As we've mentioned, we recently spent six days without power. Two of those days (the middle two) were spent elsewhere but we decided to return to the house to keep the wood stove going and to keep an eye on the pipes, hoping that we wouldn't have to go to any major preventative measures such as draining them or fussing with anti-freeze. During the course of the episode, we realized that there are a few items that came in really handy. And when we say, "really handy," what we mean is, "we couldn't have gotten by without them."
The items that achieved MVP status are as follows:
We've all seen the SawStop vs. Hot Dog video and have been impressed, but there was always a part of us that thought that using a hot dog to demonstrate the finger-saving blade brake was a little lame. If this tool really works, why doesn't someone from the company step up and jam their finger in the thing? Well now, the inventor of the tool Steve Gass has done just that.
The clip looks like it's a segment from some Discovery Network show. It's got a lot of great video of the saw brake in action and at the very end, you get to watch a guy stick his finger in a whirling table saw blade. The whole thing is amazing.
If you're dealing with power tools or hand tools, you always want to have a good first aid kit at hand. We keep one in the shop and one in the truck. The tweezers alone are worth the whole kit.
We looked around and found a kit that looks like it has a good selection of the basics; enough to deal with the minor issues, as well as a few things to assist with the bigger ones. One thing that we particularly like about this kit is that the tweezers are metal. Our experience is that the plastic kind are useless and should be replaced at the first opportunity.
That said, we've also found that places like Wal-Mart and the other big box stores usually have nice kits for short money.
We're fans of anything that makes a table saw safer and push sticks are at the top of that list. The ones that come with the saws, the long stick with the little bird mouth at the end of it, are nearly as dangerous as not using a push stick at all. Sure they can push something through the saw, but when the piece of wood starts to ride up on the blade, you're screwed. We always recommend to people that they throw those out and make their own out of a piece of 1/2" plywood, one that extends out over the top of the work piece. But after today, we might just suggest buying a Bench Dog Push-Loc.
According to Reuters, since 1991 the number of annual nail gun injuries has increased about 200%. The actual number is now around 37,000 per year. Not good. The interesting thing about this increase is that the number of work-related nail gun injuries has stayed about the same. This indicates that the swell is due to all of you DIYers out there. The article states:
"This increase likely corresponds to an increase in availability during the 1990s of inexpensive pneumatic nail guns and air compressors (to power the nail guns) in home hardware stores; however, no sales data are available for confirmation," the CDC reported.
This may be so, but the responsibility to take your tools seriously lies with you. Nail guns are very dangerous and you’re a moron if you’re not wearing eye protection every single time you shoot one off. If you can blast a nail through engineered lumber, flesh and bone aren’t going to stand much of a chance. Please understand your tools and their safety features and each time you pick one up, stop for a second and think of all the damage it can do to you.
Read past the jump to see what can happen if you are not careful with a framing nailer.
We all know that the table saw is the widow maker of the tool world, ranking just above chainsaws and shapers. Using a table saw is like scratching a rabid Doberman behind the ears; you might be OK this time, but if you let your guard down for just an instant and become too comfortable, you're going to be missing a hand, an arm, or a face. The biggest risk is undoubtedly to the fingers, and when things go bad, they go bad fast. Human reflexes don’t even count when they go up against a table saw. But one company has created a saw that drastically reduces this risk.
The saw is called the Saw Stop, and on top of about a thousand other great features, it has a very unique safety system. The saw constantly reads a slight electrical charge that is carried in the blade, and when the charge is disrupted by, say, a thumb, the saw engages a brake and automatically lowers the blade. There is really no way to describe how fast this happens. The only thing you can do is watch.
The guys at Workbench have a longer movie that gets into greater detail if you're interested. It's really amazing.