Dangerous tools -- or -- how lucky I was today

Ole'Lefty

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David Collins- glad you corrected that bottoming out the bit in the collet- I use a tiny piece of rubber down in the collet-gives me about 1/16" relief from the bottom. Every respected book I have read on routers warns vigorously against bottoming out the bit. I try to opt for the 1/2" shank for all but small laminate trimmer style bits. Except for my PC 310 trimmer ( gone the way of the Pierce Arrow) my lam trimmers are in dedicated jigs. I use dead man foot switches on several machines( essential on the inlay setup), including the drillpress where it has often earned its keep. And quite a few machines have that accessory "stop sign" slap switch ; e.g. router tables-they often show up in my old photos.
 

Helderik

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Please make sure you are very, very, very careful if you use that router again. Yes, you were lucky, but you might have caused some serious damage to the bearings of your router. The resonance (which resulted in the bent bit) will likely have over-stressed the max radial load of your router. This could lead to play (leading to easier resonance and a repeat of this situation with smaller bits) or possibly your router falling apart!!!

I have had these resonance problems with a very small router and a big, long bit before but was able to switch of almost immediately. I have not used it after that, fearing damage to the bearings. I bought a new, bigger, safer router to prevent this issue. Bigger, more expensive routers have bigger bearings, better shaft materials and the bearings further apart. This all leads to more stable revolutions, especially when you put a cutting force on the bit which creates a deliberate inbalance.

BTW, your router instructions should mention maximum revolutions per bit size. 22k seems much much much too high for that size of bit...! Any radial unbalance at such high revolutions will lead to very high forces on the bearings...

At least have your tool checked by someone who knows what he is doing (and replace the bearings, inspect the shaft and housing)

Thank you for sharing this, you might have saved a few fingers or worse...!
 

bruce bennett

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you are a VERY lucky guy. Glad to hear you kept your head. but 5-10 seconds is an awful lot of hesitation.
when it comes to power tools I go with the " when in doubt, shut it down ASAP." rule.

I've seen 3 seriously bad router accidents. and I can say positively.

Routers should ALWAYS be approached with an extra measure of caution.
a deadman's switch on a hand held router is a good thing to have and very easy to make.
 

fatdaddypreacher

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i'm behind on reading threads and haven't read all the posts in this one, but like others, am glad your injuries don't appear to be serious. i say don't appear, only because i would like to caution you and others not to underestimate any injury that draws blood in hands or feet....especially the palms and bottoms of feet. one of my brothers had a incident leaving a very similar injury to his palm. it happened on friday. monday his hand was working as he worked at his keyboard, so decided to go to the doctor. he was told to call his wife to let him know he was fixing to go in to surgery, as he got an infection and was literally hours away from a very real possibility of losing his hand. when infections get in bones, they are terribly hard to keep from spreading. i just tried to remove my left thumb with a freshly honed 1" wood chisel, and the first thing the doctor did was exray to be sure i hadn't knicked the bone.(i didn't, and 10 stitches later i'm all fine)

hope you mend well, but guys....don't shrug off these types of injuries to readily, as the window to keep infections in check isn't that large.

hope this isn't considered a hijack.

ps...this is another reason i try to stay away from 1/4" bits. sometimes the hassle of a heavier router is worth it.

stay well, my friends.
 

sdshirtman

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My guess is the the bit didn't get bent from using it but instead failed and started to deform on its own due to a defect. When it started deforming is when it took a bigger bite from your piece and kicked back.

Regardless I'm glad you escaped relatively unscathed. Be safe everyone.
 

stmfitr636

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I don't see the big deal. Just need the proper PPE:

knightinroutingarmor.jpg
 

rockdog

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You were really lucky man, these pictures gives me the creeps. :Ohno:
Take care of your fingers and don't forget the safety equipment.
 

Renkenstein

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Nice dodge, man. This is the exact reason I just bought a 1/2" collet and flush trim bits for my router.

I also always plug my router into a footswitch like others have mentioned, just to give me that alternative way to kill power in the event something like that happens.

I had a near miss with a router very early in my guitar building endeavors, and it scared me straight real quick. Now, if I can route with the router mounted on a table, that's my default method.
 

fatdaddypreacher

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^^^the table route (no pun intended, but worked pretty well, huh?) may take a little more setting up, but is well worth it when possible. while still can be dangerous, it is my preferred choice also.
 

Renkenstein

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Absolutely. I'll take the setup time over injury any day.

Good pun, btw! ;)
 

DaveR

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Thanks for sharing. And I'm very glad to hear you're okay. I've been a little scared to share my blunders in an open forum, for fear of scorn or safety lectures, but here goes... I too had a router incident on my first build (still in progress) that could have been MUCH worse. I was going to save this for my upcoming build thread, but figured this is an appropriate venue to share in.

