Notes from the Workshop: Dumb-Ass Edition

Maybe the cold has frozen my brain or the stress of the Holidays has made me crack, but I've done some dumb things in the shop this week.


A few weeks ago I mentioned that I found some mold under a piece of plywood on the shop floor.  What I didn't mention was that I also threw away a drawer that had been sitting on the floor.  It too had developed some mold on the exposed chipboard bottom.  After I a while, I dug it out of the trash because I had thought of a use for it.  So I cleaned it up and hit it with some Concrobium to take care of the mold.  Evidently, Concrobium doesn't work so well on porous surfaces.

A few days latter I went back into my shop and noticed the mold smell again.  I had left the drawer sitting on my workbench for several days, probably still slightly damp.  When I picked it up, I discovered mold had transferred itself to the top of my bench, Ugh!  Well the old bench needed a little resurfacing, so I grabbed my jack plane and hit the bench top with a few passes then went back over it with some sandpaper.  I made sure that I vacuumed up the shavings and the sawdust, lest the mold find somewhere else to grow.  I threw out the stupid drawer.

Flying Debris

I finally got around to making some curved train track this week.  I'll post more about it later, but after I cut out the general shape with a jigsaw, I taped a finished piece of track to the blank and used a flush cutting bit in the router to trim the piece.  I wasn't thinking about the direction of the grain when I got around the long sweeping curve and started to trim the end.  All I heard was a piece of wood bouncing off the wall next to me.  The bit had grabbed on to a piece of end grain and ripped a good sized chunk out of the blank.

Luckily, I was able to glue the piece back together and produce a section of usable track.  I did figure out that the chop saw was a better tool for trimming the ends. 

Dust in My Eyes

Pleased with the success of my first curved track piece I decided to make some more.  After tracing the track pieces on the board, I proceeded to cut the rough shape out with the jigsaw.  I only had a little bit of time to work, so I had left my contacts in and forgot to don a pair of safety glasses.  Usually I wear my glasses (which are safety glasses) when I'm in the shop.  I've gotten much more diligent since I've been bringing my daughter in to work, but tonight I had a lapse in judgment.

I was making pretty good progress when a chip flew into my eye.  I've gotten sawdust in my eyes before, and while it stings, the tears usually wash it out.  These little chips were different.  The little sharp, curled-up piece of wood that got in my eye felt like it dug in.  Swearing, I went upstairs to get my wife to see if she could find the chip and wash it out.

I know we got the chip out, because the searing pain every time my eye moved is gone, but I must have scratched it a little, because it still feels like there's something in there.  I don't think I'll forget the safety glasses again any time soon.

Tools: jig saw, router table, safety glasses

Tags: notes, toys, wooden train


jkster107's picture

Appreciate you sharing these, and I hope you'll share other mistakes you've made. The best learning comes from the mistakes we've made.