Although woodworking is one of the most popular hobbies, it is also known to be quite dangerous if safety rules aren’t adhered to. The kind of tools and equipment used on woodworking can be hazardous if operated incorrectly or without taking the appropriate safety precautions.
Here we give you some tips on safety precautions that will protect you against accident or injury when woodworking so that you get even more enjoyment out of it.
- Always Wear Safety Equipment
Although it seems like an obvious rule, it’s important to pay attention to safety equipment. When you are using loud power tools such as surface planers, you can protect your hearing by wearing ear protection. Using latex gloves while applying chemical-based finished will protect your skin and safety glasses will preserve your sight for all types of activities in the workshop. Never skimp on protective clothing or think you don’t have to bother for a small job. Get into the routine of using glasses and gloves whenever you’re woodworking to ensure your hands and eyes are protected.
- Wear the Right Clothes
Although woodworking is a leisure pursuit for many, it is inadvisable to wear baggy or loose clothing as there is a good chance something could get caught in a saw blade or cutting head. Wear clothes that are more appropriate for a woodworking environment that also affords you a little extra protection. Always ensure any dangling chains or bracelets are removed before you enter your workshop.
- Avoid Using Anything That Can Impair Your Reaction Time and Judgment
Just as you don’t drive your car while you’re intoxicated, it is very unwise to carry out a woodwork project when under the influence of alcohol or drugs. As with any activity, risks are heightened when a person isn’t fully in control of their reflexes and dangerous mistakes can easily be made. If you are feeling unwell, it’s also not a good idea to go into the workshop. Operating any kind of equipment or power tool when you’re not feeling 100% increases the risk of an accident occurring.
- Disconnect Power
If you need to change the blades or bits on a power tool, always make sure you have cut off the power before doing so. Again, this sounds like an obvious tip but accidental electrocutions are common in woodworking. If there’s no power going to the tool, there is no chance it can be accidentally powered up.
- Use a Single Extension Cord
Keep the connections simple when woodworking so that you aren’t using several extension cables at the same time. Rationalize the power sources before you start any project so that you have one extension cord for each tool you use. If there are too many leads in your workshop, they will present a hazard. It’s also hazardous from an electrical point of view to use too many tools from one extension cable and can lead to power surges. Keep things simple with your cables to improve safety in your workshop.
- Never Use Blunt Blades & Bits
Cutting tools are clearly dangerous although they can be just as hazardous when blunt as they are sharpened. When blades are dull, they need to work harder to do the job and can get caught up in the process. Make sure your blades are always sharpened and that you take all the safety precautions necessary to protect yourself.
- Check Stock for Existing Metal
When using a saw or any other tools for that matter, make sure there aren’t nails, screws or other fragments of metal stuck into it. When you use equipment regularly for woodworking it is quite possible to get pieces of metal lodged in them so that they are ineffective for use.
Always thoroughly clean your stock and ensure everything is working as it should be before using tools. It’s always important to keep all your tools clean and free from any dust or wood chips. Whenever you finish a project it’s worth clearing your work area and the tools you’ve used so that your safety standards are maintained. For an efficient way of cleaning your work area, learn more about custom woodworking filter bags.
- Work against the Cutter
The majority of power tools are designed to receive a piece of wood in a particular direction, which is usually the opposite to the movement of the cutting head. You need to make sure that blades and router bit cuts are made against the way the wood is being fed rather than with it. You wouldn’t consider slicing bread from the bottom of the loaf upwards and this is essentially what you do with wood when it’s fed into the cutting blade incorrectly.
- Never Reach Over a Running Blade
It is vital that you wait until cutting blades have stopped spinning before you reach across it to remove any off-cuts or waste. If you have to clear debris with the machinery connected to the power source, use a piece of scrap wood to remove it so that you are protected against a switch malfunction.
- Minimize Distractions
When you’re focusing on a woodworking project, it is dangerous to be distracted from what you’re doing. Always make sure you are free of distractions when working as they create unnecessary hazards which can be easily avoided. You’ll always get a better job done if you are 100% focused.
Making Woodworking Fun
Woodworking is hugely popular and that’s because of the sheer extent of what you can skillfully create with the hobby. Working with wood is one of our most primitive instincts and it’s a material that’s still used extensively today from big structures to small carved decorative items. There’s a whole world of discovery open to people when they first get into woodworking which is why it’s important to prioritize safety in the workshop.
No matter what size woodworking project you have in mind, there are safety aspects to take into consideration. You’ll be almost certain to be using a cutting tool or even a hammer and nails which each present their own hazards. Taking care to protect yourself against potential accidents in the workshop will ensure you can focus entirely on creating beautiful things in wood.