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post #1 of 55 Old 12-08-2015, 04:14 PM Thread Starter
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Safety Tips for Woodworkers



Staying safe is important when working with any tools, but it’s especially important for woodworkers. While you can suffer severe injuries with any tool, woodworking injuries have an increased chance of injuring your hands, which can obviously severely affect your ability to work on wood in the future.

You probably know a lot of the basics of safety already, but some things bear repeating. Here are a few things to keep in mind to stay safe while working with wood, both while working by hand and when using powered equipment.

Know Your Safety Equipment

You already know that you should wear safety goggles when working with wood, but what else? What safety equipment is needed for hand working wood as opposed to using a router or lathe? If you think that goggles are the only equipment you need, you might be setting yourself up for an injury.

Eye, hand and arm protection are very important – and hearing protection is also recommended if you’re using loud powered equipment. Latex gloves or other non-absorbent hand protection should be worn if you’re dealing with strong finishes or stripping chemicals.

Don’t forget a respirator or facemask if you’re working with harsh chemicals, too. You should also make sure that you don’t wear loose-fitting clothes; everything you wear should be relatively form fitting and shouldn’t have any dangly bits hanging off that could get caught up in your equipment.

Check the Wood

Don’t ever work in a hurry: you may be tempted to get right to work without properly looking over the wood that you’re working with. In most cases this isn’t that big of a deal, but if there’s a nail, screw or other hazard in the wood that you don’t see, it could mean trouble. Depending on the tools you’re using, hitting a nail or other object could pull the blade in dangerous directions or possibly even send a piece of the nail flying through the air.

Keep it Sharp

Wood can be hard on blades, bits and other woodworking tools. It’s tempting to keep using the same blades for as long as possible to get the most for your money. That’s perfectly fine provided you’re willing to put forth the effort to sharpen the blades.

If your equipment doesn’t have sharp blades, it’s more likely to kick back or bind up while you’re using it because it simply can’t cut into the wood as well as it should. Either change your blades as needed or sharpen them. Don’t forget to clean them up to remove pitch and other buildup that can prematurely make them dull.

Don’t Reach Over the Blade

You’d think that this one was common sense, but emergency rooms see plenty of traffic from people who didn’t think and reached over an active blade to stabilize a piece of wood or grab a piece that’s been cut off. Keep a piece of scrap or some other item like a cut-off broom handle to knock your waste out of the way while the blade is spinning.

It may take a little bit of practice to get used to using a tool to deal with your cut wood, but once you get used to it you’ll be much safer. If you have to reach over the blade for something, be patient and wait for it to stop moving completely before reaching across.

Disconnect the Power Before Maintenance

Here’s another one that you would think is common sense. Too many people don’t bother disconnecting the power on saws and other large pieces of equipment before they begin changing blades or performing other maintenance.

This is a dangerous habit.

All it takes is one slip to engage the tool and potentially cause yourself a severe injury. Some woodworkers even go so far as to only use a single extension cord in their shop so that they have to unplug each piece of equipment before they can use a different one. This sets up a great habit that can prevent maintenance-time injuries: always unplug your equipment when you’re done with it.

Keep Your Focus

A number of woodworking injuries are caused by simply losing track of what you’re doing. When you’re working on a project, make sure you’re using your chisels and other tools properly and that you’re using clamps as needed to prevent hand injuries.

You should be sober, well rested and focused on the task at hand. Keep your area free from distractions that might draw your eyes away from what you’re doing at a vital moment. This is your livelihood – don’t risk it to find out who won the game or what movie’s coming on the TV later.
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post #2 of 55 Old 12-08-2015, 05:21 PM
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Good post. I've been a Safety & Industrial Hygiene Professional for over 26 years and I still deal with way too many preventable injuries & illnesses.

Mark

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post #3 of 55 Old 12-08-2015, 06:43 PM
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When working with shop tools always be very attentive to the working end of the tools. Always know where your fingers are when using shop tools.

Don't have a lot of clutter or off fall on the floor that could make you trip into a running tool or fall into some one else who is using a dangerous shop tool.

If you wear long sleeve shirts, keep them buttoned and never wear real loose fitting sleeves. Do not wear gloves when using the table saw, the saw can jerk your hand into the blade before you know what happened.

Never take for granted that nothing will or can happen to you because it for sure can and if not really careful, will.

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post #4 of 55 Old 12-08-2015, 09:18 PM
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The most important safety device is the common sense gear in your head. Think back, most every time you have hurt yourself you saw it coming. I cut the end of my finger off one time on a shaper trying to force a board flat while running it. The last thing I said was "I don't know if I can do this or not"
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post #5 of 55 Old 12-08-2015, 11:33 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by WoodworkingTalk View Post


Staying safe is important when working with any tools, but itís especially important for woodworkers. .
In your picture here you are not really using the saw like the instructions suggest you use it...

You are 'supposed' to pull the carriage UP and all the way forward and then press down and push back towards the fence as you make the cut. (at least according to the instructions) With a sliding compound miter saw - You generally always start in the front and work towards the back.

