Archive for January, 2009

Essential Safety Precautions for Woodworking

Many people find woodworking to be a fun and practical pastime. However, it’s a hobby that obviously has more risks involved than something like scrapbooking or collecting stamps. You need to use caution when working with power tools and sharp instruments in order to avoid injury. Skipping some basic safety precautions isn’t worth losing a finger, or some other kind of injury. Here are some woodworking tips to keep you safe.

Safety features are pretty much standard on the power tools sold today. For example, they feature guards on the blades and emergency shutdown switches. However, you still must be alert to potential accidents. Follow the instructions carefully for any tool you’re using. Use extra caution when you’re getting used to a new piece of equipment. Simply using your common sense can go a long way to keeping you safe.

The eyes are one of the most vulnerable parts of your body. Those bits of wood that fly out as you’re drilling are moving at a very fast rate. If you’re not wearing protective eyewear, you can easily be injured. So it’s essential that you wear a protective covering for your eyes every time you’re working with wood. When it comes to your safety, this is a pretty cheap precaution.

Power tools used for woodworking can also cause injury to your eardrums. This equipment can easily produce sounds at a decibel level that can damage your eardrums. It’s unlikely that any project you’re making is worth the cost of not being able to hear. When you’re using tools that produce a lot of noise, make sure you wear ear muffs or ear plugs for protection.

It’s not just tools that are dangerous. You also need to consider your respiratory system. Dust, debris and fumes can be dangerous to your health if inhaled regularly. Studies have shown that inhaling wood dust and particles on an ongoing basis can contribute to all sorts of respiratory problems. Always use a dust mask. They’re very inexpensive, and highly effective at protecting your lungs.

Keeping your work area well organized and clean is yet another important safety measure. When there isn’t any clutter around, you’re not so likely to trip, fall or become dangerously distracted. Make sure you have good lighting so you can see not only your work but any potential hazards. When you’re finished working, unplug all your equipment and cover it up. This will protect others in your home, in particular the kids.

Never rush a DIY woodworking job. Make sure you have everything you need and all precautions are in place before you begin. If you are alert and prepared, you’re much more likely to avoid injury. Plus, you’ll get much more pleasure out of your hobby because you’re more relaxed.

Make Woodworking Simpler with a Jig

Woodworking is a great hobby. Some people, however, find that accuracy and precision become an issue for them. It’s not that simple to produce a perfect square or rectangle while keeping track of all your measurements.

Fortunately, there’s a solution to the problem. It’s known as a woodworking jig. A jig lets you do all sorts of things and makes your job much easier. It will allow you to replicate the same dimensions and measurements in each of your projects.

A jig lets you handle more difficult tasks that involve the use of thin wood. With the right jig, you can plane the wood yourself. You can also use a jig to upend a belt sander so it can perform functions you wouldn’t have imagined.

They are a fundamental component of every woodworking shop. Jigs are fantastic for the recurring jobs that are demanded by some projects. Therefore, difficult projects become faster and easier to control.

You can either make your own jigs or buy them pre-made. They’re not that expensive to buy, but making one yourself from scraps of wood is even cheaper. There are many templates available for making your own jigs. You can find them online or in just about any store that sells woodworking materials.

You can make use of your leftover plywood scraps in constructing a jig. You’re probably only going to use the jig for a single project, so avoid spending a lot of money on materials. But if you’d like a stronger jig to get you through more than one project, hardwood is a better option.

You’ll require several varieties of jigs, depending on the kinds of projects you plan to do. A dovetail jig is essential for precise dovetail joints. Dowel jigs are useful for making dowels that you can rely on. If you’re using thick woods, a self centering jig will give you better precision.

If you’re making cabinets, a Kreg jig is the perfect tool. If you want the drawers to move smoothly, the metal drawer slides have to be precisely located. Mounting the drawer becomes less complex with a Kreg jig because there’s no need for marking and measuring. These jigs use a technique called Kreg joinery, whereby you drill a hole at an angle into one component, and connect it to the other with a self-tapping screw. It’s relatively inexpensive, but highly adaptable. The Kreg Jig K3 Master System is one of their best selling products.