not it...):

Guy was given a spade handled drill (torque) and was told to drill into the overhead beam and the boss would pass down the wire for the fan they were to hang.

Shorter guy....standing on, you guessed it tippy toes on the top (the one your NOT supposed to stand on) of the step ladder.

Bit grabbed, knocking him off the ladder and spun up to about 30rpm until the extension cord wound around him and unplugged. At the point the boss came down.

I remember two points; don't use a longer extension cord than needed, and you achieve nirvana at 20rpm.

Glad you were not badly injured.

Regards - Don

ConB posted 12-23-2014 07:43 PM ET (US)     Profile for ConB  Send Email to ConB     
And if you are left handed, look out for those buttons that lock the switch in the on position on those big drill motors. You will be running to unplug the thing sooner or later.


contender posted 12-23-2014 08:32 PM ET (US)     Profile for contender  Send Email to contender     
I have a saying: If you grew up without a broken bone, stitches, and at least one trip to the hospital, you did not grow up...
fno posted 12-23-2014 10:47 PM ET (US)     Profile for fno  Send Email to fno     
Try nailing your hand to a 2 x 4 with a nail gun. With nobody around to help. Fortunately for stupid me I had a hammer and knocked the board out and extracted my hand from the nail. Many of us are old and wise and don't make stupid mistakes like the youngsters among us. The trouble is we got away with so much before we are complacent to a degree until something like Rich describes happening to him. So we need to take our time, be careful and carry a cell phone to call 911 when we screw up. Help, I've fallen and I can't get up is becoming something to think about after the big 50-60. Best of luck with the bowling,Rich and a happy holiday to all. From past experience, do not mix Makers Mark and fireworks on New Years eve,don't take in feral cats and make soup and drink scotch on Christmas night,and definitely don't go to a bar in upper Michigan with a Moosehead on the wall and drink all the taps from left to right(left a 2" scar across my forehead)

Merry Christmas,and all the other holiday wishes to all here on the forum, and keep it safe.

deepwater posted 12-26-2014 04:19 PM ET (US)     Profile for deepwater  Send Email to deepwater     
As with all of you my scars bare witness to many laps in concentration,,I never nailed myself (yet) to something however I was standing up 2x4s as nailers for a friend and as we got our rhythm going my grip around the board was slower than the guy with the nailgun,,Several taps did draw it tight and than the wonderbar was found and I was freeded ,,once he picked himself up and dried his tears
wezie posted 12-27-2014 10:16 AM ET (US)     Profile for wezie    
The few remaining metal case electric tools we may have.retire them frim use. If kept, remove cord.

When they short to the case they will bite you. As they get older, "when" gets nearer!
Lost a friend that way. He became a better ground than the wire.

Old Kirby vaccums are known for this short to the case. Vibration over years wears off the wire insulation. Nothing happens until the case gets in touch with a grounded surface; maybe you at some point.

Good Luck out there.

fno posted 12-27-2014 06:24 PM ET (US)     Profile for fno  Send Email to fno     
I would further suggest that the old cord on those old metal tools be replaced with a new cordset and continue to use them. They are ten times the tool that most stores offer these days. Think metal gears, actual bearings and a Jacobs chuck on a Black and Decker drill. I have to admit to liking my cordless tools (drills, hammer drill, impact drivers) way more than the same corded and or pneumatic tools.
Powergroove803 posted 12-30-2014 11:12 AM ET (US)     Profile for Powergroove803  Send Email to Powergroove803     
My years as an ER nurse I saw more injuries from skil saws and nail guns than any other tools, although my father lost the tips of 2 fingers in a jointer.
I am building a 16 x 24 workshop currently and bought my first nailgun. I still remember every patient who I helped remove nails from in the ER, so I try to be careful, but I did have a nail go through a 2 by and ricochet off a wall about 20 ft from me and then come back past my head. It happened so fast I heard what happened but never saw the nail until it hit the ground near me. I hate toe nailing now...

I am 48 and broke my first bone this past the skateboard park with the kids.

jimp posted 12-30-2014 12:36 PM ET (US)     Profile for jimp  Send Email to jimp     
Directly related to “tools that bite” is safety in what we do every day.

Back in the early ‘90s I was the CO of a U.S. Coast Guard cutter. Being the CO meant you were responsible for everything aboard the unit. That included safety. Accidents happen, but I never wanted to have an “avoidable” accident.

