In Woodworking Mistakes

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Illustration by Steve Bjorkman

My Boring Story

I needed to rout a deep stopped groove in a long 2×12. So, I installed an up-cut spiral bit in my plunge router, jointed a board to use as a straightedge and clamped everything to a pair of sawhorses.

My first pass—3/8″ deep—went without incident. But halfway down the board on the second pass, the bit hit a resinous area and grabbed so hard it twisted the router—and both my arms—180°. As I held on for dear life, the plunge mechanism somehow unlocked, and the bit began to bore into the wood. Everything began to rock, but my arms were so tangled I couldn’t turn off the router. Ultimately I just had to let go and get out of the away. The router twisted out of the board and attacked the floor as I ran to the wall and pulled the plug. The router was fried, but I didn’t care—that deranged tool had a date with the dumpster.

David Caskey

Rags to Router

I wanted to rout an ogee on the edge of a board, but didn’t have one of those rubber mats you lay underneath to keep the board from moving. So, I substituted a couple of rags, instead. I started routing and everything was going fine until the bit caught one of the rags and ripped it out from under the board. As I instinctively jerked the router away, the rag snared the router’s power cord and wrapped it up, too. The router stopped abruptly. I quickly unplugged it and examined the damage: The cord was partially ripped out, its insulation was torn and bare wires were exposed.

Larry Ozella


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