What safety techniques do you use in the shop?

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Forum topic by lilredweldingrod posted 11-11-2010 05:44 AM 1929 views 0 times favorited 67 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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2496 posts in 3075 days

11-11-2010 05:44 AM

Topic tags/keywords: safety habits safety equipment guards injuries amputations

Man! We have had a rash of people getting hurt in the shop lately. Routers, saws, jointers,etc.
When David was here and was giving me pointers for my new jointer, he showed me how to set the fence so he can keep his right hand on the fence all the way through the cut.
And after 45 years in the industry and shop he has all ten COMPLETE fingers.

When I ran shops, I averaged two safety meetings a week. My shops always had the lowest incidence of injuries in the tanker industry. Safety cannot be rated high enough. Whether we are alone in a hobby shop or in charge of several men in a production setting, safety has to come first.

What are your safety tricks to keep your hands and other body parts out of trouble?

I’ll start with this:

Keep your hands and fingers 6 inches away from all spinning blades and bits.
Always unplug your machine when changing the bit or blade.
Never stand in the line of fire for a kickback.

Lets hear it guys and gals…....

67 replies so far

View TopamaxSurvivor's profile


18249 posts in 3644 days

#1 posted 11-11-2010 05:55 AM

Think about where your hand and fingers will go if you slip, loose your grip or the wood is snatched from your grasp unexpectedly. Think about what you will do if startled. Make sure those reactions are away from the cut, not into it. Still counting to 10 too :-))

-- Bob in WW ~ "some old things are lovely, warm still with life ... of the forgotten men who made them." - D.H. Lawrence

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Bob #2

3809 posts in 3990 days

#2 posted 11-11-2010 05:57 AM

Ripping only with a sled or CMS both with material locked down. ( 15 seconds )
Never clear offcuts from the table saw until the blade stops.
Small parts carrier used on router table with any part smaller than 8 inches.
Push pads and or sticks at all times on router.
Never climb cut the first pass.
Gr-ripper used 99% of the time on table saw.
Splitter used 99% of the time on TS.
Feather boards used anywhere applicable.
Practice the cut once or twice before proceeding to be sure there is nothing in my way.
Always use a face mask when roughlng materials on the lathe.
Clean up the shop before starting to make sure there is nothing under foot or protruding when the job starts.
If it dosen’t feel right don’t do it. There is probably another way. Take time to figure it out.
Don’t work tired.

-- A mind, like a home, is furnished by its owner

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2496 posts in 3075 days

#3 posted 11-11-2010 06:04 AM

Fantastic Bob & Bob, lol Now we are on a roll…...

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13600 posts in 3310 days

#4 posted 11-11-2010 06:09 AM

here is what i meant

i hook my fingers over the fence
if the board goes bad
my hand is not pulled to the saw with the board

the arrow is the direction i always push the wood
it is to easy for the wood to wander to the saw
if it is pushed forward only
causing kickback

my shop mantra


-- david - only thru kindness can this world be whole . If we don't succeed we run the risk of failure. Dan Quayle

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2496 posts in 3075 days

#5 posted 11-11-2010 06:19 AM

Thanks David, and the photo is a great help.

View traupmann's profile


124 posts in 2756 days

#6 posted 11-11-2010 06:43 AM

I came close to losing a finger at an early age (26) from a chop saw on a poor table. I was lucky that a very good hand surgeon was teaching at the local hospital. He fixed everything.

I now practice not only where the cutting tool is at every minute, but where am I, can I slip, can the wood fly, where do I look at all times. I never interrupt what I am doing at a tool. Be prepared for what can happen. You should know what can happen.

I have learned to use a lot of extra wood making pushers, holders and encasements for small or thin items (the most dangerous to most of us). Think through the cut, concentrate on what is happening. Do NOT talk to anyone or listen to anything that might gain your attention. Being fully aware is the key in my opinion.

-- chas -- looking for Serta sponsorship to go Pro...

