Woodworking is a fantastic way to work with your hands, with excellent materials. But it can be hazardous as well. For one, you’re surrounded by incredible power tools! Table saws cause nearly 40,000 injuries per year, and planers and other machinery, an additional 10,000. On top of that, there are health risks about exposure to wood dust, excessive noise, and equipment vibration.
List of Woodworking Safety Equipment and Gear
There are plenty of tips and tricks to staying safe in your workshop, including the right tools and the proper woodworking safety equipment. Check out this guide for the things you need to stay safe in the workshop.
Protect Your Hands
Wearing the right gloves protects your hands in a variety of ways. Not only can it help protect against the blades as you’re handling equipment, but specialized gloves can also protect against vibrations that can cause you to shake.
Finger and thumb wrap tape can help when cuts are unavoidable. It will stick close enough to the skin that you can fit gloves over it, with no sticky residue to get in your way. For those times you need your hands, such as when you’re carving, invest in some strong leather fingertip guards. That will help you avoid any surprise nicks and cuts while you’re doing more delicate work.
Protect Your Eyes and Ears
Keeping yourself safe in a woodworking shop means many things. Between the flying dust and debris, and the loud noises, you’ll want to keep your eyes, ears, and mouth covered. The right ear protection is anything you can comfortably keep in your ears that won’t dangle or provide a distraction while you’re working.
You’ll want hearing protection for any noise over 85 DBS. A benchtop planer can be around 105 dB, while a handheld router won’t be quieter than 95dB. Goggles are always needed in the workshop. Wherever power tools are involved, dust and debris are a serious concern. Always wear glasses in your workspace.
Ventilate the Space
Workshop ventilation is essential. We’ve already mentioned dust and debris, but breathing it in is almost inevitable. Stain, paint, and other treatments can also be dangerous in a space that hasn’t been adequately ventilated. Consider the size of the space. Get an area fan or install a ceiling fan for maximum efficiency. If you’re working out of a garage or shed, keep the windows cracked when you can.
Proper ventilation isn’t just about protecting your breathing space. Solvents, stains, and oils are very flammable, and can even com-bust, without proper ventilation to prevent the oxidation. Keep yourself safe by ventilating and filling an old metal paint can with water. Submerge the rags, and you can safely dispose of them at your local hazardous waste disposal center.
Get Some Extra Padding
Woodworking and carpentry can be tough on the joints. Protect your knees with workshop kneepads. A right, sturdy knee pad can keep you working. The right kneepads should be tight-fitting, while still allowing for movement, and capped with rubber so that it won’t scuff, warp, or slide, if you’re kneeling on the floor.
Be Mindful of The Blades, With Push Sticks and Push Blocks
Of course, there are plenty of safety rules when it comes to using your hands near a power tool. Never reach over a blade, and always work with the grain of the wood, to avoid sparks and stalls. Push sticks and push blocks allow you to put some space between you and the intersection of wood. They make it possible to stabilize the wood you’re working with.
Push sticks can be a general term to use on all push devices. But they are characterized by a long handle, with a notch at the end, designed to get some distance to work and maneuver. A push block is a thick block of wood with a handle and hooks to hold onto the work piece.
They’re great for stabilizing larger work piece. For safety’s sake, you should always use a push stick or block for any work piece less than 30 cm, or, for the last 30 cm of a more extended cut. Still, complete a cut once you’ve begun.
Dress Properly In A Woodworking Apron
You wouldn’t think a leather apron counts as a safety measure, but a lot of woodworking accidents can be prevented by wearing the right clothes. Loose fitting clothes and clothes with ties can get caught easily. Not just on tools, but on debris, everything on the floor, or just the blowback from the fans and air generated by the tools themselves. Wearing a heavy leather apron or proper working trousers protects you from corrosive material, but also weights down any dangling ties, or clothing loose enough to get caught on anything.
Use A Splitter
Splitters usually come with your saws, but if you’re looking for a variety, you can buy it separately as an accessory. A splitter is another excellent way to put some distance between you and the work piece while offering a clean straight cut and keeping the piece stable, without risking your hands. It also helps you reduce kickback, which can be the cause of many injuries in the workshop.
Be Careful of The Electrics
Finally, no matter the size of your workshop, you’ll want a space where you can be mindful of electrics. Keep everything appropriately grounded, and always be sure to check for shorts before plugging anything in. Dangling clothes can be dangerous, but so can dangling extension cords. Wrapping everything tightly when you’re not using it can help protect against slips and trips. Finally, use a surge protector or power bar, to avoid any accidental overloads or blown fuses that can lead to injury.
Whether you’re making the perfect gifts for family and friends, running a business, or just looking to keep yourself busy in your off hours, woodworking is a great skill to learn. But in any hobby that involves power tools, safety should always come first. These tips and woodworking safety equipment for your workshop can help you stay safe and prevent injury, both mild and severe.