Monday, July 21, 2008

The Flap Sander and Near Death

I dunno how it came about, but my friend Dick, up in NY reminded me the other day about nearly being killed to death by a sander some time ago. I'm no big fan of being killed to death... I don't care what prizes are involved.

This whole thing has gotta start with a couple of clarifications. Anyone that is in the furniture refinishing/restoration business abhors working on chairs. They're not extremely profitable, there's lots of 'em, they're always busted or unglued... and most of all... they're just a pain in the butt to deal with. Some days I'd sooner be drug down a gravel road by an outlaw gang riding horseback, than to do chairs.

But I do 'em.

It's what I do.

Salami, salami, baloney.

Anyhow, one of the tools I use to make the pain a little less (usually) when working on chairs is this miracle of the drill attachment world, it's called a flap sander. Satan used to call it "one of my favorite things"... right up there with brown paper packages tied up with string and hellfire.

Here's a Gen-U-Ine picture of my chair sanding setup.

Click it if you wanna see it bigger. Don't worry, I wore the blood stains off of it long ago.

What that is, is.. a Hitachi high speed 3/8 drill. It spins about 2500 rpm (repeated poundings minute)and those little flippy things in the chuck... those are flaps of 220 grit sandpaper on fabric backing. When I'm using it I usually just lock the trigger on and hold it by the motor instead of the handle. Works better that way. Keep in mind that "locked on" condition.

So one day I was out in the shop sanding chairs, hating it, and drifting in and out of consciousness with the banality of the task, and everything was going just dandy. Now I had on a big ol' loose sweatshirt, long sleeves and all that business, when things just went as wrong as they could go. I'm talking going to church in your underwear type of wrong.

As I sanded I got the flap sander just a little too close to my sweatshirt that protruded ever so slightly in the direction of the sander, supported by my ample belly meat. All of a sudden KABALAMALKEJOIEMM;VASKN AND AL;KFMA;IEMMMMMM!!!! That thing caught my sweatshirt and jerked out of my hand. Remember when I told you I had the trigger locked on? Okay.. just checking. It commenced to spin at something less than 2500 RPMs (repeated poundings minute) and as it did, it wound up my sweatshirt... yanking my right sleeve into the fracas as it went. It beat me like a cheap piece of meat at the local Golden Corral. As it wound up, it climbed up my belly, whipping me half to death with the cord flinging around. First in the face, then on the neck, then down south on the man parts, then on my belly, then on my face and neck and back to the man parts again. I have no idea how many times this happened as I started to slip out of consciousness and life started to ebb away and I saw my long deceased Uncle Leo standing there with his fishing pole... just smiling at me, most likely waiting for a fishing buddy in the great beyond.

Finally, (praise Jesus) it wound up to the point that it unplugged itself, with the drill stopped winding itself up at a point just below my chin, looking like some sort of new neon green ghetto bling hanging from my neck.

I stood there kinda slumped against the work bench trying to collect my thoughts with what had just happened in the last 5 seconds of my life. I looked down at the drill just dangling there... lifeless. My pulse rate had to be up in the 200 range. I looked at the chair that ended up on the floor in all the confusion.

I started unwinding the drill and sander from my shirt, and thinking about how much certain things hurt from the pommeling they had just taken. I stumbled towards the house and go in.

Sally: What happened?

Me: What?

Sally: What happened? Your right shirt sleeve is 8 inches longer than your left one. You don't look right.

Me: Flap sander thing got me.

Sally: Oh that. You okay?

Me: I can't tell yet... it happened so fast. I saw Uncle Leo, honey.

Sally: How about pizza tonite for dinner? (signaling the end of any subtle sympathy I might have received.)

I've used it alot since then, several times a week. I'm all good with it now. I'll tell you sometime 'bout sanding off a table top with an old Rockwell sander with lacquer thinner on the table (I don't remember why at this point). Maybe it's some kind of sander death wish. I dunno.



Sally said...

"Sally: How about pizza tonite for dinner? (signaling the end of any subtle sympathy I might have received.)"

And you all know me well enough to know that I was laffing til I cried on the inside ROFLMAO!!
Like now....
Oh, the memories with this man!

debijeanm said...

I, for one (as someone who does not know you except to read you every day on your blog), am very grateful that Uncle Leo is gonna have to wait for his fishing buddy.

I take tools very seriously. I had a friend - the custodian at our school - who lost control of the floor polisher (one of those big dohickies with the 24" polishing pad on the bottom?) It crawled up his leg, put him out of work for months until he died of his injuries.

gracie said...

Is that sander on the back of the toilet for it's photo op?

Anonymous said...

Just think, Jace.

That mighta been a cordless drill you had that satanic thing attached to! S'pose you'd a had to wait 'til the battery died?

ROTFLMAO (to quote Sally)!

quiltmom said...

You got watch out for those tools,
- I hope that it didn't leave you scarred for life - unable to use such a valuable building tool VBS... You do have adventures and have a sense of humor about it... Its a great way to live life...

Jennifer and Sandi said...

You CRACK me UP!!!!!!!

lilsis said...

So, do you use that thing on Gen-U-Ine tree wood?

Holly said...

OMG! It took me an extra 5 minutes to get through that because I was laughing so hard I couldn't see.

Mary ann said...

Hey, Sally! Memories are the best, and yours must be the greatest.

Jace, all I can say is that you weren't killing another mouse sander. LOL

Jerry said...

"...killed to death..."


Your stories are like a chili - better the second time. :)

Lindah said...

Good grief! Well, I'm sure glad you lived to tell us this story. That "killed to death" thing is pretty serious. Um, maybe you should take the afternoon off...go fishing maybe...WITHOUT Uncle Leo!

Vicky said...

ROFLOL. Never a dull moment at your joint, is there?!!

Brent said...

So, the flap sander won, did it? :)

I'm laughing with you of course.


Bambi said...

:) HA- Just ran accross your blog today and find it highly entertaining. Your stories remind me of my dad, only his always end with some kind of hammer or heavy machine landing on his hand and puddles of blood to follow, but it's funny AFTER we leave the ER. :)

Katy Rose said...

OMG I nearly died laughing...How are the sanding flaps for taking off paint from moulding? I thought about using a chemical stripper and wire brish but I have small kiddies that like to "help" so I would like to avoid that if I could. Then I saw this nifty attachment at the store and thought it was a great Idea.

Cowguy said...

LOL hey Katy! Eh, the chemical is gonna be 'bout a buzzillion times faster. I just use the flap sander for smoothing... knocking down the wood nibs before finishing.

Thanks and good luck.