Wood Shop - Safe Work Practice Manual

Safe Work Practices Manual

Fine Arts Studio - Wood Shop


In addition to reading this SWP Manual, students are also required to read and acknowledge a studio-specific Hazard Assessment

Please Note: This SWP manual is not intended to provide detailed instruction of processes and techniques.  It is not a substitute for attending technical demonstrations and taking notes. 



  • Regularly review the Safe Work Practices Manual for each area you are working in - this is an important resource.  

  • In addition to reading the SWP Manual, students are required to read and acknowledge studio-specific Hazard Assessments and, if applicable, attend studio demonstrations. 

  • Know the material you are working with and read the SDS labels and information sheets to ascertain the proper safety precautions you should take.  

  • Wear the appropriate Personal Protection Equipment when working in the workshops. For example, you may need to wear a respirator and work in a ventilated environment based on the information provided with this material. 

  • All materials, supplies, and works in progress must be stored appropriately with the understanding that W840 supports all studio programs. 

  • If you are unsure about which tool to use or how to use it consult the safe work practice manual, a Technician, and your Instructor before starting. 

  • All placement of art outside the 8th floor must be approved by OH&S through the completion of the Art Placement Form. This form is on the OH&S website of the university and must be completed five days prior to the installation of your work. 

  • Do not use headphones or personal listening devices in the W840 workshops.  

  • Be aware of the impact of your work on the work of others in the workshops. 

  • Doors to studios must be kept closed- do not prop open. Do not give away the code to studio doors. 

  • All containers must be labeled, do not use food or drink containers for any controlled substances such as paint thinner, glue, patina solutions, etc.


  • Do not block fire exits and fire-fighting equipment.  

  • Keep aisles, walkways and stairs clear.  

  • Store materials in designated storage areas or in your locker or studio space. 

  • A clear uncluttered passageway must be maintained in storage areas; do not leave anything sticking out beyond the front edge of racks and shelving. 

  • Remove large projects immediately after they have been graded to open up space to make more work. 

  • All storage must be cleaned out at the end of each term. Look for signs and heed your instructor’s directions about portfolio pick-up at end of term. All articles left behind will be removed and thrown out. 

  • Keep your studio facilities and classrooms clean and tidy.  

  • Respect your work and the work of others. 

  • Be aware of the impact of your work on the work of others in the workshops. 

  • Keep all disposal bins tidy with no projecting articles. 

  • Clean up spills immediately in order to avoid a slipping hazard. 

  • Clean and put away all tools and materials when job is done, and at the end of each workday. 

  • Wear the appropriate Personal Protection Equipment when working in Art Studios and Workshops. 

  • Sweep floors, equipment, counters, and tables after completion of tasks and at the end of every workday. 

  • Avoid causing trip hazards with extension cords and air hoses. 

Each person in the School of Fine Arts is responsible and accountable for his/her own safety performance. It is important that each person understand that he/she is also expected to work in a manner that will not cause harm to any other person within the University community. Art materials can affect the body in various ways. There are three major routes of entry: inhalation, ingestion and skin contact. 

  1. Inhalation: The most common ways that foreign substances enter the body are from vapors, fumes, dust, gases or mists that can be inhaled into the respiratory system. The substances may damage the nose, mouth, and upper respiratory tract, lungs or be absorbed into the bloodstream and travel to other organs in the body.
  2. Ingestion: Substances may be accidentally or willingly ingested through the contamination of food, drinks, cigarettes and hands. These substances may affect the mouth, throat and/or stomach or be absorbed into the bloodstream. 
  3. Skin Contact: Substances may attack or destroy the natural protective barriers of the skin, damaging the skin itself, and enabling toxic chemicals to enter the bloodstream, where they are carried to various organs of the body. 

It is imperative that eating and/or drinking do not occur in any work area.

All students are required to participate in the Safe Work Practices. This includes participation in training and instructional workshops, reading the information sheets that accompany the training sessions, and signing off on their understanding of the information before beginning work in the studio facilities. 

Once training requirements have been met Students have access to and are allowed to work in their Studio Classroom any time the University is open, as long as safety and working alone policies are followed (see page 9: Working Alone Policy).  

Students with training are permitted to work in the Sculpture Facilities (W840) according to the schedule which corresponds to the hours when Technicians are on duty. This schedule is posted on the Workshop doors. 

