In Woodworking Mistakes

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To keep airborne dust from getting into the house, I bought a dust collector for my basement workshop. I wanted to start with a clean slate, so I decided to rid the shop of a decade’s worth of dust that had collected on the ductwork, pipes, lights, shelves, and so forth.

I opened the basement doors and turned on the whole-house fan, which is located in the hallway ceiling on the second floor. Then I used my shop vacuum as a blower to dislodge the dust. It worked like a charm. The clouds of dust that billowed off everything I pointed the wand at were efficiently drawn up the stairs.

Unfortunately, most of the dust never left the house. Instead, it took up residence on everything that wasn’t behind closed doors. I am now on upstairs cleanup duty until further notice. No good deed goes unpunished. –Randy Walker


I inherited a secretary that was made by my great-grandfather over 100 years ago. A drop-front desk with a bookcase on top, it had numerous coats of finish. The most recent, a very heavy coat of white paint, was probably applied over 50 years ago. I used paint remover to get down to the wood, followed by hours of hand sanding.

While sanding the inside, my sandpaper caught on something sharp. The space was difficult to look into, so without thinking, I felt inside—and caught my finger on the sharp end of a protruding nail. Not wanting to get caught again, I tried to grind down the nail point with a hand-held grinder.

I ran my finger over the area once again, to make sure the nail was gone—and got pierced by a red-hot sliver of metal. At least this time the wound was sterilized! –Tom Lambert


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