Home > Community > Blogs > After Hours with the WOOD Gang
Better Blog


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.

Categories: Our Tools | Tags: , ,
No Comments

And now we turn our attention to the ceiling

The warm weather continues. The garage-shop reorg marches on. This time, we turn our attention to the ceiling.

New lights to brighten things up:

Ceiling 1 Read more

It gets worse before it gets better

So my virtual shop took one step closer to reality, this weekend. Step 1 was the lumber rack. Step 2 is to build shelving on the opposite wall so that I could house everything that isn’t woodworking related. After -20° weather had me trapped indoors and going a bit stir-crazy, we finally had a couple weekends warm enough to get out in the garage. In fact, a few of the days were downright pleasant, melting much of the snow away.

So, the plan: sturdy, built-in, floor-to-ceiling shelves in the 15″ strip of space between wall and garage door. Unfortunately, before I could do that, I had to vamoose the little pine slat shelves that were holding garage junk. These shelves have traveled with us since college days. They are now bound for the basement where they will hold basement junk rather than garage junk.

So, before things get better, they got much, much worse:

Shop Shelves 1 Read more

Shop Progress

Well, you’ve seen the jam-packed shop, and the virtual shop. Here’s a progress report on the actual shop:

I’ve been picking away at it slowly as I wait for the truck to warm up in the morning. (Craig, when I’m late for carpooling, this is my excuse.)

But I managed to make some good leaps over the weekend. I’m tackling storage first. Mostly because I need some room to walk in order to get any other serious organization done. So, I got rid of some stuff that needed getting-rid-of. And I built a very sturdy lumber rack (You can find the simple plans in WOOD’s Best-Ever Woodworking Jigs, Homemade Tools & Shop Organizers pub. BEWJHTSO, for short).

Shop Reorganization 1 Read more

Virtual Shop

So, I was exploring Sketchup’s 3D warehouse — a library of models that you can download for your personal use — and found a nice little collection of woodworking tools posted there.

Though none of the models represented the exact tools I have, they are close enough that I can do a rough layout of my garage/shop. (A recent move leaves me with a blank slate for a shop. I’ve yet to get organized, but I’ve made a little progress since this entry.)

The nice thing about doing a shop layout in Sketchup is that it is much easier to visualize the results than it was with the little gridded paper and the xeroxed tool icons.

Sketchup Shop 1 Read more

Completed cabinet

Well, it’s finally complete! My step-back cabinet is finally done. First, here’s a shot of the drawer that had to be grooved to accommodate the over-thick drawer slides:

Drawer slide

Drawer slide

As you can see, I got the drawer fronts on and the pulls installed. Here’s the finished cabinet:

Completed step-back cabinet

Completed step-back cabinet

So far it’s swallowed a dovetail jig with three templates, two router kits and associated accessories, air nailers, various jigs, hardware and more. I haven’t devoted a lot of time to putting stuff where it works best, but at least it’s out of the boxes that were scattered all about.

Now I’m in the process of designing a TV stand. It’s my first real effort with Sketchup, so I work a bit, get stumped, poke around the on-line tutorials, then try some more.  I’ll post some sketches in progress.


Heating the shop

I received a message from a reader asking how I heated my shop in the third stall of my garage. Since temperatures here have been much cooler than normal, I thought this might be a good time to share that info with everyone, so here are the particulars. Read more

Cabinet #2 – The carcase

Progress has been steady on the cabinets, if not as quick as I’d hoped. Lumber was procured and allowed to season in the shop for several days. Now the carcases for the second cabinet are taking shape. Pocket hole joinery makes these quick and easy to assemble. You can see the pocket holes to secure the face frame to the bottom cabinet. Note that the top is just below the bench to the left. That way, when the door of the upper cabinet is open, those two surfaces will be flush.

Lower carcase

Lower carcase

Here’s the upper cabinet. Notice the quad receptacle in the upper right corner that I’ll have to contend with. Don’t worry, I’m sure I’ve got a plan for it. Read more

Shop of the Future

It is reported that Michelango said, “In every block of marble I see a statue as plain as though it stood before me, shaped and perfect in attitude and action. I have only to hew away the rough walls that imprison the lovely apparition to reveal it to the other eyes as mine see it.”

The same, I hope, is true of my future shop. Here’s the “marble” from which I must carve it:

Shop Clutter 1 Read more

© Meredith Corporation. All Rights Reserved | Privacy Policy | Data Policy | Terms of Service | AdChoices