In Woodworking Mistakes

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Flying Sawdust

Last summer, due to the heat, I covered my portable saw with a canvas tarp and retreated to the cooler air inside my basement shop.  For two months, the saw sat under the shed roof, unattended, until I needed to cut some boards that were too long and unwieldy to maneuver in my basement shop.

I uncovered the saw and set up infeed and outfeed tables to handle the boards. I pushed the start button and with a loud whine, my trusty saw sprang into action. Clouds of sawdust billowed out from under its frame, which seemed odd, because I hadn’t started cutting. Then I noticed the dust was black and yellow…and buzzing.

Clouds of enraged wasps boiled out from under the saw. Dropping the board I was about to cut, I beat a hasty retreat. I didn’t stop running until I reached the fuse box at the far end of my shop, where I turned off the saw’s power.

My wife happened to look out the kitchen window just as I was high-tailing it toward my shop. Upon hearing my story, she laughed until she cried.  “I’ve never seen you run so fast,” she sobbed. -Dale Thompson

Botched Box

The jewelry box I was making featured asymmetrical details of anegre veneer and wenge inlay. To allow the details flow continuously around the box, I planned to assemble the sides, bottom and top as one unit and then cut off the lid.

I carefully cut the miter joints, fit the top and bottom and glued all the parts together. So far, so good. Next, I inlaid the wenge and applied the veneer. Excellent! To separate the lid, I set my tablesaw’s blade about 1/64 in. lower than the stock’s thickness, positioned the fence and carefully made one pass each side. Then I finished the cut with a razor knife. Perfect! I cut mortises in the lid and the box for the 8-in.-long piano hinge I planned to use. I drilled holes and installed the hinge without busting off any of the tiny brass screw heads. Another triumph!

I closed the lid and gazed lovingly at my creation…for a second. For some reason, the pattern on the top didn’t line up with the pattern on the sides. Argh! I’d reversed the top when I installed the hinge. -Art Greenberg



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