There’s Nothing More Expensive Than Regret

This week’s blog isn’t necessarily about what goes on in the finish shop. But it is about what goes on with the builders we all are.

Did you read Bill Esler’s article a few weeks ago about the fines levied against a Canadian firm whose employee experienced amputation by table saw? I did. That very day was a déjà vu day for me. The day I read Bill’s article, I happened to visit a shop where I know the owner and the builders well from years of servicing that account. As I stood talking to the owner, I looked over his shoulder and spotted a brand new SawStop table saw in the corner where the good ol’ UniSaw used to sit. I said, “”How do you like the new saw?” He replied, “It’s a great saw but it was more than traumatic the way we came to have it.”

That got my attention. I almost couldn’t bring myself to ask why. The guys there are, as I said, friends. But I did and he replied, “You see the guy at the saw? Look at his hand. He lost part of his hand a few weeks ago.” He lost his balance in front of the saw.

There he was, back in the shop. He couldn’t have been fully healed let alone over the emotional trauma of that loss. Yet, he was at the saw once again working with a leather glove protecting his hand.
Fast forward to last week. I was at work talking with the guys in the credit office. It’s next to mine so we communicate all day long. The name of one of my customers got mentioned. As the story unfolded, he had had a similar accident and lost 90% use of one hand.

Here comes the irony and the regret. One of our salesmen had visited his shop to extol the merits of the SawStop only weeks before. He had declined the opportunity. He’s a one man rural shop. Times have been pretty rough. Now, with the loss of the use of one hand, he had called my buddies next door to announce his predicament, say that he was closing his business, while trying to figure out what he was going to do for the rest of his life with only one functional hand.

His doctor had suggested an operation that might return an additional 10% usage to that hand. He couldn’t justify the $25000 for an operation with only the hope of that small improvement.
The thing that really struck me was when one of my credit buddies shared an old family saying that rings so true in this instance. There is nothing more expensive than regret.

I get it…do you? This makes three friends of mine who have had table saw accidents in the past year. Please stay safe around your power tools. Please don’t come to feel this sting of regret.

Until next time…spray on!

Bernie Bottens  teaches wood finishing in industrial woodworking all over the Pacific Northwest.
Meet him at the AWFS Fair in the
Woodworking Network Booth 2139
sponsored by M.L. Campbell.
There’s Nothing More Expensive Than Regret


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