Unkind cuts

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I hope the way I work isn’t inherently dangerous, because for some reason I manage to cut myself constantly.

And it’s not just in the shop, either. I went out to buy my annual pair of new tan jeans (to perpetuate the illusion that they never wear out) and managed to cut myself. Buying pants! The pair I wanted was about four down in the stack of Levi’s I was looking at, so I slipped my hand in to lift the folded pants off the ones I wanted and inadvertently slid a finger up the entire length of the back-pocket tag, slicing it. Bled like a stuck pig.

I still have a scraped knuckle I got reaching into a lumber rack a week ago. Balancing my checkbook yesterday, I managed to snag the staple in the check register on the back of my hand when brushing away the eraser crumbs of my errant math.

I wear gloves a lot when working outside. I wouldn’t dream of handling a hedge trimmer without leather gloves, and chores like digging, breaking or carrying concrete, and clearing brush or pruning tree limbs demand hand protection. Accordingly, I get few cuts when working outside. Inside, it’s another story.

I’ve mentioned before about my propensity to cut myself, so this isn’t really a new topic. But my recently concluded cabinet project brought it all to the front of my mind again. My hands and fingers have seven or eight healing scabs right now, and there are two more on my right arm. Nothing serious – they never are – just smallish scrapes, cuts, dings and dents.

Yeah, I could start wearing gloves in the shop, but wearing gloves with most indoor woodworking machinery is just asking for trouble – gloves on the lathe can easily snag and the lack of tactile sensation leads to lack of full control when feeding stock on various machines. The danger aspect aside, handling small hardware is impossible. And then there’s the sheer joy of touching what you’re making, one of the most important aspects of woodworking; for me anyway. Short of doing something requiring a transfusion, I think I’ll keep woodworking mostly barehanded.

The best option for me, then, is to keep my supply of Band-Aids fully stocked.

Till next time,

A.J.

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