Lee Valley Tools Woodworking Newsletter
Vol. 2, Issue 5
May 2008
Woodworker Safety

As woodworkers, we always seem to find ourselves trying to improve our skills. From mastering a new technique to incorporating a new tool into our arsenals, all of our efforts are geared toward making ourselves better woodworkers.

But, how often do we take the time to think about shop safety?

The information is out there, for sure. Every tool manual, project book and TV show goes into great detail about safety even before you get to the good stuff. Since safety information is so prominent, surely every woodworker must know everything there is to know about workshop safety, right?

Not so fast. Spinning blades, whirring bits and razor-sharp chisels can do a considerable amount of damage in a short time.

A study conducted in 1987 (the last year a major North American epidemiologic study was conducted on the topic) by the Campbell Foundation in Memphis, Tennessee, found that woodworking equipment produced approximately 720,000 injuries each year. The table saw caused more than 40% of these injuries, but the jointer, drill press and even hand chisels caused a considerable number of injuries as well.

Does it require you to spend a small fortune in shop safety equipment to prevent injuries? Of course not. Often, simple changes in procedure and technique—along with a quick review of your tool owner manuals—can lead to quick and cheap safety improvements.

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