Almost

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Pilots talk about a good landing as being any landing you can walk away from. That doesn’t quite correlate with woodworking, though, so let’s talk about the bad landings.

Have you ever almost become less of a woodworker? As in, almost walking away from the shop with less – physically speaking – than you went in with? I have. By that, I mean I’ve had some almost-accidents, and I’d like to hear about yours.

As an example of what I mean, I talked here several years ago about my first serious kickback incident. I did nothing wrong procedure-wise to cause it – it was just a case of some slight vibration nudging a small offcut just enough that it touched the blade and was slung in my direction like a missile. The piece hit my hand, giving me a slight cut and bruise, then bounced off the back wall. No serious injury but, and here’s the important part, it could have been. It was an almost-accident; a bad landing that I walked away from.

In this case I wasn’t at fault. However, I’ve had other “almosts” where I can point to something I did wrong, or at least something I did that directly led to what happened. Either way, I’ve been grateful any time an accident can be called an almost-accident. Beyond being grateful, in such instances I’ve learned something important that has made me a safer woodworker as a result.

Now, it’s your turn. What’s the worst, scariest, most terrifying “almost” accident you’ve ever had?

A.J.

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