I’d like to introduce you to local furniture maker Thomas MacDonald, and his thumb. MacDonald was the victim of a familiar story in the woodworking world: While working with a tablesaw, his mind wandered a bit, and BAM! 16 stitches to close the wound and he’s lucky it wasn’t more serious. Now, MacDonald is no novice. He’s been working in construction for the past 20 years and is an expert furniture maker. He had never cut himself before this, not even with a knife. But it wasn’t until this injury that he moved to buy a SawStop, the braking system that stops a tablesaw blade the instant it hits skin (see their amazing demonstration video), for his shop. According to MacDonald, “I cut myself on Sunday and bought it on Monday.” Before this injury, MacDonald had been aware of the SawStop but hesitated because of the cost, an extra $1,000. It wasn’t until he hurt himself that he bought it in January of 2006. Since then, having it in place has been worth “twice the money.” According to MacDonald, people who work with wood are “crazy not to buy it.” We like to think of ourselves as infallible, as being smarter than the rest, and it’s not until something bad happens that we realize our folly. Only then are we truly grateful to the safety measures we put in place.

Credit: Thomas J. MacDonald Fine Furniture

Saw Stop