Basic safety for the newbies (like me!)

Discussion in 'Tele Home Depot' started by rbspeedwagon, May 30, 2013.

  1. rbspeedwagon

    rbspeedwagon Tele-Meister

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    G'day all,

    Like many others, I've been inspired by reading through this forum for the past three years or so and have given building a crack. So far, I figure I've been lucky (as well as overly cautious) in that I've had no injuries and only one near miss (that I'll expound on in a minute).

    It occurs to me that I'm sure I'm not alone in having enthusiasm and a few basic skills but not so much to know what all the risks are. I think of it like knowing what car repairs you can do yourself and which ones are best left to pros.

    So, I'm hoping this thread might become a bit of a helpful roadsign for folks hoping to pick up a fun hobby without chopping off their fingers/running a router into their guts because they didn't know not to switch the router on with the bit against the inside of their pickup template (pretty glad it jumped out AWAY from me rather than towards me...)

    Of course, common sense is the first rule and being too cautious isn't going to kill you:
    - don't stick your fingers in the router,
    - keep your free hand behind the cutting edge if you can help it
    - wait til the router's stopped before you take your hands off it
    - unplug the router before you change bits

    I just hate the vicious irony of the thought of a forum full of fingerless guitar players!

    So, what I hope is for those with experience to share a few tips or stories of near-misses (or not-so-near not-misses) where you learned something that you wish you knew ten seconds earlier as a resource for the rest of us jumping into this hobby with only vague memories of high school woodtech.

    Here's to keeping all our fingers!
     
  2. trev333

    trev333 Telefied Ad Free Member

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    I'm comfortable working with hand held plunge routers and trimmers...(these days)..
    they still FREAK! the living shiite out of me... and I treat them with total concentration and respect....

    so far so good....

    I've had most of my fights and had the most stitches with angle grinders...;)

    my advise to newbys around power tools... apart from using earth leakage trip boards/circuits and keeping your "loose clothing" well out of range... ;)

    Is hold onto the things TIGHT .. be serious about what you are about to do with them, they can twist and turn, jump about.. throw jobs back at you.... you have to be in total control... and be prepared for such an event,,,

    as you calmly go about guitar building :)
     
  3. Cat MacKinnon

    Cat MacKinnon Friend of Leo's

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    if you want to see an even more brutal tool, look up pictures of a spindle moulder! they're like a router on steroids and could easily take a whole hand off. i think they've mostly been replaced by table routers for most things. we had one when i was in woodshop class in high school, but we weren't allowed to use it and it was tucked away in a corner, unplugged.

    anyway, as a woman i always have remember to keep jewelry, loose clothing and (especially) my hair tied back. regardless of who's working around power tools, it's always a good idea to take a minute and make sure every loose bit on your body is tied back or secured. even earplugs with that little connecting cord could cause a serious injury if it got caught up in a drill press or something. i've had a few hairs get caught up in a hand drill and that really hurt; i can't imagine getting a chunk of scalp ripped off if a big lock of hair got caught up!

    oh, and always always always wear eye protection! clear goggles are dirt cheap, and getting anything in your eye can be a Very Bad Thing! my brother used to work in a machine shop and he managed to get a sliver of steel in his eye once...he had to go to the ER, where they injected his eye with anesthetic (right in the eyeball) and then had to dig around with a magnet to get the metal out. luckily he only ended up with a scratched cornea, but people go blind from stuff like that if it gets infected. he was wearing his regular glasses, but not protective goggles, and eye glasses can still let a bunch of stuff in around the sides.

    spend the $3 on a pair of goggles and wear them over your Rx glasses if you have to! this is one of those cases where it's perfectly fine to look goofy because it can save you from a very serious injury. safety trumps fashion!
     
  4. guitarbuilder

    guitarbuilder Telefied Ad Free Member

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    Working in the "woodshop" for over half my life...I've seen it all so to speak. Other than the obvious of watching where your fingers are in relation to the blade or cutter, most victims violated a rule or two of common sense. Safety glasses are a must. Even a piece of sawdust is annoying and can scratch your cornea. Be careful when your pick goes down the soundhole and you try to get it out. There still may be saw dust in there... People who don't use a pushstick tend to find out that the velocity of their hand increases after the blade exits the wood. Hot glue stays hot for a while after it is squeezed out. Sharp wood corners can break a belt sander belt and cause it to hit you in the face. Hand drills with cooling vents can suck up long hair. Not watching where your soldering iron is resting, can cause the wires to melt and cause a short...which may also happen to cause a small lightning bolt. Xacto knifes roll off the table and stick into shoes. Make sure your feet are covered as hammers falling are pretty painful. Trying to sand small blocks on a big sander is usually a gamble and sometimes a loss of skin. Backing out of a bandsaw cut while the blade is moving can cause the blade to break. Quickly increasing the speed on a lathe with a spinning lamp body attached can cause it to go airborne. Likewise using a drill press vise without clamping it down can cause it to spin like a top. Using your hand as a clamp is asking to get hit by spinning wood with sharp corners.

