Popular Woodworking 2000-10 № 117, страница 56

Popular Woodworking 2000-10 № 117, страница 56

Out of the Woodwork

Introduction to Missile-Making

When Sam and I started woodworking, we hoped our skills would take off like a rocket. It wasn't our skills that took off...

I grew up around woodworking tools, but my interest in the subject dwindled to non-existence when I hit my middle teenage years. My brother, however, continued the hobby in his home shop throughout his adult life. When he and his family moved to a smaller house, he needed a place to store his tools. Because my wife and I live in a house with an unfinished basement I told him that we'd be glad to store them.

After this "acquisition" of tools, my wife urged me to make some household items. So I decided to brush up on my limited woodworking skills. During the same time a friend of mine, Sam, had his interest in woodworking sparked by a mutual friend of ours. The spark was quickly fanned into a flame when he saw the tools resting in my basement.

Together, we became avid "tool collectors." He was building his workshop from scratch while I was trying to fill in the gaps in my brother's tool collection. Sam purchased a table saw, a lathe and a router — which spurred me into a purchasing frenzy. First came a 14" band saw and a 6" jointer — next was a router and a sander, quickly followed by a biscuit jointer and a compound miter saw. We were rapidly reaching a high point in "tool collecting." Unfortunately, our wives grew tired of the shopping spree and wanted to see some results from all our buying efforts.

Finally the day arrived for us to begin mastering our tools. We made the crucial decision to build our first project in his shop and to start with something simple: a footstool. The router, mounted under his new router table, was to be our first exciting conquest.

It wasn't really the tool we needed to use, but for us, it held the most intrigue. With a roundover bit properly installed in the router, we chose a scrap piece of pine to practice on. The fence was set at what we determined to be the proper distance from the router bit.

Tension filled the air. All that shopping, all that time spent setting up our individual shops was culminating in this one moment of exhilaration. Sam placed the board on the work surface and squared its edge to the fence, then flipped the switch to start the router. The hum of the motor... the whir of the bit... the smell of a new piece of equipment running for the first time... we were about to become "woodworkers."

Slowly he pushed the board toward the rotating router bit when "BOOM" ... a thunderous noise shattered the steady hum of the motor. Sam's hand remained steadfast atop the now empty face of the router table. Across the room and lying undisturbed on the floor was our first 12" x 3" router-launched "missile." Two feet above

it was the dented surface of a wall cabinet.

Being the "expert" of the duo, I quickly surmised that Sam had obviously not applied enough pressure when holding the board and encouraged him to try again. Carefully, and with more tension applied, he took the practice board and repeated the steps. Our second attempt resulted in a louder crash, a deeper dent in the cabinet and two novices buckled over at the waistline, laughing like a couple of kids after successfully pulling off a prank against a forlorn school teacher.

We finally decided that reading the directions might possibly shed some light on what could be causing the problem. It was after reading just a short while that we found out feeding the board between the bit and the fence was a no-no!

Fortunately no one was hurt — except for our pride and that cabinet — and we learned a valuable lesson about understanding how to properly operate tools before attempting to use them. PW

John R. Bryant works wood in Midway, Kentucky.

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