That cliché about how nobody expects to have an accident couldn’t be more true than in a woodworking shop. Here’s your cautionary tale of the day: I was changing bits on the router table shown here. The switch works by pulling the red handle up and to the right, and the idea behind mounting it on the front edge of the router table was that you could bump it off in an emergency. I thought, what could be safer? Unplugging it to change bits would be overkill, right?
Then one late afternoon, I wanted to chuck a round-over bit. Like dozens of times before, I raised the collet close to the top of the table and fished the wrenches from the router bit cabinet. Leaning over the table from the front, I turned ever so slightly to the right and got the surprise of my life as the router magically turned itself on with the wrenches only a half-inch away. Thank goodness the soft-start feature on this router gave me the split second I needed to back away from the bit.
The mystery took about 10 seconds to solve. The fly on my jeans had caught on the switch and pulled it on as I leaned against the table edge. (Please, no jokes that end with “…or were you just glad to see me.”) The moral: Nothing slices fingers faster than a shortcut. Now I take the extra five seconds to pull the plug on this router before I reach for the wrenches.
In my last post I outlined the on/off switch I made from an old coffee timer. Last weekend, I had a chance to try it out. It fulfills its intended purpose, providing an easy-to-reach on/off switch, perfectly. And there’s the benefit of having an easy-to-read digital clock in the shop.
There was one thing I did not anticipate, however. After 2 hours, it automatically shuts off. A smart function for a coffee pot. Not so much for the stereo. So I’ve taken to just plugging and unplugging the stereo directly from the wall receptacle. And the timer? It will serve nicely as a clock until something presents itself that needs to shut off after 2 hours. Air compressor perhaps?
One of the final loose ends in my shop reorganization was finding a place for the stereo. It’s three stacked components, an old garage-sale find, but it works and allows me to plug in my iPod. The only suitable spot I could find was on top of my wall cabinets. I can j-u-s-t reach the volume control, but not the power switch. So I decided I needed an on/off switch that was easier to reach. Hmmm, how to do this creatively without spending any money? Digging through my junk drawer produced a switch and timer salvaged from an old coffee maker (see, I knew I’d find a use for it), and a female replacement plug for an electrical cord. The scrap bin yielded some mahogany. After milling the lumber to size, cutting box joints, and mounting the electronics, here’s what I had. Read more