Safety tips

I try to cover a lot of safety items during my actual blog posts, but I got to thinking this would be a great time to summarize them all in one place:

  • Always wear safety glasses and hearing protection.
  • NEVER wear gloves or loose fitting clothing around rotating power tools (table saw, router, jointer, etc). If you don’t trust me personally, just Google “degloving” (so, so NSFW).
  • Take dust inhalation seriously. If you don’t have a way to capture dust directly at the tool, make sure you always wear a mask.  I use a heavily modified dust collector from harbor freight that set me back less than $300 total.
  • Any rags used for staining or finish should be laid out flat on a saw horse or the edge of a pail to fully dry. Crumbled up rags can spontaneously combust, don’t burn your house down!
  • Use push sticks and feather boards to keep your fingers as far away from blades as possible.
  • Always use a riving knife or splitter behind your blade when using your table saw. If your saw doesn’t have either, DON’T USE IT. That’s a recipe for kickback, which can launch a 2×4 off your saw blade like a missile. Microjig makes an aftermarket splitter set if you need one.
  • Don’t use a miter gauge and the fence at the same time on your saw; this can also induce kickback.  Instead, you can use a small piece of wood clamped to your fence as your distance gauge, clamping it far ahead of the blade so the wood doesn’t contact the blade and stop block at the same time.  Video here.