Do it yourself, but do it safely
Keep your health in mind when tackling projects
Do you spend your weekends or free time fixing things around the home? Many people do.
We have become a do-ityourself nation, spurred on by the multitude of television programs and magazine articles telling us just how to do everything from building a bookcase to refinishing a deck. While these projects may range in difficulty, they do share one common element: the chance for injury.
“ Do- it- yourself projects can be very rewarding to complete. But many DIYers dive right into improvements without taking the right safety precautions,” says Don Zeman, home improvement expert and host of the nationally syndicated “Homefront with Don Zeman” radio program. “With a little know-how and some products that make using tools and other shop items safer, the chance for injury drops dramatically.”
Along with power- tool injuries, falls, cuts and eye injuries top the list of potential hazards for ill-prepared DIYers. Woodcraft Supply, LLC, the woodworking industry’s leading provider of tools, products and education, offers the following tips to keep you safe around the house.
Being able to see, hear and breathe easily can promote a safer time when working on projects. That’s why one of the first steps to take is to pro- tect the most important tool for a do- it- yourself project — you.
• Protective eyewear is a must when doing any repair. Combining the flying dust and debris protection of goggles with the hard frame and distortion-free lens of spectacles, the Spoggle is very unique protective eyewear. The frame of the Spoggle is cushioned against the face by a soft laminated foam gasket (much like ski goggle foam) to provide a comfortable but tight dust-free fit. The product meets OSHA/ANSI standards for primary eye protection.
• The dust created when using power tools is not just a nuisance, it can be hazardous to your health. So, whether you’re operating a table saw, router, or sander a respirator is the solution. Consider the Triton Powered Respirator for complete personal protection.
• Hearing protection can safeguard the delicate auditory system. Routine use of loud power tools can contribute to hearing loss prematurely. When working indoors, the sound of tools may be amplified and cause even more damage.
• Working safely also means being able to see clearly what you’re working on. Therefore, task lighting should be on your list of safety equipment. An item like a Magnetic or Clip- On Base Work Light allows you to place illumination just about anywhere. The 360-degree swivel head and jointed arm adjusts to light any work area with up to 60 watts.
Protect your digits
Some of the most apparent dangers associated with woodworking and other do- it- yourself projects is the potential for cuts and amputations from cutting edges and contusions or broken bones from kickback of stock. That’s why it is always essential to keep fingers and hands away from blades and other fast- moving machinery. Push sticks, push blocks and feather boards help the DIYer accomplish this.
• A feather board is a useful tool when cutting thin stock or making an intricate bead with a router. It serves as an extra pair of hands, keeping the wood in place on a table saw or router table. Many woodworkers rely on the Miter Slot Feather Board. With two locking screws, not just one, this feather board holds securely in a standard 3/ 8- inch by 3/ 4- inch miter slot. For DIYers who need a more flexible feather board, try the Magswitch Magnetic Featherboard that can be placed anywhere on a steel table or fence surface.
• Kickbacks occur when a saw seizes the stock and hurls it back at the operator, resulting in any number of bodily injuries. Kickbacks can happen when the stock twists and binds against the side of the blades or is caught in the teeth. A blade that is not sharpened, or that is set at an incorrect height, can cause kickbacks.
Anti- kickback devices can be used on saws to stop this problem. Anti- Kickback Safety Rollers come complete and ready to install on your fence or fixture. Yellow rollers rotate in a clockwise direction and will not rotate counter- clockwise, preventing kickback on table saws and router tables.
• A push stick or push block can keep your fingers away from the cutting blade as you feed the end of stock through. For even better con- trol, try the Advanced GRRRipper System that grips and holds both sides of a work piece during a ripping operation.
The product maintains balanced pressure on the wood as it passes through and beyond the blade.
There are many other ways to equip your home shop with safety items and practice careful operation when engaging in do- it- yourself projects. To hear tips from Don Zeman click on www. homefront. com. To learn more about the products mentioned, visit www. woodcraft. com.
Avoid inhalation of dust and debris by using a shop respirator.