Monday, January 12, 2009

Deconstructing And Decommisioning (part 2)

Part 4 of The Library Chronicles

Amazingly enough, no pain was involved and very little blood was spilt.

Now before you start asking the inevitable questions (like, what are you talking about? Blood?), let me begin at the beginning.

We had this monstrosity of a table top paper cutter. As stated previously, it was about four feet by four feet with a big clamp and a huge four foot arm. Could cut through a half inch thick, two foot long newspaper volume cover think wooden ruler in one drop of the blade.

Anyways, what I was doing that day was pretty much what I usually do: removing the glue from the edge so that the paper could be properly processed and collated. I grabbed a section of newspaper and brought to the table, where I took the initial step of putting it under the clamp and raised the cutter arm.

So as to take as much glue off as possible without taking any text off (not an easy feat), I had to eyeball the paper edge so that only glue was hanging off the table. This meant fine-tuning the positioning of the paper.

To drop this particular guard, one had to step on the foot pedal, which in turn drops the clamp can you see where this is leading to boys and girls? . Once you drop the clamp, you can cut the newspaper with ease.

So, as I was positioning the paper on the table, my foot came in contact with pedal.

CHOP!!!!!! SPLAT!!!!!! And for the first and only time in that department, I uttered out loud the one word that is used to explain sexual intercourse.

I won't go into too much gross detail about what I did or what was found afterwards, other than to say that I severed my fingertip. Fortunately I didn't bleed all over the newspaper. As for feeling no pain, well to a certain degree, that is true. My fingertip to this day has no viable nerve endings in it, thus it's perpetually numb.

After spending a week out of work (from both jobs, as I had a second job too), I eventually got back into the swing of things. It took me about three weeks before I felt comfortable enough to use the paper cutter again, and by that time, my co-worker devised an ingenious safety device.

Basically, it was a small electronic button switch that was connected to a solid block of metal that was installed under the guard. In order to use the clamp, you had to press the button that moved the metal block out of the way. As soon as you released the button, the metal block stayed at the ready, until you got done using the clamp. Once you stepped off the foot pedal, the clamp went up and the safety mechanism went back into place.

Neat huh?
Up next will be a lesson on another tedious, but very important, aspect of my job: Prepping Newspapers For The Runway


  1. I'm glad it was only a fingertip. Geeze. I had a friend in school who ground the tip of his pinky off in an electronic pencil sharpner

  2. Ouch.

    Interesting thing is that this was my first and only worker's comp claim in my entire job history.

  3. That brings back some bad memories of an incident with a tile cutter some years back.

  4. Kris: I can only imagine.

    Still, this wasn't the only time I hurt myself at work.

    A couple of years later, I broke my hand punching out a 30lb box of Xerox paper. This was after dealing with the local phone company in trying to get my phone fixed.

    Thanks for stopping by today to visit. I will reciprocate in the very near future.


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