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Shop Safety and Oops Repairs

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     Having had training in safety and first aid in College and the Army, I recently had an oops in my shop where I had to make use of that training on myself.  

     When cutting sheet metal, I was always cautious with handling the metal itself, but apparently not so much with handling the cutter.  Quite by accident, I have just recently discovered a new way to skin a cat.  (Or was that a new way to skin myself?)

    I found, much to my dismay, that the new cutter I recently acquired (That was touted as capable of cutting just about anything, especially those obnoxious plastic blister packs that everything sold seems to be enclosed in.) shown below was also quite adapt at cutting flesh! 


The blades are a tough alloy that is extremely sharp with a finely serrated edge that won’t slip while cutting.  They are spring loaded which makes them easy to handle. (Maybe a little too easy?)

    Well anyways, while carefully holding the sheet metal in my left hand and the cutter in my right, I was intently concentrating on following my marked cut line.  As I got close to the end of my cut, I seem to have lost track of exactly where my fingers on my left hand were.   You guessed it!!  They were lined up with the cut as I apparently was trying to grip both the sheet and the cut off.  While I was successful in holding both, I suddenly realized that the tip of the cutter cut more than just the metal. 

    Don’t ask how I did it, but I had managed to cleanly cut a good sized chunk of skin lengthwise off of the inside of my middle finger.  Somehow, apparently with surgical precision, I cut completely through the skin without damaging the muscles or tendons.  Surprisingly enough, there was not much pain and very little bleeding. So at first I really didn’t think that it was too bad until I held up my hand and the flap of skin fell open.  

    Having a first aid kit in the shop really paid off though as I was able to take care of it quickly.  Once I cleaned it out with water and hydrogen peroxide, I managed to roll the flap closed and tacked back in place with a few dabs of CA adhesive to hopefully save the skin.  Covering the wound with an antibacterial coated band aid made specifically for finger injuries that came in the kit, all seems well. (see below) Since I had recently gotten a tetanus booster, I will just watch it closely for a while.


    As they say, figure out what went wrong, and try not to repeat the same mistake again.  Although I did learn that thanks to some foresight on my part by having a first aid kit so handy to allow some quick repairs, and keeping my tetanus shots up to date I saved myself a trip to the clinic.

     Hopefully the skin will reattach itself in place as that many layers of skin take quite a long time to grow back and spare myself the pain of having raw tissue exposed until it does.  I once had my big toe nail torn off that exposed the raw tissue below that issued me a painfully clear warning to not do that again any time soon!

    So take heed of my warning here and make sure that you keep a first aid kit handy and know a little bit about first aid so you know just what to do with it!!

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I think you were just looking for a way  that you could keep your middle finger extended and not be held responsible for it Dave!:D


It's funny, (possibly not the best word) how every time we do these stupid kinds of self damaging activities we keep saying that we will use the scar as a reminder not to do it again, yet, at least in my case, always seem to sooner or later find another, or in some cases the same, way to inflict yet another wound or injury on ones self.


Hope you heal soon and don't have to wave that stiff middle finger around too long.:unsure:  

Edited by lmagna
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CA is better than sutures, it completely closes the wound and prevents infection from all the nasties running around (if it was clean to begin with).


A long time ago we carried it on our rescue vehicle for our volunteer fire department saved a lot of trips to a clinic.


But remember "fool me once shame on you-fool me twice shame on me" lets not cut any more fingers.;)

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10 hours ago, lmagna said:

I think you were just looking for a way  that you could keep your middle finger extended and not be held responsible for it Dave!:D

    Speaking of which, I would like to take this opportunity to thank my middle finger for always sticking up for me when I need it!  B)

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18 hours ago, John Allen said:

CA is better than sutures

Totally agree. Let it bleed a bit and then rinse out with water, dry it, put down a bead of CA and close the wound with your other hand. If you do it right, it will heal very quickly and you probably won't even be able to see the scar. I have lots of scars on my hands, but none that are noticeable since I started using CA to close the dings.

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    Looks like a chain mail glove there.  No doubt cutting or stabbing ones self would be difficult, however I'll bet they are quite heavy and really hamper your dexterity which in itself could lead to other injuries.  Seems like sometimes you're up a creek one way or the other. :unsure:

    I changed the dressing today and found that it's healing quite nicely, the combination of the special band aids and CA really sealed it up quite well.  (By the way, those band aids are not only coated with an anti-bacterial coating on the inside, but the band aid itself is made with some kind of gel between layers which really soothes and protects the wound.)   :dancetl6:

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Dave, there are Kevlar gloves available, too. I use one and since it's the "flexible holder", I have no dexterity issues. And it's not too heavy, either.


Your first aid actions were spot on. I got a pretty good scratch from a highly incensed cat, years ago and my local ER glued the cut shut. I have a very fine line on my wrist to remind me not to get after a riled up pet. ;)

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On 4/27/2019 at 12:34 AM, vaddoc said:

Beside fingers, does your cutter cut brass sheet without bending it and if so, up to what thickness?

    That was the first time that I used on metal and it was an old piece of galvanized tin flashing shingle.  I haven't tried it out on any other metal as of yet, but I will experiment a little more soon.  However with my limited gripping strength, I'm not sure that my results will give you an accurate picture of how it will perform for someone with a more normal grip.  I think that if I need to cut metal again I will use a clamp or vice to hold it and spare the rest of my digits!  :Whew::rolleyes:

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