So here's the thing…. sometimes people get hurt in carpentry shops.
You know what I'm talking about. Cue the elderly old men again with beards telling you haunting stories of how they “chopped off 3 whole fingers on the table saw” or “got my hand caught in the gears”...... Dang.
BUT the good thing is that often, if you do things smart, you won't get hurt.
Okay.... Let me explain.
Every single carpenter is bound to come up against slivers, (splinters) cuts, bruises, pinches and whacked knuckles or stubbed toes. It just happens! We work in an almost manual labor job peeps, there ain't no way you ain’t gonna get hurt with little things like that. It comes with the job. But sometimes a big whopper of an injury comes a strollin’ in and you wonder just what you did wrong to get so hurt.
So here are my 7 small tips that can keep you from making deep, hurtful and painful wounds to yourself, and grateful you didn't do those stupid, often accidental, wrongs that you wished you’d never done.
1- Think through the no brainers. Obviously it's not a smart thing to cut a 7” inch thick log on a 3” table saw, or stick a 2” thick board in a Belt Sander programmed for 1 ¼”, or let a bandsaw blade jiggle around from 8” up while cutting a thin ½” piece of wood into a curve. Don't stick your hand under a saw, or get close to a moving saw, or put your face right where sawdust or particles might be flying. There are somethings that are just simple and known….. Hopefully. So don't do those.
2- Don't use equipment, especially big equipment, that you don't know how to use. Ask an adult before operating. Just kidding. No but really… ask somebody. You WILL get hurt otherwise.
3- Gloves can be mighty efficient. When working with blades, glass, or sharp plastics (ie; Melamine or banding) it's smart to have gloves to protect your skin from future slices. Even the thickest calluses can get cut sometimes and blood is a mess to clean up and stains the wood like crazy. I sliced myself this past week.
4- When cutting anything on a chop saw, always press it up against the backrest otherwise your fingers will get smashed and seriously sliced and/or broken…. ‘Nough said. We also did that in the past few weeks.
5- There are safetys for a reason. Keep and double check and appreciate the guard on the chop saw, the deep set and covers of the bandsaw, the extra little pull you make on the nail gun. Sometimes they save your fingers. I smashed my thumb with a nailgun once and was thankful my finger didn't pull the trigger and thankfully I only got a bruise. I've been saved from jumping boards off chop-saws and wearing face-shields when operating lathes many a time from dangerous, woody particles that go flying through the air. Use them. Keep them. Love them.
6-Stay away from hot metal, especially if it's just cut wood. It burns you.
7-Be aware of your surroundings. Don't look away from your hands when operating power tools, but also keep an eye on other people too. You can save them from injury or you can save yourself if one of their project or boards go awry and suddenly launch at your face! Ha! Keep eyes out above your head for boards that might hit you and don't run into logs or sharp boards on the floor or table that can give give you nasty bruises or cuts. Just keep an eye out. Ive bashed my legs hundred of times.
So finally, just so you know….Tweezers, tape/bandaids and super glue can be your best friends. Never run around a shop without a First Aide Kit and just be wise. So on the off chance that you do get get cut, even shallowly, or a huge sliver, excuse me… splinter…. these 4 tools can be super helpful.
Good luck and don't get hurt.