Roubo Part 5. Slow down to speed up.

Or, slow down so you don’t hurt yourself.  I spoke in an earlier post about my lack of patience. Well, it caught up to me in a big way in February, twice. For me, taking my time to make sure things are done correctly, and safely, is as much of a learning process as anything else. Have I chamfered that edge to prevent spelching when planing across the grain? Am I taking a heavier cut with the handplane when it could result in some nasty tearout?  Is that piece of wood secured appropriately? And on and on.  

First though, let’s take a look at where we were in this bench story.  The leg vise is on!

Oh man, that thing is nice.  Such sweet, sweet action.

Anyways, what’s next?  Well, laminating the top together obviously.  I glued the rear section together first (didn’t take any pictures of the glue drying, sorry), and once everything was nice and dry I just had to run it through the planer.

Now, here is where the first disaster struck. Again, I was rushing like usual, and not listening to the little voice in the back of my head.  In this case, the voice was telling me that maybe, just maybe, the rollers I set up in front and behind my planer weren’t up to the task of holding a massive slab of ash. I was acting pretty retarded when I think about it. I sat one end of the slab on the roller (a stupid move in and of itself), and when I went to pick the other end up, the roller just tipped over forward. I’m not sure how it all happend, but I guess the other end of the slab fell about two feet, but I was only holding my end a few inches off the ground. When the other end hit the ground, I was able to get eight of ten fingers out of the way (it makes me feel better when I think about it that way), but I guess the force sort of whipped my end of the board down, and caught the tips of my middle and ring finger underneath.

Now, we don’t have to go into details, but I will anyways. Let’s just say that when my wife was driving me to the hospital, I fully though that I was going to be coming home with three fingers and two stubs on my right hand.  Both tips were broken into 3-4 pieces, and one finger had burst like a grape (the doctors description, not mine), so I got 3 stitches in that one.  Picture time!

And here is the xray.  Looks pretty awesome.

So, that really hurt quite badly. Luckily I avoided crushing a knuckle, so the hand specialist said that I would be back to normal in about 6 weeks.  I would lose the fingernails of course, but he said other than that there wouldn’t be any long term effects. So, how long did that keep me out of my workshop? A few days.  I ran that damn top through the planer less than a week later.

Next up: My inability to hold a mallet delayed me from working on a blanket chest with a lot of dovetails.  Rushing to finish that a few weeks later landed me in the hospital again. Horray!

– Matt

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