“I was using my compound miter saw to cut up a strip of hard maple with the two sides ripped at an angle, I was making sliding dovetail keys for a project. I was holding the maple with the keys widest part flat on the table up against the fence, the wood must have shifted when I was making my last cut. The maple board squashed my middle finger like a grape as the blade quickly flipped the key against the fence and threw it behind the miter saw”.

Safe use of woodworking tools is important to avoid unnecessary injuries. By employing some simple common sensed guidelines you can avoid having lacerations, eye injuries or worse.

Below is a list of 7 safety guidelines when woodworking:


  • Know the Equipment. Before you use any equipment you need to be shown how to use it, or at least read the operating instructions. In the workplace it is mandatory to train someone before they use certain equipment when you are working in your shed then these rules do not apply. So please read the operating instruction, talk to the sales people when purchasing or have someone show you how to use the equipment properly.
  • Wear Safety Equipment. Eye, feet and hearing protection are the basic personal protective equipment (PPE) you should be wearing when using tools. I know in a home environment even the basic PPE is not worn, but you will regret not wearing it if something goes wrong.
  • Wear Appropriate Clothing. Shorts and singlet may be what’s normally worn at home but in a workshop, even in your garage, appropriate clothing needs to be worn. Wearing long pants and tops can prevent filings, sawdust or other containments hurting you.
  • Follow Instructions. If the equipment or material you are using directs you to use certain protective equipment then use it. If the solvents tell you to use in a ventilated area, to the work in a ventilated area. These instructions are there for a reason, the manufacturer has spent a lot of time and money to work out what’s best, so follow them.
  • No Alcohol or Drugs. There are a number of people who partake in alcohol and drugs at their homes. Both of these affect your abilities causing your reflexes to be slowed down. Using alcohol or drugs while operating equipment is dangerous to you and anyone elase around you, please don’t do it.
  • Adhere to Safe Practices. With every process in woodworking there are safe practices that have been created and implemented in the workforce. These safe practices can also apply to the hobbyist. Some of the basic safe practices include
    • Disconnect power when altering equipments, such as saw blades
    • Use one power cord only not a bunch joined together
    • Use sharp blades and bits
    • Never reach over an operating blade
    • Make sure the guard is in position
    • Inspect stock for nails or other materials before cutting, planing, routing or carrying out similar activities.
    • All start and stop buttons need to be easily accessible
    • Use a ‘push stick’ to push materials into cutting area
    • Clamp down and secure all work pieces when drilling or milling
    • Keep work space clear of rubbish and clutter.
  • Avoid Distractions. When using equipment you need to be concentrating on what you are doing. Any distractions may result in you being hurt.

By following these 7 safety tips you will minimize any potential of being hurt. Woodworking is an enjoyable hobby so being safe will only ensure it remains so.

Remember it doesn’t take much to protect yourself.

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