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Woodturner Safety Introduction

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by Warnie Lore

You will notice that I titled this article “Woodturner Safety” rather than “Woodturning Safety.” Safely performing woodturning operations, not excluding chain saw, table saw, band saw, grinder and all the other hand and power tools that support the turning of wood, lies solely on the human operating the equipment and not on any built-in safety features of the tool.  As they say; “This machine has no brain of its own.  Use yours.”


Safe woodturning is a learned process that you gain by reading your owner's manuals, by reading the AAW and other sources of safety guidelines, and by learning, via one-on-one instruction, the correct and safe way of performing the many operations that are required to produce a turned object.  And don't simply read safety guidelines but ponder them and put them into practice.


This initial Woodturner Safety article is directed mainly toward beginner and novice turners, but future installations will delve more into depth on specific operations and practices that hopefully will reinforce thinking on safety for all turners.  I, for one, will benefit from revisiting woodworking safety.  Fortunately for me, a few close calls are the nearest I have come to serious injury while working in my shop.  The last close one came at the band saw when a soft spot in the wood I was cutting let the piece jump forward, followed immediately by my hand.   A shallow cut on my finger could easily have been a serious injury.   Safety lesson learned…the hard way.