Turning Archive 2005

Subject:
Like they weren't even there

Mike Schwing from Md.
>But they probably did save my right eye anyway.

Yesterday I was roughing out a very pretty piece of spalted maple. I was pretty confident of its integrity and things were proceeding along nicely when BOOM! BANG! it blew apart. At the time of the incident I was standing outboard, facing the spinning blank, roughing the interior. As far as I figured, I was mostly out of the line of fire.

The only large piece somehow flew directly up towards my right eye and knocked my safety glasses off of my face like they weren't even there. The piece continued right into my eye. Fortunately it was about 4" and thick, so it didn't penetrate/lacerate, but it was like someone punched me in the eye with a solid object.

A few really tense moments elapsed when all I could see was blood on my hands from that area until I could get to the mirror. A 1/2" laceration above the brow was the source. I was afraid I'd just lost an eye.

After I calmed down a bit I examined the area and found no other cuts or immediate bruising, but vision out of that eye was narrow and cloudy. I put ice on it for about 30 minutes, then when my vision had cleared enough I drove myself to the ER. (wife and parents out of town).

I'll be fine. Shouldn't be any lasting damage. Slight abrasion of the cornea, vision is clear today.

Contact lens disappeared. Doc and I figure that between the glasses and the contact lens, my eye was spared. The contact lens probably took a hit that spared more cornea damage, the glasses took some of the energy with them.

_Normally_ I wear a full face shield when I'm unsure of the operation or I'm throwing tons of shavings my way, other than that I normally wear glasses that provide more clear vision. Given the same situation again, I'd probably have chosen the safety glasses over the face shield, but I doubt it from now on.

Lessons - the piece broke at a spalting line. Spalted woods are, well, less stable to begin with. Take extra precautions when spinning them around on a machine. Safety glasses did help, but a face shield probably would have saved me completely.

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