Safety in the workshop needs to be priority one! Always. We all try to work as safely as we can, but very often we are trying new things, ideas, and techniques or even new tools and things can go wrong very quickly in the workshop with spinning bits, blades, and machine parts.
Watch it on Youtube: https://youtu.be/s3dp8Kh0Cvo
Luckily for most of us, when things have gone wrong, often innocently, we only get a scare and often escape any serious injury, and knowing what went wrong and why and thinking about these things in the future helps us work safer and often create better products.
Here are some things that I have come across that when I looked at them, they instantly jumped out at me as unsafe or just not a good technique ...
This idea hit me right away that first off, with 2 things. How awkward would it be to try and perform this glue-up when you are trying to crank up a C-clamp and flipping the handle every half turn and knowing the glue is drying as you are trying to do this. The second issue I noticed, there was no indication of isolating the clamp extension from the boards you are gluing up, which means any bit of squeeze-out glue would bond the wood-based extensions to the boards you are gluing up. What I didn't know was that if you used a one-handed clamp, when you actually apply pressure, one side or the other, or both, sides of the boards start to arch up. which means for this to work you would have to be applying equal pressure on BOTH sides.
All in all, just a horrible idea, I'm sure whoever dreamed this up never tried it.
This one is only half bad. Using a push block with a router table is the only way to safely and accurately cross route wood. I'm not sure why someone thought that adding a cabinet door-pull to the push block was a good idea. I have medium to small hands and even my fingers were getting caught under the handle. Imagine if you were using this in some other sort of a machine or bit combination and for one reason or another things go back, like a blade or bit hitting a hidden knot. It easily has the potential of holding your hand to the push block which in other situations could pull it in, twist, or kick back ... who knows, but you always want to have something to hold on to that you can get out of quickly, like dowel peg or any kind of a knob on top that you can instantly release.
I believe I have covered this before somewhere in the last 10 years, but worth doing again regardless. I see images and get infrequent emails about using old laminate floor off-cuts to use as throat plates for your table saw. If you have never tried to make one of these or never installed or cut laminate flooring, it sounds like a good eco-friendly idea. If you have ever cut this super hard laminate flooring and ruined blades doing it, you will know this material is very hard on blades, which is evident with the number of sparks that come off during cutting.
There are special "laminate blades" which I do NOT recommend unless you are a flooring installer or similar. The blades are expensive but they last for many floorings. If you are only doing one or 2 rooms, go buy yourself a cheap 7-1/4" circular saw blade to use in your table saw or your circ saw, and use that to cut the laminate floor, then throw the blade away, you will save time and money.
If you are thinking about using old laminate flooring for throat plates ... save your time and energy and use plywood, or even plexiglass if you want to get fancy but forget trying to use hard, hard laminate flooring.
Here's an idea that could potentially be dangerous. A shop-made, jig for cutting up short logs into lumber. Looks like it should work but if you have ever done this you will know that cutting logs on the bandsaw is not quite as easy as it looks. The reason is, we always want to start on the edge of the log, and cut off shortboards as we work our way from one side of the log to the other. Sounds good right. The problem is, that the bandsaw blade will always want to force wood down because the is the direction of travel. When this happens on side of a log, the blade can often twist the log downward and can and does jamb the blade up into the log. This happens because the log is not supported well enough to stop it from twisting. If you were cutting a log down the very center of the log, i.e. slicing it in half, this doesn't happen because there is equal pressure on both sides.
Using a hand clamp on this dicey-looking jig is something I would recommend avoiding.
Here is another idea that just needs so "re-wording" in the description. Here's why. Most people when you describe box making to them, and one of the last steps they might take in making a box with all 6 sides intact, is to "cut the top off".
To most people, this means measuring how high the top wants to be the setting the table saw fence for that height ... I know, I have done it many times.
Below is the same box but the difference is in the wording of the step which is .. "Cut the BOTTOM off" and what this does to most people is for them to set the height of the bottom of the box on the table saw. Both cuts give the exact same results, the difference is cutting the bottom off gives you MUCH more box to hang on to during the cut ... AND when you cut the top off, it simply drops onto the table saw deck which often means a better cut because the woodworker can have a firm grip on the wood and the smaller piece just falls off the end. Easy, easy ...
The whole purpose of this article is really just to get us thinking about what we do and sometimes doing simple things we can get better results, safer and if we think ahead to things that could go wrong, such as the bandsaw log cutting, we can often come up with better, safe ideas.
Copyright Colin Knecht