Awhile back, my teddy bear of a Father-In-Law told me something that's stayed with me ever since that one time when I clocked myself up alongside the head with a lawn rake that hadn't been put away property and I stepped on the teeth; "there's no sympathy for stupidity"! Boy, was he right!
Three years ago, I cut up a bunch of cottonwood rounds into slabs I hoped might make some nice tabletops at some point. Yesterday, when Katherine looked at the cottonwood slabs I'd been working on for the television stand, neither one really appealed to her. They just didn't seem right for the application.
So, I went into the back 40 (actually the back 4 or 5) to the cottonwood wood pile and saw some slabs that might work if I split them using a wedge and a sledge hammer. The first photo is of one of those slabs. Nice grain, nice shape, waaaay too big. Yep, gotta split it.
Put wedge in an existing crack, and started hammering away at it. Problem is, the wedge wasn't really a wedge in the truest sense of the word. It was actually an old maul head the handle had broken off of years before.
My thinking, however flawed (or stupid, if you prefer), was this would make a really good wedge. It's shaped right, very heavy, and made to hammer stuff, right?
Wrong! In the photo below, you can see one of the areas that chipped out of the hammerhead when I struck it with my sledge. The little piece beside the hammerhead is the piece that went into my knee like a bullet shot out of a gun.
I won't bore you with a photo of the actual wound, but it wasn't enough to make me feint (do so at the sight of my own blood most of the time). Walking back to the house wasn't even a problem.
The photo below shows some of the blood, but also shows the hole in my jeans where the piece went through them.
Thank you, Katherine, for taking such good care of me. I am going to go back up to the shop today at some point and start planing down those slabs to usable thicknesses. I promise to be more careful!
1.) Put on those damn chainsaw chaps - that's what they're for, you dummy! Ya shoulda learned the first time you put that chainsaw across your other knee!
2.) Use a real wedge designed and made for that specific purpose, you dummy!