WT348 – Nadda Finga

On today’s weekend show, we’re talking about a deal to gain invulnerability in the shop.

What Are We Talking About

Chris said…

You’re approached by a magical, deal-making wizard who offers you the following scenarios. 1. Wake up tomorrow morning missing a finger of your choosing (you would be missing this finger only from the tip to the closest knuckle.) In exchange for this, you would have the comfort of knowing that you will never experience any shop mishap. You will experience no pain (phantom or otherwise) from the removal of your finger. You will simply wake up tomorrow morning with this new norm. Or 2. go about your life as normal. 10-fingered but with the reality of risk. As I’m writing this, I’m realizing it isn’t really 2 scenarios so much as it is 1 deal. My question. Would you take that deal?

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8 replies on “WT348 – Nadda Finga”

Hey guys, just listen to show 348. Love the bizarre topic. For me I would definitely take the deal. It seems like good insurance. I’d rather miss the tip of my finger than the use of my hand or worse. I am very confident at my safe driving skills but I still have auto insurance. I’ve had a few minor accidents in the car and in the workshop and the commonality of it is that despite my best effort’s, stuff happens quick sometimes. Great show. Love hearing you guys. Have a great weekend!

Hi! Love the show and just listened to #348. I would take the deal and sacrifice my left pinkie tip. I would do this because of a couple things:
1. The only musical instrument I play is the bagpipe, and the left pinky is not used in playing the bagpipe. It would effect my knitting a little bit but not too much. Plus, if I wanted to I could make myself a pinky tip prosthetic.
2. I mainly work with metal, specifically molten metal. While I work as carefully as possible, accidents do happen that are out of our control. It would be nice to know that if something failed catastrophically during an iron or bronze pour that I would still be ok. The safety gear goes a long way in terms of protection but it is never fully impervious.
I know that that is outside the realm of woodworking but I feel like the same general principles apply either way. I would still be as careful as possible because reckless behavior would endanger the rest of the crew and increase the likelihood of failed castings.

Given the chance to make the fingertip deal, I would take it. It would be worth it just for avoiding a lifetime of the minor abuse our hands take, as Marc pointed out. I also don’t give much credence to the idea that immunity to physical harm would make me any less attentive to the quality of my work. Even if I’m safe from harm from a kickback, the piece I’m cutting wouldn’t be, and I wouldn’t want to damage it (or the wall), and would take proper precautions.

But if you want to get pedantic, the way the deal is worded: “you will never experience any shop mishap” doesn’t necessarily mean that you will only avoid injury. I’d classify any kickback, regardless of injury, a mishap. So not only would you be forever preserving your safety, you’d also never run the risk of a router bit shattering, spilling a can of paint on the floor, or mis-measuring a critical cut.

The one concern I agree with though, is if I would teach bad habits to my kid. Though I think that would be much like crossing the street; when they’re around, you use the crosswalk, watch for the signal, and look both ways, but when you’re alone, it’s live-action Frogger. Hopefully the wizard would agree to take an extra finger tip from me to grant the protection to my kid, which is a deal I would take without hesitation.

What I want to know, is what is the wizard doing with all these fingertips anyway? Is it for some sort of modern art installation?


On the finger question, as one who is has already lost one, allow me to weigh in.

I didn’t do it in the wood shop. It was a judgment error while relocating a 400 lb concrete table top. Crushed the last segment of my left middle finger. A trip to the ER to stop the bleeding, a trip to the hand surgeon to discuss the options, and out-patient surgery to remove what little was left, down to the first knuckle.

Before anybody opts to follow my lead, allow me to highlight the pluses and minuses.

Pluses. Very few. No need to spend money on guitar or piano lessons. Will save money on bowling unless I get my bowling balls plugged and re-drilled.

Minuses. Many. In my case the remaining joints on the finger got damaged too, so what’s left doesn’t bend properly.

Hard to grab some tools comfortably. and the stump seems to have a mind of its own around spinning power tools.

Gloves look strange and are hard to wear safely with that one finger tip flapping in the breeze.

Can’t make a fist without appearing to be flipping a stubby middle finger at passersby.

Took months before every left-hand pants pocket stopped feeling like it had a hole in it.

Constantly ramming the stump into door handles, drawers, etc. There’s very little skin over the end of the remaining bone, so it hurts like hell and gets cut easily on every sharp edge.

So before you decide to accept this option, I’d suggest you get that wizard to put in writing that there will be ZERO such little glitches. OR better yet, just ask the little fella to get you a Saw-Stop instead. Not wanting to double down on the problem, I got my Saw-Stop last year and love it.

And if your wizard truly is Matt the Elder, please have him stop by the show sometime. Do miss hearing his odd sense of humor and haven’t heard a chortle in a long long time.

Thanks. Love the show.

I have all ten but my right index is in a jar (drum roll). When someone says “oh, you lost a finger” I say nope I know where it is. To you statement about pain and sensitivity, see a physical therapist. My physical-terrorist, really helped with pain reduction by desensitizing the nerve, note a scarred nerve is called a neuroma and they are super sensitive. She started by dipping my hand in hot wax, and had me use the residual finger to perform tasks increasing difficulty over the months. In the beginning a bath towel was too rough (no kidding), then grabbing washers out of dry rice and in the end a (cough) vibrator – hey is was a hospital so no laughing. I found holding the power sander to sand boards using that had really helped finish bringing the hand back to normal sensitivity.

Wow, can we make this a retroactive deal? I suffer every day from chronic pain throughout my body. Although it’s not been diagnosed with 100% surety it’s at least partially believed to be somewhat hereditary as my mother her father all have suffered with different levels of pain throughout their lives.

My take on tools however is one that’s completely different from most of you guys/gals out there. To me a tools is method that I must have to be able to accomplish something. I don’t have the stamina and would suffer terribly if I were to spend an entire day sawing by hand or hammering. I just couldn’t do it. So tools to me are almost an extension or if you’d like a bionic extension of my body that replaces the functionality that I would lack without them. Yes just turning a few screws trying to put up a curtain rod would be tolerable because it’s just a few screws but even that will leave my hands hurting if I can’t pre-drill the holes.

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