Shrapnel

by Mathieu

Last week I called one of my comrades, a fellow carpenter, to tell him the good news that a job was landed in which we put invested a lot of energy to get it. Before I could tell him the good news he said quite nervous that he just had an accident that day but luckily he didn’t get hurt. He told me what happened and ooh boy was he lucky! It was a typical carpenters accident and it could have easily been a really bad scene.

A couple of months ago he was looking to buy some old, high quality, second hand machines. Together we searched the internet for a bandsaw, planer and thicknesser. We found some nice machines for a reasonable price and it was one of these machines that he was fine tuning when it happened.

He was working on the machine and re-installed the blades to see if they where aligned and went for lunch. After lunch, happy with his achievement he turned on the machine and with 380 volts and an immense amount of power it started spinning effortlessly. He was amazed by the smoothness and lack of overwhelming noise and then    BANG !!

So what happened? After resharpening the planer blades he inserted them back in the proper position but didn’t tighten the screws which press a clamping piece against the blades to secure them since he’s lovely wife called him inside for lunch. When he’s lunch was finished, and most of his blood was still digesting the good whole foods served to him, he’s focus was not optimal and he turned on the machine instead of continuing where he left off.

When he told me what happened I was very happy to be able to talk to him alive. It also reminded me of my mentor who has told me so many times to always double check if you have tightened the planer blades after sharpening, and it is only on such a moment that I really understand and appreciate all the effort he put in teaching me proper machine maintenance. Accidents like that can happen to the best of us and constant awareness is never obvious.

The machine itself is one of these old cast iron very well made monsters. They don’t get any better then that. Nonetheless many of the parts broke and as you can see on the picture there is some serious force necessary to do damage like that. Another part is already send to be repaired and we will try to fix the machine rather then bringing it to the old iron merchant. I am not sure if it’s going to be possible to fix it at all but we will try. If we succeed I will post pictures of our success. If pictures never appear well.. then you know what (didn’t) happened.

Here you get some idea of the damage. Since the accident I still find pieces of shattered blades as far as meters away buried deep in pieces of wood.

We are in need of planer and thicknesser that is why we have been looking for a new machine. This weekend the search will continue and maybe we will buy another one since there is work coming up and the repair will take some time…

 

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