Monday, 2 April 2007

Starting off on the wrong foot

My machine should probably be made from metal to give it enough stiffness for milling. However, I decided to prototype it in MDF first because it is much quicker and cheaper to work in wood. As it turned out it was just as well I did!

MDF is my favourite wood because it comes perfectly flat, with straight edges and right angle corners. No grain or knots to worry about either, the only problem is the dust which gets everywhere and is allegedly carcinogenic.

I have a foldaway workbench in the garage made from an old front door with a sheet of MDF over it. The door's original hinges are used to let it swing up from the wall and it has hinged legs that drop down as I pull it out. This allows us to keep a car in the garage, something very few households seem to do these days.

The bench has woodwork and metalwork vices and three interchangeable stations where I can mount my bench sander, drill press and band saw. These are stored on a shelf above the height of the car.

Unfortunately when I first put the shelf up I used the wrong sort of plugs for hollow breeze blocks. One day my wife and I heard a crash which sounded like a car crash in the front garden. We ran to the window but nothing was happening outside. We had just got a new TV with surround sound so we thought it must have been part of the film we were watching. The next morning when my wife went into the garage she found the shelf and all my tools on top of her car! It did so much damage she still hasn't forgiven me ten years on.

The first thing I did to start my build was to cut a base board 500 mm square from a sheet of 18 mm MDF. I placed this on the bench while I adjusted the band saw for the next cut. Somehow I managed to knock the sheet off and it landed on my big toe. The pain was the worst I have ever experienced. It left a pair of 18 mm tram lines across my leather shoe as you can just make out below :-

This is what it did to my toe :-

That put an end to that evening's work and left me limping for a couple of days. The toe recovered but the shoe didn't. I can see now why my dad always wore steel toe capped "totector" boots when he was working.

1 comment:

  1. Very impressive, Chris! If only you could stop injuring yourself or destroying other equipment you could be on to a winner!
    At least if you mash up something of the wife's again you'll be able to replicate it.