In Woodworking Mistakes

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Super Sander

After years of hard use, my tablesaw’s 120-volt motor finally expired. Eureka! This was the perfect opportunity to acquire a more powerful machine. I purchased a new 240-volt saw and proceeded to rewire the junction box that supplied power to the outlet, which was mounted on a cord that dropped down from the ceiling. The plug that came with the new saw didn’t match the outlet. No problem; I simply swapped the new plug with old one that did match. I plugged in my new saw and went to work. I couldn’t believe how effortlessly it cut all the pieces for the project I was building.

When it was time to sand the pieces, I lowered the blade and covered the new saw with a sheet of plywood, so I could use it as a sanding table, as I had always done in the past. I plugged in my sander, as usual, and went to work. Wow! The sander seemed to work better than ever. But after a couple minutes, smoke and flames started shooting out of its cooling vents. In a single panicked motion, I unplugged the flaming sander and threw it lasso-style out an open window, so it wouldn’t burn down my shop. Needless to say, I now have a new sander, a new 240-volt-only safety plug on the saw and a 240-volt-only outlet on drop-down cord. -Bobby Smith

Like an Arrow

My tablesaw sat in the living room of the home I was renovating. There was no garage and it was too rainy to work outside. In order to rip the 10′ oak boards that I was using to make wainscoting, I had to position the saw so my backside faced a picture window. Of course, the last board moved as it was being ripped, got pinched, and kicked back. Fortunately, I wasn’t standing directly behind the blade: Like an arrow, a four-foot sliver of oak flashed under my right arm.

The oak sliver shot through the picture window, leaving a neat, round hole, similar to the one it left in the windshield of my pick-up, which was parked in front of the house. The shaft protruded through the windshield, looking very much like, well, an arrow. I went outside and peered inside the cab: the splinter had also pierced the leather seat, as well the read-out window of my digital level, which was stored behind it.

When I called my agent to ask if my insurance would cover the damages, he said no, because it was an act of God. I guess that makes it official: God is a woodworker. -Tom Daleson

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