Woodworking is a centuries-old tradition that has become a fun hobby for many and an important vocation for many others. While there’s plenty of creativity and innovation that comes from woodworking, the average woodshop is filled with plenty of dangers to you and those around you. You can get more than a small splinter if you’re not safe. Here are a few tips to ensure your safety.
1. Watch what you wear.
When you head into the woodshop, avoid loose clothing, which can easily get caught in woodworking saws or cutting heads. Ideally, you want something that fits you comfortably but also protects your body from woodchips and other flying particles. You should also remove any loose, hanging jewelry, including necklaces and bracelets.
2. Wear safety equipment.
In the same vein, make sure you wear proper safety equipment. Hearing protection may be necessary for some power tools, like surface planers and routers. You should also wear latex gloves when applying finish to prevent staining your hands. Your safety glasses are the most important piece of safety equipment. Even fine woodworking tools cause chips to fly, and your eyes are the most sensitive organs in your body. Wear your safety glasses when you enter and keep them on until you leave.
3. Shut off the power before changing a blade.
When you eventually need to change a bit or blade on one of your power tools, make sure you shut the machine off and completely disconnect the electricity. A switch can easily get bumped or malfunction as you change the blade. You don’t want to lose a finger—or worse—for forgetting this simple rule.
4. Use sharp blades.
A dull tool is a dangerous tool. If a saw or planer isn’t as sharp as it should be, you have to work harder to use it, which often causes the tool to bind or kickback. A dull tool won’t perform as well, delivering unsatisfactory results and more effort from you. Keep those replacement plane blades and other bits handy. Clean away any pitch. Don’t forget to sharpen and maintain your saw regularly.
5. Use one extension cord.
Not one for each tool; one power cord for all your tools. While this might seem inefficient, it forces you to unplug a tool before using the next tool. This means that all your unused tools are properly disconnected, preventing any accidental activation. It will also be nice not having a series of surge protectors cluttering up your woodshop.