5 Hand Tools That Draw the Most Blood and Curses

I was reading the new comments to last week’s  post, and started thinking about some of the tool-related injuries I suffered as a child. Few came to mind, so I expanded the time frame.

It’s a fact of life – accidents happen. A slip-up here, mistake there, and you’re off to the first aid kit. (You do have a first aid kit in your shop, right?!) Following are 5 hand tools, well 4 hand tools plus 1 kitchen tool, that liberated unexpected levels of blood from my fingers and hands over the years.

Everyone is careful about utility knives, general purpose cutters and scissors, or at least they should be – it’s the small tools, not just the sharp or point ones, that one has to be especially mindful of.

1. X-Acto Hobby Knife

While all of my X-Acto pricks and cuts healed years ago, the experiences left me with a respect and slight fear of sharp hobby knives, no matter how small. Pssht, that little thing, I used to say, how much damage can such a small blade actually do?

X-Acto blades will usually cause more pain and bloodspill than severe damage, unless you’re careless or unlucky. But then you’ll try to explain to others how such a small blade almost brought you to tears, and they’ll just laugh, making things worse.

2. Wood Chisel

A little over one year ago, I slipped while paring with a new wood chisel, and cut a gash in my thumb. Not a huge gash, but it was big enough that I probably needed stitches. If the chisel was sharpened properly and not an out-of-the-box Craftsman chisel, I probably would have hit bone. Maybe I did hit bone, as I noticed a chip in the blade when cleaning up the blood.

3. Pliers

While it takes skill to draw blood with pliers, it can be easy to pinch your skin, leading to a painful blood-filled blister. Blood blisters can range from small to oh goodness, what do I do now?!, and usually hurt a LOT. Some people drain their blisters with a sterilized X-Acto knife (see above), but I prefer to leave them alone.

In my experience, multi-tools and poorly designed pliers are a leading cause of tool-induced blood blisters.

I was going to include a link to a Google image-search for those who may not know what a blood blister is, but wanted to spare you the ickiness. Because everyone clicks even when you tell them not to. Oh well, here it is – Blood Blister Google Image Search - please don’t click before lunch, in the morning, evening, or anytime in between.

4. Hooks, Picks and Probes

I have a nice 3/16″-long scar on my left pinky finger reminding me to be careful with picks and probes. You know how they always say never cut towards yourself? Never pick or pry towards yourself either. And don’t hold the item being worked on if you could help it.

Here’s what happened – I was using a curved hook pick to remove an O-ring from a part. It was a water cooling hose fitting, if I remember correctly. I almost got it, and increased the pressure just a little bit to catch the O-ring. I slipped and caught my pinky instead. The pick pierced my finger and pulled down, tearing a bit of meat. Respect pointy tools.

5. Food Processor Blade

This isn’t a tool in a literal sense, but is responsible for one of the worst injuries I accidentally inflicted on myself. I don’t remember what happened exactly, but I think I was putting it away after leaving it overnight in the drying rack. We keep the blade assembly in a Ziploc bag to keep it dust-free for immediate use.

Sliiiiice. I still remember the feeling as the mishandled blade cut into my finger. I actually don’t think I physically felt a thing, due to the sharpness of the blade, but I have an intangible sensory memory that I just cannot shake.

I don’t remember which finger was cut , but I do remember that there was blood – LOTS of blood. And then more blood. And even more blood. The cut closed up a bit and the bleeding finally stopped. But only for a few minutes, after which there was more blood. I wasn’t gushing or spouting blood, but it was an experience I prefer not to repeat. Again, I probably needed stitches, but survived without.

Additional Tools

I imagine that every tool on the market has injured at least one DIYer or professional at one time or another. Some tools are more notorious than others for their propensity to inflict pain on their users – take hammers for example.


  1. I want to major in either English Literature, Creative Writing or English with a minor/concentration in Creative Writing..

  2. Robin Lied says:

    Appreciate it for helping out, great info .