9 Safety Tips Every Woodworker Should Know
Woodworking is a fun and enjoyable hobby. It can be very satisfying as well, especially after you finish a project well and on time. It can also be a safe vocation, if you follow some basic safety rules. Make it a habit to follow these safety tips and you will have a safer, more enjoyable woodworking experience:
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Safety Tips for Woodworker
Don't Start Working While You are Frustrated, Tired or Drank
Frustration and exhaustion are two barriers to completing a woodworking project. When you are tired or frustrated, it can be hard for you to focus on your work. The same goes if you have been consuming alcohol. It would be very difficult, if not impossible, to focus on the task at hand.
While it may seem pretty harmless to open a can of beer while working, you’d rather not take chances. Even pros are discouraged from drinking a can of beer or two when they’re working with power tools.
Thus, it is recommended that you don’t start working if you are tired, frustrated, or tipsy.
Disconnect the Drill Before Making Any Blade Changes
The rule of thumb when making blade or bit changes is to unplug the power tool first before doing so. You should not just check if the switch is turned off, because there’s a chance that it could malfunction or get bumped.
This is a very simple but important rule that has cost a lot of woodworkers their fingers. In fact, there are some pros who would even affix the wrenches to the power cables so there won’t be any chance they’ll forget to unplug their tools.
If you are using a cordless drill, remove its battery first when changing bits. You should also switch it off when replacing batteries.
Use Just One Extension Cord
Here’s another tip that can save you from potential problems - use one heavy duty extension cord for all your tools. This may sound counter-productive, but it makes sense as far as safety is concerned.
With just one extension cord, you will be forced to unplug one tool before connecting another power tool for use. This way, you would always remember to unplug and unplug a power tool like a drill or saw before using it.
Use Only Sharp Bits & Blades
This may seem like another simple rule; but you would be surprised at the number of novice woodworkers who ignore this protocol. Don’t force the issue with a dull cutting bit or blade. It won’t just waste your time but also pose risks.
For example, a saw blade that isn’t sharp will force you to work harder to complete your task. Then there’s the chance that the tool will kick back or bind.
Check the Tool First Before Operating
You should make it a habit as well to check your power tool first before using it. Check for any looseness at the plug, or exposed wires. Examine your tools first to make sure that it is clean. Tag a dirty rusty drill or saw, and then have a qualified technician inspect it.
Use Safety Features
Don’t overlook the safety features of the woodworking tools that you are using. For example, riving knives and blade guards are typically found in table saws.
Riving knives move with the table saw blade to prevent kickbacks. Blade guards also serve that purpose.You can also add other safety features like a featherboard.
This can prevent kickback as well by keeping the stock firmly against the fence. You can buy this in most home improvement centers.
Don’t Reach over a Blade to Get Rid of Cut-Offs
When operating a table saw or miter saw, avoid putting your hands near the moving blade. This is very much true when you try to remove cut-offs or waste. A safer way of getting rid of the waste is to wait until the blade has stopped moving. Only then should you reach for the cut-offs.
You can also use a push stick in removing waste or cut-offs from the blade. Do this when the saw blade has stopped.
Keep in mind that there could be instances when switches malfunction, so don’t relax even if the blade has stopped. Using a push stick will keep your hands away from the blade.
Your wood shop or work space should be free from distractions. There should be no kids running around, or no television that can make you lose focus. Simply put, getting distracted is a recipe for disaster when operating a woodworking tool.
Don’t Use a Tool Unless You’re Sure How to Use it
Some novice woodworkers are too daring to use tools and machines, even if they aren’t really experience and skilled in using them. When in the work shop, consider fear as your best defense against injuries. If you aren’t confident using a tool, then don’t use it at all.
Woodworking can be compared to driving a car. It’s dangerous but if you are focused on the road and you keep your car in good condition, then the chances of you getting into an accident are relatively low.
You can keep yourself scot-free when you follow these nine safety tips while operating any woodworking tool or machine. And you can get to finish your project on time and with satisfactory results.