Woodshop Safety 101

You have your workshop set up and are eager to start learning some of the woodworking basics. Woodworking is a great hobby, but before you fire up one of your power saws and get to work, you need to establish woodshop safety rules. 

As enjoyable as woodworking is, there are several risks all DIYers should be aware of. That is why basic workshop safety should be at the top of the list when learning woodworking for beginners. 

For those who are starting to learn about woodworking, the following woodshop safety tips can keep you out of harm’s way while working on your projects. These basic shop safety tips include following the woodshop dress code, wearing safety gear, keeping the floor clean, avoiding reaching near blades, keeping blades sharp, making safe blade changes, and inspecting your stock.

Follow a Woodshop Dress Code

Wearing appropriate clothing should be at the top of your shop safety rules. You should not wear anything that is loose or baggy. If your clothing is hanging off your body, it can easily get caught in a piece of machinery, causing an accident. Make sure your clothes fit well, are comfortable, and provide a little protection from debris that may get kicked out of a saw blade when you are working. 

Wearing Safety Gear is Key to Woodshop Safety

Having the right safety gear is an important part of running a safe shop. Earplugs can be useful for working with loud tools, but you should always wear some type of eye protection. Eye protection is definitely important for operating power tools, but it is also necessary for working with your woodworking hand tools

If you plan to do a lot of sanding work, you may also want to get some type of protection against inhaling the wood dust. Keep a dust mask on hand for working with tools like your 20v Power Share Sandeck 5-in-1 Multi-sander. Some woods and finishes can be toxic when they go airborne as dust, and wood dust can cause all sorts of respiratory issues when inhaled.

Clean the Floor and Clear the Space

Having a clean workshop is one of the fundamentals of maintaining woodworking safety. The floor of your woodshop should always be clean and clear. Gather all of your wood scraps and keep them somewhere out of the way. You should also clean up any sawdust whenever you are done using a tool. Sawdust can be a fire hazard and even cause you to slip and fall if there is enough of it on the floor. 

Woodworking Basics Include Not Reaching Near the Blade 

A good table saw is the core of any woodworking shop. While it is one of the most useful tools you will have, it can also be fairly dangerous. One thing to note about many table saws and miter saws is that the blade doesn’t immediately stop spinning when it is turned off. For this reason, you do not want to reach near the blade to remove pieces of scrap. 

To be safe, you should wait for a few seconds after turning the machine off. Once the blade has stopped spinning, basic shop safety calls for you to use a piece of scrap wood or one of your push sticks to move the scrap away from the blade.

Keep Your Blades Sharp 

Using sharp blades is another one of the woodworking basics. Even with a quality tool like the 4-1/2″ Worxsaw Compact Circular Saw, the condition of your blade matters. A dull blade won’t provide clean cuts and can also increase the risk of the blade binding or kicking back. If the condition is bad enough, it could even break when the saw is in use. 

If you have a blade that is dull or damaged, toss it out and get a replacement. Blades are typically inexpensive, and the cost of a new one is more than worth it when it comes to your overall safety. 

Safe Blade Changes Allow You to Maintain Woodworking Safety

When it does come time to change the blade on a tool, make sure to follow the instructions in the owner’s manual. Another basic shop safety tip is to disconnect the power before changing a blade. If it is a tool that plugs in, disconnect the power. For a cordless tool, remove the battery before working on the blade.

If you need to change the blade on a table saw, you can protect your hands by putting an angle in your arbor wrench. It just takes one slip with the wrench to get a nasty cut from the table saw blade. Just secure the arbor wrench in a vise with the top half sticking out. Give it a few taps with a hammer until the end is angled away from the blade. This woodworking safety tip will keep your hands safely away from the blade when you loosen or tighten the arbor nut.

Inspect Your Stock

You should always inspect a piece of wood for knots before making a cut. You can cut through knots, but you need to be prepared for it to take a little more work and for the increased possibility of kickback. If you are trying to repurpose an old piece of wood, you should also look for things like screws and nails. This can be a definite hazard when cutting wood and it could possibly damage the blade. 

If you absolutely have to cut through wood and metal in the same cut, you might want to consider using a tool like the 20v Power Share Cordless Oscillating Multi-tool. You can make safe, accurate cuts through non-ferrous metals and wood using this oscillating tool. 

Woodworking safety isn’t just about setting up a list of shop safety rules. You have to follow these woodshop safety rules every time you are working and make sure others follow them as well. All it takes is one lapse for an injury to occur, so basic shop safety should be your top priority.

Find tools that make woodshop safety easier at WORX!

Woodshop Safety 101
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Woodshop Safety 101
Basic shop safety tips include following the woodshop dress code, wearing safety gear, keeping the floor clean, avoiding reaching near blades, keeping blades sharp, making safe blade changes, and inspecting your stock.
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