Of great help to me was Rear Admiral Andrew A. (Guido) Granuzzo, USN, CO of the Naval Safety Center in Norfolk, VA. He sent out periodic safety messages affectionately known as “Guido Grams”. Who reads safety messages? Who remembers safety messages? Well, everybody read Guido Grams because Admiral Granuzzo made them fun and interesting. Nothing warms the heart of a CO more than to find a bunch of non-rates or petty officers discussing the latest safety bulletins.

How did he do it? He poked “fun” at the accidents. Some folks were offended by this, but the results justified it:
1. Hear about the guy working on his roof in the back of the house? Safety said he needed a safety line. So, since there were no trees in the front yard he tied off to the bumper of the car. Wife came out and went to the store. You can figure the rest.
2. The guy taking a nap on the living room couch on a Sunday? Pretty safe. Or so he thought until his wife caught the bacon grease on fire in the kitchen and ran through the living room to throw the pan outside and tripped. You can figure the rest.

As Commander of the Naval Safety Center, he introduced the principles of risk management to naval operations. During his tenure, accidents and fatalities, on and off duty, was dramatically reduced and the lowest accident rate in naval aviation history was achieved.

Since the early ‘90s, every time I use a ladder, I think about Guido first. After the bacon story, I briefed my wife and kids on the easiest way to put out a grease fire on the stove – cover it. Safety is not easy, you have to work on it.

P.S. A neighboring CG cutter crew sent a letter to the Naval Safety Center requesting an 8x10 photo of Admiral Granuzzo. They promptly received an autographed photo “To the Crew of the CGC _____, Best wishes (or something to that effect) signed Admiral “Guido” Granuzzo”. He got people relating to safety.

lizard posted 12-31-2014 01:10 AM ET (US)     Profile for lizard  Send Email to lizard     
I worked in the ER for years. I can't count the number of times medics brought someone in, who had a ziplock bag, on ice, with their fingers in it. What stood out to me, EVERY TIME, was how calm and non-plussed they were. They lost them with saws, meat grinders, you name it.

A surgeon that I worked with, was a microvascular surgeon, meaning he was brought in on for re-attachments. He was also an amateur woodworker. Well, he cut across 4 fingers on his non-dominant hand and cut them off. He kept some semblance of fingers but lost all of his fine finger movement. He still cuts on people but isn't a microvascular surgeon anymore.

I am an amateur woodworker and my most respected tool is the router. The speeds at which it turns are FAST and if they are hand-held, watch out for knots. Anytime a high speed instrument gets bound, suddenly, in wood, hang on or LET GO.

Glad to hear that you kept your digits.

RevengeFamily posted 12-31-2014 08:24 AM ET (US)     Profile for RevengeFamily  Send Email to RevengeFamily     
I have made my living by using power tools for the past 30 years. I've had nails whizz by my head, and more frightening, whizz by my eyes from a guy working 20'away...

Had a friend give me his old metal framed 8" circular saw. It was a beautiful tool and cut wood like a demon. One very cold day, I was working with it outdoors. After cutting a birds mouth on a rafter, I placed the saw on the ground while the blade was coasting to a stop... Unknown to me, the oil on the blade guard had gotten so thick from the cold that the guard did not return to cover the blade... driven by the unguarded blade, the saw spun around and ran over the top of my right boot... the blade left a mark directly over the top of all five toes... It was a wake up call for me... Every morning when I laced up those boots, I was reminded about job site safety... Now when I buy new boots, with my utility knife, I score the top of my right boot... It reminds me of what might have been... A few years later, while holding the same saw in my right hand, I made a mistake and stabilized myself with my left hand against a 3" copper vent pipe... I heard my job site radio (which was set to an AM station)crackle with static... I was not shocked at all, but it was another wake up call for me and my crew... An hour later at lunch, with sadness, I removed the blade, cut the power cord off and placed the old girl into the dumpster.

I have been blessed, still have all my fingers and toes... Every day I'm on a job, I think of that saw... (and my buddy who has since passed away)

