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Dust up

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Woodworking knowledge and tricks can lend themselves usefully to dozens of other things. The trick is that you have to remember the tricks.

Any woodworker knows that dust can affect electrical devices. That’s why so much woodworking equipment has dustproof or sealed switches. That’s also why whenever an electrical circuit in the shop gets wonky, dust is the first thing you suspect. That’s especially true if the item in question isn’t directly woodworking related – shop radios or CD players, light switches, garage-door openers, fans, etc. – which might otherwise be protected with dust-proof components.

For these, the first line of defense when they malfunction is to get some compressed air and blow them out, and 95 percent of the time that solves the problem. In fact, I did this just a month or two ago with a floor fan that had a switch that was giving me a hard time.

But for some reason, when my cell phone wouldn’t charge correctly I promptly forgot all this. Instead, I made a special trip to Verizon with my phone, dreading that I’d be told I had to buy a new one. The guy there asked me one question: “Do you usually carry this in your pocket?” When I said yeah, and he responded that he thought he could fix it in about two seconds, the likely cause suddenly smacked me in the face like a bag of nickels.

He took a toothpick, fished in the charging socket and pulled out a wad of lint and dust the size of basketball. Quickly testing with a charger, it proved to be back to normal.

Sadly, all the acquired shop knowledge in the world does you no good if you leave it in the shop.



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