Safety First In Your Shop
For generations throughout time, woodworking has long been viewed as a craft enjoyed by many. With each day, more people are becoming interested in this wonderful craft. If you are one of the people who recently came on board to this hobby, you have to know that safety is a paramount part of everything you do.
I know it sure seems like common-sense to many but failure to apply these rules can dangerously increase the odds of getting injured when working with powerful tools. Keep in mind that working in a wood shop is not a place to be rushing through a task or simply applying a “this can’t happen to me” stance. By making safety a top priority, your woodworking projects will yield safer and far more enjoyable results.
Keep Yourself Safe Free From Danger
I know it seems obvious, but the first and most important thing to do before starting any woodworking job is to wear appropriate safety gear. Safety measure like ear plugs are necessary for the very loud tools such as surface planers and routers. Also rubber gloves can prevent toxic reactions or burns when applying finishes. Lastly, there is certainly never a time that should not be wearing your safety glasses while in your shop.
Generally, it is best practice to just put them on immediately upon entering your shop and leave them on the entire time. We both know that it is much too risky to perform any job without them and you can never take any chances with your eyesight.
Remove The Blade Before Changing
No matter if you are changing a bit, blade or power tool, you need to disconnect the electricity running before you begin to change the blade. Also, just looking to see whether or not the switch is on or off is an ill-advised short cut. Depending on where it is located, a switch could be bumped accidentally or could be malfunctioning altogether. This is a risk you can not afford to take. In my experiences, I have heard of people who have been lost limbs or have even been killed by failing to do a basic task. What I always do is connect a wrench of something similar to the power cable so I can know with certain that I will not make this type of potentially dangerous mistake.
Beware Of Loose Metal
Prior to starting a cut, make sure to inspect the stock you are getting ready to cut. Sometimes you can find unexpected metal around which might include nails, staples or screws. Unfortunately, a dangerous combination of nails with an out of control spinning saw blade can be deadly. Not only can it cause severe damage to the both the cutting head and the stock, it may also cause the stock to kick back. As you might see, this is another unfortunate occurrence of injury.
Hands Away At All Times
When you are using unpredictable tools such as a miter saw or table saw, a table saw, make certain not to have your hands anywhere close to a rapidly spinning blade, most certainly if you are attempting to remove cut offs. You must wait until the blade is no longer moving before you attempt to reach for anything. Also, once the blade has stopped, its best to move the waste away from the blade by using a piece of something like scrap metal to prevent coming in contact with a blade. Remember to keep in mind, switches can be easily bumped or completely malfunction. As a result, just because the blade has suddenly stopped does not mean you are able to have your hands anywhere near it.
Keep Yourself Free From Distractions
Yes, distractions can be difficult to escape. They are woven into the fabric of our daily lives. The same holds true to working in your shop. If you ever find yourself being distracted or being summoned while in the middle of performing a task with any of your tools, just keep on task until you are finished. You must finish your cut or whatever action you are performing before you put your attention to anything else. If you attention is elsewhere, you could experience severe consequences.