Be safe,

Binkster posted 12-31-2014 01:16 PM ET (US)     Profile for Binkster  Send Email to Binkster     
It's a good thing metal framed tools are long gone. They were the norm back in the '60s, and '70s. I was working as a supt. for a builder, and one day in the late afternoon I got a call from the sheriff's office that a worker had an accident on a home we were building. He was found by the new owners who stopped by to check on their house. So I drove out there to check. Well it seems the builders handyman was drilling holes in the concrete front porch to mount a railing. He was using an all metal electric drill. He had previously cut of the ground post from the plug. It had rained a while ago and the concrete was still abit wet. He had drilled 1 and 1/2 holes when he was electrocuted. He was alone at the time and the homeowners found his body.
As far as CG Admiral Guido's silly safety grams, there is more to safety than being careful in the service. Sometimes, non coms will instruct "nonrates" to do jobs that they are not trained for and they have no idea what they are doing. Back in 1960 I was fresh out of CG boot camp. I was a member of the CG Reserves, and was assigned to a CG cutter for the remaining 3 1/2 months of my 6 months active duty. I was FA (fireman apprentice) and worked as a boilertender.(basically a plumber), the ship was going into drydock for overhaul at the CG Yard in Baltimore, for 6 weeks. Myself and another Reserve FA worked hard, basically we removed valves, some with "comealongs" set them up on deck, and the Yard crew rebuilt them and we reinstalled them. We even got 72 hour passes every weekend. Things were going well for us. The day before the ship was to be refloated I was told to climb down a ladder that was in a 'void' below some unused sleepong quarters near the fantail. I was told to close a valve that led through the hull. The ship as an old WWII Seapane Tender and had many of these 'voids' that were originally fuel tanks. So I find my way back to these unused sleeping quarters. I find that they were recently spray painted with oil base enamel paint. Everything was painted, bulkheads, lockers, overheads, even the metal bunks. The paint was still tacky, and very very thick. Runs were everywhere. There was an open hatch in the deck that led to the 'void'. As I started down the ladder I noticed the paint fumes were getting worse. The paint fumes, being heavier than air, disperced the air. The fumes burned my eyes, I couldn't see or breath. I climbed back out, went and got a pair of goggles, and this time took a deep breath and held it and made a second try, but still failed to get the valve closed. It was about 12 feet down at the bottom of the ladder. So then I find the Engineering Officer, a Second Lt., told him of my problem, and he tells the 2nd class Boilertender to help me. He says , no problem, and climbs down the ladder and closes the valve.
He gets almost back to the top, starts to gag and choke, and begins to loose his balance on the ladder. Good thing he was a small guy, I grabbed him under the arms and pulled him out of the void. Now everyone is pissed, the Engineering Officer chewed out the Chief Petty Officer and he in turn did the same down the line to the Seaman who had no training at all in spray painting. The launch of the ship was delayed for a week, while fresh air was pumped into the void and the painted area to get rid of the fumes. The Chief Boilertender thought that if anyone lit a cigarette in that area it would have blown the fantail off the ship.


GlennO posted 12-31-2014 01:21 PM ET (US)     Profile for GlennO    
I'd have to agree about the "old" tools and new cord sets. I recently uncovered an all metal Porter Cable 6" handsaw, complete with the metal box it came with, in my deceased father-in-law's garage. A little effort cleaning it up, and a new cord brought it back to full glory. Original bill of sale, $39, included. This little saw puts my modern B&D and Skilsaw models to shame!! Manual says 1954!!


wezie posted 01-02-2015 12:32 PM ET (US)     Profile for wezie    
Yes the old tools might have been tougher.
Yes, they may still work.
Yes it is difficult to throw them away or retire them.
Yes, replacing the cord might help; a little. Many are still not grounded.


The wires that short are those inside. Age and vibration wear the insulation from the wires and they short to the metal case. Now you are the better ground and well, ZAP.
If you are lucky, you learn, if not, your family learns!

Binkster has more experience, but I have seen the loses, both in work and with friends. It was hard to throw away my grandfathers electric tools, and a few of mine. I did it to protect family and me, and friends that might grab one.

Please stop encouraging the use of these old electric tools. If necessary, sit down and imagine one of your friends dead from one and how that loss never goes away. And how easily it could have been prevented.

Good Luck out there!

knothead posted 01-07-2015 12:39 PM ET (US)     Profile for knothead  Send Email to knothead     

After busting many knuckles and just generally getting beat up by a regular 1/2" drill, I bought a DeWalt Timberwolf and a 1/2" Porter Cable angle drill. I found that both are much easier to drill straight holes through thick pieces of wood due to the control you have over the drill. Also the Timberwolf has a clutch feature which combined with the right angle eliminates the loss of control that you talk about.


wezie posted 01-12-2015 10:55 AM ET (US)     Profile for wezie    
Thanks Knothead for the tip on the new tools. Those are the comments that hopefully make us think.

Personally, I will add that the clutches must be set, or you can still tear your arm off.

Nail guns will shoot through the panel if the nail misses the support. Concrete forms - fences-

There must be more stories,
Riding Mowers
Extension cords and trimmers and/or water
Ladders and chain saws.

pete r posted 01-17-2015 04:25 AM ET (US)     Profile for pete r  Send Email to pete r     
Hey guys,

If your over 50, stay off those ladders.
I have had 2 mates who have passed away after having a fall and wacking their heads on the way down.

