Woodwork Tools Blog



Woodworking Safety and Your Woodwork Tools

I was reminded recently of the dangers involved with the use of any woodwork tools, and that safety is not just something for power tools!

In the process of moving house, I was carrying out some last minute repairs, without the benefit of my workbench and woodworking vise, which had already been moved. It was only a small job I had to do which required me to cut an unusual shape out of a small piece of timber, so I pulled out a trusty old coping saw and got stuck in. Unfortunately, as I was just starting a stroke with the saw, the workpiece broke, and instead of my saw stroke cutting smoothly through the piece of timber, I managed to cut about 1/3 of an inch directly into the end of my thumb!

In hindsight, it is clear that there were a couple of things about what I did that pretty much guaranteed that the outcome of this work wasn’t going to be as I had planned.

The first issue was that I was in a hurry, and trying to rush through a job is a surefire way to have an accident, or at least to end up with work that is of substandard quality. The old saying “More haste, less speed” definitely rang true in this case – what should have been a 5 minute job, ended up costing me several hours. It wasn’t just the trip to the doctor to ensure I wasn’t going to die a horrible death, but also the time lost as I found myself hampered by my injured thumb.

Clearly my biggest mistake however, was attempting to work with a small piece of timber that wasn’t properly secured. As a result of the piece not being secured, it was necessary for me to use one hand to hold it, making it almost inevitable that at some stage my hand would be in the wrong place if the blade slipped for any reason.

All in all, I consider myself to be quite lucky to have just ended up with a small scar, and a slight loss of sensation in the end of my thumb. There are too many woodworkers around that have a missing finger, or part of a finger – and I’m sure that most of them would admit that they ended up that way as a result of similar factors to my minor accident.

So next time you pick up your woodwork tools, make sure you have a good think about what you’re about to do, and always make safety your highest priority!

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