This week's column: #778
| May 24, 2013 #777
| May 10, 2013 #776
| April 26, 2013 #775
| April 5, 2013 #774
| March 28,2013 #773
| March 9, 2013 #772
| February 22, 2013 #771
| February 8, 2013 #770
| January 25, 2013 #769
| January 11, 2013 #768
| December 21, 2012 #767
| December 7, 2012 #766
| November 23, 2012 #765
| November 9, 2012 #764
| October 26, 2012 #762
| October 12, 2012 #761
| September 28, 2012 #760
| September 13, 2012 #759
| August 31, 2012 #758
| August 10, 2012 #757
| July 20, 2012 #756
| July 6, 2012 #755
| June 22, 2012 #754
| June 8, 2012 #753
| May 25, 2012 #752
| May 11, 2012 #751
| April 28, 2012 #750
| April 14, 2012 #749
| March 30, 2012 #748
| March 16, 2012 #747
| March 2, 2012 #746
| February 17, 2012 #745
| February 3, 2012 #744
| January 20, 2012 #743
| January 6, 2012 #742
| December 23, 2011 #741
| December 9, 2011 #740
| November 25, 2011 #739
| November 11, 2011 #738
| October 28, 2011 #737
| October 14, 2011 #736
| September 30, 2011 #735
| September 16, 2011 #734
| August 12, 2011 #733
| July 29, 2011 #732
| July 15, 2011 #731
| July 1, 2011 #730
| June 17, 2011 #729
Safe in the Woodshop
in a while I get up on my soap box and do a little preaching and today is one
of those days.
in the workshop is the topic of today’s sermon and it is a subject that should
not be taken lightly. I regularly hear of woodworking related accidents through
the various woodworking discussion groups that I belong to and some of the
stories are pretty scary. It seems though, that most of them are as a result of
improper usage of both power tools and hand tools. The second most frequent
culprit is the lack of planning in a given woodworking operation. I don’t think
that now is the time to relate in detail some of the more grizzly accidents
that have occurred. Each one that has happened to me however has taught me an
me tell you though that I have had a number of accidents in my shop over the
years and on reflection, they were mostly due to my stupidity and/or in rushing
to get the job done.
have a credo that I try to remember when I am in my shop and that is “If it doesn’t feel comfortable, don’t do it”. And that is so true when using almost any
tool in the shop. It is too bad that that individual in Boston did not have
that credo etched in his brain. We would not have that controversial debate
about table saw safety going on. You cannot legislate against stupidity.
have talked about safety equipment in the shop in previous columns. You know
the use of safety glasses and respirators etc. However, there are other safety
items that should be considered as precious to you as your favorite power tool
and in fact should be purchased the day you set up shop.
not sure which of these two items take precedence, so let’s say that both
should be bought at the same time. A fire extinguisher and a first aid kit are
two essentials in any shop. Actually two fire extinguishers are better. An
‘A,B,C’ type of five pounds or more is best for electrical and chemical fires
while a simple water extinguisher can be used for wood or sawdust fires. If you
do already own a fire extinguisher, when was the last time you had it
re-charged? Most people think that just owning one will be sufficient. Check
the dial on it.
first-aid kit is an absolute must in any workshop and you should buy the top of
the line, not just a box with adhesive bandages in it. Along with various sizes
of Band-Aids, there should be some sterile cloth bandages, gauze, adhesive tape
and antibiotic ointment. Under the category of first-aid, you should also
consider a bottle of eye wash in the event of splashes and a pair of tweezers
to remove splinters.
telephone in the shop is a worthwhile investment as well. Hopefully you will
not have to use it for calling 911. Hearing a phone ring in a shop when you
have power tools running can be next to impossible, but there is a device that
Radio Shack or other electronics retailers sells that is called a phone
flasher. This is a strobe light that flashes in sequence to the ringing of the
handy fixture to add to the list is a flashlight in the event of a power
outage. This will do two things for you; it will lead you safely out of the
shop and will help you determine if all of the tool switches are turned off.
this safety and emergency equipment doesn’t do you much good if scraps of wood
are piled around it and that there is so much sawdust that you can’t see the
first-aid kit. Put everything in one central spot like hanging from a post or
column. Paint the column bright red and keep the sawdust off of it. Pretend for
a moment that you are a fire inspector and take a walk through your shop. Be
other item to take into consideration is the positioning of your stationary
power tools. Try to work it so that you are facing the shop entry
door when you are working with them. This will help you see if someone is
coming in and will prevent a scare that could cost you a finger or a hand. I
used to have a sign over the door in my old shop that said “Do Not Enter If
Machines Are Running”. Because of my new shop’s configuration this won’t work
but by this time all of my friends that drop by have the smarts to wait until I
have finished what I am doing before disturbing me. A former friend once
threw a small piece of wood at me to get my attention. I was working on my
table saw at the time. Choice words in a stentorian-like voice ensued.
if you want to down a couple of beers or a few shots of rum, by all means do
so, but turn off the tools and the lights and lock the shop door from the
outside. Conversely, if you are taking drugs, the prescription type (read and
obey the label) or the other, stay away from your tools.