The most dangerous tool when I started in the building industry were those Ramset guns used a shot to shoot the timber frame or steel base plate to the concrete. It just seem there were many casualties from careless operators.

The tool I found handy for house renovations were those big angle grinders. Great for cutting openings in brickwork or concrete. I use to take the guard off so I could achieve a deeper cut.
Oh yeah, we use to use it when it was rain too because it keep the dust down.

I was always very respectful of the machine when ever at the top run of a ladder.

Nowdays in Australia, large angle grinders are ban from commercial building sites and we see alot of advertising warning older gentlemen to avoid ladders.

wezie posted 01-17-2015 09:23 AM ET (US)     Profile for wezie    
Peter, I met a gentleman who had just spent 3 years re building a 26 ft fiberglass sailboat.
A moment he remembered in the final stages was plugging in a grinder without checking the switch. It was on and located in the cockpit.
No injuries but two weeks worth of damage.

Jerry Townsend posted 01-17-2015 09:47 PM ET (US)     Profile for Jerry Townsend  Send Email to Jerry Townsend     
Just a test - as the last submittles did not go through. --- Jerry/Idaho
pete r posted 01-18-2015 05:06 AM ET (US)     Profile for pete r  Send Email to pete r     
Oh shit, I Can really visualise that grinder going nuts in the bottom of that boat...

It reminds me of an unforgetable incident when I was a 5 yo. kid. My dad had just bought some new power tools (he worked as a panel beater then and the tools were of industrial standard). This particular night his new tools were proudly layed out on our new dining room table.

I sort of remember a Skil circular saw, jig and circular sander. Well guess what, I decided to test the sander out as I had seen my dad do earlier.

Well no guesses to what happen next.... Yes the thing took off and ofcourse I just froze and Mum did nothing but scream as we watched the sander dance and cartwheel across our dining table. Fortunately Dad was not too far away and was able to race in a switch it off.

17 bodega posted 01-24-2015 04:16 AM ET (US)     Profile for 17 bodega  Send Email to 17 bodega     
good discussion.

I work in a hospital and see dismembered digits and stubs from saw accidents often. I still have an aluminum cased SKIL worm drive saw. I haven't used it in years, and all my other tools are recently made plastic tools with the clutch features.

I am 49 and as a registered nurse, I am leary about ladders too. I need a bailout plan that will prevent my death as a result of being up on the ladder. The older we get, the more deadly a simple fall can be...


fno posted 01-24-2015 09:30 AM ET (US)     Profile for fno  Send Email to fno     
So now we at 50 and above need to avoid ladders, old tools, poorly maintained tools, trick sex with 25 year olds, Pate gas tanks, and trailer tires older than 2 years. That's on top of all the lifestyle changes demanded by our doctors and cardiologists!(no/low sodium, less alcohol, exercise, lose weight)
gpj posted 01-24-2015 09:15 PM ET (US)     Profile for gpj  Send Email to gpj     
My injury tool of choice seems to be utility/drywall knives. Couple of years ago I was whittling a piece of hardwood (NOT what this tool was designed to do). I was using my left hand to hold the wood. The knife hung up and then slipped, cutting a two inch gash in my palm. I could see down to the tendons, which fortunately were not severed. Lots of blood, 12 stitches, but no permanent damage other than the scar.

As he was stitching, the emergency room physician regaled me with stories of an African big game hunting trip he had just completed. It somehow seemed... ironic!

PeteB88 posted 01-25-2015 02:39 PM ET (US)     Profile for PeteB88  Send Email to PeteB88     
Trick sex, you mean Sport Fishin?
PeteB88 posted 01-25-2015 02:39 PM ET (US)     Profile for PeteB88  Send Email to PeteB88     
Trick sex, you mean Sport Fishin?
Swellmonster posted 02-03-2015 10:13 PM ET (US)     Profile for Swellmonster  Send Email to Swellmonster     

So now we at 50 and above need to avoid ladders, old tools, poorly maintained tools, trick sex with 25 year olds,
Makes me want to take care and maintain my 50 plus tool so i can have 2 25 y/0 climb the ladder to my tuna tower😍

17 bodega posted 02-04-2015 01:57 AM ET (US)     Profile for 17 bodega  Send Email to 17 bodega     
One rule I've heard MD's use about sex... if you can walk or trot up a flight of stairs you are good for sex.

Now... a 25 year old or an 80 year old should not matter...but I know where you guys are going with that..

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