dangerous) with a carbide-tipped blade.
Guess what? All table-saw blades are
dangerous when you put body parts in
“Lesson learned: when working with
a table saw, always be able to see all [of]
your fingers and [the entire] exposed
blade. Do one movement at a time and
Some people use an accessory called
a featherboard on woodworking tasks
such as Gary’s. This tool holds the work
against the saw fence while your fingers
stay clear. Anytime you can get a tool to
take the risk instead of your fingers, do
Another point stood out: it is always a
good idea to have someone else around
when we use power tools, just as we
should have a buddy with us at the
flying field whenever possible. You never
know when help might be needed.
Gary was able to stay calm enough
to take care of himself, but I’ll bet he
would have welcomed some assistance
during the crisis. Of course, I wondered
how eating a cookie got into the first-aid
process. Gary is my kind of modeler.
Roll and Drop?
World War I was a time of innovation,
when some awful weapons were
invented and used. One was the
fléchette, a pencil-size metal dart that
was dropped from airplanes by the
thousands. The idea was to skewer the
enemy’s ground troops.
You don’t have to be a historical
reenactor to bring back those bad old
days. Almost all modelers have an old-fashioned hobby knife in their tool stash.
Install a classic #11 blade and when that
thing rolls off of the table, presto! It’s
1917 all over again!
After hearing about several recent
reports, I did some careful testing. Sure
enough, there is a tendency for a hobby
knife to turn blade downward in freefall.
The hollow-handled ones are the worst.
Unless you’re wearing chainmail socks, it
could get ugly.
The best defense is to not let a hobby
knife roll off of the table. I have a handy
pencil holder for mine, but I sometimes
forget and set the knife down on the
table—dumb and risky.
Plan B is to modify the knife so it
won’t roll. You can alter the shaft in
various ways, or buy a commercial item
such as those rubber triangles that slip
over the handle, but they can be hard to
I was pleased to see an ergonomically
designed version at a big craft store
chain. It’s called The Pencil Grip,
and not only does it keep your knife
from becoming an airborne weapon,
it improves your grip on the handle.
I would have paid $2.49 for mine,
but some craft places often have 40%
off coupons or accept offers from
competing stores. Buy it for a $1.45?
A Jar of Nuts?
How do you store nuts and bolts on
your workbench? Model aircraft seem
to require a thousand little pieces,
and we need to keep spare hardware
82 Model Aviation MAY 2016
SAFETY COMES FIRST