Sunday, September 26, 2021

Trending Back Toward Normal

Or at least as normal as I get.  

A followup to my missed time last week due to my finger injury.  On Friday, I had an appointment with the hand surgeon, and while she didn't take out the stitches (I have another appointment next Friday), she said it was healing well and cleared me to start resuming more normal life. No more instructions to keep it dry, showering without my finger in a plastic bag is fine, just don't immerse it in water and leave it there. The pain is much better, and I think the last time I took even a Tylenol was last Wednesday night.  Yeah, it hurts if I bump it on something, but that's a little less true every day or even every hour.

Last night, I picked up a guitar for the first time since the injury.  All I really need my right index finger for is holding the pick and I found the pick drifted to my middle finger and thumb with no conscious thought at all.  I almost wondered if I usually played that way.  This morning, I took my first bike ride.  Until Friday, my orders were to keep it dry and when I asked her about riding, she said something like, "how about just walking for a week?"  Sure, I can do that.

Friday after the appointment, I spent a little time getting the lathe set up to resume working.  I set up three tools and, yes, I ran the lathe a little.  In a discussion on a machinist's forum about making a crankshaft like this, a guy posted pictures of his lathe with a crankshaft in the process of being made and an interesting looking tool he created to do most of the difficult stock removal.  Since I don't have permission to post his photo, let me show you a similar tool I was using on my lathe.

This is a square nose cutter like the one he started with, but there are a few differences between mine and his.  First, mine is 3/8" wide and his is 1/4" wide.  The gap that the cutter goes into is going to be 0.438, and the advantage of the smaller cutter is that it can be swept side to side easier than the bigger one.  Something he did that he said made a difference was to put a gap in the middle of the square cutting edge.  His theory is that it reduces any tendency to cut differently across the front of the tool.  

I've taken to calling this a Terry Thomas cutter, but maybe that only works for those of us old enough to remember the British Comedian from various movies and TV shows in the 1960s. 

He ground his tool out of steel, while this one is carbide, and relieved the sides a little to be doubly sure the sides of the tool don't cut the sides of that gap.  I considered trying to grind a tool, but there's the matter of having somewhat less than 10 fully functioning fingers and if I'm going to do something that requires intricate dexterity, that might not be the best choice in the world - at least not now.  My knowledge of grinding cutting tools is very limited.  I know that it's something people do and I've taken a few baby steps at trying to learn how to do that, but I really don't feel like it's something I can easily do.

What I thought I'd do is try to find a 1/4" carbide cutter like the 3/8 one I have and use the diamond files I have to give it the Terry Thomas gap in the middle. 


  1. I'm pleased that you are healing and getting back in the groove with the lathe. But your parts are not bionic and interchangible (yet).

    1. Chances are we'll see that if we make it another 25 years without societal collapse. There are some prosthetics that are controlled by thought.

      I'd prefer to see tissue engineering. Finger cut off? We'll just grow you a new one.

  2. Heh. Ran through my mental lists of British actors during the 60's and *PING*, oh, yeah, got the reference. Bwahahahahaha.

    Glad you're healing without much issue. Stuck a knife through my left pinky one time, the Doc in the ER did a good job sewing it up, until I asked about the other side. Suddenly I was headed to the cath lab to see what damage was done. Fortunately, it was a dull knife so no other damage except to my dignity.

    Still don't know why they cathed me from the groin up. You'd think it being a finger they'd go in the arm but nooooooo. And, yes, you can feel that thingy go through your heart. Feels weird. Like funky weird. Interesting, don't want to do that ever again.

    1. I've got to tell you, I've never heard of anyone getting a cardiac catheter for getting a finger sewn back together. I guess you had pain in the right finger and they thought it was a heart attack? Never heard of that either.

    2. The docs apparently were worried about damage to various blood vessels, so they went in by the wiz-wang and went through the heart to the finger. Dunno why, but it was weird. The room was cold and dark, the slab felt like I was on some alien ship about to be disassembled, and all the staff were females with red lipstick and blood red nails. Or so it seemed at the time.

      On the other hand, had proof that my arteries and heart were nice and clear.

      Yes, the finger was painful. Because, well, I shoved a dull knife through it.

      Did my heart hurt? Not until they shoved a wire through it. You CAN feel that, no matter what they tell you.

      I still enjoy remembering the wonderfully sick look on the doc's face when I held the openly bleeding other side up for him to see. Ya, I know, I'm weird and find enjoyment in the weirdest ways, but, well, I still have a finger.

  3. Glad you are healing up- and that you can play- I would go crazy without some music to deal with the insanity that is cresting.

    Cut the entire pad off my index finger on the fretting hand, a long time ago. Hated Kabars ever since, I was doing a sharpening favor for a recently returned gunny who felt unarmed back in the world,, and wanted a sharp knife- anyway, finger injuries hurt.
    At the speeds and loads you run on that, a HSS cutter would likely do fine, especially on an interrupted cut.

  4. Best wishes for a full and speedy recovery!!!

  5. Glad to hear your finger is getting better.

  6. HSS is better for intermittent cuts. I ground the tool to a saw tooth edge and used back and forth carriage travel with minimal depth advancement to reduce the flex. The intermittent cut can be reduced by removing most of that material in the mill, and using blocks to support the throws that are not being machined when the crank is between centers. I left the flanks fat, and cut them when when I ground the journals to finished diameter with the toolpost grinder.