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Scarred for life

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Woodworking has been in my blood for years. And, as the saying goes, I’ve got the scars to prove it.

Do you keep Band-Aids in the shop? If not, then you’ve undoubtedly got some nearby. The reason is that we’re constantly getting cut, scraped, scratched and otherwise dinged up when woodworking. For whatever reason, probably something to do with all that genetics stuff, I scar very easily. So even with the exception of one major woodworking accident* and a pair of surgeries unrelated to woodworking, I still have dozens of scars on my hands and arms.

In just about all cases, the cut or scratch that caused these scars was incredibly minor, but healed with resultant scars far worse than the actual cause. Oddly, I remember most of them. I’ve got a 3-1/2" scar on the inside of my left arm from reaching into a lumber rack and scraping my arm on the corner of a board. (This scar exactly mirrors one from nonwoodworking surgery on the inside of my right arm a few years ago.) A scar a bit further down the same arm was from a mere scratch gotten while carrying a completed cabinet out of the shop. A scar between knuckles on my right hand was from when a screwdriver slipped and I banged my hand.

A casual observer noticing my arms probably thinks that I’m either a junkie or extremely clumsy. But having some hard-won scars on you arms is manly, right? Not as manly as a James Bond villain scar crossing down you face, maybe, but still manly.

But all these scars were earned while working, doing what I love doing. And except for that one accident and the two surgeries, every one of them is minor. As a badge of what I do, I’m fine with that.

Still, I suppose I could be more careful.


* That accident? I was 19, working on a construction crew building apartments. We were unloading roofing trusses, which are (or were then) bound with straps of spring steel. One of those straps snapped, and whipped out and cut my wrist. I was just standing there when it happened, doing nothing wrong, and it was pure bad luck. A couple inches one way and it would have hit my heavy jeans instead, a couple inches the other and it would have missed entirely. Had to have several hours of surgery to reconnect all the tendons to my thumb. Yuck. On the plus side, once all the stitches and wires came out, I discovered that my handwriting had completely changed, and was now legible.


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