In Woodworking Mistakes

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After my friend Jason and I purchased a truckload of rough lumber, we headed for his garage workshop to plane the boards before divvying them up. All of Jason’s tools are on mobile bases, because he has to share the space with the family cars. So, as he horsed the planer into position, I wheeled out the dust collector and slid the hose onto the planer’s dust port. It fit pretty tightly, so I didn’t bother to fetch a screwdriver to tighten the band clamp.

We stacked the boards next to the planer and took our stations; Jason would feed the boards into the machine and I would support them as they came out. Jason switched on the planer and hoisted the first board. I started the dust collector and readied myself behind the planer’s outfeed table. Unfortunately, the second the board entered the planer, the collection hose blew loose.

Whap-ap-ap! I was plastered by a hail of wood shavings. Next time, I’ll get the darn screwdriver. –Joe Gohman 

Bowl Bonk

I had a mini-lathe twenty years ago, when I was in college. At that time, a face shield wasn’t in my budget. Besides, I always wore prescription glasses with safety lenses. One morning, I was rushing to finish a Christmas gift, a small potpourri bowl. I was using a spindle gouge to undercut the bowl’s lip—I didn’t know the difference between spindle and bowl gouges back then, and being new to woodworking in general, I didn’t know anything about keeping tools sharp, either.

To this day, I’m not sure if the tool or the bowl caught me in the forehead, but I still have a scar above my right eyebrow and a small gouge bent at a 45˚ angle to remember that morning. When I found the bowl, a big chunk was missing from its lip. I didn’t have the time to start over, so I clamped the bowl to my drill press and used a Forstner bit to reshape the damaged area. It looked good, so I drilled all around the rim, to create a scalloped edge. Because of this unusual edge treatment, my friend thought she’d received the greatest turned bowl ever, and she never connected my bandaged forehead with her gift. –Dale Gillaspy

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