When it comes to “arts and crafts,” woodworking might be one of the more dangerous options, perhaps only second to forging swords. Like most things in life, accidents happen when woodworkers don’t take proper safety precautions. In today’s blog, we are going to go over some basic woodworking safety tips. These safety tips mainly concern working with machinery, such as power saws and lathes, but can be used for non-mechanical woodworking as well.
Safety Tips For Using Woodworking Tools
Have A Mentor
Let’s say you’ve seen some cool woodturning videos on YouTube and you think, “That looks fun, I could do that!” So, you buy yourself a woodturning lathe, attach your workpiece, turn it on, and proceed to experience a number of calamities resulting in injuries to you and your property. Woodturning is an intensive artform, and you should always learn from someone who has been doing it for a while. If you don’t know anyone who turns, get in touch with some local woodworkers online. Many experienced woodturners would be thrilled to show a novice artist the ropes. They can teach you tricks to avoid accidents and you might even make a new woodturning buddy!
Protect Your Face (Or, At The Very Least, Your Eyes)
Doctors can fix a lot of stuff, but eyes are a little tricky and losing your vision because you were being careless isn’t worth it. Always wear safety goggles or a full face mask. You never know when some dust will get into your eyes and obstruct your vision or when a tool will break and come flying at you. A full face mask can also help to protect your nose and mouth as well as your eyes.
Wear The Right Clothing
By the end of a woodturning session, you will likely be covered in wood shavings, so most turners prefer to wear an apron. However, with a rotating lathe, you will also want to make sure to not wear any loose clothing or jewelry that could get in the way. On a similar note, make sure to tie your hair back if it’s longer than your shoulders.
Keep Your Tools Sharp
While a sharp steak knife is more dangerous than a dull butter knife, the opposite is true when woodturning. Dull tools will be more likely to snag, kick back, or even snap in half than well-sharpened woodworking tools.
Don’t Wear Work Gloves
Work gloves are fine for avoiding splinters when handling and moving wood, but take them off when you power up the saw or the lathe. Gloves can easily snag or reduce the mobility of your hands and should not be used near machinery.
Wear Close-Toed Shoes
No one wants to drop a two-by-four on their toe, and you especially don’t want to drop a giant tree stump that you’re turning into a serving dish on your toe! Close-toed shoes are also typically easier to walk in and reduce the chance of tripping in your workshed.
Only Use One Extension Cord
Using one extension cord for all of your machinery has several benefits. The first is that fewer cords laying around means fewer things to trip over, which is always safer. More importantly, though, it ensures that you are not only turning off saws and lathes when you are done with them, but you are completely cutting power to them so you don’t accidentally replace a saw blade on a machine that has power going to it, or so that curious grandchildren don’t accidentally turn on the machines without you there.
Don’t Drink And Work
Hanging out in the woodshed with a beer (or five) is fine if you just want some peace and quiet, but don’t power up any machinery if you’ve been drinking or using prescription or non-prescription drugs that could impair you in any way. You only have to misjudge your distance by a millimeter to lose a finger or an eye.
Always Examine Your Stock
Before cutting a piece of wood or securing it to a lathe, do a thorough check for nails, screws, and other bits of metal which can cause a major problem later on.
Use The Best Woodturning Tools And Equipment
When it comes to woodworking tools, you get what you pay for. There are a few reputable brands that are known for making high-quality tools and equipment that won’t break the bank. High-quality woodturning tools can mean the difference between finishing a piece without any incidents and having a workpiece fly off the lathe in the blink of an eye.
At Long Island Woodworking Supply, we only offer brands that we trust. While many safety measures should be taken by you, the woodworker, starting with the best woodworking equipment is certainly a step in the right direction. Shop around our site for high-quality chucks, lathes, sawblades, and carving tools! Get in touch with us if you have any questions about how to use your new products!