1. Win a Broadcaster or one of 3 Teles! The annual Supporting Member Giveaway is on. To enter Click Here. To see all the prizes and full details Click Here. To view the thread about the giveaway Click Here.

Power tool safety

Discussion in 'Tele Home Depot' started by Dpalms, Nov 4, 2020.

  1. Dpalms

    Dpalms Tele-Meister

    Jun 3, 2019
    I'm not sure if this is allowed here, if not please remove the thread.

    So I'm just getting into guitar building and wood working in general, I have a table saw and router so far. I'm having a blast building my guitar, but to be honest these 2 tools scare the $h*t outta me, I can only imagine the damage they can do to one's hands, arms, face, etc.

    So my question is what are some absolute must safety tools I should buy or make for these 2 tools.
    And other advice for any other wood working tools is more than welcome, as I'd like to keep all 10 fingers.
  2. john_cribbin

    john_cribbin Tele-Afflicted

    Nov 26, 2014
    If you're worried, you could consider the chain mail gloves butchers use.

    Personally I'd start with eye and ear protection. Most power tools come with safety features that you need to make sure are in place and effective.

    Where possible, use something like push sticks to feed wood past blades.

    I used to use routers a lot in the past, potentially a scary piece of kit. More than once I had the power lead attack my legs while I was using it, so I'd say lay your cable in a way it won't foul up before you start. An easy access kill switch wouldn't be the worst thing to invest in, consider foot operated if you've got both hand on the router.

    Don't be forced to play slide ....
  3. glenlivet

    glenlivet Tele-Afflicted

    Nov 7, 2018
    #1 is yourself.....keep your head in the game.
    Your brain should be your #1 safety device.
    If something doesn't feel 100% comfortable, or your not 110% sure....back off and re-examine what you are doing.
    Remember that these things cut solid wood like no ones business, they will not even slow down at a finger....
  4. G&Lplayer

    G&Lplayer Tele-Meister

    Dec 17, 2015
    I find a router table makes me feel more in control then handheld. Eye protection is a must.
    crazydave911 and Greggorios like this.
  5. RogerC

    RogerC Poster Extraordinaire

    Mar 30, 2011
    Having a healthy respect for a tool keeps you safe. Being fearful of a tool makes you a liability. You become extremely unsafe when operating a tool in fear. More so than trying to come up with any extra safety device, take a woodworking class and learn how to operate the tools properly so that you aren't afraid.
  6. TwoBear

    TwoBear Tele-Meister

    Mar 31, 2020
    oc. CA.
    Number one to push sticks and eye and EAR protection. I don't know what model table saw you have but they have automatic brakes available that if it senses skin it shuts off. I know it sounds insane but it does work. But also number one to not being scared just having your head in it and not even one beer really I know that sounds sort of lightweight but I've supported myself with guitar most of my life but I also had a woodworking father and a machinist and worked in cabinet shops and one day when we went out for sandwiches I had one beer I came back and my skill saw came the closest to cutting my leg that it ever has and I never again even had one beer with a power tool let alone the scotch and whiskey I usually like!. Distractions are not good and anyone around should know not to touch you when you're working just like being on a ladder, seems like people want to walk up and shake it to get your attention. I would also wear gloves to move wood and such but I find them a hindrance and prefer to work with bare hands with tools. It goes without saying some musicians still have long hair and that needs to be put the heck away cuz it gets sucked in real easy. And I know I said it at the top but ears ears ears! The router and table saw make a hell of a lot of noise that you don't really notice along with the music and you may come away with something like I have where when sounds reach a certain level my ear distorts. The level doesn't have to be really loud anymore it's annoying as hell it's gotten a lot better but I love loud music but with the distortion that is to say when it distorts it just ruins the whole thing. If I was still playing six nights eight nights a week like I used to I'd probably look like Paul Gilbert with air directing cones on my head.
    Greggorios likes this.
  7. guitarbuilder

    guitarbuilder Telefied Ad Free Member

    Mar 30, 2003
    Ontario County
    I taught wood working for 30 years and still have all my fingers. In that time period only one kid of mine got a stitch worthy injury and that was when he was talking to the kid next to him while he was cutting on the bandsaw. Picking his fingertip up out of the sawdust ruined my day.

    Here's some random stuff that comes to mind:

    Cut away from your body with hand tools.

    Keep your fingers a good 4 inches away from the bandsaw blade. If you can't find alternatives to make the cut then make up a fixture to hold your work.

    First off you need to pay attention to what you are doing and know how the work should be fed into the machines. Using push blocks and push sticks will keep your fingers away from the cutting tools. Do not attempt to cut things that get your fingers close to the cutting edge. Adjust your machines with the plug out of the socket and keep the guards down on top of the wood. This is impossible on some table saw cuts, so use your brain in those situations.

