The end of a long story that all started with a second of poor judgement.

Well most of my readers will know that way back in October 2011, while working on making a run of puzzles, I had a small accident, and nearly took the end of my thumb off. (Ok, so it wasn’t that small, and I was damn lucky).

Well today saw the last of the pins that have been holding the bones together so that they can heal taken out, and I’m now down to just needing to get the strength back, and do lots of physio to get the muscles working again.

I think I’ve done pretty well, as even after the accident, I didn’t stop using the saw. I completed a run of STC’s Unhappy Childhoods and also a small table that Jen wanted me to make for her. So it’s been a busy few months and I’ve not been prevented from doing anything I wanted to.

I wanted to share this with all of you, as I know there are a few people out there who are starting to look at making puzzles having read my experiences so let me share a few words of wisdom with you. No matter how quick you think you are, if something goes wrong, it will happen far too quickly for you to react. Remember when that blade is spinning, if it can cut wood, it will cut you ten times more easily. Don’t do the same thing as I did and try to clear the offcut from the side of the blade while the blade is spinning, and certainly don’t try to do it with your hand. Preferably, leave it alone, it’s not doing any harm there, but if you must clear it, turn the saw off, and then move it. It might seem like it would take longer, but trust me, it will be much faster than the trip to the ER, and several months of healing! And one last thing, always use a push stick, to keep your hands away from that blade.

That said, my thumb is pretty much healed, and I’ll be back to making puzzles again soon, as well as getting back on my motorbike, which I’ve sadly missed all this time.

So is this the end of the broken thumb. Well as it happens, no. After my injury, I had a lot of time to think and design, so I have a very special puzzle that I’ll be making that is somewhat tied to the accident. I’ll be sure to keep you all up to date as work progresses on that!

8 thoughts on “The end of a long story that all started with a second of poor judgement.

  1. Kevin

    Hi Neil,

    I have seen many many saw injuries as a consultant anaesthetist in a major UK teaching hospital and you really have been very lucky – many lose fingers/thumbs and end up handicapped for the rest of their lives. Well done to you for making such a good recovery! Now for heaven’s sake be careful on that motorbike! I also do a trauma list and see a lot of failed motorcyclists!

    Yours cheerily,

  2. Allard Walker

    Excellent news Neil … glad to hear you’ve got rid of the last of your metalwork and that things have healed nicely. [and well done for getting back on the horse while all that was going on! Respect.]


  3. George Bell

    Great to hear that you hand is almost back to normal. I broke my wrist some years ago and ended up having it partially fused, I was amazed at how many bones are in the hand and how complex it is, far more complex than a table saw! Keep safe with that saw and on your motorcycle.

  4. Greg Garriss

    Good to hear that you are almost fully mended. I have a scar on one finger to remind me that power tools are so much faster and less forgiving than we are. It’s a good post-it for when I’m tired and should not be in the shop.

  5. Erhan Cubukcuoglu

    It’s very good to hear that your thumb is healing. I am waiting to see your new projects.


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