In the past 4 months I’ve had 2 (two!) kickback incidents with my table saw. Now, most people who read this are going to have the reaction of “well, you aren’t using proper technique, duh.” Yeah, you’re right. In those two incidents, I wasn’t. Both times, I was changing from a dado stack to a rip blade for the nth time that day, and didn’t bother spending the extra 3 minutes to put the splitter back in place (because I was going to have to switch back to the dado stack a few cuts later).
Now, i’m SUPER paranoid about the table saw, so I never-ever stand behind the blade, and am very careful about where my fingers are; in both instances the piece of wood flew across the room and that was that. My garage door wasn’t very happy.
However, this is a recipe for getting really hurt. I was lucky both times something serious didn’t happen. This isn’t about HOW to use a table saw safely, it’s about ALWAYS using it safely. And how are you going to always use it 100% safe, every time? Reminds me of this scene from the wire:
Anyways, recognizing my own faults, I’ve decided to at least take a step to make it much more likely that I’ll always put that splitter back in place. I ordered a "snap in spreader" from Biesemeyer. Now, instead of dealing with bolts and wrenches, this thing literally drops in place in a matter of seconds. It’s no riving knife, but I don’t have the money for a new saw right now. It seems pretty expensive for what it is, but I’ve got no excuse for not always running it now, with it literally taking 5 seconds to put in. Laziness is taken out of the question.
And before you start pointing fingers, find a survey on how many people run their table saws with no safety equipment at all. Before riving knives became mandatory, many woodworkers simply removed the splitter and guard when they got home, and never looked at them again. I’m not alone here. So, this is a worthy investment in your safety if you’ve got an older saw that doesn’t have a riving knife.
Be safe! And I swear I’m not TOO accident prone, despite the name of this blog.
I had a chance to finally get my shop cleaned up, so I figured I take a few pictures while things were looking good.
First, I don’t know how many people use these aerosol sprayers, but I’m totally hooked. I stumbled across the recommendation on owwm.org (aka the best site on the internet), and picked one up earlier this year.
I found one on ebay for around 30 bucks, and picked up a gallon of wd40. You just fill it up 2/3 with your solvent, and then pressurize it.. I know it sounds stupid, but spraying wd40 out of a can is for chumps once you realize this thing is around. It puts out such thick, fine mist, you just want to keep on spraying things. I usually just walk around the shop once every few weeks and lay a coat of wd40 on anything that’s metal. Really enjoyable.
I made it to WIA (woodworking in america) in october, and was able to pick up a few things I’ve had my eye on the past couple years.
A bronze No.4:
Bronze low angle block plane:
And the Galbert Drawsharp! Pete didn’t know it, but talking to him was the highlight of the weekend. It was also great to talk with Tim Manney, and I put my name on his list for his upcoming adze.
Some other additions to my shop include the new(ish) dewalt brushless 20v drill and impact driver. I had dropped my drill a few years ago and bent the spindle slightly. I had been eyeing some of the festool drivers, but frankly, these are really nice and waaaaaay cheaper.
The new 20v is much smaller than the old 18v (and much lighter).
Since we entering winter, I also picked up a shop heater. I generally can deal with the cold pretty well (I live in Nashville, after all. It doesn’t get that cold down here), but I had a couple glue up issues last year due to low temperatures, and that’s annoying. I don’t need to bring the temperature in the shop up to 70 degrees, but getting it to like 50F would make for reliable glue-ups I think.
Now that I’ve got the heater, my 3-legged cattle dog mix likes to hang out inside the shop a little more often.
Oh yeah.. Moved those book cases inside. I’ll write up a longer entry on them once I get the glass installed. Laminated safety glass is EXPENSIVE.
Maybe it’s actually a craigslist problem? Anyways, couldn’t really pass this one up.. 7” Baldor, brand new. About 75% off.
You can always tell quality stuff when you see it in person. This is a hefty grinder, about 70 lbs. And when you turn it off, it literally takes about 3 minutes to stop spinning. It’s got stamped steel rests (lame), but they expect you to replace them with something more substantial anyways.
The bookshelves are finally coming together. Next up, shelves, then some crown molding, then doors for the lower sections. Hope to finish them in the next couple weeks. These are tall; about an inch shy of 8’. They’re built to match the height of the windows in my living room, so it compliment them nicely.
Another piece of “furniture of necessity" done. Well, still need my wife to pick out some paint. We need some better toy storage for Porter’s room, and *almost* ordered a Trofast storage combination from ikea. Well, no point in having a garage full of tools and a belly full of gumption if I can’t build something myself, dangit. Plus, I could build it to fit the space it was destined to be. Bespoke furniture. Although, I wouldn’t call this furniture.
Started gluing up panels last week, nailed on the back boards tonight. My wife still thinks I build things agonizingly slow; I don’t buy into it. Although I did promise her some bookcases like 8 months ago, so she may have a point.
I inlayed a piece of angle iron into the front edge. I think it looks nice, plus I imagine this will be a “jumping off point” for Porter, in the most literal sense.
Tongue and groove back; used my uncle’s stanley 45 (which, I’m always amazed how minty-condition it is in. I don’t think the 3/16 tongue cutter had ever been sharpened) and my small plow plane from veritas. Pretty enjoyable.
