Safety is Rule One
How to be a healthy woodworker in a safe shop
Synopsis: This quick guide to safety can help you keep all your digits safe and sound. Your goal should be to ensure that any injuries you incur are slight, the sort you can treat with bandages and salve rather than a trip to the hospital. Repeat these general practices until they become ingrained habits.
Being a woodworker guarantees that periodically you are going to get hurt. As the warning says in the Letters department, “Working wood is inherently dangerous.” You cannot attend any gathering of woodworkers, such as a show or club meeting, without noticing hands that are short a couple of digits. You hear stories of horrible accidents, including fatal ones.
Accidents are inevitable. So your goal should be to ensure that any injuries are slight, the sort you can treat with bandages and salve rather than a trip to the hospital.
Amputations and other serious accidents are not inevitable. Most woodworkers manage to keep their body intact. After 30 years of woodworking, I have numerous small scars on my hands but can still count to 10. I also have a scar on my forehead where I was hit with a piece of wood that flew out of the lathe. I wish I had started using hearing protection a lot sooner. My doctor tells me I cannot regain my hearing, only protect the little I have left. Otherwise, I am as complete as when I entered the world. After 21 years of teaching some 3,500 people, only two have cut themselves badly enough to require a doctor’s attention. I like to think it is because of the safety lecture I give at the beginning of every class and the reinforcement we give before every demonstration.
Although there are lots of safely rules, safety is a state of mind. In other words, your…