Woodworking is not only a great profession, but also an amazing hobby and DIY activity loved by enthusiasts across the globe. There is, however, one aspect that often flies under the radar and that is safety, as it comes with certain risks you have to factor in before grabbing your tools. Throwing caution to the wind is certainly not an option because the procedures are quite easy to follow and remember. They also do not impede your performance or enjoyment. So, take heed. Here are some rules every woodworker should know and adhere to.
Safety gear and clothing
The first rule is basically common sense, but it is surprising how many people disregard it. Namely, wearing proactive equipment is an absolute must. Safety glasses need to be used in every woodworking project. When applying finishes, you also need latex gloves. On the other hand, any kind of noisy tool (surface planers and routers) warrants the use of hearing protection. Furthermore, you always want to avoid loose-fitting apparel. Instead, wear something comfortable that shields you against wayward wood chips and will not get entangled in saw blades.
Proper use of cutting tools
It goes without saying that you need to know your tools and be proficient with them. Read the owner’s manual carefully and make sure your blades and bits are razor-sharp and clean of pitch. Dull cutting tools force you to work harder and they also come with heightened risks of kicking back and binding. It is also of the utmost importance to inspect the tools and ensure there are no screws, nails, and pieces of metal. These small elements do not mix well with spinning blades and tend to cause a dangerous kick-back effect.
Stay in control
A handsaw, many woodworkers’ darling, is considered a rather safe tool. But, power saws are becoming more sophisticated by the day, and besides, you can take some extra precautions when using them. For example, due to the way these tools are designed, it is necessary to always work against the motion (cutter), not with it. Beyond that, you can employ a feeding system anda contemporary automatic saw for higher productivity and more safety. You basically streamline the whole process and reduce the psychical strain and time needed to complete the project.
Furthermore, you have to pay close attention to power sources. First off, remember to unplug the tool prior to blade changes. That way, you minimize the risk of injury that many woodworkers suffer. You might want to use only one heavy-duty extension cord (instead of one per tool). This practice forces you to switch the cord every time you need another tool. Hence, plugging and unplugging becomes easier to keep track of. Of course, with a power saw, you need to either be near the socket or have a battery full of juice.
Watch your hands
There are a few other simple steps to follow. Avoid one of the most common mistakes—reaching over and putting your hands near a blade of a miter or table saw. The only time you can do this is when the blade has come to a halt completely: it is safe to remove the cut-off and waste then. For extra safety, you can even use something like a push stick to pull it off. It can happen that your switches malfunction, so always think twice before placing your hands close to the blade. Accidents usually occur when you are distracted or lost in thought.
Safety must come first
Woodworking is a beautiful hobby that comes with some safety risks. It would be a shame and downright dangerous to let them spoil the party. So, wear suitable gear and clothing. Be aware of your surroundings and get familiar with the tools and machines you will be using. Never rush projects or jump into them unprepared. Follow the aforementioned safety procedures without exception. This is the only way to make sure your woodworking endeavours go as smooth as possible. Stay on the safe side and stay sharp!