Saw It Coming…!


Looking at a post on Trainee Paramedics site reminded me of a job that I attended some time ago. It was one of life’s mishaps that could befall any one of us…even the expert!

It was the first day for the twenty or so kids in the woodwork shop at the local junior high school. As with any activity involving sharp things, pointy things, cutty things and machinery things safety was of paramount importance.

To this end the woodwork teacher embarked on a series of health & safety lectures to instill in his young students the importance of concentration and adherence to strict procedures.

After covering the basics of tool care and displaying the sharpness of finely honed chisels he moved onto the machinery that can be found in any woodwork class in any school. Firstly the importance of using the correct tool/machine for the job was stressed.

Secondly the all important bright red safety stop buttons were pointed out. Thirdly he moved to the circular saw machine to demonstrate a simple example of good working practice. With the class gathered around watching patiently to see the master at work passing on his years of experience, he started up the machine.

With a low humming the great vertical disc of serrated steel whirred away waiting to slice through pieces of wood like a hot knife through butter. Placing a long strip of wood on the machine the woodwork teacher pushed towards the spinning teeth of the disc. The low humming was replaced by a high pitched grinding as the teeth bit into the wood.

As the piece of wood got towards the end the teacher used another block of wood to push it all the way through. Thus not risking his own fingers becoming a dessert for the ever hungry saw. This sequence was repeated several times to show the class the safe way to do it.

Then, in a momentary flash of inspiration to reinforce the learning, he went on to show them how not to do it. And this is where after teaching thousands of kids over many decades the craft of woodworking he had a momentary loss of concentration.

Dispensing with the block of wood he proceeded to push another plank towards the saw. As the saws teeth chewed up the plank he gingerly and deftly moved his fingers along the ever decreasing wood. Turning to his young charges, still pushing the plank through, he announced “I dont want anyone doing this!”

And with that the final few inches of plank sailed through the circular saws teeth…closely followed by his fingers! Blood spattered across the machine and he withdrew his hand looking at where the ends of his four fingers used to be!

The kids in his class were mightily impressed and thought initially that he had used some special effects props to demonstrate this lesson. Their opinion soon changed quickly. As quickly as the the colour of the teachers skin changed to a very pale white and beads of sweat ran down his forehead.

When I arrived on scene I retrieved his fingers while my crewmate dressed his hand. Putting the four digits in a bag and placing in a small container of ice, we shot off to the hospital putting in a pre-alert call. Unfortunately the fingers were too badly damaged to be reattached.



One good thing came out of this…the kids in that class will never mess with a circular saw  


26 Responses to Saw It Coming…!

  1. carmelo says:

    Excellent! Love the photo!

  2. uphilldowndale says:

    You certainly now how to pace a story! LOL, I knew what was coming but it still made me jump at the end! But that may have been the graphics!
    Mr Uphilldowndale and I were admiring a very impressive display of chainsaws at our local agricultural show, the salesman who was delivering the sales patter had, we noticed only three fingers on one hand.
    I shall point Mr UHDD in the direction of this post and ask him to get on line and upgrade the Kevlar!

  3. rogue gunner says:

    My God talk about learning a lesson you will never forget. As a matter oif interest does it have to be an extremly clean cut to allow them to be put back on?

  4. Emma says:

    Urghhhhh is all I can say to that one……lesson learnt though no doubt..xx

  5. ecparamedic says:

    He won’t do that again…………

  6. traineeparamedic says:

    Thanks for the link! I think your’s was a little more gruesome than the one I had, he at least still had his fingers!

  7. bao chi says:

    Thanks mate. I have tonight returned from a bit of a grueller in far away places with strange sounding names. I was actually enjoying a couple of saveloys as I caught up with my RSS feeds. The labrador now knows nothing about first aid, but a lot about devouring saveloys.


  8. uphilldowndale says:

    This is Mr Uphilldowndale who’s chemistry teacher demonstrated to the class, the technique for making gunpowder. He blew one of his fingers off when the gunpowder exploded unexpectedly. Off to the Lakes shortly for the Fairfield Horseshoe Fell Race – looks like it could be a bit wet and breezy.

  9. kingmagic says:

    Ahh the Fairfield Horseshoe…did that one in 99. And I promised myself never to be so stupid as to not train for such a race ever again.

    Just thinking about it is making my legs ache, my lungs fit to burst and my eyeballs bleed!

    Have a good one.

  10. uphilldowndale says:

    Apparently it was amazing (he was still buzzing after the long drive home)
    Brilliantly clear conditions, the running was magic, the decent technical and varied, but no nasty drops (he has vertigo.)
    I had an equally enchanting time in the garden; each to their own I say!

  11. ecparamedic says:

    What’s the route for the Fairfield?


  12. uphilldowndale says:

    watch your inbox , it will be arriving soon in full Technicolor

  13. ecparamedic says:

    Ta muchly

  14. Nick says:

    kingmagic, you spin a great tale! I knew what was coming up, but damn, it was still like being hit by a hammer!

    And yeah, hopefully he won’t try it again. Although he does have another hand’s worth of fingers…


  15. FunnySparky says:

    I did something very stupid with a Stanley knife…after lecturing my two kids not to touch them as they are very sharp! The end result needed two lots of surgery and the consultant said it was a very neat job!

  16. Urgh, I went to a similar job. Bloke cut his own finger off using a knife then snipping off the extra bits with scissors. Then he tried to blame it on being assaulted by kids.
    Absolutely bonkers!!! And I had to spend over an hour searching in the rain for his finger whilst we still thought it was an assault. We eventually found it under his sofa.

    He’d used jamie oliver’s cook book as a cutting block. Don’t know if he was following any specific recipe!!

  17. MB says:

    ow, ow, ow, ow, ow, ow, ow, ow, ow, ow, ow

  18. Lindsey says:

    Throw me your email addy real quick. I couldn’t find it from earlier.

    I got a question for you that I don’t want to ask here.

  19. uphilldowndale says:

    thethinblueline. Whatever the recipe, it sounds like he was going to serve it as a finger buffet.

    Lindsey, glad you asked that question, I couldn’t see an address either, it must be secret 🙂

  20. pcsouthwest says:

    I found myself laughing and squirming all at the same time. Not what he was expecting on hos way to work was it.

  21. Lindsey says:

    Where, oh where, is our kingmagic! Are you still out there? The blog addicts need you! 🙂 Hope everything is well.

  22. smartroad says:

    Hi! I was wondering if you would mind me using this for a lesson I have to teach my students and that is an unfortunately great story (and picture) to show them

  23. Kingmagic says:

    I dont mind at all. Thank you for wanting to use this. May I ask what lesson it is for and what context it will be used in?

  24. smartroad says:

    Thanks Kingmagic 🙂

    It is used in a carpentry lesson as a warning about the dangers that power tools have if you don’t treat them with respect and keep your mind on what you are doing. They all have to use power tools as part of their training and it is always good to recount true mishap stories then just saying “well this _could_ happen”. It adds an amount of reality to it and, hopefully, a healthy understanding that while power tools can make work a little easier, they can also do the opposite!

    I also use the story of my father who had his index finger crushed in an accident with a fork lift truck (removing the fork extensions at the time), but that doesn’t have the bearing that this does on the subject matter.

    Hope that you understand all that I have prattled on with there (not sure I do LOL)

  25. Kingmagic says:

    I understand fully.

    What made this story even more interesting was the fact that some weeks later I attended the same school….the same woodwork classroom….for exactly the same thing!

    Only this time it was only a couple of finger tips! (Only!!!)

    I think the Health & Safety had a field day.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: