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Monday, November 22, 2010

Drill Your Pilot Holes!!

I attempted to turn a block of "Cebil" wood that I purchased from Woodcraft. I cut the corners off at the bandsaw so that I could turn the block round more quickly. I debated inside my head for a short time if I should use a glue-block or screw it directly onto my faceplate. I decided screw my blank directly onto my faceplate, and also decided to just drive the screws into the blank without drilling pilot holes.
A BAD idea for a couple of reasons: First, the screws did not secure the faceplate completely to the face of the block of wood. Second, the screws I used must have been really cheap because two of the heads broke off while trying to drive them into the block. So . . . with only two screws only somewhat holding my block of wood onto my faceplate, I decided to mount the wood onto my lathe and give it a whirl. Not thinking of myself as a complete idiot, I started my lathe at the slowest speed possible and stood out of the line of fire, just in case.
With no wood flying across the shop, I decided to turn up the speed (a little) and start making some chips fly. After a couple of minutes (the block not even completely round yet) I decided to stop the lathe as it seemed as thought the block was not spinning true anymore. I was correct in my thinking. Due to the roughing out process of trying to get the blank round, the screws were holding the blank a little less secure and it was starting to wobble. I tried to tighten the screws (remember only two of them were actually holding the blank) but they just would not pull the blank securely into the faceplate. At that point I decided to stop before I caused myself any serious injury.

A couple lessons learned:
1- If you have a little thought in your head that says "hey. . you should probably drill some pilot holes for that . . . " take the time and do it!!
2- Don't buy screws from Wal-mart, their heads come off!!
3- If you don't feel 110% confident that your blank is secure, DON'T TURN IT!

What I'm grateful for:
1- My Family
2- My Faith
3- Not having a piece of wood fly into my face! :)

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