When you’re working with tools that give precision cuts and work magic on hard pieces of wood, it is no surprise that you must protect yourself at all times from any possible injury. The high RPM spinning blades, drills, and nails possess a real threat if not used with proper precaution or not handled carefully.
The growing number of emergency room cases of woodworkers involved in woodworking accidents with tools are lessons to be learned from. As care should be taken while handling all woodworking tools, there are a few tools that are inherently more dangerous than others and hence it’s important to be extra careful around them.
We’ve identified the 6 most dangerous woodworking tools that need to be handled with care.
- Table Saw
- Circular Saw
- Nail Gun
- Power Drill
- Angle Grinder
You can be literally putting your life on the line when you’re working with these woodworking tools and hence proper safety measures need to be put in place. We’ll understand why these tools are dangerous and how you can protect yourself from injuries.
6 Most Dangerous Woodworking Tools
As we looked at the various woodworking tools, we came to realize that most of the tools that can seem safe to use can actually become dangerous if the woodworker is even a little negligent of the task at hand. Hence, it is of prime importance to be always present in the moment when you’re working with woodworking tools and not get distracted or lose your focus on the task.
1. Table Saw
One of the most common tools in woodworking shops is the most dangerous among all. A table saw is a commonly-used tool for making all types of cuts on the wood. They are good for both rip cuts and crosscuts. However, if not handled carefully, they can become an absolute nightmare.
The most common type of injury with the table saw is the problem of kickback. When the wood you’re cutting gets stuck in the saw or if the saw is pinched by the wood or if the wood touches the back of the saw during a cut, you can expect a violent kickback of the wood that will throw the wooden piece back at you with force. Also, your hand can be pulled into the high-speed rolling blades of the saw as the kickback happens. This is not a situation you would want to be in.
How can Kickback be avoided?
You can avoid kickbacks from a table saw by making use of a splitter. A splitter will prevent the cut pieces of wood from getting into contact with the back of the blade. They usually come with your blade guard. If you take off your blade guard to do a cut, make sure to at least use a riving knife in its place. The riving knife rises and lowers with the table saw blade and will ensure that if the wood turns to the side, it will hit the riving knife and not the spinning blade, hence avoiding a kickback.
2. Circular Saw
Circular Saw is among the most popular woodworking tools because it is portable and even DIY hobbyists can use it with ease. However, with a blade that spins around 5000 RPM at a power of around 2 horsepower, you do not want to mess with it.
Even though the circular saw comes with a blade guard that is spring-loaded and covers the rotating blade when the hand trigger is released, you should always make sure that the blade has stopped spinning before putting down the saw. This is because there have been times when the blade was still running and the circular saw was put down which had led to the saw shooting off in the direction of the woodworker.
Also, as the circular saw is good for cross cuts, it is recommended to ensure that the piece of wood is supported near the saw and that the wood piece that is cut off drops down somewhere near the circular saw.
These precautions will ensure that your cuts with a circular saw will be safe. Make sure to have a firm grip on the circular saw as a weak grip can shoot the saw in your direction during a cut and cause grievous injuries.
3. Nail Gun
Nail Guns are a more efficient way of getting framing and roofing jobs done. Instead of hammering down nails on wood pieces, it is quicker and easier to use a nail gun to do the job. However, in spite of the convenience of using nail guns, you have to be careful with it because you are holding a gun that can fire and bury nails into engineered wood. You do not want to get yourself injured while holding one of them.
Most of the injuries using a nail gun have been reported on the hands and fingers as puncture wounds. A majority of the puncture wounds are attributed to the use of the gun in bump mode where the gun fires when it comes in contact with something that depresses its muzzle. This is extremely dangerous.
You always want to have the control of firing the nails with the gun. Ensure that the added step of firing manually is needed to avoid serious injuries. Make sure to keep your hands off of any place where a misfired nail can hit you.
4. Power Drill
Power drills can seem to be beginner-friendly. However, if not used carefully, these drills can cause a lot of damage. If they are not handled properly, they can spin out of your hand and cause serious injuries.
You have to be very careful while you’re working with woodworking tools as complacency kills. Never let your guard down and always be mindful of what you’re doing. The common reason for a power drill mishap is when it is either underpowered or if it catches a knot in the wood and you’re not paying good attention to your work. In either of these cases, the drill can jolt out of your hand and cause injuries.
These accidents are easy to prevent. You have to ensure that the power drill is secure and functions as it should. You also have to be careful with your work. If you can ensure these, then you can save yourself the trouble of being regrettably caught unawares.
5. Angle Grinder
Possibly the only tool on the list that even while being protected and being cautious can still lead to freak accidents. The angle grinder can send out debris flying as it works on the wood and even if you’re holding it perfectly, it can still cause kickback issues.
The kickback on the angle grinder is due to the quadrants on the blade that grinds the wood. Different quadrants on the angle grinder can cause kickbacks in different directions. It is hence a real possibility that you might be careful to avoid kickback in one direction and the tool kickbacks in another direction.
The high RPM of the grinder makes it deadly if it ever slips from your hand. You cannot afford to be careless with the angle grinder. But, even if you are very careful with its usage, you might still have some trouble handling it.
A jointer is invaluable when you’re looking to flatten wooden boards. However, this is one tool you should not mess around with, at all. Even though the rate of injuries using a jointer is low, the ones that happen are severe. While you can get away with minimal wounds on other tools, injuries on jointers are more likely to be very severe.
Amputations are more common in injuries with a jointer. This is because the jointer with its rotating cutter head will pull in any object and chew on it. This is why it is recommended to use push sticks when working with jointers as they will keep your hands away from risking injury.
That being said, most of the injuries on a jointer are due to negligence. The woodworker who was using a jointer could have forgotten to turn off the tool and then reach for a piece of wood lying on the jointer to have their hand-pulled in and damaged.
These gruesome injuries are best avoided by following best practices and using push sticks to feed wood into the jointer. Remember to be careful around these big woodworking tools as they tend to cause more damage.
Woodworking injuries can be devastating because of their severity. It is always recommended to follow the instructions and be careful of every task executed. There are no shortcuts when it comes to woodworking. If you are looking to speed up the process of working with wooden products, you increase your chances of being injured. Always stay safe when working with rotating blades and other sharp tools that can be a real threat. Make sure to be extra careful when you’re dealing with the above-mentioned tools.