I was using a router table with a 1/2" solid carbide spiral bit and a template bushing. I had previously used that setup to route the perimeter of my bodies after sanding very close to the line. Then I tried to use it on an inside hole (control cavity route) that I had hogged out with a forstner bit, but had not spindle sanded as close as I should have. Mistakes were made. I took a full depth cut (4" bit with 2" cutting length) and at some point while wrestling the body around the bit, I got mixed up about feed direction. BANG! The bit got a good bite and jerked the guitar body, slamming the template into the guide bushing, which caused the plastic insert in my table to explode. The bushing flew off towards the ceiling and the body flew across the shop. Thankfully my stomach got in the way.

A full two minutes passed with the router happily spinning away and a guitar body at my feet, while I checked myself over, looking for the things that DIDN'T hurt yet. The palm of my right hand got a series of parallel incisions from the sharp edge of the guitar body, that were a perfect mirror to the massive gouges that the spiral bit left in the side of the control cavity. And I had a HUGE bloody black bruise on my stomach for a long time. The hand healed up nicely (I played a gig less than a week later) but my belly is still a little tender and this happened back in February.

Had to buy a new plastic insert for my table and spent some money to have my spiral bit sharpened, but everything on the guitar was easily fixable since that one is sort of my own design. I just made the control cavity a slightly different shape.

Lessons I learned from this incident (and some people may say I'm missing some points here, but this is working for me):

1. NEVER take a full depth cut. Just because the bit is long enough doesn't mean that's a good idea.

2. Spindle sand everything. For the hobbyist this leaves a perfectly decent edge and who cares if it takes a little longer. I'm not mass producing these things.

3. Be EXTREMELY aware of feed direction on a router table or with any router for that matter. I now always do a dry run and practice my movements before I ever turn the power on.

4. The bit was a spiral DOWNCUT bit, which isn't really appropriate for a table since it pushes AWAY from the table. I still have used it in the table, but I now nibble at the workpiece instead of taking deep cuts.

5. I usually don't wear gloves around power tools because of the risk of snagging fabric and getting pulled into the equipment, but I've started wearing some clean, padded mechanic's gloves when I use the router table. If I had worn them the first time, my hand wouldn't have been hurt at all. I don't use gloves if I'm getting anywhere near a blade with my hands, though.

The only near misses I've ever had with tools have been because I was trying to do something other than it was intended to do. Usually out of haste or more often to make up for a special tool that I don't have. As I get older, I try to be a little wiser about those things and take my time. If I feel like something could be dangerous, I come up with a jig or clamps or a different method to make the cut.

Hopefully this helps somebody. I'm actually glad it happened because I learned a lot from the mistake and didn't hurt anything important.
 

fatdaddypreacher

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wow! glad it wasn't worse, dave. i try to go in aretha franklin mode when using tools, but still no guarantees. R-E-S-P-E-C-T. I bought my first harley years ago and the dude told me if i get to the point that it isn't at least a little scary, I need to park it, sell it, or give it away, cause that's when it's gonna getcha!
 

ToneasaurusRex

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Thanks for sharing, glad you're okay. Don't let it paralyze you.

EDIT: I don't mean physical paralysis . . . don't let fear stop you from continuing to live, work, and grow. Lesson learned, now go forward stronger and wiser.
 

MaceRider

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That's a shame that Harbour Freight doesn't ship overseas. I will have to try to find it somewhere else. I tried eBay but they just sell the 'partial' stuff with cut wires pieces. I really liked the HFT one. Oh well, I will look more and if I couldn't find I will have to make it myself anyway.

Build your own. All you need to make a dead-man switch is an enclosure, a momentary push-button switch, and two outlets on either end. Wire it up so that the push-button switch completes the circuit between the two outlets as it's pushed in, plug your tool into the switch on one end and an extension cord into the switch at the other, and into the wall socket.

Now, your tool will only work if you step on the dead man switch AND have the power on the tool turned on at once. Remove your foot from the dead man switch and power is cut automatically. Simple, right?
 

DaveR

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Many power tools have a pretty serious amp draw. If you build your own switch, be sure to use sufficiently heavy duty wire and switch parts.
 

MaceRider

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Many power tools have a pretty serious amp draw. If you build your own switch, be sure to use sufficiently heavy duty wire and switch parts.

Yes, this is definitely true. Thick gauge copper wire should be enough, but you definitely want some sort of heavy duty switch that is not going to melt after you use it 5 times and the contact points get a little fried.
 

LPBR

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Yes, this is definitely true. Thick gauge copper wire should be enough, but you definitely want some sort of heavy duty switch that is not going to melt after you use it 5 times and the contact points get a little fried.

I think that a 10A switch is more than enough for router and drill press, right?

:hmm:
 

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