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Lucas Peters

What Not To Do: Router Base edition

Welcome to What Not To Do, the first (and hopefully last) in a series of object lessons in workshop safety wherein a WOOD editor illustrates the improper procedure. Do not attempt to duplicate this at home. We are paid professionals.

Now, take a look at this editor’s hand and try to guess what is wrong with the picture:

Router Bit Injury

No, it’s not A. That is what later became known as “the lawnmower incident.”

Nothing wrong with B, a symbol of wedded bliss.

C is evidence of recent painting and perhaps some dirt under the fingernail, but signifies nothing worse than poor personal hygiene.

Ah ha! You’ve spotted it. D is this week’s lesson in What Not To Do.

His mistakes should be obvious from the photo. Let’s discuss:

The first thing this editor did wrong was to forget to turn off the router’s switch after using it in his D-handle router base with an auxiliary trigger in the handle. Secondly—you guessed it—when he borrowed the cord from the router to test it’s placement in his newly assembled router table, he left it plugged in. Thirdly, he never checked the switch or the plug when he returned to the shop a couple days later. And finally, when he moved the router to his table-insert-mounted fixed base, he plugged the cord into the router motor—switch still on—with his finger dangerously gripping the insert next to the bit.

His wife thinks it’s a shame that the bit wasn’t more stylized to leave him with a prettier profile on his finger (“Maybe a nice ogee,” she was heard to remark). But as it was, the straight bit stitched a nice line of cuts from the base of the fingernail about halfway to the second knuckle. The soft start was a finger-saver as the bit didn’t immediately spin into full motion before he had time to yank the cord again.

Fortunately, the urgent care center didn’t find an urgent need to add stitches to the ugly mess the next morning and sent him home with an updated tetanus shot and antibiotics. Two weeks later, the finger is healing well, but with a slightly lumpy scar.

Learn from his example, dear reader. Don’t get in a hurry like our excited young editor. Double check your tools before you begin to use them for the day. Ensure all switches are in the off position and all cords are unplugged before you begin to change blades or bits or to work on tools.

And we look forward to no further episodes of What Not To Do.

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Mobile Tablesaw Base, Part 4

Switching over to the new blog system had me traipsing down memory lane a bit. And I realize that I’ve not updated you on the progress of my tablesaw mobile base. I know that you’ve been hanging on the edge of your seat with your fingernails, but just in case you don’t regularly read and re-read this series of blog posts, here’s where you can get up to speed: part 1part 2, and part 3. I’m riffing off of a plan that can be found in the October 2003 issue (no. 151) or for purchase here.

And here’s where it’s at now:

Mobile Tablesaw, front Read more

Back to woodworking … finally!

I’ve finally had a chance to get back to some woodworking. Here’s what’s on my bench right now. It’s the jewelry chest from Issue 191. I had some air-dried walnut sitting on my lumber rack for years that was waiting for a project, and the crotch pattern turned out to be perfect for this jewelry chest. Read more

25 years of woodworking in one summer

Hey all,

I guess this would be my answer to Jim Heavey’s blog entry What I Did During the Summer. Because even though I didn’t get much shop time this summer, I did get to work on a very interesting woodworking project: The WOOD Back Issues Collection on DVD-ROM. Read more

25 Interesting Facts About Multimedia Editor Lucas Peters

In honor of WOOD Magazine’s 25th Anniversary, we’re posting 25 Interesting Facts about each of the folks who put out your favorite woodworking magazine. Here’s my list:

Lucas Peters, Multimedia Editor

Lucas Peters, Multimedia Editor

1.    I graduated in a senior class of 14 people. And that was in a school district made up of two towns. My first class my freshman year in college had more students in it than my entire junior high/high school building. Read more

Sam Maloof in Better Homes & Gardens

You’ll see in many interviews that Sam Maloof credited an appearance of some of his early pieces in Better Homes & Gardens with giving his career a jumpstart.

Dave and I took a stroll across the building to our sister publication to see if we could track down a copy of that article. Sure enough—tucked away in a file cabinet we found the March 1951 edition of Better Homes & Gardens which contained an article titled “Handsome Furniture You Can Build” which features photos of Sam’s modest home furnished with simple pieces he built.

Read more

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Shop Class: Alive and thriving, thank you very much

Iowa Industrial Tech Expo, woodworking competitionToday, my esteemed colleague, Craig Ruegsegger, and I had the distinct honor to act as judges in the woodworking category at the Iowa Industrial Technology Exposition. Craig and I live in the same community as the host school, so we were thrilled to participate. The middle school and high school industrial arts students, however, come from all across the state with (oftentimes large) projects in tow.

The categories of competition range from CAD-architectural drafting to electronics to vehicle restoration to robotics. We were two of many judges in the woodworking category. Two of many because, I’m happy to report, it took half of a gymnasium to house  the numerous entries and a good number of judges to consider them all. Woodworking was very well represented in the competition, both in quantity and quality. And both the students who built the projects and the teachers who mentored them should be very proud. Read more

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Shop Tips, Dust Collection, and KISS

I really hate to pass up an opportunity to gloat over what a fun job I have. So I won’t.

One of the funnest parts of my jobs is editing the Shop Tips column. Every issue, I get to call up a fellow woodworker and let them know that they’ve won a tool valued at more than (sometimes way more than) $300. There is just no way that can turn into a bad conversation. Believe me, I’ve never talked to a grumpy shop tip winner.

To rub it in some more: every couple of weeks, I get to sit down with a team of experts and pore through a fortnight’s worth of entries choosing tips from clever woodworkers who have come up with novel ways to make life easier in the shop.

And then there are the ones we don’t choose. Read more

Mobile Tablesaw Base, Part 3

Just a quick update on the mobile tablesaw base for those of you playing along at home. For those of you just joining us, here are part 1, and part 2. I’m riffing off of a plan that can be found in the October 2003 issue (no. 151) or for purchase here.

This weekend, I added the wing insert between the long fence rails. It rests on top of the router cabinet. I made it out of a double thickness of 3/4″ MDF, edged in poplar, then covered with some of my formica bonanza from the Habitat for Humanity ReStore.

Mobile Tablesaw Base, router insert 2 Read more

Mobile Tablesaw Base, Part 2

The tablesaw base pushes onward. Next step, router cabinet. A little pre-build design work in Sketchup:

Tablesaw-wing router cabinet 1

Read more

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