Tuesday 9 January 2018


I like to think that I'm eloquent and not clumsy, but this weekend made me doubt myself. I smashed up one of my fingers and I couldn't accurately explain the nature of the injury to any of the nurses, doctors, or the surgeon that I saw.

The forces that you can put on a solid object are Tension, Compression, Bending, Torsion, and Shear. Our word for the day is shear.

I was working on a car, it was up on stands and the wheel was spinning (it wasn't in gear). It's a high performance car with large brakes and the gap between the wheel and the caliper is 3mm or less. I fed one finger through the spokes of the wheel which wound it round until the finger hit the brake caliper. The fixed caliper and the moving wheel nearly sheared off the last half of the last joint of my finger. In fact I'll be keeping the whole thing.

"Was it a crushing injury?"
"Not really it was in shear"
"So it bent backwards, I'll put 'hyperextension'"
"Not really, that bit went backwards, that bit went forwards, it didn't bend very much"

"Do you know how scissors work?"
"Is that a type of jack?"

The bit of the story that I'm most proud of is that we unjacked the car, torqued up the wheelnuts and tested the new brakes on the way to the Minor Injury Unit.

Sadly it wasn't a minor injury and I had to have surgery the next day. In 6 weeks the bone should be knit back together, in 12 I should have some semblance of a nail and be able to start learning the guitar all over again.

Richard "Ouch" B


  1. You have my sympathy, it must have been really painful. Having said that, I do like that your emphasis is on the correct use of the word "shear" and your ability to put the car back together after this major injury.

  2. Thank you.

    In terms of putting the car back together "we" is doing a lot of work. My friend did most of it while I sat down feeling faint and shouting instructions.

    Looking back I think I should have said "yes" to crushing-injury.

  3. Two things come to mind, as I read "I like to think that I'm eloquent and not clumsy". Your inability to close a door behind you and, wacky waving inflatable arm tube man.

  4. Wacky waving inflatable tube arms strike again