It is the responsibility of every person in the area to be aware of his or her surroundings, which in turn will create a safe working environment. Particular attention should be paid to the following: 

  1. Telephone: located inside the studio at the exit. Emergency numbers are posted beside each telephone. 
  2. First Aid Kits: located in each area and are clearly marked. These are for emergency first aid procedures only. Do not use supplies for any other use.  
  3. Eye Wash Stations: located in each area and are clearly marked. Eye wash stations are tested every month, by the department Safety Representative. 
  4. Fire Extinguishers: located in every working area. 
  5. Safety Data Sheet binders: located in studios where the Department supplies controlled products to support instruction (see below) 

The following materials and substances cannot be used in student projects: ammunition or explosives, flammable liquids, biohazardous material or waste. 

WHMIS information sheets and proper labeling according to WHMIS regulations must accompany all controlled products.  WHMIS training is provided by OH&S, as a student you must complete the WHMIS Online Training Course offered through OH&S on Moodle.  

Safety Data Sheets (SDS) are provided in all studios for all controlled products supplied by the Department to support instruction. 

Controlled products for your personal use must also have appropriate WHMIS labels and accompanying SDS information sheets. 

  • All containers must be labeled (including harmless items like distilled water). The label should contain the proper name of the material (i.e. Turpenoid, Varsol) and the name of the user if appropriate, a statement of hazards should also be listed. 

  • Do not use material from unlabeled containers. The need for adequate labeling extends far beyond the immediate individual user, as they may not be present if the container spills or breaks.  

  • It is important that no unidentified materials are left in unlabeled containers, jars, or bottles. Proper labeling is important since it is difficult and costly to dispose of unlabeled chemicals. 


Each individual has the responsibility for seeing that waste chemicals are safely collected, identified and stored for disposal, and that anyone involved is fully advised of the need for any special methods or facilities for proper disposal.

Handling of Waste

Chemicals are everywhere: they can be found in animals, plants and water as well as in many commercially available products including medicines, detergents, paints, and foods. The risk may be low, but present. In order to keep the risk to a minimum, all chemical waste must be disposed of properly. Once a material is declared a waste, the first responsibility for guiding its proper disposal rests with the worker. He or she is in the best position to know the degree of hazard posed by the material they have used and must provide sufficient information to fit it into the correct channel for disposal. 

Some Acids and Bases:

The following acids and bases have been approved for drain disposal while flushing drain with water, if the pH range is between 3 and 11 (prior to draining).  

Sulfuric acid, hydrochloric acid, phosphoric acid, sodium hydroxide, potassium hydroxide.

Any chemical which qualifies as a hazardous waste must be collected for proper disposal through OH&S.  A waste may be designated as a hazardous waste if it meets one of the following criteria:  

  1. Acute hazardous waste is a waste which has been found to be fatal in humans in low doses or, in the absence of data on humans, has been found to have, in laboratory animals:  

    • An oral LD50 (Lethal Dose of 50% of the test subjects) of less than 50 mg/kg.  

    • An inhalation LC50 (Lethal Concentration) of less than 2 mg/l, or  

    • A dermal LD50 of less than 200 mg/kg. 

  2. A waste is hazardous if it contains any of the toxic constituents listed in the regulations.  

  3. A waste is hazardous if it exhibits any of the following characteristics:

    • Ignitability  

    • Corrosivity  

    • Reactivity  

    • Toxicity *  

    • Sharpness 

  4. Each Studio generating chemical waste in the Department has a designated location within the room for waste accumulation.  

  5. Hazardous Waste Disposal containers are located by the sinks in most studios. As well sharps containers are located in various studios for the safe disposal of glass, knives or saw blades. 

All workplace hazardous materials must be identified and disposed of according to Provincial Regulations. No substance that may affect the Environment, Plant, Animal, or Human Life can be disposed of in the garbage or flushed down the sewer system. Consult with a Technician before you act. 

Effective ventilation is the best method for controlling contaminants generated and released into the studio atmosphere. There are two basic types of ventilation: general and local exhaust. Local exhaust ventilation is required when working in: 

Painting Studio W817

Metal Shop W840 

Advanced Studio W823

Kiln Room W890D 

Wood Shop W840A

Clay Mixing/ Slurry Room 890A 

Spray Booths are located in W840 + W520, use these when spraying fixative to drawings or when using spray paint. If the contaminant is highly toxic or large amounts of the toxic material are produced a respirator must also be worn.

