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To splurge (on safety) or not to splurge?

Tuesdays With Tommy: Table Saw Safety

Statistics tell use that tens of thousands of table saw accidents occur every year in the U.S. While these facts weren't enough for California to pass a law requiring all newly manufactured table saws to include special (but costly) safety equipment, it still should be enough to give any aspiring woodworker or DIYer pause, especially when in the market for a new table saw.

Currently there is one stand-out table saw safety product on the market called Saw Stop. This device brings the saw to a sudden halt when the blade comes into contact with human flesh. (Watch the video of a guy who actually tests the technology out on his own hand. Crazy.) Is it worth the money? One user asks Tommy for his opinion.

The Problem

Amos from Maine: I want to get a table saw but my significant other is pushing me to get one with Saw Stop. The problem is, that costs more money than I'm willing to spend. Are there other technologies like Saw Stop that do the same thing that are cheaper? Aren't most of the amputations that happen on table saws preventable just through safer practices and more attentiveness? I'm basically trying to find out if I REALLY need to spend the money on this safety device.

The Answer

Tommy: They call them accidents for a reason.

I always thought that good working habits would always save me from cutting myself. But about 5 years ago I was cutting a small piece of wood and basically lost my attention. I ran my thumb across the table saw blade. I had a cut down the length of it. Basically I filleted my finger. I needed twenty stitches.

I cut myself on a Sunday and got a Saw Stop on a Monday. And to me, knowing I won't have to go through that pain and suffering and damage to my hand is worth a million times what the Saw Stop costs.

Now I know that it's basically the only technology available right now, but I also know other companies are coming out with them. I'm not familiar with them at this time. I also know they're working on similar safety devices for other tools in the shop. And when they do, I'll get those, too.

So, take that as you will. I'm not here to endorse a product, but now you know my story and you know what I think.

Tommy Mac of Rough Cut: Woodworking with Tommy Mac.

Tuesdays With Tommy: Flower Box

Though it may be the end of the season for some, it's never a bad time to hone those shop skills. In this edition of Tuesdays with Tommy, we're taking a look at a suitably accessible -- but still challenging in its own right -- DIY project: A wooden flower box.

The Problem

For any woodworking project, there exists the question, "what kind of wood should I use?" We ask this of Tommy, as well as a couple of follow up questions: "Should I add a finish to the wood," and "What other tips can you give me?"

The Answer

Tommy: Personally, I would use western red cedar. But that's personal preference. There are other woods out there that are impervious to rot and insects that you can look into. It can depend a bit on where you are in the country. Do a little research to find out what's best in your area.

Also, I wouldn't add a finish. You can paint it with a stain to give it some color, but not a finish.

As for tips, you want to make sure the joinery is good in the corners so when you stuff it with soil and plants it doesn't fall apart. If you're going to be using screws, be sure to pre-drill. And make sure you make the box big enough to hold all the soil and the plants that you plan on putting in there.

Check out this How To Video on Building a Wooden Flower Box for the step by steps of this project.

Gear up at the 2011 National Hardware Show in Las Vegas.

National Hardware Show Open

The 2011 National Hardware Show is underway at the Las Vegas Convention Center.

Exhibitors from across the country have set up their booths to showcase their wares. Everything from paint and plumbing to gardening and storage products will be on display through Thursday.

Show times are 9am - 5pm today and tomorrow.

Check out the full Exhibitor List and hustle over today or tomorrow (if you happen to be in Las Vegas) to catch all the action.

Shocking Shocking
Some ex's will go to extremes.

Don't Mess with My Tool

A woman from Olympia, Washington allegedly was so angry when her husband left her that she left him with a little extra power in his power tool. So when he attempted to use his table saw he received a powerful electric shock.

The Olympian newspaper reported that the woman is accused of reversing the wires on his 220-volt table saw causing him to receive a shock so intense it knocked him to the ground. Thurston County sheriff's deputies say the man did not need to go to a hospital.

