Champing at the bit

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No matter how much preparation you do for a shop task, especially a major one, the tiniest detail can bring everything to a screeching halt.

I talked last time how I spent nearly two hours on prep work to convert my saw’s extension to a router table. What I didn’t include in that time estimate was a forced timeout caused by lacking a single item.

After routing the recess for the router plate, I needed to drill two 11/32" pilot holes for threaded inserts required for the plate mounting screws. I have tons of drill bits, but the hole in the rack that should hold an 11/32" bit was empty. I checked my “miscellaneous bits” drawer with no luck. I even resorted to that metal box of 137 bits I bought for a dollar at an import-tool chain, but found that its 11/32" hole was empty, too. Where were those 11/32" bits, and why were just those missing? I was clueless.

So I had to stop and go buy me a new one, and in this case the local Mom and Pop hardware store – a chain, really, but the people owning it are parents, probably – was my better choice. The local Big Box store would have been cheaper, and I know from experience they would have a better selection, but it was five times the distance from my house. And the weather was nasty. And I just wanted to get the drill bit and get back to work. And it’d take only 10 minutes, tops.

But when driving there my fuel light came on. I always gas up at a station associated with my grocery store because I get discounts. That station was farther away than others, but I needed gas so I went there. Then, because it was right next to that grocery store, I figured since I was there anyway I might as well pick some stuff I knew we needed and save a trip later, so I did that, too.

Back home I put the groceries away, and it was back out to the shop. Glancing at the shop clock, I realized with dismay that getting that one drill bit took longer than all of the prep time I put in routing that table.

A.J.

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