Woodworking involves the regular and intensive use of tools; tools that could cut, drill or scrape something else instead of the wood. To be sure that that something else does not happen to one of your digits or maybe even your entire hand or arm, it is prudent for you to proactively practice some common sense safety precautions so that your woodworking task becomes an enjoyable experience. Below are some of these tips:
• Woodworking and alcohol do not mix. Just like driving, woodworking demands your undivided attention. Remember that you are handling mostly power tools with blades, teeth, drill bits, and other similar sharp devices. Alcohol dulls the senses and takes away the focus that you need when handling potentially hazardous equipment. If you must drink, then do not do any woodworking.
• Dream it, then Do it. Recall that you are working with wood and that whatever you do with it, will result in an irrevocable change. For example, if you mistakenly cut off one of the fingers of a wooden sculpture, then there is nothing more that you can do with that which has been severed. It makes sense for you, therefore, to imagine the steps you will take prior to taking them. This lowers the risk of any possible accidents, too, because in your mind you have already run the procedure and have determined that it is safe.
• At the first sign of doubt or uncertainty, stop! Do not proceed with that cut, hole, or wood shaving if you have even the slightest doubt about it. When in doubt, do not proceed. It is always better to err on the side of conservatism rather than move forward aggressively only to run into several “oops” moments followed by expletives and other non-printables.
• Wear what is right. When you enter your woodworking workshop, you are entering a potentially dangerous area. Even if you are very careful, accidents may, and do, occur. When this inevitable event happens, then you need to be wearing protective clothing. Goggles, leather aprons, gloves, ear protectors, and the like are examples of the gear you need to wear to avoid becoming a statistic in the woodworking workshop.
• Let your tools rest. No matter how much of a beating your tools are touted to withstand, it makes really good sense if these tools are given time to rest. Remember that steel, just like people, get tired and stressed, too.
• Let your workshop breathe! Maintain proper ventilation in your workshop. If your workshop has windows, keep them open. If there are no windows, then install an exhaust system to let out those dangerous and flammable fumes coming from such chemicals as paint, thinner, varnish, etc.
By following some really simple safety rules, you will be able to enjoy the experience of woodworking and, at the same time, avoid any possible accidents that might inevitably occur in the course of your activity. All the tips mentioned above can actually be summarized in one statement on safety: Use your common sense.