As I wrote in one of my comments on the previous entry, I knew this would be a hot topic for the blog. And, I was right! Finally, the smoke has cleared a bit, so it’s time to stoke the fires again. If you please, I’d like to step up on my soapbox.
I’m amazed at the level of fear that woodworkers have for their power tools. I would never spend my well-earned money for a machine that frightened me each time I used it. How could one comfortably get anything accomplished? Most of you do woodworking as a hobby, not for business. As a hobby, woodworking is supposed to be relaxing and guide you to your “happy place.” If you’re worried about using the tools, you’re not going to arrive at your intended destination. Spend the time to understand the tools and what they can do.
One comment suggested that all power tools are inherently dangerous. Does that mean we should forgo power tools in favor of hand tools? Wait , hand tools can be dangerous as well. So, should we pass on using them, too? I believe that we’re told so often how dangerous woodworking machines are that we’ve reached a state of panic instead of simply being informed. These tools are no more dangerous than driving a car, being hooked to the Internet via a computer or walking alone on a dark street at night (think about it). You have to pay attention and not become complacent.
No tool is safe in the hands of someone who is not paying attention to what they’re doing. Operator error is the number one cause of accidents in the shop. We have to be responsible for ourselves.
Everything has a level of risk associated with it. How we choose to face that risk speaks volumes about our personalities.
Here are a number of points about the blog entry and the comments.
– Gloves should fit snug on your hand. I once bought an under-sized pair and found the fit perfect for use at the jointer (shown in the photo).
– As I stated, I use gloves only at the jointer , not at the planer or table saw, as some of the early responders hinted toward.
– I never, as seen in the photo both here and in the previous entry, allow my gloves or fingers to extend over the edges of the lumber I’m jointing. This is why I set limits to the width of boards I run in this manner.
– I cannot remember a time when I ran Ã?Â¼” material over the jointer knives (nor can any of our other editors). To mill to that thickness, start with a 4/4 piece of stock, joint one face surface then move to a planer, band saw or table saw. If you find movement or twist after you’ve ripped to the desired thickness, you should finish with hand tools , or start over with a new board.
– In reference to the above, I use kiln-dried (KD) lumber that has stabilized in my shop. In using air-dried lumber you should expect some problems in this area. I’ve run into it with KD stock too. I also never use boards with loose knots (a problem noted in a comment).
– I’ve never had a piece of stock blow apart or jump from the jointer bed or become air-born. Perhaps this is a reflection of the lumber I’ve selected or, knowing the methods of work at the jointer (and each tool in the shop).
– Replace worn gloves just as you would a dull saw blade or a dull blade in a utility knife. Do you check these other tools regularly or simply awake one day with the thought in mind? Don’t become complacent.
– When I teach woodworkers how to use a jointer, I explain how things can go wrong using the machine, and how to use the push pads that come with the tools as well as designs for better devices (shown in Marc Adams’ article in the February 2008 issue of Popular Woodworking). Then I show them how I operate at the jointer with gloves. My students choose their preferred method based on their comfort levels.
I don’t want people to get hurt using woodworking tools. I also don’t want us to be afraid of these power tools, or any tools. We need woodworkers to have fun, complete successful projects and get the next generation involved in the craft.
Glen D. Huey
Here are some supplies and tools we find essential in our everyday work around the shop. We may receive a commission from sales referred by our links; however, we have carefully selected these products for their usefulness and quality.