    Table saws will kick the work back into you if you mess up. I took plexiglas to the groin once. Luckily I had an apron on to help add a layer of protection. It still hurt. Stand to the side of the path of the blade.

    Do some practice cutting with larger pieces of wood to get a feel for things and how the machines should sound.

    A router works safely when you feed into the cutter, not with the direction of the cutter. People will encourage you to do climb milling and that's when the work shoots across the room.

    There are general safety rules, like no ties, loose clothes, or dangly jewelry, Wear safety glasses and consider a dust mask and ear protection too. Each machine comes with rules for that particular machine or tool. Read them.

    Lastly, if your brain is telling you that you shouldn't be doing something...it's usually right.

    Taking chances is when people get hurt.

    PSA. Never shake your acoustic guitar over your eyes to get the pick out of the inside of the box. Crud comes out than can scratch your cornea.

    Xacto knives can roll off the workbench and stick in your shoe. Cover your feet.

    Don't wear gloves or rings...
    Last edited: Nov 4, 2020
  8. Ricky D.

    Ricky D. Doctor of Teleocity

    Oct 22, 2006
    Raleigh, North Carolina
    No distractions. Clean workspace, nothing underfoot.

    Keep the meat well away from the blade.
  9. ping-ping-clicka

    ping-ping-clicka Friend of Leo's Ad Free Member

    Jun 28, 2019
    left coast
    alway wear safety glasses and use a push stick on the table saw.
    The same goes with jointers. It's really hard to count to 10 with 6 and a half fingers.
    as a machinist the first thing I learned using conventional and CNC tools was those machines are really stupid , if you tell them to kill you, they will.
    2 dragons  sm.jpg
    krrtlr1, Ricky D. and Greggorios like this.
  10. Boreas

    Boreas Friend of Leo's Silver Supporter

    Nov 3, 2019
    Adirondack Coast, NY
    One thing I like to do is perform a dry run of everything I do. This makes sure the power cord won't grab on my leg or table and I am able to remove the waste pieces without putting my hands in jeopardy. Keep your head in the game - it will save your appendages!
    W.L.Weller and Greggorios like this.
  11. telepraise

    telepraise Tele-Afflicted

    Feb 27, 2017
    Tampa Bay
    You're wise to have a healthy respect for those tools.

    router: multiple shallow cuts always works better/safer. Pay attention to grain direction, always route with the grain going downhill. This means switching your cutting direction several times when edge routing a guitar body.

    tablesaw: push sticks as mentioned or a commercially produced gripper to keep your push hand shielded from the cut. Best is one that keeps the wood tight against the fence and held down firmly against the table all the way through the cut. This is key to keeping fingers away from harm and avoiding kickback.

    *If you're going to continue building guitars, seriously consider getting a bandsaw- it's a much more appropriate tool for the job and WAY safer. Even the smaller benchtop models can be quite useful.

    **eye and ear protection are obvious, but both of your tools throw out a lot of dust that avoids dust collection even if you have it. Routers in particular generate very fine microparticles of dust that can lodge in the sacs in your lungs. A good dust mask is important. If you're shooting finish, get a professional one that can use VOC cartridges. Once the damage is done, it is irreversible.
    W.L.Weller and Greggorios like this.
  12. Preacher

    Preacher Friend of Leo's

    Apr 17, 2007
    Big D
    Healthy respect will get you a long way.

    My biggest issue is I am in too much of a hurry so I try to make everything go faster. Going faster increases the danger factor. Slow down, plan out your cuts, do a dry run and then take your time.
    W.L.Weller and Greggorios like this.
  13. DrASATele

    DrASATele Poster Extraordinaire

    Jul 6, 2012
    North of Boston
    This guys vids have some good tips:
    Greggorios and Blue Bill like this.
  14. mfguitar

    mfguitar Tele-Afflicted Silver Supporter

    Aug 12, 2008
    Great suggestions, I would add just a couple of things.

    Sharp tools are safer than dull ones. If your blades are not cutting smoothly through the stock have them sharpened or replace.
    Make sure your table saw is in good adjustment, especially make sure the fence is parallel to the blade
    When ripping use feather boards to hold the stock down and against the fence, I like the magnetic ones but you can make your own out of wood and clamp to the table.
    Read the router direction information on this forum. There are directions for building a good table that will work well for guitar work as well. A good router is fast and powerful, you want to respect that tool for sure.
    Greggorios and Deeve like this.
  15. Mark the Moose

    Mark the Moose Tele-Afflicted

    Sep 4, 2018
    Erie, CO
    I have a buddy who's a pro wood worker and guitarist. He picked up a Saw-Stop table saw. They are more expensive but far safer than a traditional table saw. If you don't want to drop the money, then it becomes a case of 1. accepting risk and 2. mitigating risk.