    Yes, I still have all my fingers. These are things that have happened to others over the years.
     
  5. stng72

    stng72 Tele-Meister

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    I'd say take your time, dont rush it. Take only a small amount of wood at a time and make sure you are mad or upset. You need to completely concentrate about what you are doing. Oh, and everything the other posters mentioned.
     
  6. KWhatley

    KWhatley Tele-Holic

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    Reposition yourself or the work and don't over extend yourself. A lot of accidents can be put down to that simple little truth.
     
  7. metecem

    metecem Friend of Leo's

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    Plan before you do something! Make a virtual tour in your head what and how it's gonna be done. No loose clothes, hair tidied up in a cap. Use a pushstick, always. Tighten the bit well in your router, don't try to extend the length by placing it inadequately in the collet. Use masking tape on finger tips for complicated CA gluing. Safe-T Planer is only as safe as you pay attention.

    Don't forget, they're trying to get you.
     
  8. ezas

    ezas TDPRI Member

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    Secure your work to the drill press table. I was drilling a quick hole in a thin strip of metal and it whipped around as the drill went through and deeply sliced into one of my fingers. That 'quick' hole turned into a trip to the ER.

    While not as dramatic as losing a finger, I want to add something that had become a very personal issue for me.

    Cyanoacrylate fumes, and resultant sensitivity. I used to work with CA a lot and for extended periods. Now I can't work with it without a fan blowing the fumes away. Just the slightest whiff is too much for me now. Personally I recommend a small movement of air working with anything that is a solvent or a chemical reaction (like epoxy). But for CA and a job like using it as filler set a fan to blow across your work.

    As the internet cliche goes; ask me how I know.

    Of course some things/paints need real respiratory protection.
     
  9. Mightyaxeman

    Mightyaxeman Tele-Afflicted

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    I've been wearing afull face shield lately instead of googles. Googles and glasses don't mesh well and I feel more comfortable with the shield.
    Watch out with loose clothing also. I had some near misses this summer while using the shopsmith as a small buffer. No more unbuttoned shirts in the shop.
     
  10. metecem

    metecem Friend of Leo's

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    +1 full face shield if you wear glasses like some of us do. If you can, get one with integrated ear protection.
     
  11. guitarbuilder

    guitarbuilder Telefied Ad Free Member

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    One time my thickness sander clamped my loose tee shirt tail between the conveyor and the wood that was moving into it... ruined a nice tee shirt too.
     
  12. crashdavis

    crashdavis Tele-Meister

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    Never use a tool you don't feel comfortable with. Not just power tools...sharp chisels can cut you to the bone faster than you can blink an eye. The caveat is to never feel too comfortable (i.e. complacent) with any tool. Always remind yourself where your body parts are in relation to the cutting edge and the forces being applied.

    I could attribute nearly all of my accidents and near misses to my own complacency and inattentiveness. A table saw is an awesome tool, able to brutally cut through two inches of oak like it was butter, while also able to cut a piece off so delicate and thin you can almost see through it. However it will get you if you make a mistake. ALWAYS have a push shoe handy. I have one that sits on the fence, and a couple of grout pads serve nicely as push pads for wider stock. When you're done making a cut on the table saw push it all the way through and retrieve it from the other side. If you pick it up and bring it back toward you, you run the risk of hitting the top of the spinning blade and throwing that piece back at yourself at roughly 100 mph. It hurts, trust me.

    If you have that voice telling you that what you're about to do is a bad idea, listen to it. When things get out of control it happens in a hurry. Think about it, a 10" table saw blade, with a circumference of about 31.4 inches, spinning at 5000 rpm, means that within a quarter of a second, that blade's edge travels 654 inches. If your shirt catches on that...no bueno.

    I've had quality router bits (Whiteside) break, because I was pushing them too hard. Scared the crap outta me, but didnt get hurt. Lesson learned...take it easy, multiple light passes.

    Outside of using chisels and stains/finishes, I think gloves in the shop is a no no as well. Too easy to get caught on something.

    Be careful. The tools we use are inherently dangerous. They are used to cut things much harder than our fleshy digits. Use the appropriate tool for the job, in a safe manner, minding your body's position, both balance and where you stand and are applying force.
     
  13. I_build_my_own

    I_build_my_own Friend of Leo's

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    don't spray nitro paint, in a non-ventilated room, especially if it reads "don't spray - brush on only"..
     
