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Safety Rules for Woodworking!
Ah – woodworking! One of the greatest hobbies of all time. However, despite the fun and rewarding nature of woodworking, you must be extra careful to avoid any injury. Trust me, coming in contact with the blade of a table saw moving at 3,700 RPM is not going to be fun.
If you’re new to woodworking and just getting started, learning the safety precautions may seem like an unnecessary step. However, your safety and well-being should be your number one priority. You should very much consider the dangers that come with working with sharp objects that could potentially kill you. Every year, there are thousands of accidents that could have been avoided had the machine operator taken the necessary safety precautions.
Therefore, in an attempt to help prevent some of these accidents before they happen, I’ve decided to write this guide detailing the safety rules for woodworking. Keep in mind, every woodworker is going to use different tools and machinery when crafting wood projects. Therefore, it’s important to use common sense and not take any shortcuts that could potentially put you in danger.
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Rule 1: Dress for the occasion
Let’s be honest: If you go to a formal restaurant in flip flops and your favorite Hawaiian T-shirt, you’re going to look like a complete idiot. You might even get kicked out for not following the dress code. The same concept applies to your workshop. Of course, you’re not going to get kicked out of your workshop, but you may lose a limb for not following the proper safety rules for woodworking. First, you need to wear shoes to avoid any wood chips or splinters on your feet. Although not necessary, it’s also a good idea to wear work pants. Trust me, having sawdust get on your legs and in your boots is not a comfortable feeling. Don’t wear loose clothing that could get in the way of your measuring, cutting, sawing, etc. Also, don’t wear anything nice that you wouldn’t want to ruin. Woodworking can get messy with all the sawdust, paint, finishes, etc. so be mindful of this when picking your outfit.
Dressing is only the first precaution you should consider when following the safety rules for woodworking. Keep reading to find out the other important rules!
Rule 2: Wear safety equipment
Safety equipment should be one of the first things you buy when shopping for your first workshop setup. Even if you’ve got all the tools you need to start your first project, DO NOT begin unless you’ve purchased the appropriate safety equipment for woodworking. Keep in mind that this is one of the most important things to consider when following the safety rules for woodworking.
So, what type of equipment for woodworking do I need? Well, the first thing you’re going to want to get is a pair of glasses. Having a wood chip fly into your eye is not going to be a pretty sight (no pun intended). Your vision is not something to play around with. So, please buy safety glasses if nothing else! You can purchase a pair of safety glasses on Amazon or you can pick some up from your local hardware store. If you’re dealing with more heavy-duty carpentry, a face shield along with your safety glasses will provide a second layer of protection.
Glasses: No Cry Safety Glasses
Face Shield: Sellstrom All-Purpose Face Shield
Next, you should consider purchasing hearing protection. Certain power tools such as table saws or even power drills can produce enough decibels to cause permanent hearing loss. Of course, if you’re only working with hand tools you can skip out on these. You can wear ear plugs or safety ear muffs. However, a combination of both ear muffs and ear plugs will protect you the most.
Even if your machines don’t produce enough sound to hurt your ears, it’s still a good idea to wear hearing protection because over time, you can still suffer from hearing loss.
Safety Ear Muffs: Mpow Noise Reduction Safety Ear Muffs
Ear Plugs: 3M Corded Reusable Ear Plugs
Furthermore, a dust mask will keep sawdust and loose particles out of your mouth and lungs. It will also come in handy when you’re applying finishes such as lacquer or paint to your woodworking projects that may contain harmful chemicals that are unsafe to inhale.
Dust Mask: Honeywell Disposable Dust Mask
The last and most basic piece of equipment to use when considering the safety rules for woodworking is a nice set of gloves. Gloves will keep your hands protected from all the pointy and sharp woodworking tools you might find in a workshop. Even if you don’t use power tools, hand tools such as saws and chisels can definitely do some damage. Furthermore, you will avoid getting any splinters in your hands, which can happen from simply handling a piece of lumber. Picking the right safety equipment for woodworking is no joke, it could be a matter of life or death.
