A slip of the Grafting knife 2020


I cut myself too this year, my first year grafting. :slight_smile:

I didn’t have anything on my right hand (knife hand), and my thumb just barely bumped the blade and gave me a nice slice near the tip of my thumb.

I had just seen a tip from Akiva Silver about putting some duct tape on the top portion of your thumb on the knife hand, but I didn’t. I will from now on though! I cut myself pretty early into the process, so I had the rest of the time with a stinging thumb as a reminder to my future self to use it in the future.

I used a cheap pigskin work glove this year, which was kinda soft and also flexible but also pretty tough, on my left hand. It worked good to deflect a few knife slips that probably would have given me some pretty deep gashes if I didn’t have it on. I’ll probably get a cut resistant glove soon just be extra sure I don’t get cut next year.

Hope your cut heals quickly Clark.


I used the CD when I was learning to graft. I had never heard of the cheap o’ring method recommended by @aap. That one seems even better since it doesnt get in the way.


I got some Kevlar type gloves from eBay a few years ago after a really nice cut… they are still a little thick for fine work. It makes me slower but I usually only wear them if I’m making a tongue cut back towards myself, then I take the glove off to fit and tape. As a professional that would be a problem, but at my own pace I’m good with it.


It looks like u have a deep cut in ur left palm / thenar. A small chunk of subcutaneous fat is protruding through the wound. This is an indicator that the wound must be taken seriously and should be seen by an ER Physician.
In Scotland where I am an ER doctor you would get a antitetanus treatment according to your vaccination status and perhaps a referral to the Plastic / Hand Surgeons for treatment. Most likely you need antibiotic treatment because dirty palmar wounds predispose to palmar space infections. Take care .


Thank you ! With the corona virus everywhere i am limiting exposure. Seeing a doctor tomorrow on an unrelalated issue and will see if he wants to add stitches. Soaked it out with salt and bath salts and no signs of blood poison. Your right i know ofcourse. Thank you for your excellent advice i appreciate it. Stuffed the fat back in as well as possible in the meantime and bandaged it tightly. Considered adding stitches myself or super gluing it shut but since im going to the doctor anyway i will let it be his decision.


That looks like a tendon Or fat


he probably will refer you to a specialist because if the chance of nerve or tendon damage. my brother cut his hand pretty bad on sheet metal and now he can’t make a fist on that hand do to tendon damage. not a bad idea seeing the doctor.


I got a cut on my thumb a few weeks ago from a sharp kitchen knife. Just a bit too much pressure and it popped through my skin. Healed up quick. We love paper tape here for keeping minor wounds comfortable while healing. Cheaper then bandaids and stays on while working even when wet.
I like using razor blade utility cutters to cleft rootstock. You get a nice straight cut that affords a lot of cambium contact.
The cd idea would have saved me a good cut on my ring finger the first year I had rootstocks (2015) live and learn. I am more careful since, and hope to have zero cuts this year. :slight_smile:


After 12 hours have lapsed stitching is not advised. It will not allow formed pus to drain. U now need to keep it lightly dressed and clean and hope u don’t develop a palmar abscess in which case u will need surgery.
I must stress that palmar infection is a very serious situation!!!
Please do go and see a doctor.


I will see a doctor tomorrow. It was a deep one this time. Just dont want to trade a hand injury for a case of corona.

We get accustomed to this stuff and forget how serious it can be. This was a scar from a biopsy last year which was bigger as you can see so its sometimes what i compare it to that gets me in trouble.

Again thank you i will take it very serious. Yes this occurred Sunday so now its several days ago.
It did not hurt at all. That worries me more than the cut because these inhuries should be painful and they are not.


I saw that tip from Akiva too, did you see it onthis Edible Acres video? Even though I will be using my Fieldcraft to graft for the most part, I still want to practice using the knife that I have, but I can’t afford to take a chance cutting my hand. I do way too much work with them. I don’t want to even imagine trying to can with an injured hand. I plan to use the tips that Akiva gave when practicing with a knife.


Have you gotten a tetanus booster in the last 5 years?
Looks like it needs basic stitching.
You can probably use sterile adhesives (tape of some kind), but make sure it’s sterile.
I routinely stitch for my wife every year or so. She’s all day in the kitchen.
Worsening redness, pain, swelling, pus drainage, or fever => antibiotics.


No im getting a tetanus booster tomorrow while im there.


Looks clean now.
Tetanus booster is not essential if u have been vaccinated in the past and had a booster within the past 10 years. Tetanus immunoglobulin however is. In this kind of deep dirty wound.
You should not stitch a dirty wound after 12 hours from injury. Unless it is debrided and washed out in operating theatre by a surgeon and then only if disfigurement or disfunction would be highly likely if left alone.
Better leave to heal by secondary intention ie slow healing on its own if does not get infected (usually in 3-6 days from injury)
It sounds too much fuss but these kind of injuries can have serious consequences.
I am sure u have been to the doctor’s by now!
Get well.


My appointment is this afternoon. Thank you again.


Make sure you get us a picture of the scar!! :grin:


Lol i went to the doctor today and he told me i did a beautiful job patching it up and no further action required. He vacinated me for some stuff while i was there. He asked me why i soaked it in salt water to clean it up and i said to purify it. He said ok good with cuts but not punctures. See we get rid of animal parasites etc that way we eat. We soak all wild fish or meat in salt. It elimates many problems. Apparently not great in this case.


Fascinating. In the United States, the guidelines don’t require tetanus immunoglobulin regardless if clean or dirty wound if received booster in the last 5 years.


Many thanks for your tip on razor knife to make the cleft cut. Working on M111 today and it was hard to cut and the razor knife saved the day. I’m grafting one tiny bud from a 1/8 inch diameter scion stick (sent to me) of a really rare apple. Hope to bench graft eight trees from eight teeny tiny buds with cleft grafts. Did three so far and think they’ll work.


Haven’t seriously cut myself grafting for thousands of trees. I have a reminder scar on my left thumb around 1+ inches long right through my nail and 6 stitches from when I was 10 years old and a pocket knife slipped while doing something stupid. Nail is still split after 55 yearws. Can still remember going to the Dr for stitches back in the 1964 when doc in the box didn’t exist and family practitioners still did stitches. Funny how I still remember that one!

I’ve taught many people to graft but it is interesting that after demonstrating how to hold the knife, reminding them of my own scar and to hold the knife so a slip won’t cut you they still don’t get it. I’ll let them load up the knife and make them stop after they don’t do it how I just showed them. I usually say, wo wo, I can’t stand the sight of blood, STOP. I then show them again.

Still an old dog can still learn new tricks. This year figured out how to make the tongue cut on whip/tongue without cutting myself using a rocking motion. I used to avoid whip/tongue due to possible finger cuts.

My scar: https://flic.kr/p/2iHLPPu