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Woodworking 101: 10 Health & Safety Rules a Woodworker Should Know

Woodworking 101: 10 Health & Safety Rules a Woodworker Should Know

Over the years, woodworking passes on as a fulfilling yet strenuous job or hobby. With some power tools and creativity, woodworkers get to create functional works of art out of wood. The only drawback is that many woodworkers do not know what it takes to be safe while working. It’s about time people should seriously consider safety as a priority in woodworking, for both beginners and experts alike.

Here are easy to follow rules for a safer and more convenient workspace:

1. Prioritize Safety in the Workspace

The first rule of woodworking (or any job for that matter) is safety first. There are safety consultants in Mississauga that you can contact for all your inquiries about safety in woodworking.

In the workshop, you should never take off your protective gear, so put them on when you enter and leave them on until you’re out of there. You’ll need eye protection, earplugs, and latex gloves when working with wood.

2. Appropriate Choice of Clothes

Never wear loose-fitting clothing to the woodshop and tie your long hair up. Loose-fitting clothes will tangle in a saw blade or a cutting head. Wear clothes that are comfortable and protect your body from wayward wood chips. Remove any dangling jewelry such as neck chains or bracelets before beginning work.

3. Abstain From Drugs and Alcohol

Accidents happen even when you’re fully alert, imagine when you’re not. Drunkenness not only increases your chances of encountering problems but also doubles your chances of inflicting them on others.

Your focus should always be on your work and do not forget to take breaks. Avoid the woodshop while you are under the influence of any intoxicants.

4. Disconnect Power Before Changing Blades

Never change a blade or bit on a power tool while it’s still plugged in. Always unplug it first, disconnect the electricity to the tool before beginning the blade change or you’ll find yourself with a pre-surgery appointment and no digits. Many a woodworker has lost fingers due to this simple but often forgotten rule.

5. Keep the Work Area Clean and Organized

A clean workspace makes your work more efficient. For example, some companies use dust collector cartridges in Canada to clean after tiny particles from welding, lasers, and fumes. You can also use a heavy-duty extension cord for all your tools.

This makes it easy to remember to unplug the power when moving from one tool to another and you won’t have to worry about whether a specific tool is plugged in or not.

6. Sharpen the Blades

A dull saw blade is a dangerous saw blade. A dull blade will kick back, bind, and will produce a rough cut that requires extra sanding, which makes it harder to complete a task.

7. Inspect the Wood First

Before cutting any stock, always check for any metal (nails, screws, staples, etc.) present. Accidents happen once these metals interact with rapidly moving blades. This prevents damage to the stock and the saw blade, as well as prevents injury by keeping the stock from kicking back.

8. Work Against the Cutting Blade

The direction that the wood moves through a power tool should be opposite the direction of movement of the cutting head. Router bits and saw blades are designed to cut in the opposite direction to the cutting head.

The cutter should cut into the stock, not with it. This is a great tip to prevent the cutter from dulling or breaking, prolonging its life and your project.

9. Never Reach over a Blade to Remove Cut-offs

When using a table saw, miter saw, or other woodworking tools with a moving blade, wait until the blade has completely stopped before removing waste or cut-offs. Even if you have turned off the power to the saw and unplugged it, there is still a chance that it can turn on accidentally.

Also, never reach for cut-offs or another piece of wood after the blade has stopped spinning unless you have a piece of scrap wood in place to hold your hand away from the blade.

10. Stay Focused

How many times have you been in the middle of a power tool action, only to be interrupted by the phone or summoned by another family member? In the woodshop, remember to always finish the cut to a safe conclusion before dealing with any distractions. Taking your attention away from a power tool is a recipe for disaster.

Woodwork can be as satisfying as it is dangerous. It is important to observe safety, but so is proper maintenance of your tools. Make sure that you’re fully aware of how to properly use your tools and equipment before you start your project.

Take a good look at your plan and understand it completely before you begin. If all the instructions, measurements, and other information you need are not in the plan, get them from someone who has this information or can get it for you before starting the project.

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