Follow basic safety procedures to avoid accidents in the workshop. Blunt tools that you have to force through the wood are potentially more dangerous than sharp ones that cut effortlessly. Always keep your tools and machinery in good condition, checking that spanners and adjusting keys are removed from machines before switching on. Periodically check that all nuts, bolts and other fixings are properly tightened.
Cutting away from you
For safety, clamp the work or steady it against a bench hook, so that you can keep both hands behind a cutting edge.
Make a test cut to check the accuracy of machine settings before cutting an actual workpiece. Either feed the workpiece into the blade, just nicking the edge so that you can check the dimensions, or, for more complicated work, such as a dovetail joint, make a complete test piece out of scrap wood.
Support the work properly when passing it over or through a machine, feeding the work against the direction of rotation of a blade or cutter.
Using a push stick
Use a push stick to feed a workpiece, rather than risking touching a blade with your fingers. Never reach over a blade to remove offcuts.
Whenever possible, use proper guards recommended by the machine's manufacturer. In some of the illustrations in this book, the guards have been omitted for clarity.
If you must remove a fitted guard in order to complete a procedure, make a temporary plywood guard to cover the blade, and attach it to the rip fence. Alternatively, make a sturdy jig that holds the work securely and keeps both hands well away from the blade or cutter.
• Don't make adjustments to a machine while cutters or blades are moving, and never slow or stop a blade with a piece of wood; if the machine is not fitted with a brake, switch off and let it come to rest naturally.
• Do not attempt to free a stalled blade or cutter before switching off the machine.
• Disconnect a machine or power tool from the supply of electricity before changing cutters or blades.
• Tie back long hair, and don't operate a machine or power tool while wearing loose clothing or jewellery that might get caught in moving parts.
• Fit dust extraction to machinery and power tools, or wear a face mask. Use protective eye shields whenever you are doing work which could throw up debris.
• Don't operate a machine under the influence of alcohol or drugs, or if you are feeling drowsy.
• Don't clutter your bench with tools and pieces of wood. Keep the workshop tidy, and don't let sawdust and shavings build up on the floor - this is a fire hazard and makes the floor slippery.
• Never store materials or equipment above a machine in such a way that they could fall onto it.
• Don't carry a power tool by its cable or use the cable to pull the plug out of a socket. Check the cable and plug regularly for wear or damage.
• Don't throw used batteries from cordless tools into water or a fire, as they are likely to explode. •After work, disconnect machines and lock your workshop. Keep unsupervised children away from power tools and machinery, even when not in use.
Chapter2 Once you have mastered the skills of cutting and planing wood accurately, assembling butt joints is a simple option for anything from stud partitioning to fine picture framing. Some mitred butt j oints will probably be strong enough using glue alone, but it is usually necessary to reinforce square-cut joints in some way.
SQUARE-ENDED BUTT JOINT
It is possible to make flat frames and simple box structures utilizing square-cut corner joints. Use sawn timber for rough joinery, but plane the wood square beforehand for good-quality cabinet work. Since glue alone is rarely sufficient to make a sturdy butt joint, hold the parts together with fine finish nails or glued blocks of wood.
Mark out each piece of wood to length, using a knife and try square to mark the shoulders of the joint on all faces. Hold the work against a bench hook, and saw down each shoulder, keeping to the waste side of the marked line.
For all but the most basic work, trim the ends square to form a neat butt joint, using a bench plane and shooting board. Set the plane for a fine cut, and lubricate the running surfaces of the shooting board with a white candle or wax polish.
For additional strength, drive nails at an angle into the wood as shown. If you don't want the method of fixing to show on the outside of the joint, glue a corner block on the inside.
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