Guests in the shop and safety standards

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Forum topic by nwbusa posted 11-13-2012 10:11 PM 1203 views 0 times favorited 12 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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1021 posts in 2405 days

11-13-2012 10:11 PM

This weekend I was working on a small project for a friend on mine, and we agreed we would build it at my shop. He has a small shop as well so I assumed he was familiar with basic shop safety. My first red flag came when I put my safety glasses on before we got started, and unplugged my table saw to change a blade. I got a comment like “wow, you’re big on safety, eh?”. Er… okay. When we got to the point where we had to cut some odd-shaped panels, he suggested we freehand them on the TS. I said, “Not in my shop.” and broke out the jigsaw and a straightedge.

It got me to thinking, for those that allow guests to work in their shops, what do you do when the guest wants to do something that you feel is unsafe? My friend is a grown man and has his own shop, and I don’t like telling people what to do or what not to do, but I kind of feel like it’s my shop, so we play by my rules. Not only do I not want to see a friend get hurt but there is probably some liability there as well!

-- John, BC, Canada

12 replies so far

View Sandra's profile


7207 posts in 2194 days

#1 posted 11-13-2012 10:26 PM

Oh my, I just learned that lesson the hard way!!!

We just had our basement finished and when the electrician came back to re-install our TV etc, he mounted it on the stand before securing the cabinet to the wall. My gut (and experience) told me it wasn’t a good idea, but like you I didn’t want to tell this professional how to do his job. I told him it didn’t seem sturdy to me, suggested he secure it to the wall etc, but then left him to his work. 3 minutes later, I heard a large thump, and had to lift the TV off the back of his head. ER visit, bad concussion, owner of the company not willing to pay etc etc. Bad situation which could have been much worse. I knew better, but didn’t want to be rude!

Lesson learned here.

And as far as guests in my shop, never had any yet. My kids are not allowed anywhere close by when I have a power tool on, I never work without my safety glasses, and unplug before I do anything, including changing the depth of the router bit…

-- No, I don't want to buy the pink hammer.

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David Craig

2137 posts in 3228 days

#2 posted 11-13-2012 10:35 PM

I don’t have grown-ups in my shop for the most part. However, the rest of my house has certain rules that I have no problem interjecting as the house owner. Things like putting coasters under a glass or taking shoes off at the door. So I would imagine that being in the shop would be similar. When I have visited other woodworkers, I always follow their lead since it is their equipment. I would expect the same courtesy in my shop. I have two sons that come down the basement and they have already been initiated in certain rules, but that is a different topic entirely.

-- There is little that is simple when it comes to making a simple box.

View Mark Shymanski's profile

Mark Shymanski

5622 posts in 3832 days

#3 posted 11-13-2012 11:35 PM

I don’t think keeping people safe is rude; I’d rather have someone bristling at me enforcing the rule than have someone bleeding or missing body parts. If they really object then they can injure themselves else where. I think even if I was in there shop I would stick to the safety part…mind you it’s been drummed into my head ” don’t take more victims to the scene”.

-- "Checking for square? What madness is this! The cabinet is square because I will it to be so!" Jeremy Greiner LJ Topic#20953 2011 Feb 2

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438 posts in 2179 days

#4 posted 11-13-2012 11:42 PM

There is liability issues there. If someone gets hurt at your home they can file suit.
Your shop, your rules, your ass.
If someone doesn’t like it, then too bad.
I personally don’t like others taking the drivers seat at any of my machines, unless I am sure they are safe, understand my concerns for them, and don’t mind getting told, STOP, or NO.

-- Steve - Dust sucks!

View a1Jim's profile (online now)


117203 posts in 3696 days

#5 posted 11-14-2012 12:10 AM

A while ago I was lacking in this department when I let a student of mine and his friend work in my shop for a project for their lodge. I knew my student worked safely and assumed his friend did also because he had 30 years experiencein woodworking.
We all had been working in the shop for 3 hours milling material for the wanes coating they were making, the students friend needed to cross cut a dozen or so pieces of wood may be 3 1/2” wide by 36” long , as I headed inside my home to answer a call I looked back and saw this guy heading towards my chop saw (I thought), I was in my house only for a minute and came back out to see this guy free hand cross cutting these pieces on my table saw!!!! Wow was I in shock ,I approached him as to not startle him and caught him before he started on his forth piece,of course I said stop stop stop! he did and turned the saw off I said what are you doing I could not think of anything less safe,he said he had never owned a miter gauge nor did his table saw have a fence .He said he had been free hand ripping and cross cutting wood for 25 years. I had never imaged any one ever using a table saw like that long term. All said and done I asked him to use my chop saw . He asked for help with it since he had never used one. My lesson… NEVER EVER ASSUME that some one knows what their doing or that they work safely. All said and done no one was hurt,but they sure could have been.

-- wood crafting & woodworking classes

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Monte Pittman

29795 posts in 2457 days

#6 posted 11-14-2012 12:26 AM

I am rather bull headed, I pretty much mandate that it’s done my way in my shop.

-- Nature created it, I just assemble it.

View whitebeast88's profile


4128 posts in 2310 days

#7 posted 11-14-2012 01:09 AM

so far everyone that has come in my shop has followed my rules,well except my 5 year old daughter.she can only come in when i’m doing assembly or cleaning etc.but all she wants is for me to turn the fan on to blow bubbles with or me to play with her which sure is fun but not getting much work done.

-- Marty.Athens,AL

View nwbusa's profile


1021 posts in 2405 days

#8 posted 11-14-2012 01:28 AM

Yeah, the funny thing was, my friend (who was wanting to freehand the TS cuts) was telling me about the nasty kickback he had recently that left him with bruised ribs. And kickback can happen to anyone but I’m thinking, if you’re using good safety habits then you mitigate the risk of injury…

-- John, BC, Canada

View lumberjoe's profile


2899 posts in 2368 days

#9 posted 11-14-2012 04:26 PM

My neighbor (a few houses down) is an older gentleman (early 70’s) with MUCH nicer tools than I have and a pristine shop. He has come over a few times when he heard the planer going and helps me out with a few things. He actually scolded me for not being safe enough on the lathe! I wear glasses but I still put safety glasses over them. On the lathe, I don’t (well, didn’t, but I do now)- I just used a face shield over my glasses. He gave me a 10 minute lecture about how that face shield protects my face, not my eyes and that I still need to wear the goggles under the shield. He also insisted I get a “turning coat” or “turning smock”, of which I have never heard of before.

I was always of the opinion that a lot of the older generation was more lax about safety than us younger “nanny state” folks. I guess that is not always the case.


View Knothead62's profile


2584 posts in 3080 days

#10 posted 11-14-2012 05:31 PM

Your shop, your rules. If they don’t like it, show them the door.
The turning smock is a short sleeved coat that keeps shavings and sawdust off your clothes. The guy that did a demo at our turning club had one. I don’t like to wear loose clothing around machinery.

View Fishinbo's profile


11362 posts in 2295 days

#11 posted 11-14-2012 07:23 PM

You did what you needed to do. Stand on your ground. For everyone’s safety, strict adherence to the do’s and don’t must be had.


View waho6o9's profile


8362 posts in 2696 days

#12 posted 11-14-2012 08:44 PM

+1 for Monte Pittman

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