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    General Woodworking Safety

    For starters, here’s what we say in every issue of Fine Woodworking magazine:
    “Woodworking is inherently dangerous. Using hand or power tools improperly or ignoring standard safety practices can lead to permanent injury or even death. Don’t perform operations you see here (or elsewhere) until you’re certain they are safe for you. If something about an operation doesn’t feel right, find another way. We want you to enjoy the craft, so please keep safety foremost in your mind.”

    Beyond that, some tools are more dangerous than others, but all of them have the potential to do damage. Here are 10 great rules of thumb:

    1. Never work when you are tired or distracted.

    2. Don’t wear long hair, long sleeves, or jewelry (a close-fitting watch is okay).

    3. Use push sticks or push pads to keep your hands away from spinning bits and blades on the tablesaw, jointer, bandsaw, router table, and shaper.

    4. Protect your eyes at all times, especially with power tools, and protect your ears from loud noises of all kinds.

    5. Wood dust is known to cause cancer, so collect it at the source, connecting a shop vacuum or dust collector to every power tool.

    6. Use a splitter or riving knife whenever possible on the tablesaw to prevent workpiece kickback, which can be deadly.

    7. Keep the blade cover in place whenever possible on the tablesaw, and all other guards provided on power tools.

    8. Clamp workpieces down firmly when using handheld tools, and never hold a workpiece so you are pushing a sharp tool toward your hand.

    9. Take the time to READ THE MANUAL, and follow it.

    10. Use extra support around machines to support large workpieces and catch them as they go off the back of the table. That will leave you free to concentrate on keeping your hands out of harm’s way.