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Reading the small print

Just got a new Triton router, and it is sweet. But before plopping it into my router table, as a safe and conscientious woodworker, I first sat down with the manual to familiarize myself with the machine. It didn’t go well.

I know my eyes aren’t as good as they used to be. They’re just part of a growing list of deteriorating things that includes just about every single body part I own – knees, hips, feet, my sense of decorum in public, etc. But the struggle I had reading the text just confirmed that my aging eyes are the worst of the lot.

“It never used to be this bad,” I lamented, mourning my lost eagle-sharp vision. And to confirm it, I dug out the oldest tool manual I have – for my Porter-Cable 690 router from the mid-’90s – to make a comparison.

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Wait just a minute. It really didn’t use to be that bad. They text in that old manual was large and easy to read. Yeah, still needed my glasses to accomplish it, but I didn’t find myself squinting and digging in my desk for a magnifying glass. Quickly rummaging through some more manuals, old and new, the truth became apparent.

It’s not me! Older tool manuals were easier to read! I guess manufacturers now use smaller text to accommodate more safety information, save paper, or whatever. But the real takeaway here is that my eyes are not as bad as I thought they were. In fact, this entire experience makes me feel younger. Now, if only my knees, hips, feet and sense of decorum would get the news.

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