Friday, January 05, 2007

My New Nickname or Gravity Always Wins

I'm a very careful woodworker and I have all ten fingers to prove it. I get splinters regularly, I have gotten cuts from the edges of chisels, I've even sanded off skin (not recommended), but I have never had a major woodworking injury. I know how to use my tools, I think about how I'm going to accomplish the task at hand, and I stop working when I'm tired.

My workshop is cluttered (like much of my house). One of the home improvement projects on my list is organizing the shop - it'll happen one day soon, really it will. There are parts for numerous projects, bins of cutoffs, tool containers, and of course saw dust covering most surfaces. While this isn't the best way to work, I do make sure I clear off the space where I'm currently working. This frequently means that I make use of a work mate (small folding workbench) in addition to the workbench top. I sit on a counter height stool most of the time while working in my shop.

So Monday night I was working on the latest project - cutting dadoes with a router fitted with the plunge base using a homemade jig. The work piece and the jig were clamped to the work mate, which was sitting perpendicular to the work bench, and when not being used the router was placed on the work bench. After making a pass with the router I decided that the bottom of the dado wasn't even enough. So I turned to the bench picked up the router (plugged in but off) and turned 90 degrees to my left to position it on the jig. That's when gravity took over.

In turning I became unbalanced and tumbled off the stool toward the concrete floor (and the tool bags sitting on it). There wasn't time to catch my balance (my left foot was probably on the rung of the stool rather than on the floor. Because the router was in my left hand I didn't try to catch myself with my hand - which was for the best since that's a quick route to a broken wrist.

Amy heard the noise - the stool crashed to the floor shortly after I did - and came down to investigate, and helped me shut off lights, unplug the router. We left the sweatpants I had been wearing next to the washer. The sawdust they'd picked up while I was working had been supplemented by most of the sawdust from the floor - they looked like we'd dusted with them.

I ended up with a dime sized scrape on my elbow, an impressive bruise just above my elbow, and a very swollen knee which also has a couple of small cuts - I landed on it. The injuries are too gruesome for pictures! The good news is that the swelling is going down thanks to regular icing. The bad news is that the bruises have only just begun the inevitable journey through the spectrum. It's a really good thing that it's winter so I'm not tempted to wear shorts.

Amy overheard a couple of the guys at work talking about calling me Crash from now on (just what I need another nickname). The moral of the story - I need to organize the shop, including adding more rubber pads to the floor (I've got a few and they are very nice to stand on. While I don't plan to take any more dives I expect that they might have cushioned the impact a bit.); I need to pay more attention to my position when moving in the shop and remember _gravity always wins_. In the words of Beakman - "gravity - it's the law".

1 comment:

Shelley said...

No bruise pics?


(Glad you're mostly okay.)