The Carpenter's Story...

I came across this story on another forum and it seemed quite appropriate for my blog, so I'm reposting it here.

An elderly carpenter was ready to retire. He told his employer-contractor of his plans to leave the house building business and live a more leisurely life with his wife enjoying his extended family.

He would miss the paycheck, but he needed to retire. They could get by. The contractor was sorry to see his good worker go and asked if he could build just one more house as a personal favor. The carpenter said yes, but in time it was easy to see that his heart was not in his work. He resorted to shoddy workmanship and used inferior materials. It was an unfortunate way to end his career.

When the carpenter finished his work and the builder came to inspect the house, the contractor handed the front-door key to the carpenter. "This is your house," he said, "It is my gift to you."

What a shock! What a shame!

If he had only known he was building his own house, he would have done it all so differently. Now he had to live in the home he had built none too well.

So it is with us. We build our lives in a distracted way, reacting rather than acting, willing to put up less than the best. At important points we do not give the job our best effort. Then with a shock we look at the situation we have created and find that we are now living in the house we have built. If we had realized that we would have done it differently.

Think of yourself as the carpenter. Think about your house. Each day you hammer a nail, place a board, or erect a wall. Build wisely. It is the only life you will ever build. Even if you live it for only one day more, that day deserves to be lived graciously and with dignity.

The plaque on the wall says, "Life is a do-it-yourself project."

— Author Unknown


Display stand project complete!


After my encounter with the table saw mishap, I took my time trimming the MDF for the display stand project using my bandsaw.  This provided a degree better in precision cutting that I needed.  It didn't take long for me to finish the center and immediate side pieces of the display stands.  In fact, it went by so quickly that I forgot to take photos until I was on the third section.  Fortunately, the construction of all three levels is identical, so this third tier display stand will serve as a good model of how the other parts were assembled.

First I cut all the sides ¼" shorter than the sides they mate with.  That way all the corners line up correctly when I go to glue the sections together.

Side boards

Here are the supports for each side section.  They're ½" MDF board cut in strips and cut to length for the side sections' length and height.

Support wood sections

The ½" MDF strips are glued to the sides using regular wood glue as shown here.  Then they're set aside to dry for an hour.

Side boards with supports affixed

Then I took each completed side section and paired it with the display stand lid.  From there, I glued the sections to the lid using the wood glue.

Display top with sides ready to be glued on

And here's the semi-finished display stand (inverted).  This will be truly finished after the wife covers it in the fabric of her choice.  But for now, my work here is done!

Completed display stand (inverted)


A Word on Safety...


In all the time that I've maintained this blog, I haven't made any posts regarding workshop safety...especially around power tools.  Well, that's going to change right now.

Today I had a serious mishap in the workshop.  Fortunately, I am fine...but I believe this is largely due to the emphasis I place on safety at every step of the construction process.  I wear eye protection every time I fire up any power tool and I make it a point to consciously respect the terrible damage these tools can inflict.  But even with this conscientious approach, mishaps do happen.  The good news is that, when using these tools safely, they don't get the opportunity to harm life or limb.

To get to the point, I had a fragment of material come off a piece of MDF board I was cutting and it caught on the circular saw which drew it into the saw housing.  Near as I can tell, the piece struck the blade housing in such a way that it became unstable and warped into the rotating blade.  What happened after that was complete housing destruction, warping of the feeder plate and impact deformation of the blade itself.  All of this happened within a fraction of a second.

The red-colored bent plate you see here is the feeder plate.  This was originally flat by design, but now it is clearly bent. The damage was apparently caused by the force of impact from the blade housing fragmentation and from what appears to be glancing impact from the saw blade.

Deformed, damaged feeder plate

What you see here is all that remains of the saw housing.  As can be seen here, it was completely destroyed in the mishap.

Remnants of saw blade housing

This is where the feeder plate (shown above) used to be mounted next to where the saw blade spun.  This is why I always have the eye shield lowered over the blade when it's in operation.  It's certain that parts must have flown out the top opening.  Fortunately, my eyes were double shielded by the blade cover and the eye protection I was wearing.

Area where the feeder plate was damaged

This is a view of the underside of the table saw.  The blade housing is completely gone.  Near the bottom edge of the blade you can see the remnants of the housing.  That's all that is left.

Destroyed saw blade housing

This is where the saw blade housing was.  Just to the left of the blade you can see the mount bolts for the housing.  They were both severely bent by the force of the rotating blade destroying the housing.  It was rather unsettling to see this kind of destruction occuring in such close physical proximity not only to my face, but also near my legs.

Saw blade housing damage and bent mounting bolts

So the moral of the story is, always utilize strict safety practices in the shop!  You never know when failure of a component will occur and sometimes the only way you can prevent injury is by constantly giving these tools the respect they demand.  Taking safety for granted at any point can have disastrous results.  While I'm none too happy that my table saw is out of commission, I am just glad that the only thing that suffered for the mishap was the machine itself.  This incident was just too close for comfort.

Progress on the Display Stands...


I was finally able to break away from my hectic schedule of studying and cramming for exams to do some work in the garage on the display stand project.  After about four hours worth of running boards over the circular saw, I was rewarded with the sight of all the boards cut to size and ready to assemble.  A good afternoon well spent.  Later this week I'll spend some time assembling these items when I have a couple of free hours.

Boards cut to size

Oh yes...happy Labor Day!