This prevents (reduces the chances of) the saw from grabbing the board and then 'running' towards you...

It also appears as though you removed or pinned up your blade guard on that Makita. That is not always a 'good' idea either according to the instructions...

Most sliding compound miter saws have the instructions printed ON them somewhere but most never bother to read them.

You 'may' (or may not) be a very good woodworker and have absolutely NO issues doing stuff like in that picture and staying 'safe' while doing it - But if a 'newbie' (or idiot) tries that sort of stuff he may get hurt.

I don't mean to come across sounding like the 'safety police' or anything like that. All I am trying to say is that what might be 'safe' for you or me could be very 'unsafe' for someone else...



A guy has to be careful posting pictures lest others may get the idea that that sort of thing is 'ok' for them to try as well.

My tablesaw has a long list of warnings clearly printed on it. Does not say crap anywhere about dogs so this MUST be 'safe'...


I always look for the little pictures of the circle with the line through it. If it aint in that circle - It has to be 'OK'.

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post #6 of 55 Old 12-08-2015, 11:36 PM
where's my table saw?
 
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I agree
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post #7 of 55 Old 12-09-2015, 12:06 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by OnealWoodworking
In your picture here you are not really using the saw like the instructions suggest you use it... You are 'supposed' to pull the carriage UP and all the way forward and then press down and push back towards the fence as you make the cut. (at least according to the instructions) With a sliding compound miter saw - You generally always start in the front and work towards the back. This prevents (reduces the chances of) the saw from grabbing the board and then 'running' towards you... It also appears as though you removed or pinned up your blade guard on that Makita. That is not always a 'good' idea either according to the instructions... Most sliding compound miter saws have the instructions printed ON them somewhere but most never bother to read them. You 'may' (or may not) be a very good woodworker and have absolutely NO issues doing stuff like in that picture and staying 'safe' while doing it - But if a 'newbie' (or idiot) tries that sort of stuff he may get hurt. I don't mean to come across sounding like the 'safety police' or anything like that. All I am trying to say is that what might be 'safe' for you or me could be very 'unsafe' for someone else... A guy has to be careful posting pictures lest others may get the idea that that sort of thing is 'ok' for them to try as well. My tablesaw has a long list of warnings clearly printed on it. Does not say crap anywhere about dogs so this MUST be 'safe'... I always look for the little pictures of the circle with the line through it. If it aint in that circle - It has to be 'OK'.
His hand was also closer than the manufacturer recommended, I don't think the guard on a miter saw does any good except making it hard to change blades. I still have the guard on my miter saw, because it doesn't get it the way except when changing blades. But, I agree since he did start a safety page he should at least use all proper safety precautions.
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post #8 of 55 Old 12-09-2015, 12:57 AM
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Let's not forgot the most important bit of safety advise:

Don't poke the Spinny bit

I need cheaper hobby
etsy.com/shop/projectepicfail
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post #9 of 55 Old 12-09-2015, 01:24 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hwebb99 View Post
His hand was also closer than the manufacturer recommended, I don't think the guard on a miter saw does any good except making it hard to change blades. I still have the guard on my miter saw, because it doesn't get it the way except when changing blades. But, I agree since he did start a safety page he should at least use all proper safety precautions.

On a Makita like this picture shows - The ergonomics are so good (when pressing the trigger and gripping 'normally' - Your thumb is right there next to the guard and within easy reach with NO effort - You can 'adjust' it all you like without disabling it entirely) that you would have to be a fool to pin it up to somehow make things 'more easy'.

On saws like this - When brushes need attention they generally cease to work the electronic 'blade brake' long before entirely crapping out to the point that the saw does not work any longer.

It is 'good' to have a blade guard there while things are winding down if the thing is not otherwise getting in the way.
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post #10 of 55 Old 12-09-2015, 01:30 AM
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Y'all, it's just a stock photo.

"Show respect even to people who donít deserve it, not as a reflection of their character, but as a reflection of yours."
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post #11 of 55 Old 12-09-2015, 02:11 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cricket
Y'all, it's just a stock photo.
You still should use a picture that is using proper safety procedures especially in a safety thread. I doubt you would find this picture on the OSHA poster. Safety Tips for Woodworkers-image-3010025407.jpg
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post #12 of 55 Old 12-09-2015, 07:23 AM
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Here's the problem ....

Quote:
Originally Posted by Cricket View Post
Y'all, it's just a stock photo.
You have posted some general safety tips, a good thing. Then you included a "specifc" photo showing a procedure that is not completely safe, showing a missing blade guard, not a good thing.

For those of us who already know the safe operation of woodworking tools, it won't matter, but for those just starting out .... who I think your post is intended, it gives a mixed message. If you acquired this info from a generic source as opposed to speaking from years of personal woodworking experience, so you are gonna get some flak... just sayin'.

One of the most important safety tips I know from 50 years of using a table saw, is to place ONLY straight and flat work on the table and against the fence. IF the work should shift or twist because it is NOT flat and straight you will most certainly have a dangerous kickback. Kickbacks are the most common table saw mishap, occurring far more often than blade cutting flesh injuries, because they are just not reported and don't involve emergency room attention.

