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All charged up

I’m a pretty handy guy, but I don’t know anything about electricity.

Electricity and I aren’t close friends. Oh, we get along OK – not a moment of the day goes by when I don’t use electricity in one form or another – but as to how it works and, more importantly, what to do when it doesn’t, I’m next to clueless.

So, when my band saw died last week I had no idea what went wrong or what to do. Fortunately, the folks who hang out at represent not only the largest body of woodworking knowledge you’ll find in one place, but a huge amount of know-how on lots of other things. I started a topic on the message board describing the problem and symptoms of my band saw’s untimely death, and got plenty of advice on what the likely culprit was. Consensus: The switch went bad.

No big deal, sayeth they all. It’s an easy fix. All you have to do is pull the switch and fragga-wagga hatamatata gob-gob do-dah-day. Or, at least that’s how the electrically charged technical jargon registered on my electrically ignorant ears. Still, the solution did seem simple once I waded around the jargon: Remove the old switch; put in a new one.

Well, shucks, I should be able to do that. So, I ordered me a replacement switch from the manufacturer, unplugged everything (as well as anything nearby, you know, just in case…), unscrewed the wires on the old switch, reattached the wires in the same places on the new one, and put it back in the saw. Plugged it in, crossed my fingers, hit the button and – success!

And there, ladies and gentlemen, marks a major milestone and a certain checkmark on my bucket list: I, A.J. Hamler, repaired a major electrical appliance all by myself. And, rather importantly, did it without getting electrocuting by my new best friend Mr. Electricity.

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