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Bill HammerII

Not something you see everyday

Rating: 4 votes, 5.00 average.
In my day job I handle trim and built-ins. I do a lot of different stuff and this weekend was no different. During a complex 3 piece crown (another story about ceilings 6 off plane, major scribing and spring angle changes every piece it seemed) the Architect remarked that matching the existing railing (Made around the turn of the century) was going to cost x amount and take a huge amount of time. Not being one to miss a cash income I offered to match the rail for 200 bucks less and beat the lead-time by 3 weeks. Yes I whined about the rail when hand scraping but after mounting the rail I thought I was headed down hill. The pickets were x 1 1/8 and I was ripping them from rough sawn oak air dried for a zillion years. I had these off cuts from a pile I bought a few months ago that were longer then my storage so I cut a few down to size and stacked the off cuts (roughly 42 long)

Now to take rough stock down the plan was to cut a straight line, use that to cut the wide pieces down to size some more (most of this stuff is from 10 to 14) and work around the any bad wood. So I cut and cut and cut and cut and cut some more until I had a good sized pile of wood that was a little over 7/8 thick and ranged from 2 to 2 1/8 thick. The next step was to cut one side down with another straight side. Not a bad task with a 40 strip of oak against an 8 ft straight fence. In the course of doing this I usually have someone help catching as I feed wood through the table saw. During this I was alone and had to reach over the saw to grab the cut piece while the scrap fell to the floor. Now Im the first to admit that even as old as I am I scared of my power tools and yes Im ok with that. I use custom push sticks, think before each cut and generally keep my hands, fingers and body the hell away from moving parts when operating machinery. That so far has kept all my parts attached to me and allowed me to return home to the wife at the end of the day without a side trip to have parts sewn back on.

Im being of so careful at the jobsite by myself even killing the saw when I start ripping a new piece of wood while I study the piece looking for issues or such that might offer a nasty surprise in the middle of a cut. I figure an on/off switch is cheaper then finding a problem in the middle of a cut. I even remind myself that repetitive cuts are the ones that cause problems as you relax in the middle of something like cutting 50 zillion pickets. So every cut is approached just like its the first one. Of course even with all your careful planning you cant just account for Murphy. Like when he showed up and I dropped one of those pieces of oak 40 long 7/8 of an inch thick and 1 wide into the running table saw blade.

Now in ones life there are life changing events and then there are life changing events and dropping that chunk of wood into a spinning 10 saw blade was a life changing events. I dont think the human mind can follow the progress as a chunk of matter is accelerated past the speed of light and using some sort of string theory god partial science to just materialize suddenly sticking out of a door. Ok so it was a hollow core door but a piece of wood just appearing, sticking out of a door is pretty mind blowing event in my world. But the cause and its effect was one and same as one moment in time the wood is falling from my hand and the exact same moment it appears in the door. Of course when one drops a chuck of wood into a spinning blade one just doesnt stand still. No, its sort of a dance as your middle aged body attempts to leap back while raising your hands over your head. During this of course your heart jumps into your throat and your bodys responding to age old conditioning produces huge amount of drugs that it dumps into your body as you prepare to kill a saber tooth tiger or in this case dodge a speeding chuck of wood. Of course a little voice somewhere in the back of your head is telling that its all to late and someone, sometime, might find your body pinned to the wall by said chunk of wood. With this little voice are pictures of your impaled body hanging from the wall being plastered all over the net as a warning to all about just how stupid people can be by allowing themselves to be impaled by a piece of wood. On the up side my 15 minutes of fame in death could become a great urban myth and no greater source then the mighty Myth Busters could someday attempt to recreate the accident and my fate is placed on the shelf as being busted.

So let recap for a minute, I have dropped a chunk of hardwood into the running table saw blade. The blade caught the chunk and sent it traveling a zillion miles an hour into a hollow core door. During the drop and shoot I perform a sort of funky chicken dance. Yup that about covers up to the point of where the homeowners and architect walk through the door as Im reaching down to switch off the saw. Im sure the story is different from their point of view but we all agree that a chuck of wood suddenly showing up in the door isnt a good thing. So anybody got a good deal on a 30 slab so I can replace a door?



  1. Gene Crain's Avatar
    Too bad it wasn't on the other stile and close to 36"....would have saved needing to drill for the lockset!

    Gene Crain
    plantasymaderas dot com
  2. Gene Crain's Avatar
    ...forgot to add that I know what you mean about life changing events... http://www.plantasymaderasgardenbenc...-to-edit3.html
  3. Keith Parker's Avatar
    The funky chicken? Maybe you have other skills with which you can make a living? Are you really that old? 8-) Glad it missed you, but this WOULD make a great urban legend.

    Updated 03-25-2010 at 9:03 AM by Keith Parker (Accidently posted before finished)