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Short-term terror

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An unexpected, terrifying shock can happen anytime – while driving, doing extreme sports, opening bills – but none are as instantly petrifying as in the woodshop.

I’ve talked before about sudden scares in the shop. There was the time power went off, plunging me into total darkness with fingers just inches from a spinning blade. And who hasn’t experienced the heart-stopping BANG! of a band saw blade breaking mid-cut?

Well, I had another one this week that, fortunately, turned out just fine.

First, a bit of setup: As you may know, I upgraded dust collection this year. The final improvement I made was a remote start for the collector that I can clip to my belt. (As an aside, these things are great. If you don’t have one, get one.)

Anyway, for a current project I needed to swap out the regular blade I was using for a dado set. As always when changing blades I unplugged the saw. I removed the blade, put it aside, then stacked and installed the dado cutter. Since the cutter is smaller than the regular blade, the last step was to remove the too-tall riving knife. Held in place with a lever, to get to the knife you need to reach into the rear portion of the throat opening.

And it was at the exact moment that my hands and arms were against the dado cutter, that I leaned onto the edge of the saw table just right, hitting the remote’s button and firing up the dust collector.

At this point, I’m guessing I don’t need to describe the sudden terror that went through me.



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