    Wear glasses and gloves. Think through the job before you power up the tools. Think through how you will manage the material all the way through. Use a push stick. Think through where your hands will go if something slips...if it's into a blade or bit then stop and rethink. Wasted material is always a better option than missing fingers.
    Greggorios likes this.
  16. mgreene

    mgreene Tele-Afflicted

    Jan 27, 2010
    south carolina
    All very good suggestions. I will add three:

    1. Be careful of working past the point that you start to be fatigued - this is when you start to loose focus and get unsafe (this goes double for when you get frustrated when things aren't going as planned/when you make mistakes) Learn to walk away...

    2. Always have good lighting - one of the stupidest injuries I ever got - I knew exactly what I was doing, but didnt notice the danger because I couldnt see well

    3. Focus on finishing a the job in the same condition you started - your goal is not to finish the job, your goal is to not be injured
  17. Peegoo

    Peegoo Poster Extraordinaire

    Oct 11, 2019
    Between the Raindrops
    Glasses, yes, gloves, no.

    Any woodworker or machinist with experience will handle materials with gloves on until it's time to switch the tool on. That is good practice.

    But spinning/rotating machines and gloves are an extremely bad idea, because if a blade or cutter catches a glove, it will continue to pull the hand in. Gloves will give you a false sense of security. Skin, on the other hand, is weaker and will tear away.

    With the table saw: make yourself a sliding crosscut sled for your saw. Easily made with scrap wood and supremely useful for accurizing crosscuts. Much more safe than using that crappy little T-slot miter gauge most saws come with. If you got a cheap saw, throw away the plastic and aluminum miter gauge because it is a liability. If you need to use one, spend the $$ (about $100) for a good one.

    Table Saw Also:

    1. NEVER reach across or over a spinning blade. Never ever ever.

    2. NEVER attempt to clear a little piece of wood from near a spinning blade, even with a stick. The reason is if the little piece (or the stick) makes contact with the blade, it becomes a bullet or a spear. Take the three seconds for the blade to stop before clearing anything. Those three seconds are nothing compared to losing an eye or a finger.
    Last edited: Nov 4, 2020
    W.L.Weller, TwoBear, Ricky D. and 6 others like this.
  18. Meteorman

    Meteorman Tele-Afflicted

    Dec 23, 2012
    State College PA
    Never push any fence-guided stock into your tablesaw blade if it is shorter than the chord of the exposed blade.
    Bad things happen very quickly
    Greggorios likes this.
  19. Jim_in_PA

    Jim_in_PA Friend of Leo's Silver Supporter

    May 31, 2019
    SE PA near New Hope PA
    The biggest risk with any tools lies between your ears.

    Tips in no specific order:
    • Safety glasses are NOT optional...always wear them, even when using hand tools
    • Don't rush
    • Make sure you think through the operation and what forces will be involved with the workpiece relative to the cutting implement
    • Always use sharp tools...blades, knives, etc., all cut the best and are safest when sharp and clean
    • Use hold-downs, featherboards and proper workholding methods for all operations to both guide the material through the tool as well as insure that the material can't be thrown
    • Use methods, fixtures and work-holding/moving implements to keep your hands as far from the operation as possible...IE, push blocks, push sticks, etc.
    • With the router, if it's an operation you can do with a router table, choose that method when you can over moving the router
    • With the router, don't take big bites...work up to final in a series of passes of increasing depth
    • Pay attention to proper dust collection, not only for your lungs, but also because it's safer to work where you can actually see what your are doing than when your vision is obscured by dust and chips
    • Lighting. Lots of it
    • Make test pieces before you do something that's complicated or requires significant precision so you know what to expect and have accounted for properly controlling the workpiece and/or tool
    • Never work with tools when you are tired or have enjoyed adult beverages or alternatives unless the tool is a small piece of sandpaper...and even then...just don't
    • Always double check your tools to be sure that things that need tightened are tight
    • Manage your power cords and dust collection hoses so they do not interfere with your work or your own body
    • Etc
  20. LeftFinger

    LeftFinger Friend of Leo's

    Aug 16, 2015
    The Land of Plenty
    If someone offers you a good deal on a radial arm saw :eek:

    Just say NO:p
IMPORTANT: Treat everyone here with respect, no matter how difficult!
No sex, drug, political, religion or hate discussion permitted here.