I’m in the process of making floating shelves out of 2×6 pieces of lumber. The first step is to rip one of the rounded edges off so that the side against the wall will have a 90-degree edge. The remaining rounded edge faces out. I’ve made these before and I’ve been very happy with how they’ve turned out.
I should point out that I don’t have a guard on my table saw. When I bought it, it was missing the riving knife. The blade guard attaches to the riving knife. Since I was planning on building a table saw sled and to use it, I would need to remove the riving knife and the blade guard, it didn’t concern me.
That was mistake number one.
I cut the first piece of six-foot lumber. I had a pair of AirPods in my ears and a pair of hearing defenders on to drown out the noise so I could listen to the podcast I was listing to.
That was mistake number two.
I turned off the table saw and stepped to the back of it to retrieve the workpiece. As I was walking back to the front of the table saw, I reached to the side of the blade with my right hand to remove the wood I cut off.
That was mistake number three.
It turned out, I failed to turn off the table saw. The blade was still spinning. I found this fact out when it cut my right index, middle, and ring finger. Getting blood everywhere, I went into the kitchen to grab a towel. Once I got that that and put direct pressure in my bleeding fingers, I had to go back into the garage and turn the table saw off.
I then called my wife. She was still at work. I told her what happened and added that I needed to go to the hospital. She came home and we proceeded to Meritus Medical Center, Hagerstown’s premier hospital. It’s also our only hospital. It’s really good though.
It was the first time I’ve been to the ER that I walked into on my own. My other trips there were in the back of an ambulance. The first time I ended up staying for 10 days. The second time, I was released that same day.
As it turns out, when you go to the ER clutching a bloody towel because you were an idiot while using your table saw, they see you immediately.
Here’s what it looked like:
I ended up getting 18 stitches. I’m not even sure they are doing any good. The cuts are not clean. They are not cuts, they are grooves. The saw actually removed flesh. The stitches are not closing the two sides of the skin together. The grooves are still open.
This is what I get for being stupid with the table saw. I never should have been listening to a podcast while operating it. It could have been a lot worse. I could have not stopped taking piano lessons as a kid and could be on tour right now playing keyboard for a Duran Duran tribute band. Then again, if I were doing that, I would not have been making floating shelves in my garage.
The table saw is the Pitbull of woodworking
The table saw is potentially the most lethal tool in woodworking. Take it from me, if you do not give it the respect it deserves, you will eventually pay the price. I’m now learning to type with only my left hand and right thumb like an uncouth heathen. Although I am technically left-handed, I do almost everything other than writing or throwing with my right hand. I had to switch my computer’s mouse to left-handed mode. It is… awkward.
Here is a good tutorial for making floating shelves:
Unlike me, Glenn does not rip the wood to create a 90 degree back. In fact, he doesn’t use a table saw at all. If only he had published this video on Wednesday before I used my table saw.