The old shop saying goes, “Work safely, and at the end of the day, count to 10.” I like to think that I’m always safety minded in the shop, but there have been many instances where I am reminded I need to be more so. Yesterday was one of those days. During one of my live streams on Twitch, I disregarded one of the first rules of workshop safety and jabbed a razor-sharp 1-inch chisel into the side of my finger. Immediately it was fairly obvious what I was doing wrong.
Just because you’re not working with power tools doesn’t mean you can slack off on keeping out of harm’s way. In this example I was popping the router template off of the workpiece. It was affixed with double-stick tape. I was using a chisel that hadn’t made a cut since I had sharpened it the day before. That template popped, and that chisel’s forward movement didn’t stop until the edge hit bone.
The key here is to always, always, keep your body (or anything else you don’t want cut) out of the forward path of a cutting edge. At left, I should have put the workpiece in the vise and used both hands to control the chisel. Those couple of seconds would have saved my hand.
The See-Through Band-Aid
If and when you get a cut, what’s a good way to take care of it? In my case, I was bleeding through my band-aid pretty quickly, and stopped the stream a few minutes early so I wouldn’t stain the piece. Luckily, the answer is something we likely already have in the shop: super glue.
Dr. Andrew Weil has a good article about the use of super glue to close cuts. He discusses the possible trouble you may have as well. In my case the chisel and cut were clean and I used alcohol wipes to further clean it, so I figured risk of infection was low. All that was needed was to squeeze the cut closed with my thumb, drip a line of glue onto the seam of the cut, and wait a few minutes for it to solidify. Easy as that, and it can even get wet almost immediately.
One important tip is to use a new tube of glue- super glue is only good for about 1 month after you first open it. Buy it in multi-packs with small tubes, and buy generic. It’s the same stuff if it comes from a drugstore brand or a name brand for 5 times the price.
There you have it. I sprung a leak because I wasn’t thinking clearly, and was lucky I didn’t do more damage. Heed those warnings that might be popping up in your head, and at the end of the day count to 10.