As a result of the hazard assessment performed by the Technical Staff of the Department of Art working alone is not permitted if it can be avoided. 

All work planned outside of times when Technicians are on shift must be done with another student. Any Students found working alone in any studio area will be asked to leave the facility by Security personnel. The buddy system should now be enforced in all of the following workspaces:  W817, W823, W869, W871, W890, A, B, C +D, W520, L804, W844, W842, and W748 A-K. Excerpt from Art Safety Policy (1992); 

In addition, students working after hours are required to have a buddy present. A buddy is another student who is enrolled in and cognizant of the School of Fine Arts Safety Policy. The buddy must remain within the same studio at all times.

The University of Lethbridge now has a Working Alone Safely Login that informs Security that an individual is working alone on campus. All Faculty, Staff, and Students are asked to use this system to login and out with security when they are on campus after regular hours.

The Working Alone Safety Login can be access through Uleth Safe app

This policy was developed through the guidelines found in the booklet “Working Alone Safely: A Guide for Employers and Employees” as developed by Alberta Human Resources and Employment.


In the event of fire, please phone the following EMERGENCY number immediately: 911 or 329-2345. 

Action to be taken (R.E.A.C.T.):

  1. Remove those in danger. 
  2. Ensure the room is closed. This step will confine a fire to the room of origin. This will also prevent the spread of smoke and toxic gases. 
  3. Activate the fire alarm. This will occur automatically with smoke and heat detection equipment. There is nothing wrong with calling the Fire Department for assistance and providing details of the fire. 
  4. Call the Fire Department. 911 or 329-2345. A person should be designated to call the Fire Department even though the building alarm system is automatically connected to the Fire Department. 
  5. Try to extinguish or control the fire. If there is any doubt in the mind of the person(s) attempting to extinguish the fire regarding their ability to do so, then confine the fire to the room of origin by closing the door. 
  6. Evacuate. 
  7. Keep people from re-entering the building until directed to do so by the Building Fire Warden of Campus Security. 

Air Contamination

Should you smell any foreign or unrecognized odors, please phone the following EMERGENCY number immediately: 329-2345. 

What to report: 

  1. The location of the odor. 
  2. Time the odor was first apparent. 
  3. Any physical symptoms experienced by persons in the affected area, ie. headache, feeling of nausea. 
  4. Any information suggesting the odor's origin. 

Open any windows or doors to attempt to dilute the polluted air with fresh outside air. Stay out of the affected area and await further instruction by safety personnel. 

Chemical Spills

Should a chemical spill occur in your area please phone the following EMERGENCY number immediately: 329-2345. 

What to report: 

  1. The location of the spill and any evidence that tells what the chemical could be, ie. an empty bleach bottle lying on the floor indicating the substance may be bleach. 
  2. Any odor, ie. a strong smell of ammonia. 
  3. Any visible chemical reaction that may be occurring, ie. a substance bubbling on the floor. 

When proper personnel have been notified, no one should enter the contaminated area. If an odor is present, open a window and post a guard outside the odorous area keeping untrained persons away. NO ATTEMPT SHOULD BE MADE TO CLEAN UP THE SPILL. Await arrival of emergency personnel.

Personal Protective Equipment

There are times when exposure to toxic materials cannot be prevented, and as such any person working in the area must wear the appropriate personal protective equipment. Contact the Technician, your Professor, or OHS for assistance in selecting the correct PPE. It is not only important that the correct PPE is worn but that the equipment fit properly. For instance, respirators must have a mask to face seal and facial hair prevents a tight seal.  

  • CSA approved eye protection must be worn when working in W840 and elsewhere when the activity demands it. 

  • Prescription lenses and sport glasses are not an acceptable substitute for proper, required Industrial safety eye protection. 

  • Contact lens should not be worn in Art Studio Environments. Contact lens may trap or absorb particles or gases causing eye irritation or blindness. 

  • Eye protection should fit properly, with or without prescription lens.  

  • Return glasses to the proper storage rack face up to avoid scratching lens. 

  • In this storage rack you will find a variety of styles- pick the one that fits you best. 

  • There are two common types of hearing protection: earplugs or earmuffs. 

  • One or both types must be used when working in W840 and W890B (grinding room) and at all times when equipment is operating. 