Another important table saw safety accessory/device is the splitter or riving knife which maintains the work against the fence to prevent it from walking away and causing a kickback. It also keeps the kerf open to prevent binding when a cut in made in "reaction" wood closing and binding the blade under power.

Using the correct type of blade, for cross cutting or ripping is also an important safety issue. Trying to rip with a cross cut blade will cause it to overheat and bind because the gullets aren't deep enough to clear out the chips and there are too many teeth with not enough offset. Conversely, crosscutting with a rip blade will just not give a clean cut, but there are no safety issues.

A full explanation of the table saw safety tips and rules would require a "book" with photos included for each safety aspect, way too much for a post on this forum, but I have included the basic ones I have learned over the years.

The answer to your question will only be as detailed and specific as the question is detailed and specfic. Good questions also include a sketch or a photo
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post #13 of 55 Old 12-09-2015, 09:59 AM
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My ears are the last defense against injury.

All of the advise above is spot on----but things still go wrong.

A saw or router (really just about every power tool) has a 'happy sound' when operating smoothly.

When that sound changes---I go on full alert--a binding board will strain the motor--changing the sound before the board kicks back.
A shifting router bit will cut differently and make a different warning sound.

Keep safe---use all of you senses (including COMMON sense)--Mike---
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post #14 of 55 Old 12-09-2015, 02:01 PM
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For what it's worth, I chose that picture for the article BECAUSE it didn't look very safe. It felt like a good opening for a talk about safety. I will use more caution with selecting the pictures in the future.

In the meantime, please continue to share your safety tips.

"Show respect even to people who donít deserve it, not as a reflection of their character, but as a reflection of yours."
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post #15 of 55 Old 12-09-2015, 09:59 PM
where's my table saw?
 
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At the risk of repeating myself ...

Table saw operation tips:

There is a 3" "safety zone" in front and all around the blade where caution must be used when entering.
1. use only straight and flat wood against the fence.
2. use a splitter or riving knife to prevent wood closure and to maintain registration against the fence when ripping.
3. use a blade cover when practical.
4. have a off feed table to catch and support all the workpieces and NEVER reach over or around the blade to retrieve loose pieces.
5. have the on/off switch easily available using a knee or hip to turn it off.
6. keep a clean area on top of the saw and around the base
7. use a clean sharp blade and a controlled feed rate.
8. push narrow pieces beyond the blade with a push block.
9. stand to one side when ripping long narrow piece which may propel rearwards.
10. know where the blade path is at all times and keep your hands and fingers well away. It's the 3" safety zone....

The answer to your question will only be as detailed and specific as the question is detailed and specfic. Good questions also include a sketch or a photo
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post #16 of 55 Old 12-09-2015, 11:26 PM
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I have a thin kerf rip blade, a full kerf rip blade, and a cross cut blade that is thicker than full kerf. What is the best method to tackle this with a splitter. Ok, the best method would be to buy 3 saws and leave them setup, but short of that what is the best method.
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post #17 of 55 Old 12-09-2015, 11:50 PM
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OK, I can't give my usual answer ...LOL

Instead of 3 saws, use a thin kerf splitter. The full kerf rip blade won't care if it's ahead of a thin kerf splitter. But running a full kerf splitter won't work on a thin kerf blade. Cross cutting doesn't need a splitter.

The answer to your question will only be as detailed and specific as the question is detailed and specfic. Good questions also include a sketch or a photo
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post #18 of 55 Old 12-11-2015, 12:40 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by woodnthings View Post
Instead of 3 saws, use a thin kerf splitter. The full kerf rip blade won't care if it's ahead of a thin kerf splitter. But running a full kerf splitter won't work on a thin kerf blade. Cross cutting doesn't need a splitter.
Or have zero clearance inserts with splitters for each blade, much cheaper than 3 saws.

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post #19 of 55 Old 12-14-2015, 03:20 PM
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Safety

As a at home woodworker one thing that I do is shut down any machine that I am running when someone come into the shop.

Many people just do not get it that you need to pay attention to what you are doing and think that you can talk and work on a project at the same time.
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post #20 of 55 Old 12-14-2015, 08:20 PM
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I learned to recheck any machine whenever I do any kind of maintenance. About four years ago I resharpened the blades on my jointer and apparently did not tighten one of them properly. It came loose within a second of restarting it, put a three or four inch crack in the out-feed table and flew into a wall. The jointer was ruined and had to be replaced. My only "injury", fortunately, was an adrenaline rush. I now recheck all maintenance assemblies and do occasionally find something not quite right, but have had no repeats. I also got careless while making a number of resawn pieces on my bandsaw just before last Christmas and sliced the tip of my middle finger off, fortunately just short of the bone. I have been woodworking as a hobby for over forty years, so accidents can happen no matter how experienced you are.

I hope you all have a good project underway and are enjoying yourselves.
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