After over 65 years
of woodworking I am happy to report that my eyes and ears still function as
well as can be expected at 76 and I still have ten fingers and toes firmly
attached and I sincerely wish the same for you.
Proof of Stupidity
The Consumer Product
Safety Commission must think that all of us, not just a few idiots, are stupid!
One of the latest tool recalls is for an electric log splitter. The CPSC wants
the manufacturer to put more safety labels on it. Like “keep hands, feet and
other body parts away from the moving splitter blade”. “Do not put your hand,
foot or head between the log and the moving splitter blade”. My words, not
Globe Tool Group Recalls “Task Force” Electric Log Splitters Due to Laceration
or Amputation Hazard; Firm to Provide Additional On-Product Warnings; Sold
Exclusively at Lowe's Stores
the full details Click here.
Our Sometimes Regular
Ze Plane, Ze Plane!
No Tattoo, not the flying kind, the woodworking kind. This big book should
equally attract both the tool collector and the powerless woodworker. The
author tells you what to look for in choosing a handplane. An excellent book!
Guide to Handplanes
the increasing interest in furniture building the old fashioned way using only
hand tools, this book is right on target. Wynn has put together most of the
pertinent information on the many types of hand planes available today. There
are 14 chapters in this tome, dealing with when, where and why to use a plane
right on up to making your own Western and Japanese planes. The Norris, Bailey,
Horned and Chinese planes are discussed as well as various forms of shaping
submits his ideas for first time purchasers of planes, what to buy and how to
use them and then goes on to discuss the setting up of the tools. Sharpening is
of course a major topic in this book and the author includes plans for making a
shooting board and shows the various types and how they are used.
is a fully illustrated book with hundreds of photos, sketches and drawings of
various wood planes and plane tips.
When Junior is Senior
We all know how the
Bessey ‘K’ Body Clamps have taken the woodworking trade by storm, now Bessey
has a ‘junior’ version of them. Bessey calls the new clamps the K Body REVO JR.
the new clamps are more compact, lighter and equally important, less expensive.
Don’t let this fool you however; the new clamps have almost all of the features
of their big brother.
The new Bessey clamps
make use of German engineering and German steel for durability and are built in
the USA. (What, no ‘Made in China’ sticker?) The jaws of the REVO JR are truly parallel
and have a large 3 ¼” throat, they come complete with a raised (and removable)
tail piece so that the clamps sit parallel to your work bench. The jaws can
double as spreaders by simply removing the tail piece and reversing the jaw.
You will note the hole in the tail piece that is designed to facilitate an
optional bench clamp to hold the REVO JR snug to the bench. Or. It can be used
as a convenient hanging point.
A Nice Touch
There are a pair of
sliding plastic ‘legs’ included with the REVO clamps and they are a nice added
touch that keep your work pieces off the clamp steel. Another nice touch is the
removable pressure pads that should not stick to the glue you are using. In the
event that some does, simply slide them off and give them a twist to remove any
The acme thread on
the hand screw provides up to 900 pounds of clamping pressure even with my
arthritic hands. Simply raise the hand screw to position the jaws anywhere
along the clamp rails.
The new Bessey REVO JR clamps are available in 12”, 18”, 36” and 50” lengths.
All it Takes is a
I almost hate to buy
products that come in so named plastic blister packages because of the
difficulty required to open them. Ironically, the new Skil, Lithium-ion powered
Power Cutter is packaged in one of them. However, it is in a ‘clam shell’
without all of those hot weld spots to foil the consumer. I digress!
The new and very
innovative 3.6v Skill Power Cutter has a rotating, well guarded, razor sharp
blade that will cut through paper, cardboard, carpet, cushion floor, wallpaper,
and of course those pesky plastic blister packages with ease. On top of all of
that, there is an ingenious little self sharpening gismo attached to the blade
As mentioned above,
the Skil Power Cutter is powered with built-in a 3.6 volt Li-ion battery pack
that includes a fuel gauge for convenience. And, it is fully charged right out
of the package. A trickle charger is also included. This little lightweight
Power Cutter will save the day and relieve many frustrations over and over.
Keep it handy, you’ll be using it on a regular basis.
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