Woodworking is a rewarding activity that many people enjoy. Creating something with your own two hands from a blank piece of wood is a feeling like no other. As pleasant as it is, woodworking can also become a dangerous undertaking if one is not diligent. To stay safe in your workshop, follow these five tips for woodworking safety every time, without fail.
Respect The Equipment
Treat your tools and equipment with the utmost of respect and care. This is the number one way to keep yourself and others safe in your woodworking shop. The tools and equipment that are used can cause serious injury and even death. Think about how sharp a saw blade has to be, for example, to cut through a piece of hardwood stock. If it can do that, imagine what it can do to your finger, hand, arm or leg. Never let your guard down, keep your wits about you and your chances of injury are greatly reduced.
Proper Tool Maintenance
Keep your saw blades, drill bits, chisels and other tools sharp and clean for several reasons. For one thing, a sharp, clean tool makes it easier to carry out the task at hand. A dull, clogged, drill bit, for example, takes much more effort to drill a hole than a sharp one will. Secondly, sharp tools are safer and offer a cleaner finish. A saw blade that is dull and covered in pitch is more likely to bind up or kick back and cause an injury. In addition, it will leave rough edges that, at the least, will need sanding to smooth them out.
Protective Clothing & Gear
Wear well-fitted clothing, tuck your shirt in, secure the sleeves and put your gloves on every time you enter your shop. The footwear that you wear in your workshop should cover your toes and have soles thick enough to protect your feet from punctures. Safety glasses are an absolute must in the woodworking shop, they’ll keep your precious eyesight protected. You also need to wear ear protection. Many of your tools are very loud and prolonged exposure to those noises can lead to hearing loss. It’s also a wise idea to wear a mask or respirator to protect you against airborne sawdust and chemicals.
Keep Your Shop Clean
You might be thinking that it’s no big deal if your shop gets dirty and cluttered, after all, you’re working in it. Make no mistake, a clean shop is incredibly important for a number of reasons. First of all, if your tools are all organized, you’ll always be able to find and they’ll stay in good condition longer. The same holds true for your stock, the better it’s organized, the easier it is to find it when you need it. You also won’t have to worry about poorly stacked wood falling on you, your equipment or your project. Keep the sawdust, dirt and dust under control and your finished pieces will look better too.
Don’t Drink & Work
This might seem kind of obvious, but it needs to be said anyway. You might think that a beer or two won’t do you any harm, after all, you’re experienced with the tools and you know what you’re doing. That kind of thinking can get you in serious trouble, just like drinking and driving can. Even one drink can decrease your ability to react and make good decisions. Save that cold one for the end of the day as a reward for yourself when you’ve finished working. Likewise, don’t allow others to hang out and drink in your shop, it’s in their best interest and yours.
Your woodworking shop should be a place that you enjoy being and that you feel safe in. By following these simple safety tips, you’ll minimize the risks to your safety and the safety of others. Now, get out there and make something beautiful that makes you proud!