Safety Week: Be Careful About Your Router


Originally Posted June 12, 2011:


A few weeks ago for safety week I wrote about a friend of mine who lost two (2) fingers to his table saw. In that post I emphasized that you must respect your tools.

Listen to that advice: Respect Your Tools. By that I mean pay attention; know how they work, where they are & what they're doing.

It is important you do as I say, not as I do. For if you do as I do, then you'll be an idiot too.
My Bird's Mouth Jig
You see, last Sunday I wasn't paying attention,I wasn’t heeding my router any respect. I was routing some bird's mouths for some window trim. Completing each joint took many back & forth passes with the router. As I finished the last pass, I wasn't paying attention. My right arm maintained the fluid back and forth motion as the router came off the jig. I’m not sure what my left hand was doing, but the next thing I can remember is pulling my left hand away, realizing that I had just made contact between my palm and the 1” x ¾” pattern bit which was fully extended beneath the router base.
Thankfully a trip to the ER revealed nothing more serious than a laceration about an inch long just below where my index finger connects to the palm. Eight (8) stitches later I got back home and finished the trim piece I was making.

My Trusty Old Porter-Cable 6912 D-Handle.
Why’d I make out so well? Just dumb luck. The router I was using was a trigger activated D-handled 1-1/4 HP Porter-Cable, actually the first power tool I ever owned. Thankfully, though the bit was still spinning when the accident occurred, I had already released the trigger, turning the machine off and leaving no power behind the rotation.

Will you be as luckly? We can only hope so. Better yet, Respect Your Tools. Don’t let your mind wander off and your router wander into your hand in the first place.

Have you been an idiot too? Comment here or use the hash tag #WWSW (WoodWorkers Safety Week) on twitter.

Update: Thankfully, since I first wrote this my hand has healed fine. Nothing more than a small scar. I hope any accident you have ends up just as well.