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Preparing to Work with Woodworking Machines?

Edgetech Model PF 100 Post FormerIf you are starting your own woodshop, part of its success will depend on the safety measures you implement. Without proper safety measures, woodworkers can lose fingers, hands, eyesight, and hearing. In this entry, we list six safety measures that you should implement as you embark on your new venture.

1. Receive proper training

If your woodshop will include machinery you haven’t used, train to use them. By doing so, you’ll end up protecting yourself and your machinery. Some good options for receiving training are: attending a training course at a vocational school, contacting a woodworking company about training options, or receiving training online through professional training videos.

2. Read owner’s manuals

To read the owner’s manual before you operate a machine seems obvious. But many woodworkers don’t do this. Although some safety measures are ubiquitous, others deal with specific woodworking machines and models. By not reading an owner’s manual, you increase your risk of injury and damage to your machine: a risk that isn’t covered by a warranty.

3. Protect your eyes, ears, and lungs

Most woodshops contain machinery that produces small wood chips, loud noise, and wood dust. Without protection from these things, you put yourself at risk for eye damage, ear damage, and respiratory problems. Protecting your eyes, ears, and lungs with safety goggles, earplugs, and a dust mask or respirator is easy and affordable, and could save you from blindness, tinnitus, and respiratory infections.

4. Wear proper clothing

In general, proper clothing for woodwork consists of: form fitting clothes, steel toe boots, and a shop apron when operating a lathe. Gloves are recommended for handling wood stock, but should be removed before operating cutting or drilling machines. Shorts, t-shirts, muscle shirts, and other clothing that leaves skin exposed are improper for woodworking.

5. Perform safe maintenance

Prior to servicing your machines, be sure to unplug them and lock them out. Large companies usually post proper lockout procedures for each machine in plain sight. Doing this in your woodshop will ensure that you perform the right procedures and always remember to perform them. Failure to perform safe maintenance is one of the leading causes of woodworking injuries.

6. Implement a wood dust removal system

Some machines come with their own dust removal system. But ones that don’t should be outfitted with one for two reasons: to prevent slippery floors, and to prevent dust build up in motors. Large operations typically use a centralized collection unit with piping running to each machine. But a collection unit attached to each machine is the most common arrangement for woodshops. Unlike some equipment, collection units are ideal to buy as used woodworking machines.

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