/ / Shop Safety is Priority One – Put that Guard Back on

Shop Safety is Priority One – Put that Guard Back on

Promoting safe woodworking in our meetings, demonstrations, and in our members’ shops is a key priority for our group.

Boards fly out of controlThe unexpected can easily happen when working with a shop tool.  It is usually due to a mistake we made in a set up.  Boards fly away or cutting tools go where they were not intended.  Even simple hand tools sometimes get to your hands first and not to the wood.

I became more aware and alert to the need for safe practices with age and experience.  A recent vivid reminder for me was a board that came “ripping” back out of my table saw recently and shot across the room.  I was standing to the side so no damage was done, and no pain was inflicted.  My mistake was not setting up a controlled way to completely push the narrow strip through and past the blade.

Fast-moving tools deserve your full attentionI have a respectful “caution” of fast-moving tools as well as stationary tools that have edges.  Today, I am more fastidious about using jigs, fences, hold-downs, and other clamping devices when presenting a piece of wood to a cutting tool.  I am constantly reminding myself to put a guard back in place when preparing to make a cut.  The small amount of time is well worth it.

Hand tools require concentration alsoMy chisels are very sharp and will cut me if I look at them it seems.  When a chisel is in my hand, I try to constantly keep it pointing away from me.  If it must point towards me, I will have it in a controlled lock.  I have learned the hard way that even the humble screwdriver should not be pointing towards your palm when pressing hard to get a screw to turn.  A slip can be painful.

Fumes are a silent dangerOne of the most important and least appreciated dangers is the need to wear an appropriate mask.  This protects you from dust and damaging fumes when using strong solvent-based finishes like varnishes and lacquers.  A quality mask is not expensive and can protect you from irreparable damage.  Don’t ignore it.

Work safe and I hope to see you at a meeting soon.

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