…”for a dumb as dirt newbie we need more help. What if we can’t figure out what went wrong? What if we don’t even have a clue about the typical “bad practices?”

I subscribe to dozens of woodworking blogs and forums. Many warn about safety often enough, but I have yet to find a good, concise, list of practices to avoid. Yes, there’s the generic advice that says avoid pinching the workpiece into the spinning blade. That’s too generic, and newcomers won’t have either the practice or analytical experience that helps them recognize the condition *before* it happens.

Writing that list (along with illustrations) would be a really good contribution. I’m envisioning something like “Hazardous practices with table saws” as a starter. They seem to be the source of most injuries. Show us the setups that should never ever be attempted, the ones that are guaranteed to kick a piece back into the operator’s gut, or across the street into the neighbor’s yard. Then show us the next more dangerous, the ones that throw the workpiece away from the operator. Show the setups that might work with careful setup and good procedure. Then show us all the safe procedures (i.e. moving the workpiece through with good push / holding tools).

If there’s something “out there” like this, I haven’t found it yet. I think it would be an excellent compendium for a good teacher to build, a resource that might save some injuries, pain, and suffering.

Now, I’ve got some drywall patching to do.Now, I’ve got some drywall patching to do. …Bob


August 6, 2008
Okay, I may be slow, but I’m also late. Bob wrote in and wanted to know, many many weeks ago, about generic safety advice like: Be Safe. And more specific advice, like: Don’t do Stupid Things. So here is my partial list.

Rule #1:  Don’t stick your fingers into the blade. Oh you scoff. You say: who would be so stupid? Well I have a friend who used to work in a cabinet shop. The owner was an old timer you see. He was gruff, irascible, hard as nails, tougher than dirt, meaner than a stuck zipper. You get the picture. He’d been around for awhile and no dang table saw was gonna slow him down. He was right.

Anyways there he was working one day and when the top of his table saw started to fill up with sawdust, like it always did when he was working, he cleaned it, like he always did, wiping it off with his hands. With the blade running.

Now you who are across the room can see this coming. You can see that this is a bad idea to be moving quickly with your hands around a saw blade. But the old guy didn’t see this as clearly and left some quick red evidence behind him on the table.

Corollary #1 to Rule #1: No sudden movements around a moving blade.  If it can cut wood, it can cut you.

Corollary #2 to Corollary #1: Keep your movements around a moving blade exaggerated and conscious. Make big movements around the danger zone that a moving saw blade creates. Exaggerate and it will help you to pay attention to that beast.
The Conclusion: Use a brush to clean off your machine surfaces, AFTER, turning off your machines.
{Note: most of the rest of the advice to follow will be just as obvious.}

Published in: on August 6, 2008 at 1:41 pm  Comments (1)