Wood Shop Safety

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by Daniel Y, Aug 26, 2013.

  1. Daniel Y

    Daniel Y New Member

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    Every venture tends to have skills that are attached to it that have little or no real connection to our original interest. One example is penturning. which I also do. in order to interact or have greater access to showing off your work a penturner soon finds out they must become skilled at photography. Not only that but one of the most difficult forms of photography Macro photography. This would be true for beekeeping as well as anyone that has ever attempted to get a good photo of their bees or cells in a comb will know.

    Some things can be learned with all the trial and error needed. It may be frustrating and disappointing to time and again go get a blurry photo or one that does not render the detail desired. but it does not put anyone at risk.

    It is far to common that the desk jocky by day has decided that keeping a few bees would be a welcome distraction. and in that pursuit they discover that making their own equipment might be a better method of getting their. they find a rickety old table saw on craigs list for less than a night out at the bar and they are off to do miraculous things with this wonderful devise. What you now have is very similar to putting the 16 year old behind the wheel of an automobile and sending them on their way down the freeway. It is not a situation suitable to education via trial and error.

    The wood shop or any machine that would be found in one are dangerous. It takes time to get familiar with them and learn what they can and cannot do. especially the bad things.

    So I have started this thread as a place for everyone to share the lessons. tips hints , jigs and methods that they have discovered work. With emphasis on safety. You can share experiences where bad things happened and why. you can share ways you prevent bad things from resulting in injury. you can share your ideas on how to avoid dangers of the shop including having someone else with more experience do the work. borrow the tools and skills of a friend. get lead around by the hand for a while until you get familiar with the beast so to speak.

    I do not think you can have to many options when it comes to safety. Learning how vicious a table saw can be is never a pleasant experience even if it does not result in injury.

    I will start by offering this. I own a wood shop with well over $20,000 in equipment. I have a table saw, radial arm saw, band saw. compound mitre saw, two wood lathes and a mini metal lathe. scroll saw, drill press and far to many other miscellaneous do dads to mention.

    Of them all the Table saw would be the tool I would most likely find any other person would own. everyone seems to think they need one and they seem to think it is the only saw they need to do anything. In my shop the table saw is the least used piece of equipment and the very last at all times to be chosen for any task. I hate it. it is by far the single most dangerous piece of equipment in a shop. More injures are caused by the table saw than all other wood shop equipment combined. I personally know two professional woodworkers that have lost all the fingers on one hand to it. and those are professionals that know how to work safely. Neither are able to practice their trade today. Neither where working in a manner that would have been considered unsafe. The table saw has the ability to kick your butt and will do so if given the slightest opportunity.

    I will not go into detail about the dangers of the table saw. I will leave that up to those that participate in this thread or add further comments over time. just know the table saw is a dangerous animal. treat it with respect. get to know it well. and understand how and why things can go wrong.

    I will also offer my first rule of thumb. they are rules of thumb because they save thumbs. If a cut requires your fingers be within 3 inches of the blade at any time. you cannot hold the material with your hands. that is the red zone. It is also not always enough.

    Accidents are never planned. that is why they are cause by all those things we never thought of. Sometimes by things we did think of just not at the right time. But a table saw can hurt you even when you are thinking.

    I make a specific invitation to discuss the issue of kickback, how and why it happens and why it is dangerous. All of those have multiple topics. Everything from groin injuries, being impaled. head injuries, chest injuries damaged materials damaged equipment not to mention the one everyone knows lost fingers.

    I know of one person killed in their shop from a head injury due to kickback from a table saw. the material he was cutting struck him in the head knocking him out. the laceration from the injury allowed him to bleed to death before he recovered consciousness.

    With that i will say this is not meant to be a thread of horror stories intended to frighten. it is a thread to display examples of what can and even has happened to others. in the interest of informing others what this equipment is capable of. If those examples are gruesome. you have my apologies in advance. We are after all discussing injuries or potential for injury.

    Pleas take a moment to participate. you never know who may benefit from being forewarned. It may very well one day be you when you stop for a moment and remember to change your stance just a bit or aline yourself just a little differently to your work.
     
  2. blueblood

    blueblood New Member

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    Thanks for starting the thread Daniel. I think we talked before about penturning. I sell my pens over on Etsy under jossenbella.com. I have had a few close calls on my lathe, chuck failure causing piece to fly and polishing rags being entangled.

    I always use scrap wood in both hands to push the wood through on my table saw. I am currently building a 12 foot harvest table out of reclaimed wood for my wife. I was ripping a short corner brace just this week and let my guard down by not using the top push to run the wood through. I had been cutting very long aprons and really didn't need the top push and was hurrying. Well, the small pieced kicked back and thumped me on the center of my chest. Thankfully, it struck on a flat side and didn't go for my face. I am extra cautious but it just goes to show ya. I also have my wife and daughters trained to toggle a light switch in my workshop area to alert me to their presence so I don't turn around taking my eyes away or jump.
     

  3. Daniel Y

    Daniel Y New Member

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    Blue blood, You have mentioned penturning in the past and that you recognized me from IAP. Hope you are doing well. Penturners are the salt of the earth. At least the IAP ones :)

    You post reminded me of a very off the scale shop tip. make sure your lights are wired to a separate breaker or fuse than everything else in the shop. in case of a circuit overload it is not good to be left in the dark.

    I also have the flipping the switch warning with my family. very bad to come up behind someone when they are working around equipment.

    Like I said nothing is to far out there to mention.
     
  4. Ray

    Ray Member

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    blueblood: "and was hurrying"
    Heard in Emergency room all over the planet.

    100% safety does not exist. There are degrees of safety and ways of being safer, but pure safety doesn't exist.
    There are always ways of doing something safer, but time constraints (and profit) gets in the way.
     
  5. Marbees

    Marbees Member

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    My tip for operating any wood working machine: Never wear loose clothing, long sleeves or gloves.