Woodworking is a fun hobby that anyone can do at home in the comfort of their own workshop, however, it’s important to make sure that you don’t take any unnecessary risks while you enjoy your new pastime. If you’re a DIY woodworker you need to know how to keep yourself safe while you’re in your workshop. Although woodwork is a wonderful hobby and, indeed, a very useful one when it comes to household repairs, it can also be a dangerous one, so it’s important to know the basics of woodworking safety. With power tools, heavy pieces of equipment and sharp blades, it’s no wonder that you could end up getting hurt by making some basic mistakes in the workshop.
Here we look at some of the rules that you should follow when you’re working on your next woodworking project so that you can stay safe and free from injury while you enjoy your hobby.
Avoid Woodworking Under The Influence
If you wouldn’t do it before driving a car don’t do it before woodworking. Prescription meds which cause drowsiness, illicit drugs and alcohol are all an absolute no-no when you’re operating any kind of woodworking machinery. Power tools and any kind of intoxicating substance just don’t mix well and having a focused and sharp mind is essential to avoid getting hurt.
Don’t Woodwork While Tired
Always pay attention to what your hands are doing and stay aware at all times while you’re operating woodworking equipment. If you’re feeling tired, don’t pick up your tools. Fatigue makes your reaction times slower than normal and greatly impairs your judgement and critical thinking skills. If you don’t feel 100% up to scratch don’t operate any machinery for your own safety. Remember to take plenty of breaks too to avoid exhaustion.
Wear Safety Gear
When you’re woodworking never start using any tools without putting on your safety gear. Put on safety glasses, use hearing protection if you’re using machinery and put on latex gloves if you’re finishing a project. Avoid wearing any loose clothing – wear tight fitting clothes without long sleeves, no baby trousers or hanging-out shirts.
Tuck your shirt in, pull back any long hair and wear appropriate footwear – never wear sandals or flip flops in the workshop. If you’re handling wood, always use leather gloves to avoid getting splinters, but take them off before you operate any machines.
Remember that gloves can be equally dangerous as a loose garment around a machine that has rotating blades since they can easily get caught up in the machinery. Make sure you’re not putting yourself in any danger by taking your gloves off before you perform any cuts. If you’re changing a blade on a machine always disconnect it from its power source just in case. Avoiding accidents is key.
Use Machinery’s Safety Features
The majority of modern power tools have many inbuilt safety features so never remove them – they’re there to keep you safe. You can also buy or make more safety features like feather boards to help protect yourself even more from the potential dangers.
Maintain Your Equipment Properly
A poorly maintained workshop is a recipe for disaster. Maintenance is essential to ensure your safety as well as a quality finish for your work. If your tools are dull they are also dangerous. Remember that dull tools have to exert extra force and this can end up with you overcompensating and losing control.
Never Use A Machine That You Don’t Know How To Use
Power tools in general and benchtop tools in particular can be extremely dangerous is they aren’t used properly and safely. Always familiarize yourself thoroughly with any power tool that you intend to use and the right techniques for handling and operating it before you start work. Read the manual and know what to expect – unfamiliarity with a machine can lead to accidents.
Check The Machine Is Safe Before Operating It
Don’t take anyone else’s word for it, always check the machine for yourself before you operate it for safety. Check the guard to make sure it is positioned appropriately and is in full working order. Adjust and check all other safety features before you operate it. Check the machine has been properly grounded before you use it and remove all adjustment tools and keep them well away from the equipment before switching it on. Check the wood to make sure there are no nails or staples in it before you carry it, cut it, plane it or rout it.</p.
Use A Single Extension Cord Whenever Possible
If you can, using just a single extension cord for all your machines will ensure you’ve turned off the power on one of your machines before you start to use another. Ensure the extension cord is a heavy duty one for your power tools since using the wrong kind of extension cord can represent a fire hazard.
Don’t Reach Over Running Blades
It’s all too easy to become distracted and end up reaching for a tool over a moving blade. Never take that risk. Always make sure that you’ve set up your workshop area so that you’ll never put yourself in the position where you’ll have to reach over rotating blades.
Use A Respirator
If you’re sanding or cutting wood, always put on a respirator as well as ear and eye protection. Some types of wood can be toxic, so whenever you can remember to use dust extraction too whenever you can. If you’re working in an enclosed workshop always ensure that you proper ventilation.
Following these handy woodwork safety tips and you’ll find that you get even more fun out of your hobby while ensuring that you aren’t at any risk of injury from sharp tools and rotating blades. Remember to use the right safety equipment and clothing and to take all of the right precautions in order to ensure that you remain well protected as you enjoy your domestic DIY projects.
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