Totally Unauthorized

A side of the film industry most people never see.


We all carry knives on our tool belts. Not the big ‘backwoods hunter’ knives,  but smaller ones – some people carry the hardware store style utility knife, but I prefer an actual knife – a folding 2.5 inch blade that’s half smooth and half serrated. The reason for this is that a smooth blade won’t cut things like rope (well, it will, but not easily) and a serrated blade won’t cut gels.

Since I try to keep the tool belt as lightweight as possible, I go for the item that will do two jobs.

Normal use dulls knives, of course, and it’s not worth it to pay to have my army surplus store folding knife sharpened, so I generally wait until the knife is really, really fucked up and then I replace it.

My old knife was really, really fucked up. So dull that the blade wouldn’t have cut butter even if I’d put my back into it, and at some point the tip had broken off (I lost my screwdriver and was trying to make the knife do the job).

So over the weekend I stopped in at the trusty surplus store and bought a new knife. One with an actual edge and a tip.

Oh, joy.

Except that during a lighting set-up today, I was hurriedly cutting gel and forgot that the new blade, being actually sharp, didn’t need to be applied with quite so much force as the old one.

I stabbed the tip into the gel, pushed too hard and ran the tip of the knife up under my fingernail.

If you’ve never had the misfortune to stick a knife blade under one of your fingernails, I can assure you that’s it’s excruciatingly fucking painful, but surprisingly doesn’t bleed very much.

After biting my tongue to hold back the world’s loudest swear, I finished cutting my gel, went in, handed the gel off and then went outside for a really good scream.

The nail’s turning black now (guess that’s where all the blood went), but it doesn’t hurt at all anymore.

Oh, joy.

Filed under: mishaps, Work

13 Responses

  1. boskolives says:

    The worst cuts you can get are the ones that don’t bleed much, and I’m not talking pay cuts, you’ll need to squeeze as much blood out as you can (pretend you’re a producer) to flush out any contaminants that might have entered with the blade, and make sure your tetanus shot is up to date, it’s really nothing to fool around with. And you might want to have some kind of cloture with that fingernail, it’s likely to be leaving you soon, good luck with that.
    Be well,

  2. Mori says:

    Ooh ouch… I’ve done that.

    I’m usually known as ‘the girl with the knife’, because I tend to carry both a multi-tool and at least one folding knife (I like having a half-serrated and a non-serrated both, if I can).

  3. bob says:

    I pray this did not happen at FOX or if ya did you did not tell anyone —
    as the last time i really goofed there and cut myself -lord the paper work they make you do is ungodly huge and stupid and causes more cuts via “paper cuts”
    “form #3 page 354 could accident been prevented by ?? ”
    yes– by me not being stupid and a klutz OK!!!

    after that deal if I cut my arm off I’m doing the “holy grail” bit “Its only a flesh wound” I’m fine

  4. geekhiker says:

    Ouch, I know that one (you’d be surprised how often one uses a knife at an IT job… daily, actually… go figure). My sympathies to your blackened finger…

    For the future: there’s a guy in L.A. (I think it’s “Gary’s Knife Sharpening”?) who sharpens professional chef’s knives, then also works the farmer’s markets around town. I think he does blades under 3″ for $3 or $4. Cheap enough, if you really like your knife…

  5. MadMichael says:

    A new knife is a “new knife” until you cut yourself with it.

    You might want to run a red-hot straight pin thru the top of the nail to allow drainage.

    • Bill Johnson says:

      I prefer a paperclip heated up with alighter, myself. And do it in the shower cause it’s gonna geyser red/black fermented blood. Good times.

  6. lizriz says:

    Oh, OUCH!

    I know for a fact that the day I finally get a decent chef knife for my kitchen, I am going to cut my fingers off.

  7. Chuck says:

    @Bob — Try driving a golf cart under a wardrobe trailer at Fox. I just about had to write a novel.

  8. A few months back I did a good old SLASH-THAT-ROLE-REAL-FAST, and ended up chopping the first three mm’s of my left index finger right off.

    The Key-Grip (also first aid guy) was very excited to put his unused training to good use.

    The bleeding wouldn’t stop on set, so I ended up in an ER in Quebec for 7 hours (note to everyone: don’t get hurt in Quebec), and now the worker’s comp is somewhere between english speaking Toronto and French speaking Montreal. Head aches to come, but the finger is all better now!

  9. PDQ says:

    For what it’s worth – WR Case makes a knife called the XX-Changer (Double X-Changer) that has interchangeable blades, including a saw blade. Pretty nifty

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