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The week between our vacation and Maria Killam’s True Colour Expert™️ Workshop, I helped my parents install laminate flooring.  My parents aren’t the type to live in a mess or a construction zone, but they tore their carpet out in preparation for their carpenter to install the new flooring.  They had no idea the carpenter would be tied up for months and that they would be forced to live with subfloors for all of that time.


They finally asked me if I could help.  They tried to hire me (that makes me laugh) because they know that I am a hobbyist finish carpenter and have all of the tools to get the job done.


Jon loaded our old 4 runner with all of the tools he thought I’d need and we drove 2 hours to my parents house.


Here are the tools we brought:


Rigid Table Saw


From left to right: Paslode Pneumatic Finish Nailer, DeWalt Jigsaw, Makita Cordless Drill




Ryobi Bandsaw


DeWalt 12″ Compound Miter Saw

For the floor installation, I used all of the tools.  Although, the table saw and chop saw (compound miter) were used consistently to cut and rip boards; the other saws and drill were lifesavers for cutting around doorways; corners and, in one case, a gas pipe.


If you ask me which tool intimidates me the most, I’ll tell you that the table saw does.  I used to have a less powerful table saw, but there was a season in my life when I had a master craftsman working on our house and I was his protégé.  We burned the less powerful saw out with all of our projects.


I replaced the less powerful table saw with Home Depot’s Rigid brand table saw.  It is powerful and has thrown wood 40 feet, only to be stopped by the neighbor’s garage door.


If you ask what my favorite saw is, I will tell you it is my bandsaw.  The blade is dull and badly needs to be replaced, but I love that saw.  It’s my go-to saw for detail work.  We use it to cut things like bully sticks for our dog, too.


My favorite tool, in general, may be my Paslode Pneumatic finish nailer.  It’s easy and leaves tiny holes.  It started shooting blanks while I was at my parents, so I took it apart and did more damage to it!  Not to worry, I will send it in for repair.  It’s been my trusty sidekick for at least 12 years, so if I ever do need a new one, I won’t feel bad.


The most difficult part about installing the floors was arguing with my mom over whether I should take a break every time I laid a few boards.


I wasn’t the only one working.  She was laying underlayment and cooking non-stop and Dolly (my step dad) was working along side me.  Jon was mostly at home working his real job, but he was a great help over the weekend.


When my mom wasn’t telling me to stop working and rest, she was telling me to eat.  Here are some of the meals she and Dolly made for me:


A Mixed Toasted Cheese Sandwich on My Mom’s Delicious Homemade Paleo Bread


Homemade Clam Chowder


Toasted Cheese on Sourdough and Mexicali Soup


Blueberry Waffles with Homemade Blueberry Sauce and Whipped Cream


Pork Ribs, Beans, Potato Salad and Cabbage

Because of all of the breaks I took, the floors did not get finished before I left to become a Certified True Colour Expert™️.  When I returned from a wonderful week away, I got the news that my dad had cut the tips of two fingers off.


Dolly’s Injured Fingers


The board on the left was the last one cut before Dolly’s injury.

Such a heartbreak.  Guess which tool?  And guess how?  I’ll tell you how first.  The saw was turned off and the blade just jumped out and pulled his fingers in.


Have you guessed which one yet?  My favorite.  The band saw.  I don’t think there is any convincing my mom that the saw blade didn’t just jump out and pull Dolly’s hand in.


The truth is that he turned the machine off to wipe the surface clean, but the blade had not, yet, stop moving.  He brushed a finger by the somewhat slow moving blade and the saw teeth grabbed hold.


The good news is that the injuries happened a week and a half ago and Dolly is healing wonderfully.  His ring finger tip is reattaching, but the middle tip was lost.  It looks gory now, but I can see that it will look great when it is healed.


This is how I look when I work on home projects.  I may or may not have combed my hair.


This is my safety gear (actually, I borrowed it from Dolly): Earplugs, Dust Mask, Safety Glasses, Pad for my knees.

A few power tool safety tips:

  • Keep floors clear of slipping and tripping hazards, such as dust and wood

  • Work slowly and patiently

  • Use even pressure when running wood through a saw

  • Wear protective glasses

  • Wear ear protection to preserve your hearing

  • Avoid wearing gloves because they can get sucked into saws (Although, OSHA rules require gloves and I agree that they prevent splinters.)

  • Use a push tool/stick when working with smaller pieces of wood on the table saw

  • Wear a dust mask to protect your lungs


I have the sassiest retro safety glasses from Restoration Hardware… somewhere!

In case you missed it, here’s a post called Ringing in the New Year about hanging out with my parents!

14 thoughts on “Fun and Games ’til Someone Gets Hurt

  1. Janea says:

    You are so brave to venture near all those blades – impressive!


    1. Someone has to do it! 😉 Actually, I love making things and I love tools!


  2. Janet bolinger says:

    Oh Melissa, tell Dale we certainly hope this injury doesn’t affect his golf game! Left hand …..wow, that’s scary!
    You are a very dear daughter (as well as “daughter in law”) to help put this project together! If I could figure out how to do a “quick learn” I’d come help you just to eat all Jan’s wonderful creations! Yum, they look so inviting!
    You ALL be careful.

    Can’t wait to see the finished project!
    Love n hugs,


    1. My mom would be thrilled to cook for you and have you just be a guest. Look, she could barely let me work.


  3. Nancy P says:

    Oh, poor Dial! Ouch!!

    I can’t wait to show my dad this post. You share two of his passions – photography and woodworking. He will certainly have you cornered next time to discuss saws.

    Jannie’s food looks delicious! Love the Mexicali soup. 🙂


    1. Doesn’t Dial break your heart?

      Your dad and I did discuss tools, his dreamy workshop and photography extensively on Easter weekend. I bought a filter he recommended for my camera. Now I need to practice using it!

      You know that is your soup recipe and you always get credit for it! I think you got that from Mr. Davies class, maybe…? I am thinking 4th grade? I am going to get that recipe and share it because it’s worthy!



      1. Nancy P says:

        Yes, Mr. Davies. What a great memory you have! I would love if you shared the recipe because I seem to have lost it over the years.

        I showed my dad your post tonight and he loved it. He was very proud of you for your choices in tools. 🙂


      2. I’ll get the recipe from my mom, I think it is in her head. I am glad Eddie approved of my tools! ❤️


  4. Katy says:

    Melissa – you are a marvel!! Your mom and Dale too! Love your can-do attitude!!


    1. Ha! You have a can do attitude, too! You just don’t get as dirty as me. Does that photo of me look familiar? How many times have you seen me look like that? 💛


  5. Nancy says:

    Holy Cow! Be careful and hugs to Dad!!


  6. simplysophisticatedspaces says:

    I would like to be your protege. Tools. Photography. Meals.


    1. Can you imagine the fun we’d have and the things we would accomplish?! Yeah, the food. Even looking at the pictures makes me hungry. A major part of my mom’s love language is cooking for and feeding others. It’s amazing I am not fat.


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