oh the internet. An Endless Plenty of Information — There’s a lot of good information and a lot of bad information. Recently, I have seen many power tools and machines being used improperly, which is very concerning. Many “influencers” do things to get likes and subscribers on their pages (this is how cool kids say “subscribers”). Often, doing this requires coming up with something new to show people.
don’t do it for the view
An example I recently saw was a video showing how to use a table saw to cut a circle. The technique involves making a sled with pins to “hold” the piece. Make the cut and then rotate the piece, repeating these steps over and over until the waste is removed and the wood is free to rotate against the rotating saw blade. In this particular video, the blade grabbed the board and spun it, dragging the user’s hand into the spinning blade. If influencers hadn’t had his SawStop, this would have turned their hand into a pack of hamburgers and he would have been just one in the table saw’s safety stats. And for what? view? Notoriety?
I personally don’t have a table saw in my shop, but I have nothing against them. It’s a safer method, but alas, it’s not new, so you might not get the outside affirmation your users were looking for.
Trust what’s proven
Now let’s talk a little bit about wood circles. Now, to be fair, I don’t have much of a need to make circles with woodwork. In fact, I didn’t need to cut any circles, except for some circular tabletops. It has arcs and curves, but it’s not a circle. That said, if you need a circle, there are much more practical and safe ways to get the job done. It was cut freehand or with a circular cutting jig. The cut can then be refined with a hand plane or disc sander. You can use a router bit and a trammel to create a circle, or you can use a router to create a template. Next, cut out an oversized circle with a jigsaw and use the template to clean it up using a bearing-guided straight bit.
If you’re an avid hand tool user, you can mark a circle, cut it with a bow saw, and refine the shape using a block plane or flat spoke shave. You can also use a wide chisel to chamfer and turn the square into a circle.
Cane to avoid falling
Without thinking too much, I showed you five ways to create circles that are safer, more efficient, and less scary than gnawing on a piece of wood on a table saw. Many readers think that woodworking is a fun hobby, so why risk serious injury for something that is recreational? Nor do they risk their livelihoods by working in unsafe ways.
The truth is that all woodworking work can be unsafe. Reconsider what you are doing. Working with tried and tested techniques, you can continue to do so for years to come.
More by Vic Tesorin
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