  14. TRexF16

    TRexF16 Friend of Leo's Vendor Member

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    Lots of good stuff above. Here's another. Keep the area, particularly the floor and worksurfaces around whatever machine you are going to use clear and clean. We all tend to pile up junk on our benches and floors (the tablesaw surface just begs to have crap laid on it too), and anything remotely in your way causes you to have to contort to avoid it and throws you off balance and ruins your concentration. My shop is usually way too cluttered and I have often violated the above. I get the heebie jeebies when doing so and typically have to force myself to stop the fun thing I'm working on and make sure the area around what I am working on is safely cleared, which is not fun, thus the temptation.

    Still got all my digits, sight and hearing, and plan to keep it that way,
    Rex
     
  15. printer2

    printer2 Poster Extraordinaire

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    Not so much a safety thing but something that almost caught me up today. I was sanding down some wood on my drum sander and when it got close to size I would check where I was with my digital calipers. Didn't notice the zero button got pressed while it was partly open so it was giving me high readings. I doubted what I was reading and checked the zero and it was negative numbers. A second of worry there but when I took a reading I was exactly where I wanted to be. If I didn't doubt the reading a couple more passes would have me tossing the piece.
     
  16. Whozure

    Whozure Tele-Meister

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    Personally I don't believe in accidents, but rather they are premeditated carelessness.

    I have had a few near misses with my router table, even when I am prepared for a mishap. I had one incident a few months ago that broke a router bit and I still have not found the broken piece that went flying across my shop. The safest way to use a router table is using featherboards, both horizontally and vertically if at all possible.

    Personally I think a Drill Press and/or a Hand Held Drill is the most dangerous tool in a shop. Many (myself included) at times do not take the time to secure their work inviting the drill bit to grab and up to that point ruin an otherwise nice day. Working with Stainless Steel is without a doubt the one material that demands the most respect and using slow feed and slow speed when drilling or cutting stainless is always best.
     
  17. TRexF16

    TRexF16 Friend of Leo's Vendor Member

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    Good words Whozure (c'mon, does "Daddy" come next?). I have to say I respect my drill press, having had dozens of workpieces grabbed by the bit, generally just as it is about to emerge from the back side of the metal being drilled. For this reason, if hand-holding the work, I always use a "breakaway" "upstream" grip on the work.

    But while I respect my drill press, I am terrified of my table saw (and it's a nice one too). All the statistics tell us the table saw is the most dangerous power tool in the shop. I have only ever had one kickback but it got my attention! Obviously I say terrified with tongue-in-cheek but I am really, really careful with the table saw, and anyone that owns one should be too. There is no other tool in your shop that lies awake nights dreaming of taking off two or three fingers at a time like the table saw does. They do stuff for us no other tool can do but we gotta watch 'em. They are treacherous. Treacherous indeed.

    Everybody work smart and stay safe,
    Rex
     
  18. metecem

    metecem Friend of Leo's

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    +1 on the table saw.

    Amost lost my left thumb last year. Was very lucky. Intentionally didn't clean the blood off the walls so everytime I use that bugger, I am reminded!!q
     
  19. nosmo

    nosmo Friend of Leo's

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    Watch that table saw. Years ago, I was ripping a bunch of thin strips off a board. I was using a push stick and wearing gloves. Nice, supple pig-skin gloves. The glove slipped down the push stick and my thumb hit the blade. Unbelievably, I was not hurt. The glove actually saved my thumb from getting cut (because I had the blade adjusted correctly - about 1/16" higher than the thickness of the wood), but I would not have slipped if I hadn't been wearing the gloves in the first place

    All the information that has been posted is good stuff. Use common sense. Sometimes things we consider safety equipment can cause more harm than good. Gloves are great...but I will never use them with the table saw (or router) again. The guard over the blade on a table saw is one of the most ridiculous and dangerous things I've ever seen. Adjust the blade correctly, use featherboards & push sticks, NEVER stand directly behind the blade, use a zero clearance plate if you're ripping thin strips or have thin cut-offs.

    Here's another tip I haven't seen here yet. Unplug your tools before you change bits or blades. Only takes a second - what could it hurt? :cool:
     
  20. JCJCJC

    JCJCJC Tele-Holic

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    I agree with Metecem and Nosmo - my tablesaw scares me, particularly when I have the blade at maximum height - 3" in my case, Hitachi C10RA saw. I get paranoid about whether I have the blade nut properly tightened etc. My tip, in addition to what has been said already, is to check the floor for trip hazards - cables, offcuts of wood - anything. Those saws don't take prisoners.

    My personal close moment - this is what happened when I got too greedy with the router - it made some bang, thankfully it stayed put in the collet.

    [​IMG]
     
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