Gloves: Ironclad Utility Work Gloves
Rule 3: Keep your tools sharp
This one should be obvious, but you need to keep your tools and blades sharp. Letting your blades or tools go is only going to give you a headache when trying to make precise cuts. Plus, it can even be dangerous as tools don’t perform properly when not well-maintained. For instance, using a table saw with a dull blade may lead to kickback. This is when the wood is launched back towards you due to the blade not being able to swiftly cut through the lumber.
Rule 4: Take caution when changing blades
Don’t just leave your machine on and think it’s okay to change the blades. This is extremely dangerous as you’re dealing with a machine that could turn on at any given moment. Whether that be due to you accidentally clicking the power on or a malfunction in the device, never take the risk! If your machine can saw through hardwood like butter, imagine how easily it would take off your finger or hand. Always ensure your equipment is off and unplugged before performing any maintenance on it.
Rule 5: Store your tools away
This rule is particularly important if you have children or pets. If you leave a blade lying around and your child sneaks into the garage without you noticing, they could easily cut themselves thinking your woodworking tools are toy. Children love to explore and play with anything they can get their hands on. The same concept applies to cats and dogs. Therefore, it’s extremely important that you pay mind to this and always store your tools and accessories away where they could never access them.
Furthermore, you should unplug all your woodworking equipment when you’re finished using it. Be sure to close all the power covers if you have them and hide any keys or gadgets that allow operation of the machine.
Rule 6: Don’t be stupid
I know this should be obvious, but you need to respect the hobby of woodworking and don’t do anything dumb. For example, don’t even think about operating heavy machinery when you’re under the influence of drugs or alcohol. In fact, don’t even use power tools if you’re overly tired or distressed. It’s a lot easier to forget the proper safety precautions for woodworking when you’re not 100%. Plus, your lack of coordination may lead to some regretful consequences. Don’t do anything with your child in the room. In general, it’s best to avoid any distractions. Don’t try to show off to your friends and don’t ever take shortcuts that may put you in danger.
Rule 7: Keep your workshop clean
There are numerous reasons why you should always keep your workshop clean. First of all, you don’t want to step on any nails, hammers, or blades. It’s also going to be easier to stay organized and remember where everything is, making your woodworking experience as smooth as possible. Not remembering where you placed your chisel may distract you to the point of forgetting something more important, such as unplugging your table saw.
Rule 8: Keep a First Aid Kit
Now, this should apply to every household and workshop, regardless of your interest in woodworking. Always keep a first aid kit at your disposal. Sometimes, you can follow all the safety rules for woodworking, and have all the proper safety equipment, and still find yourself in a pickle. Therefore, invest in a simple first aid kit. More than likely, you’ll never have to use it. But, remember – accidents can happen to anyone at any given time. It’s best to always be prepared, just in case. Even if you don’t use it, someone in your family may need it. Therefore, I think it’s very much worth putting on this list.
First Aid Kit: Swiss Safe 2-in-1 First Aid Kit
Taking up a passion for woodworking is an amazing way to add value to your life. Being able to work with your hands, build amazing structures, and get a sense of the way people used to live is a very rewarding experience. You may be eager to buy all the tools you need, find some woodworking projects online, and get started on your first project. However, it’s important that you pay mind to the dangers of working with such dangerous tools and materials. Therefore, it’s important to follow these safety rules for woodworking to avoid accident. It’s also important to buy all the needed safety equipment for woodworking, to keep yourself protected at all times. Remember, you only have one life – so be wise with it.
As always, Happy Woodworking!
More: Looking for woodworking plans? Check out our review of our top rated woodworking plans, Ted’s Woodworking Review!
More: In the market for a table saw? Be sure to check out our article on the Top 10 Table Saws of 2019!