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"Stay Sharp!!   Be Sharp!!"


Safety 101 -- Contains basic safety checklists.
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The first priority of any woodcarver should be to avoid accidents. Every cutting situation, whether with hand tools or power tools, should aoproached with the intention of following a consistent set of safety techniques. This document contains a series of safety checklists. 

Mental and Physical Acuity

q      Never work while tired or taking medication. Whenever you are tired, stop or take a break. Accidents are most likely to happen when you are tired. Medication and alcohol can affect your perception and reaction time.

q      Try not to rush the job. Trying to finish a step in a hurry leads to errors and accidents. The stress of rushing the job also leads to earl fatigue.

q      Be aware of your attention, or lack of it, to the job. Daydreaming or thinking about another job while operating a power tool or handling a Shari) hand tool can lead to accidents. Repeti­tive cuts lend themselves to daydreaming, or be doubly careful when making them.

q Avoid distractions. Conversing with others, unfamiliar noises, and doors opening and closing are all distractions in the workshop. Never surprise someone who is working with tools.


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Clothing and Protective Gear

q      Properly dress for your own physical protection. Clothes should be loose enough to permit easy bending but not loose enough to be caught in moving tools.

q     Remove all rings, bracelets, necklaces, and so forth, that may become call caught. Keep your hair, cuffs, jewelry tied hack and out of harm’s way.

q     Protect yourself. Always wear protective glasses or goggles. If the area is noisy, wear ear plugs or muffs to preserve your hearing and minimize fatigue. Wear a dust mask to protect against sawdust and microscopic particle. Some dusts are toxic, and are not good to breathe.


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General Working Environment

q      Keep your workshop neat and clean. A cluttered work area provides tripping hazards. Excess dust can become a breathing hazard. A dirty or cluttered work area provides tripping hazards. Excess dust can become a breathing hazard. It also is more pleasant to work in a clean, organized work area, as well as safer.

q      Make sure your work surface is at a comfortable height with plenty of room to set out your tools and work piece.

q      Evaluate the lighting conditions in your workshop. Adequate lighting is necessary to the safe use of sharp hand tools. Shadows and dim lighting increase fatigue and contribute to measurement errors.

q      Make sure that a grounded outlet of correct amperage for your power tools is close by This outlet should be below the level of your work table so that any electrical power cords will not interfere with work. Keep all electrical cords and extension cords free of entanglement with loose materials. Be certain all power cords are not worn or damage but in good repair.

q      Keep the floor area clear and wipe up all spilled liquids immediately to prevent a slipping hazard.

q      Look over your wood stock, inspecting for loose knots, twists, cupping, or wet lumber. These conditions can cause trouble, especially with power tools.


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General Power Tool Safety Rules

q      Read and study the owner’s manual. This will familiarize you with the mechanical features, their adjustments, and general instructions for operating the tool. If you are uncertain, seek help and advice.

q      Use whatever safety-related devices are provided by the manufacturer, such as guards and hold-downs.

q      Only use a tool that is in good condition.

q      Be certain the switch operates properly.

q      Never allow someone else to turn on a power tool for you.

q      Do not leave a machine unattended when the power is ON.

q      Beware of the potential danger in certain situations when operating power tools. Keep you hands on top of the work piece. Hold the work piece down fair and square on the work table.

q      Make sure the power tool is properly grounded with an appropriate three-prong electrical plug and grounded receptacle that is equipped with a ground fault interrupter (GFI).

q      Lock master switches or power source to keep idle tools from being used by unauthorized individuals.

q      Never leave children alone in the workshop.

q      Do not use any tool while under the influence of medication, alcohol, or when fatigued.

q      Keep your tools in good order, and keep your work area organized and clean.


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General Hand Tool Safety Rules

q      Think through each operation before you execute it. Use an alternative technique if the one you plan will put you at risk of an accident.

q      Only use a tool if it is in good condition. Keep your tools sharp.

q      As always, wear protective equipment such as safety glasses or goggles and dust masks.

q      Always keep your and hands and limbs well clear of the cutting part of any tool.

q      Never let children “play” with tools while you are working. Never leave children alone in the workshop.

q      Do not use any tools while under the influence of medication, alcohol, or when fatigued.

q      Keep your tools in good order, and keep your work are organized and clean.


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These checklists were adapted from:
Woodcarving BASICS by Alan & Gillian Bridgewater.

  Revised:   2001-01-01