Nail gun injuries on the rise with growth of DIY trend:

Doctors in the nation?s emergency rooms are used to seeing so-called bagel cuts ? the injury that results from slicing a finger or palm instead of a bagel and is most common on weekends.

Now North Carolina researchers report that ER physicians are increasingly treating another kind of painful household injury: wounds inflicted by pneumatic nail guns wielded by weekend carpenters who bought the machines at home improvement stores.

Such accidents more than tripled between 1991 and 2005, the researchers found, and 96 percent of victims were [guess what? -TfK] males whose average age was 35.

After the study on bagel injuries cited above, Calvin Trillin observed that this was actually a very positive sign, because it meant that bagels worth getting injured over had managed to penetrate the heartland.

I’m not sure what grand trend these nailgun injuries portend. Are nailguns better? Are people just too lazy to swing a hammer? Is it just an inevitable side effect of the housing bubble?


  1. #1 T. Bruce McNeely
    April 30, 2007

    As an avid DIYer and a physician, I have a couple of more questions:
    Have the number of crush injuries to the thumb and fingers (i.e. hammer injuries) gone down proportionately?
    What was the average blood alcohol concentration?

    I haven’t used a nail gun, although I’m tempted for my next project – hardwood floors in my kitchen, dining room and living room. I do like the process of hammering nails, you can get into a sort of zone with it. Until you hit your thumb and get creative with the foul language. If I hit my hand with a nailgun, I would probably be specchless from surgical shock.

  2. #2 kelly
    April 30, 2007

    Borrowed a nail gun to build a deck last year. Big time saver. Pull the trigger, shoot a nail. Note nail GUN, SHOOT a nail. Gun nails hold better, coated with glue. Very precise, easier toenail or overhead. When I laid the decking I cranked up the air pressure so the gun set the nails about a quarter inch into the decking. No nail set punch required.

  3. #3 James Taylor
    May 1, 2007

    Back in High School, I assisted in the theater set design department. While fixing plywood sheeting to some dynamic set pieces, our future valedictorian stapled my right index finger to the set. Luckily, I reacted quickly enough not to get fixed to the set, but I still had two holes passing through the tip of my finger and out through my nail. Needless to say, it was painful and it sucked, but no harm done in the long run. Taught me not to work on the blind side and in front of any such equipment.

    Also, one of the freshmen apparently was a little unsure and insecure about using the nail gun while I was working with him. He just about put a nail through my right thigh when he fired a nail and simultaneously pulled the air gun back and up. Needless to say, I took command of the equipment after that. I generally don’t trust other people handling pneumatics anymore.

New comments have been disabled.