Finger end damage

On Wednesday I removed the tip of my left middle finger.  In nearly fifty years of building instruments I’ve had no serious injuries, and perhaps half a dozen very minor ones.  This, fortunately, is very minor.  But it’s a reminder that scalpels are very sharp.

When telling Roger at Fylde guitars of my mishap, he helpfully suggested that when I reach the end of the wood, I should stop cutting.  Thank you Roger. But not relevant in this case, as I had not yet reached the end of the wood.  After slipping with the scalpel, there was an interlude consisting of lots of swearing, bandaging and mopping up blood – amazing how much comes out of a finger, it looked like very nearly an armful.  After which I finished cutting the wood.  I then sanded off a small drop of blood that had landed on the inside of  a soundboard, shouting  ‘Out, out, damn spot’ as I did so.

I was reminded of an article I read many years ago in ‘Fine Woodworking’.  A man making small maple boxes cut his finger and a drop of blood fell onto one of his boxes.  He sanded and sanded, but the blood had soaked into the maple and the stain would not sand out.  Frustrated, he eventually wrote next to it  ‘This is my damn blood’.  And this was the first box to sell.


Taken in the mirror, the damaged finger is in fact on my left hand.

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