13 March 2010

Guilty as charged...

YOKB of last weekend was an excellent gathering...probably on of the best I've been to. It's always good at these sorts of events to have a focus, something to get the brain cells a pondering. One of the demonstrators there did a half-hour turn discussing elfn'safety and 'safe working practice' using the router table, so I thought I'd better have a listen in case I learnt anything...and a good job I did.

Now I've used a router table for years and never had any problems but as Colin talked, it became very apparent to me that my digits, much as I love them, had come far too close on more that one occasion to lumps of tool steel spinning at several thousand rpm.

I simply hadn't bothered to make appropriate guards or to use decent push blocks, thinking foolishly, that there's more control with fingers and that a serious accident t'weren't going to happen to me!
As I was listening, I became painfully aware of my shortcomings on the router table and were I to continue, it was only going to be a matter of time before the inevitable happened.

I started to get that uneasy feeling as he progressed that, yes...I was guilty as charged!

Having decided that something had to be done, I've made a couple of push blocks as advocated by Colin (centre and left in the pic) together with a little 'bird's mouth' push stick. The interesting thing about the blocks is that the handle is angled inwards, so that pressure can be applied forward and against the fence at the same time. The other thing of note is that the track in front of the phenolic plate found on many commercial tables is not needed with these sorts of push blocks, the advantage of which is that the fence doesn't need to be parallel to the track.

The centre push block is one of my own design and is meant for use with smaller sections as might be found in a picture frame...the little projection at the end bears on the end of the wood and the push stick is there to hold it down as it passes over the cutter.

The push block and big stick on the right are ones that I used on the planer/thicknesser and to date I've had no problems with this sort of design...it's just the router table that's been sadly lacking.

The other pic shows a bare hole in the 'shop...the Kity419 has now been collected so the processes of machinery replacement is now well under way...

...just hope I don't need to cut anything between now and the New Year.

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