View sras's profile


4791 posts in 3098 days

#7 posted 11-11-2010 06:45 AM

The good stuff,

I use David’s finger hook method whenever I can.
Push sticks (sometimes two)
Especially with the Table saw I try to stop and think through the cut process. Think about where the work piece, cutoff, blade, my hands and body will be.
I hit the stop switch and intentionally hold my hands up until the blade stops.
I clamp down a piece of 1/4” ply and raise my blade through it to create a quick and dirty zero clearance fixture

The not good stuff I have to admit,
The guards are gone
I don’t use a splitter (and I should)
I don’t wear saftey goggles over my glasses (I used to)
I will put my hands way too close to the blade (Usually have all but one finger hooked over the fence)

-- Steve - Impatience is Expensive

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2496 posts in 3075 days

#8 posted 11-11-2010 07:03 AM

With winter upon us, be careful of bulky clothes around anything spinning.

Don’t use gas heaters without proper venting and ventilation.

Don’t use finishes that produce explosive fumes if you have a water heater or gas heater in the vicinity of the work area.

View Manitario's profile


2629 posts in 2851 days

#9 posted 11-11-2010 07:26 AM

push sticks and riving knife on TS
push blocks on jointer
unplug tools before changing blades

-- Sometimes the creative process requires foul language. -- Charles Neil

View Gregn's profile


1642 posts in 2952 days

#10 posted 11-11-2010 07:41 AM

I can’t say I’ve always been extremely safety conscious in all my years of woodworking, but I still have all 10 digits on my hands. Although the older I get the more I think of safety first and how to do something as safe as possible.
Rule number 1. Is always listen to that little voice that says this is goin hurt, even if its just a screwdriver.
Rule number 2. Know where the fire extinguisher and emergency items are at all times, as well as emergency numbers.
Something I always do to aid in being safe is the use of roller stands and out feed tables to help support the work. As well of the many others mentioned.
My shop mantra as David puts it is *FLESH VS. METAL = FLESH LOSES EVERY TIME.

-- I don't make mistakes, I have great learning lessons, Greg

View Don's profile


517 posts in 3041 days

#11 posted 11-11-2010 07:42 AM

- SawStop
- always use a push stick when ripping even on my SawStop
- Safety guard and riving knife even on my SawStop
- Never push your hands in a line straight toward the blade. Know exactly where they are going to go if you slip.
- My wife isn’t allowed to come near me in the shop if I have a machine running. She waits until I shut it off.
- Always use a full faceshield when cutting. Goggles and glasses are inadequate in my opinion.
- Never walk away from a machine that’s running. You might forget that it’s running when you come back and try to change a blade and the sound may be drowned out by dust collector or something.
- No jewelry
- No loose clothing
- No booze until after your done for the day
- Quit if your tired

-- Don - I wood work if I could. Redmond WA.

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2496 posts in 3075 days

#12 posted 11-11-2010 08:11 AM

Use small parts holder not your hand.
Many of us are allergic to some woods. Use respirators or at least particle masks.
I’ve lost 75% of my hearing over the years. Please invest in and use hearing protection, as it is not replaceable.
If you love to walk around with your head in bucket, you will love the sound of hearing aids.
And don’t forget the proper way to lift. Those of us with bad backs can attest to this. Lift with your legs not your back.
rolling bases are great back savers too.

View TopamaxSurvivor's profile


18249 posts in 3644 days

#13 posted 11-11-2010 10:32 AM

I second the hearing protection. I have lost 80% and 50% :-(( When I seeyoung guys cutting without hearing protection, I ask them if it bothers their ears, They usually say “yes” or “some.” I tell them it doesn’t bother mine any more; better do something about it while you still can.

All in favor? Say, “Awe.”

-- Bob in WW ~ "some old things are lovely, warm still with life ... of the forgotten men who made them." - D.H. Lawrence

View canadianchips's profile


2600 posts in 2966 days

#14 posted 11-11-2010 03:03 PM

Topamax, could you speak louder, I can’t hear you. Grew up listening to LOUD Rock and Roll.& JD tractors (lol)
Serious now:
All the above comments are well said.
a): I would add “Common Sense”
b): I keep my shop door closed most of time while cutting, my wife knocks on door and WAITS till I have saw switched OFF before tapping me on shoulder and scaring crap outta me while cutting.(I love her)
c): I lower my table saw blade each time I am not in shop.
I have a new generation of people that want to tour my workshop (Grandkids) . I am getting in habit of ALWAYS locking the door when shop is not in use.
d): Always open minded to hear & see BETTER ideas to prevent injuries.

-- "My mission in life - make everyone smile !"

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1041 posts in 3112 days

#15 posted 11-11-2010 03:18 PM

Never trust blade guards, always check they are working (especially on skilsaws).

-- Wish I were Norm's Nephew

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