Monday, March 21, 2011

Rolling Pins – The Final Installment

I think I mentioned that there’s a point I get into trouble in every woodworking project. The only problem is that point comes multiple times. In the middle of my just-finished winter rolling pin phase, I had to take a couple of weeks off to recover from five minutes of catastrophe.

I was taking a shortcut (always a danger) in drilling the hole in one end of a rolling pin roller. The shortcut was drilling the hole deeper than the drill-bit was designed to drill (by chucking it shallow) and using my spur-chuck (instead cutting a tenon and chucking it) on the headstock end. This meant I couldn't back the drill out to remove excess material and let the bit cool a little -- drilling a little at a time. As a result, the drill bit heated up and bonded to the hole.

Aiming to save both my work and my drill bit, I put the drill chuck, bit, roller-pin assembly in the vice and pulled and twisted with all my strength, weight and leverage. After a few attempts, I was successful. Well, successful in violently freeing the drill chuck, drill bit, roller-pin assembly from the vice. The roller-pin hit me in the chin, knocked off my face shield and nearly cold cocked me. It added my trade-mark signature to each of my wood working projects -- a little of my blood.

The blood was coming from my lip. I had driven my lower lip into my upper front tooth. Luckily, no loose or broken tooth, just a hole inside my lower lip and a nice curved cut matching the contour of the end of the rolling-pin on the outside front of my chin.

When things like this happen, I take it as subtle signal that I should quit for the day (especially if the bleeding won't stop). So after going into the house to assess the damage, stop the bleeding and swelling, I was done woodworking for the day. Well...I should have been done.

Since the hole wasn't all the way through my lip and I didn't think I needed stitches, I figured it wasn't a full stop sign -- just a hint. So, I went back to the shop intent to get the drill bit out and save my work. Mistake.

My next brilliant idea was to put the chuck in the Shopsmith, hold the roller-pin and let the machine unscrew the bit. Do you know how much power those things have even on slow speed! Needless to say, that didn't work. I did succeed in giving my left palm between my thumb and forefinger a good friction burn and added a nice blister there and on my thumb.

All this happening in about five minutes I took as an unequivocal signal to stop. See how perceptive I am.

Anyway, after sleeping on it, I realized I wasn't going to save both my drill bit and my rolling pin. I carefully cut out the bit on my band saw. I was able to salvage an 8" blank that will make a nice candle holder at some point. I probably would have figured this out without the second injury if I had taken notice of the first clue to stop.

In all this, my only advice to anyone entering the world of woodworking is, don't do it like I do!

Here’s the fruit of my labor – the final six of my rolling-pin period.

Oh, and three months worth of sawdust.