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Flying off the handle

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Anybody hear me scream some carefully selected harsh language Tuesday morning? I know we've gotten reports from at least two surrounding counties on this side of the river (so far), and one in Ohio.

What prompted the screaming fit was when I tightened down my table saw fence, and the handle snapped off in my hand. The handle is a solid rubbery grip with a threaded rod that screws into a hole in the lever built into the fence. Naturally, that threaded rod didn't have the courtesy to snap at a point outside the hole – where I could easily grip it with pliers and work out the broken piece – but about 1/16” down inside the hole.

A quick post over on the WoodCentral forum elicited several responses on how to get that broken piece out, and most of them recommended the use of a screw extractor. Duh. I was of a mindset that screw extractors were for removing screws, so the thought of using one to get out what was essentially a snapped-off bolt never occurred to me.

Even though I knew I had some extractors somewhere around the shop, after 20 minutes of fruitless searching I knew it was easier to go out and buy a set of new ones, which I did. Once back home, the act of drilling a small hole in the broken bolt for the extractor to grab onto actually loosened the bolt all by itself. I managed to twirl it out with the tip of a nail, and my brand new extractors remain unopened in the package.

Because the broken handle had a permanent threaded rod as part of it, there was no reusing it. But it was a simple task to cut a length of threaded rod to length and turn a new handle on my lathe for a replacement that’s better, and more attractive, than the original. All’s well that ends well.


Since I didn’t need the new extractors, I knew a day would come that I probably would. And since it’d likely be a long time before I needed them, I looked around for a logical spot to put them so I’d remember where they were next time.

A logical place came to me and as I went to stash them there. Naturally, I found that that’s where I’d put my others.

Till next time,


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