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You’ve got your workshop set up and you’re eager to start learning some of the basics of woodwork. Carpentry is a great hobby, but before you fire up your power saw, you need to establish workshop safety rules. As enjoyable as woodworking is, there are several risks you should be aware of. This is why basic workshop safety should be at the top of the list when learning woodwork for beginners. For those who are starting to learn about woodworking, the following woodwork safety tips can keep you out of harm’s way while working on your projects. These basic safety tips include following a dress code, wearing safety gear, keeping the floor clean, avoiding reaching near blades, keeping blades sharp, making safe blade changes, and inspecting your stock.
Follow a Workshop Dress Code
Wearing appropriate clothing should be at the top of your safety rules. You should not wear anything that is loose or baggy. If your clothing is hanging off your body, it can easily get caught in a piece of machinery, causing an accident. Make sure your clothes fit well, are comfortable, and provide some protection from debris when you are working.
Wearing Safety Gear is Key to Woodwork Safety
Having the right safety gear is an important part of running a safe workshop. Earplugs can be useful for working with loud tools, but more important still is eye protection. Eye protection is vital for operating power tools, but it is also necessary for working with your woodworking hand tools. If you plan to do a lot of sanding, you may also want to equip yourself with protection against wood dust inhalation. Keep a dust mask on hand for working with power tools. Some woods and finishes can be toxic when they become airborne as dust, and can cause all sorts of respiratory issues when inhaled.
Clean the Floor and Clear the Space
Having a clean workshop is one of the fundamentals of woodwork safety. The floor should always be clean and clear. Gather all of your wood scraps and store them out of the way. You should also clean up any sawdust whenever you’ve finished with a tool. Sawdust can be a fire hazard, and can even cause you to slip and fall if there is enough on the floor.
Don’t Reach Near the Blade
A good table saw is the core of any workshop. However, while it’s one of the most useful tools you’ll have, it can also be fairly dangerous. One thing to note about many table saws and miter saws is that the blade doesn’t immediately stop spinning once it’s turned off. For this reason, you should avoid reaching near the blade to remove debris when working on your DIY project. To be safe, you should wait for a few seconds after turning the machine off. Once the blade has stopped spinning, basic safety calls for you to use a piece of scrap wood or one of your push sticks to move the scrap away from the blade.
Keep Your Blades Sharp
Using sharp blades is another woodwork safety basic. Even with a quality tool like the Worxsaw Compact Circular Saw, the condition of your blade matters. A dull blade won’t provide clean cuts and can also increase the risk of the blade binding or kicking back. If the condition is bad enough, it could even break when the saw is in use. If you have a blade that is dull or damaged, discard it and get a replacement. Blades are typically inexpensive, and the cost of a new one is more than worth it when it comes to your overall safety.
Ensure Your Blade Changes are Safe
When the time comes to change the blade on a tool, make sure you follow the instructions in the owner’s manual. Another basic safety tip is to disconnect the power before changing a blade. If it is a tool that plugs in, disconnect the power. For a cordless tool, remove the battery before working on the blade. If you need to change the blade on a table saw, protect your hands by putting an angle in your arbor wrench. It just takes one slip with the wrench to get a nasty cut from the table saw blade. Just secure the arbor wrench in a vice with the top half sticking out. Give it a few taps with a hammer until the end is angled away from the blade. This will keep your hands safely away from the blade when you loosen or tighten the arbor nut.
Inspect Your Stock
You should always inspect a piece of wood for knots before making a cut. You can cut through knots, but you need to be prepared for it to take a little more work and for the increased possibility of kickback. If you are trying to repurpose an old piece of wood, you should also look for things like screws and nails. This can be a definite hazard when cutting wood and it could possibly damage the blade. If you absolutely have to cut through wood and metal in the same cut, you might want to consider using a tool like the 18v Power Share Oscillating Multi-tool. You can make safe, accurate cuts through non-ferrous metals and wood using this oscillating tool. Woodworking safety isn’t just about initially setting up a list of rules. You have to follow them every time you’re working and ensure others follow them as well. All it takes is one lapse for an injury to occur, so basic workshop safety should be your top priority.
Find tools that make workshop safety easier at WORX!