Whether it’s an automobile accident, a severe whip-out while skiing or other catastrophic event, bad things happen in slow motion. My devastating, catastrophic, bad event happened this week in the shop.
I was in full work mode, which means that most of my tools were spread over my bench like a bad game of 52-card pickup. Each time I returned to the bench with a new part ready to work, I would have to clear a portion of real estate. To do so, I would slide the tools, project parts and scraps across the bench. That worked a couple times before disaster jumped up and bit my butt.
With drawer parts in hand, I returned to the bench then waved my arm across the bench with a mighty sling. Right then, as I watched in disbelief, my Klaus & Pedder dovetail saw tipped off the side of my bench. It must have taken three minutes for the saw to reach the concrete floor, but I had absolutely no chance to get there before impact. (Bad things happen in slow motion.) What a terrible noise as my dovetail saw hit the floor.
I peered over the bench edge to see that my saw handle had snapped. I guess I should be glad it was only the handle that was damaged, but seeing the broken wenge brought a proverbial tear to my eye.
I immediately thought repair, but how many saw handles have you seen that were misaligned or unsightly when fixed. Next I wondered if I could get the makers to produce another that would fit my hand as well as the original or what wood I would use to make a new handle. I stared at the broken pieces. As near as I can figure, the handle hit directly on the fishtail or bottom horn. The break was across the long-grain, as I assume most are. Long-grain glue-ups can be successful if you get the parts properly aligned. An attempt at glue-up would be worth a try.
I applied glue to both pieces then pushed the handle back together. Regular shop clamps were out of the question, so I turned to my favorite clamping method for inlay, rubber-bands. Once twisted around the parts, it seemed as though the piece were aligned and tight. After I wiped as much glue off the assembly as I could, off the saw went to heal overnight.
The next day I sacrificed the rubber-bands and checked the results. Not bad. I lightly sanded the glue off the handle, then, because I don’t think I sanded through the original finish, I added a thin coating of wax, thanked my lucky stars and returned my saw to action.
I know there is a lesson to be learned – put tools away as you work. That’s a lesson I’ve been trying to learn for a long time.
Build Something Great!