From www.TheOlympian.com on 1/9/2010: "Carolyn Paulsen-Riat was booked Friday into the Thurston County Jail for investigation of third-degree assault, domestic violence, and second-degree malicious mischief. A judge released the 33-year-old woman on her own recognizance."

So remember: Next time you step out on your wife, be sure to take your tools with you.

Do you have a story that relates to Home Improvement? Tell us about by submitting a blog idea or commenting below.

A Workshop Accident A Workshop Accident
My friend Stan Fettig learned the hard way that he should have used a push stick when getting this close to a table saw blade. PS he is one of the finest woodworkers I know.

What not to do in the Workshop

We have seen plenty of blogs with pretty stuff. Now lets take a look at your battle scars. Have you ever met a soldier in a bar who did not want to show you his scars? Heck, he or she earned them the hard way and have the right to show them off.

We at Renovate Your World want to hear your "workshop war" stories and see your wounds too. We might even publish them as a warning article cautioning other DIY'ers on what not to do. Please don't sever a limb just for us, but if you have shots that can help prevent others from making the same mistake, send them along.

This 7-setting showerhead from Moen makes a great last-minute gift.

Last Minute Gift Ideas

Scrambling with some last-minute shopping? Fret no more--we have picked out a few choice items from our Holiday Gift Guide that are available at national store chains or for sale online with 1-day shipping. All you have to do is drive there, purchase and wrap or--even easier--browse, click and BOOM! Shopping done.

1) Yes, we've hyped the Propane Gauge a little bit, but what can we say?
Propane Gauge
It's a must-have for any barbecuing enthusiast. Imagine never running out of gas just as the grill marks are settling in. Or better yet, imagine running out of gas with 20+ hungry guests expecting your famous blue-cheese burgers and grilled zucchini slices. Scary thought, right? For $25, that situation can be avoided forever.

Sockets are kind of like pairs of socks. The one you want can never be found. With the ReadyWrench, your loved one can replace that maddeningly incomplete socket set with just one hand tool, complete with 16 socket sizes. $30. Holster not included.

3) Every winter I curse the cold Canadian air blowing down from the north. I know I'm not alone.
Heated Gloves
For that loved one with extra-sensitive extremities, consider gifting this pair of battery-operated Heated Gloves. $50 for warm hands in the dead of winter? Yes, please.

4) If traditional corks have been replaced by "fakes," shouldn't the traditional corkscrew follow?
Electric Rabbit Corkscrew
Enter the Electric Rabbit Corkscrew. No more hand twisting, pulling, or tugging of any kind. The corkscrew locks into the bottle and pulls the cork straight out--real or plastic--in seconds. Because not all good things should be waited for.

5) "Do all" tools are sometimes regarded with healthy skepticism by handy folk.
Dremel Oscillating Multi-Max
Every now and then, though, a multi-tool comes along with serious cred. The Dremel Oscillating Multi-Max walks that walk, swapping project hats with ease to tackle all the cutting, grinding, scraping and sanding that your fixer-upper can throw at it. Just don't plan on seeing its gift recipient for some time, at least until after a few test runs.

6) Last-minute shopping never looked--or felt--so thoughtful. This brushed nickel showerhead from Moen (pictured above) can wash away all those Holiday stresses in 7 different spray pattern ways, and it will look good doing it, too. A spiral-pattern spray face ensures that the whole body is enveloped in water--regardless of the setting. An easy-to-use spray selector quickly changes the showerhead from "Relaxing," to "Invigorating, to "targeted massage, to any of the other four settings and back again. No wonder it's part of the Inspire line. You'll look inspired, too, for picking it up as a last-minute gift for your loved one. Available at Lowes for just under $50.

Moving an Office is Never Fun

Especially if its full of years of accumulated miscelania.

Luckily there is an outfit called Got junk that will properly dispose of, donate or recycle everything you don't want to take with you.

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