Anyways, didn’t take too long, and should hold up longer than whatever we could have purchased. We DID buy the bins from ikea though. Don’t get me wrong, I love ikea. It’s hard to buy their furniture though, if you have the slightest insight into what really good furniture is like. Although, the price at ikea is definitely right. No arguing that.
Chris Schwarz talks a lot about “furniture of necessity”, and that’s what I’ve been working on lately. However, I define the phrase a little differently… I’ve been working on things that my wife has declared necessary that I finish *right now*.
To that end, I’ve built a bed for my son, am halfway done with a set of bookshelves, and will be constructing a toy organizing thing as well next week. Hopefully by the time October hits, I’ll get to start working on some new office furniture. And maybe once December rolls around, I’ll get to work on some of my shop projects (infill plane kit, carving vise, etc).
Sarah wanted a “pallet” bed. So that’s kinda what I built. I added the removable side rail after Porter fell out a couple times.
Also added 5 recessed lights and a pendant lamp to his room, so that took up a couple days as well.
Last weekend I had the opportunity to go help Greg Pennington put up his new timber frame shed. THAT was a lot of fun. You can check it out on Greg’s blog.
Man, I wish I had space for one of these at my house. And I wish I had a sawmill, and a tractor, and on and on. I may have to move out into the country after all.
Please excuse the following rambling post.. I’ve had quite a bit to write about, but can’t seem to find the time. So here are some pictures of the activity (or lack there-of) in my shop.
First, some purchases I’m quite excited about. I received a reamer from Tim Manny (by way of Pete Galbert). You can read about / order them here. I actually had quite a bit of a mixup with Tim about my shipping address, but he was super-patient with me and it eventually made its way here. Thanks Tim!
What a great looking tool. I love the set-screw to adjust depth of cut, and how it’s tipped in brass.
I haven’t really had a chance to use it yet, but I did make a quick block to store the reamer in.. Tim recommends using a block of wood with a hole reamed in it to keep the tool nice and tight during storage. Drill a hole, ream it, and voila! Beautiful and functional (the reamer, not the block of wood).
Tim actually just started blogging, his site is at: timmanneychairmaker.blogspot.com. Just looking at his first few posts, I can tell it’s a site I’ll revisit often.
The *other* thing I received was the hardware for benchcrafted’s carvers vise. I’m really excited about this one.
Benchcrated always does a quality packing job..
I don’t have wood for it yet, but I’ve got a line on some 16/4 mahogany. Although that really won’t match my bench; I may build it in ash or maple.
It will probably be late summer before I get a chance to get started on this one.. I’ve got a long list of projects I was supposed to finish months ago.
Speaking of which.. I finally finished that 5 drawer table I started almost a year ago.
The design was inspired (or copied completely) from an article written by Garrett Hack in FWW. I’m sure this is one of many, many versions of this particular piece that have been built over the years. Cherry / maple (with poplar drawer bottoms, I ran out of maple), most of which came from my Uncle Mike’s sawmill.
I turned the knobs myself, which I’m quite proud of. To say I’m a novice turner is an understatement.
Nice grain on the drawers and the top..
One of the projects I’m getting caught up in is a new room for our son, Porter. We wanted to put up barnwood on a wall, so we went out and found some (and paid through the nose for it). Then we realized it was covered in lead paint, so now it’s just sitting in my garage awaiting an unknown fate. I ended up applying a steel wool / vinegar mix to rough sawn poplar, then rabbeting all the boards and nailing them up. Came out looking pretty spiffy, I think.
I’m starting on some bookshelves for our living room next, here’s the first glue-up of many to come..
And of course, the driving force behind most of these projects..
(at the beach a few weeks ago..)
Happy Fathers Day everyone!
All these poor orphan tools.. I adopted another one today. A 1hp three phase Queen City “High Duty” pedestal grinder. I’ll write up the addition of a VFD and rewiring it.. I want to cleanly add speed control if possible, and hide the VFD around back. We’ll see.
*** If anyone has a set of wheel guards laying around that would fit, leave me a comment.. I’d like an original set! ***
I’m spoiled as far as vises go. I’m used to effortless clamping. So, while there was absolute nothing wrong with the vise I picked up last week, I had to tune it up. You could feel the accumulation of 80 years of dirt and grime when you spun the handle.
So! I gave it a good soaking in evaporust, then hit it with a wire wheel and brush to git rid of all the rust and grime. I took care to make sure all the bearing surfaces where super clean and smooth, and hit the acme screw with a coating of lithium grease.
I’m claiming that it’s now BETTER than factory-new condition, because the collet (garter?) didn’t seat very well due to a rough casting. I took a file to it, and 10 minutes later it was seated much better. This removed at least 1/8” of play and probably a full turn of backlash.
One of the coolest bits on this vise is the handle.. There’s a little set screw right on the head that squeezes a little metal disc against the handle. This allows you to position the bar whereever you want, and it will stay there (notice how its NOT sliding down in the picture above?)
Here is the little set screw in the center of the hub:
And here are the pieces pulled out. The set screw compress the spring against the metal disc, which pushes against the bar handle.
Here’s a video showing the vise in action after cleanup. So smooth. The question is where to put this thing? I kind of want to build a platform for it so I can move it on and off my workbench, but.. I shouldn’t really be doing metalwork on my workbench. So we’ll see what happens.