Safety In The Workshop

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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.

Safety Procedure Wood Work

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.

Guarding blades and cutters

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.

Making a temporary guard

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.

Changing and adjusting blades

• 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.

Wood Workshop Safety

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.



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.

Planer Butt JointsMarking Out Finger Joints Wood

Box-frame joint

Flat-frame joint

1 Cutting the joint

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.

2 Squaring the ends

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.

Box-frame joint

Flat Framed Butt Joints

Flat-frame joint

Reinforcing a butt joint

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.

Wooden Box Butt Joint Reinforce Block

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Wood Working for Amateur Craftsman

Wood Working for Amateur Craftsman

THIS book is one of the series of Handbooks on industrial subjects being published by the Popular Mechanics Company. Like Popular Mechanics Magazine, and like the other books in this series, it is written so you can understand it. The purpose of Popular Mechanics Handbooks is to supply a growing demand for high-class, up-to-date and accurate text-books, suitable for home study as well as for class use, on all mechanical subjects. The textand illustrations, in each instance, have been prepared expressly for this series by well known experts, and revised by the editor of Popular Mechanics.

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