In Woodworking Mistakes

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Runaway Router

My first router, a 1968 Stanley, was a heavy, single-speed machine. I remember it well because of what happened the very first time I used it.

I chucked up a Roman ogee bit and made my very first pass. As I marveled, spellbound, at the professional-looking profile I’d just created, I switched off the router, removed it from the board,  and holding it one-handed, let it drop to my side. Unfortunately, the bit was still spinning. It caught my shirttail and instantly wound its way up, nearly to my armpit, before it stopped.

Eyes bugged out and adrenalin pumping, I extricated the tool from my ruined shirt, walked to a far corner of the shop and sat down to recover. I concluded that it’s a mistake to remove a router before the bit has stopped spinning and I decided to stop wearing untucked shirttails and other loose clothing when I’m in my shop. –Tom Hennek

Irrigated Tablesaw

A 240-volt circuit powers my lawn irrigation pump. As the electrical panel sits twenty feet from my workshop, and as my new cabinet saw required 240 volt power, I deemed the wiring to be a simple matter. I installed a junction box and ran conduit to a new floor box adjacent to the saw. Pulling the wires was a snap—connections were made and a final inspection showed all systems go.

I pushed the saw’s “start” button with the anticipation of a kid on Christmas morning. Nothing happened. I rechecked the electrical work—everything was in order—and hit the start button again. Silence. Then it hit me. The sprinkler system is connected to a timer, which activates a relay to start the pump. I had installed the junction box on the wrong side of the relay. The only time power flowed through the part of the circuit I had spliced into was when the grass was being watered—from 5 to 7 a.m.! –Rob Simalchik


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