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Wednesday, September 15, 2010

A Cautionary Tale

Well, I got away lucky, this time. I was trying to sand the inside of a pretty deep box with my inflatable ball sander but kept hitting the opening on the chuck of the drill press and taking off little chunks of wood. I didn't have a flex shaft, but I did have a 12" extension, so I attached the ball to the end of the extension, chucked it into the drill press, and started to sand. Well, either I forgot to tighten the chuck or the rotation was just too fast, and the long shaft just sheared right off and sailed across the garage. Fortunately, nothing was damaged (including me) but it was pretty scary.

I removed the little remnant of the shaft remaining in the chuck and started sanding again. Suddenly the whole chuck, including the taper, feel right off! I guess the force from the spinning extension loosened the taper enough so it just slipped right down. We tapped it back in place, and it seems fine, but that's one experience I'm not going to repeat.


  1. I'm sure you will agree that the lesson to be learned from this experience is to wear safty equipment, at all times. In fact I just bought a face shield for when I'm working. One solution might be to get a flex shaft for the ball sander. I put my bowls together one ring at a time sanding the inside before adding another. I leave the outside until the piece is all together. This only leaves the inside bottom to deal with which usually isn't very difficult.

    I'm courious have you ever solved the heat problem?

  2. I'm happy to hear you are OK Carole. I have had problems as well using the sanding ball and hitting the chuck on the drill press, so I am doing the same as Doug and it seems to work better. I have thought about buying a flex shaft for use on the bowls as well as other items. I had the Chuck and tapper fall out the other day..perhaps I didn't have it installed right the first time...that's a bit scary as well

  3. Doug, I'm not sure what heat problem you're referring to. And I sometimes add one ring at a time, but when you're using more than one set of rings so that it curves in, like when making a box, access is really tough. I've thought of a flex shaft, but then I'd need a motor for it. Maybe for Xmas . . .

    Larry, I was surprised to find that the chuck and taper is just a pressure fit, so I guess I just stressed it too much. But the instructions also say to be sure it is free of dirt and grease before inserting it, so maybe that was part of your problem. But it sure isn't fun when it falls out.

  4. I haven't done any boxes yet (waiting for your book) so I'm not aware of the problems or should I say challenges. Grizzly has a inexpensive motor I'm not sure if it would work but you might take a look. I thought about getting one for sharpening my carving tools, but it only has one speed.

    For my chuck I keep a small piece of 2x4 and hammer on the shelf below the drill give it a tap each day I use it. I think it falls out because of the different pressure we put on it doing the sanding. It is after all a friction fit. But I think the motor & flex shaft idea which also has a vacumn shield available to control the dust, is the best choice. Thank goodness for Christmas....smile.

    Carole the heat problem I was refering to was the summer heat and lack of circulation in the garage with the door closed.

  5. I would really like to have the motor and flex shaft for the sanding ball because I think it would be of use in other types of scrolling I do, but there are soooo many toys (tools) I would like to purchase. A friend has given me a lathe to use and learn on and I was really suprised at all tools (or parts for the lathe) a person needs...hand tools, chucks, grinders, etc. I guess I have done flat woodworking for so long it's hard to believe I will ever want to change. But I am going to try it..after I take a class.

  6. Doug, thanks for the suggestion about keeping the chuck in place. So far, so good. And the heat of the summer turned out not to be much of a problem. I just kept the garage door open and worked in the morning, until the day heated up. No insects or rodent problems, thank goodness. I don't think I had to miss a day because of weather.

    And I use an art room at the community activity center that has a fan that vents to the outside for my finishing. I just go down when no one's around, close the door, and do my spraying right by the fan. That solved the humidity problem. Now to see how well our heater works once the weather turns colder.

    Larry, I'm tempted by a lathe, but the lack of space in the shop makes that not a possibility right now. Once this book is off to the publisher, I have no idea what I'll work on next, but I just bought a new batch of wood just in case an idea strikes.

  7. Carole as a suggestion for new projects, how about some of your great ideas on inlay venier and inlace. On the bowls and boxes. I've also seen some very interesting work on gords. Give you a great excuse to get a flexshaft tool...

    Good luck Larry with your lathe. I've been so tempted but there again room and noise is a problem. Have you seen the PBS series on wood turning. It's on the "Create" channel out here. Right now I'm into relief carving which should keep me busy for a few years. Along with the bowls and a side track to the boxes when Carole's new book comes out.

  8. I have been having so much fun with scrolled bowls (and keeping them together...glue-ups cracking under pressure, etc.) and scrolled baskets I am making into scrolled boxes, I have not even tried the lathe I have had here on loan for a couple weeks. Everytime I think I am going to try it, I find another scrolled design I want to make..I think I need a few lessons to start me off. Others say I will never go back to the Scroll saw once I learn to turn, but isn't there enough time for both I ask??