By DARREN HANDSCHUH
If I may, I would just like to offer a bit of free advice to all my fellow do-it-yourselfers out there: when using a mitre saw, always clamp it to the workbench.
How did I acquire this handy bit of information having never taken a carpentry course in my life? Let's just call it life experience.
I was rebuilding two panel doors for our aging hot tub (and when I say aging I mean it still has the coal shoot leading down to the boiler) and I only had a few cuts to make so in an effort to save time I simply placed the saw on the bench and got on with the job.
Of course the time I saved was somewhere in the neighbourhood of 15 seconds or so, but it seemed like a good idea at the time. (I am not positive, but I am pretty sure those were Custer's last words.)
So without the aid of a C-clamp, I took a few careful measurements and began turning long pieces of wood into short pieces of wood.
Everything went very well, with each cut measuring near perfect. For me this is a major feat.
My wife summed it up the best, “As a carpenter, you are a good reporter.”
I used to be measurement challenged. For some reason what I measured never seemed to be what I needed.
There is the old saying, “Measure twice and cut once,” well, I took it to a new level by measuring twice, cutting, saying bad words, getting another piece of wood, measuring and cutting again. I would repeat the process until I actually cut the length I wanted.
As the years progressed, my measuring and cutting became much more accurate and many trees were spared. The upside of not being able to measure was I always had a supply of firewood at the ready.
I also got to spend time working with power tools and, c'mon, what man doesn't enjoy that.
This day however, would turn out to be a sad day for tools.
I had finished building the door panels, using my beloved mitre saw for the cuts and my air nailer to put all the wood together when I decided they needed a little reinforcing.
Like I said, the job was done, but being a man I wanted to make it better and stronger. I wanted these panels to be able to withstand a nuclear blast.
I debated briefly if I should just let finished panels lie, but I had some wood left over, some time on my hands and a whole bunch of power tools sitting around waiting to be used.
My air compressor chugged away as it filled the tank with air, begging me to do some nailing.
To do that, I would need more little pieces of wood. I did several measurements and began cutting to the desired length.
All was going well. The sawdust was flying, the saw was making the noise that saws make and I was quite content interacting with my implements of construction.
The reinforcing was going splendidly, but I decided I needed just one more piece to finish the job.
I probably could have lived without the last board, but I figured “What the heck, one more cut can't hurt.”Now remember my beloved compound mitre saw was not clamped to the workbench and after making the final cut I brought the handle to the upright position at which point my beloved mitre saw flipped off the table and went crashing to the ground.
It did a complete 180 in the air before landing on the plastic handle which proceeded to explode with the force of that nuclear bomb I was talking about.
I picked up six pieces of the handle and realized my beloved mitre saw had gone to the great tool shed in the sky.