Angle grinder + finger = bad

Emily and I finished up digging the footer a while back so that left the best part…mixing concrete!  We mixed and poured 184 bags of concrete into the footer ditch.  Just to save you the math, 184 bags of concrete is a metric crap-ton!  When you pour concrete for just about any purpose, you need to add steel rebar which gives the concrete something to which to bind.  You can buy nice pre-cut pieces or you can buy large pieces for about a quarter the price and cut it yourself.

Angle grinder
Not a fingernail trimmer!

The perfect tool to cut rebar is an angle grinder.  I happen to have an angle grinder with a metal cutting blade on it.  Running an angle grinder is a bit of an adventure!  The same blade that cuts steel with ease and throws sparks like a 4th of July show, spins mere inches from the user’s fingers.  Mostly, when the user is not exhausted, it is a simple task to keep separation between fingers and blade.  A few weeks ago, I was in a fatigued state and co-mingled my left index finger with a spinning blade.  I am incredibly lucky to still have my finger and am even luckier to have only cut a nice gouge in my fingernail.

angle grinder finger cut
This is several weeks healed but you can see the potential…
On the next to last bag of concrete for the footer, I dropped the bag and my finger got between the bag and the blade in the mixer…it was an 80 lb bag and yes, it hurts even 2 weeks later

I both cussed and bled, for roughly the same amount of time, before I surveyed the area for a first aid kit.  We are usually pretty conscientious about keeping first aid supplies on hand, but in our fatigued state, we left home without one.  I have always been one to improvise and really, my solution is not terribly new, but I am still proud of my first aid solution…duct tape!

Redneck Band-aid?
Redneck Band-aid?
Almost done laying the block!

I was able to continue on with work for the day but I was much slower and continued to mumble bad things off and on through the day.  It was not a lot of fun though and I still have a nice bit of concrete filler in the gouge where my fingernail should be.  Friends, I have to tell you, if you feel an urge to trim your fingernails on the work site, DO NOT use an angle grinder.  Stick to a metal file or cross-cut pliers or even tin-snips…but not an angle grinder!

8 thoughts on “Angle grinder + finger = bad

  1. I really hate to admit this, but I once accidently read the instructions to an angle grinder and they specifically warned about the dangers of placing your fingers on the spinning wheel of the grinder. I know….Who would have guessed !!! But the sad part is there is no warning label on the cement bags. Oh I am sure there are plenty of warnings on the mixer instructions if one were inclined to read them. But those 80 pound bags of cement really are too dangerous for words. And while were on the danger subject….Photographing ones own body parts while driving surely has to be on the list somewhere.
    But who am I to judge? I am still trying to figure out how I managed to almost sever my thumb off on the hand that was holding my knife sharpener. From the position of my thumb in relation to the angle of the blade it is totally impossible for that to happen….however I almost severed it at the knuckle. And no I didn’t read the instructions until afterwards, but I was doing it correctly anyway.
    I once read a theory that says if you are using a hammer to pound a nail to NEVER look at your fingers holding the nail or even let the thought enter your mind. Because if you do, you are most assuredly going to hit them. And if you hit them once then the chances are you will do the exact same thing again shortly afterwards.

  2. I’m going to have to disagree with you on this one. I think the perfect tool for cutting re-rod is a metal chop saw. They can cut many pieces of re-rod at a time and are perhaps a bit easier to keep your fingers out. Of course if you did slip on that, you probably could take a whole hand off or more!

  3. You’re very fortunate my friend. I damn near ripped the end of my finger off on the table saw this summer as I was pontificating on the safety practices of using the chop saw to my wife. Kind of a double wound there.

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