Safety Tips from A&M readers
I may be biased, but I think the folks who read and comment on the Arts & Mysteries blog are some of the smartest folks on the internet. I read and enjoy their many different views here and elsewhere. So I’ve collected their wisdom from the previous week’s blogs about Woodworking Safety. Thanks everybody for participating.
If the chisel slips, where’s it gonna go?
Chisels do NOT fit in pockets, even if they do.
WHATEVER tool you’re using, take a look around to see where its going to go WHEN, not IF it slips.
Put a wooden floor in your shop, and you’ll be less inclined to try to “kick Save” that sharp tool when it rolls off the bench (they always land sharp side down in my shop) Wood floors are also easier on your back/knees/feet.
Wear eye protection when sharpening with a wheel, hand cranked or not.
Boy I can relate to this last one. I bought a Norton 3x wheel for my woodcraft slow speed 8″ grinder. That wheel makes a huge mess. Forget the fact that it’s easily an 1-1/2″ smaller in diameter than when I bought it 6 months ago. That wheel throw such a shower of debris. Friability? You bet. Do I like it? I don’t know any more. You need a Chris Schwarz commemorative shop apron when you use that thing.
Hand Tool Shop First Aid Kit Essentials:
Sprays and Salves
My go to cream is Eden salve, an herbal cream concoction from the Bulk Herb Store. It really is great stuff. The small tin is all you need. The kids like it too for their scrapes – they can put in on themselves.
Also, Cayenne pepper (get the powder) is effective for stopping bleeding – just don’t rub your eyes when you finish putting it on your cut, or the bleeding won’t seem so important for a while! Your mileage may vary on this one with sawed off limbs or severed arteries. I haven’t tested it that way and really have no idea.
I would recommend keeping a small bottle of Betadine (or generic equivalent) in your first aid kit. It is good for flushing out deep and/or large wounds, and it doesn’t sting like alcohol. It makes a mess, however, staining everything a yellow-brown. (It might make a good wood stain–who knows?)
If you didn’t know honey also makes a decent ointment in a pinch.
I don’t use NuSkin on cuts, but I do use it on those annoying (and painful) fingertip cracks that one gets in cold weather. It works great for sealing/healing those up. There’s a new variant from 3M (Nexcare) that’s even better, as it dries much more quickly.
I have the excellent splinter removal kit Joel at TFWW sells in my first aid kit. The very sharp probe and tweezers are very effective at getting even deeply embedded splinters out. It’s inaugural use saved me a trip to the ER to remove what turned out to be a rather nasty 3/8″ poplar splinter that went up under my right thumbnail. That hurt enough that I was happily confessing to a number of crimes against lumber to the board that was interrogating me.
For splinters that don’t go very deep, I prefer fingernail clippers over tweezers. It’s easy to get the corner into a shallow hole, and the lever gives you plenty of grip on the splinter itself. Just remember not to squeeze too hard or you’ll just end up clipping the splinter off.
A portable, sterile eye wash bottle is definately something to strongly consider.
Keep good chocolate in your first aid kit. You’ll always know where it is and what’s inside.
Deal on Fatigue Mats at Woodcraft
About a year ago, I bought 2 anti-fatigue mats at Woodcraft. They’re 2′ x 5′ and cost about $15.
I’m looking at these in terms of improving traction and preventing slipping on floors awash in shavings or saw dust. As such, my recommendation is get these as long as your bench or longer. But at essentially half price, these are certainly attractive.