  • These studio workshops are high noise areas and hearing protection is a must even if you are not the one making the noise. 

  • Hearing loss, which normally occurs over an extended period of time, is one concern in high noise areas. The immediate effect of high noise areas is fatigue- when we are tired we make mistakes, some of which could be serious. 

  • Students are required to wear good solid shoes when working in Art Studio. Leather shoes with closed toes are best. These protect your feet from most substances used in studios- for example, spills: photo chemicals, acids, and paints. Open toed sandals should not be worn in any studio, and are not permitted in W840 or W890

  • If you have safety boots wear them and if you know you are going to live in these studios buy some safety footwear. 

  • Employees must wear safety footwear in the above areas and in the performance of the majority of their duties. 

  • Dust masks most be worn in W840, W840A, and W890 A, B, and C when the activities in these areas are dust producing. 

  • Local ventilation and air extraction equipment must be utilized in the above studios depending on the nature of your activity. 

  • Spray Booths are located in W840 + W520, use these when spraying fixative to drawings or when using spray paint.  

  • If the contaminant is highly toxic or large amounts of the toxic material are produced a respirator must also be worn. 

Due to the variety of studio activities you must consider further personal protection that may take many different forms such as leather gloves, nitrile gloves, leather/chemical aprons etc. 

Generally the following rules apply when working in studios and shops: 

  • All rings, bracelets, necklaces, and watches should be removed. Long hair must be tied firmly back and tuck in. Short sleeves should be worn when working in the wood shop and shirttails must be tucked in. 

  • If you bend over nothing should fall away from your body.  

  • When working with metal or hot processes long sleeves should be worn, and clothing should be made of natural fibers such as cotton or wool. Synthetic fibers, such as spandex or polyester, melt onto the skin and can cause severe burns. 

  • Unlike in the woodshop, shirttails should not be tucked in when working with hot processes. Do not roll up sleeve cuffs, and pocket flaps should be closed. You want any hot particle to be able to pass through your clothing and not to become trapped against your skin. 

  • Shorts and open-toed shoes or sandals should not be worn in the other studios. You must keep in mind that many of the products you will use are absorbed through the skin, and could be corrosive. 

  • Wash hands and arms thoroughly before leaving the studios after working with potentially hazardous material and before eating, drinking, smoking, etc.  

Care and Maintenance 8th Floor Exhibition Spaces

These spaces will operate on a one-week rotating schedule, and it is your responsibility to schedule your time in the space. At the end of the exhibition period the following procedure must be followed: 

  • Get the paint kit from technicians. In this kit you will find the following supplies: 
    Paint Brush, Roller sleeve and handle, pole sander and sand paper, Extension Pole, Wall Filler, putty knife, Tape, White Latex paint, Paint Tray and drop cloths, brush, and roller spinner. 

  • Lay down the drop cloths tight to the walls, if necessary tape these down with painters tape. They should overlap each other by 24”. 

  • Remove all nails and fastening devices, with pole sander lightly sand the walls, smoothing out the dimple caused by your nails. 

  • Prepare a small quantity of wall filler and apply leanly to all nail holes. 

  • When this is dry lightly sand the walls again taking care to make the walls as smooth as possible. 

  • Stir your paint well and only use the latex paint provided. 

  • Fill the paint tray with a moderate quantity of paint working only on the drop clothes. 

  • With a paintbrush first apply a brush coat on all filled areas, then carefully cut in the edges of the walls. Do not paint concrete, floors, baseboards, or electrical outlets. 

  • Once you have finished cutting in use the roller to apply a light even coat of white latex paint to the walls. 

  • After you have completed the painting scrap excess paint from roller into tray, with a brush, clean paint tray returning excess paint to paint can. 

  • Roll or fold up your drop cloths and sweep the area before returning paint kit to W840. 

  • Return all used painting equipment to W840 and carefully remove the roller sleeve and thoroughly rinse it in the sink making sure all paint is washed out of roller and paintbrush. 

  • Using the paint spinner in the sink fit roller sleeve over end of spinner and spin roller to remove excess water. Stand damp roller sleeve upright for finally drying.  

  • Using the paint spinner, place brush handle into clamp and spin to remove excess water. Smooth out the bristle while brush is still damp and lay brush flat to dry or hang on wall over sink.

Introduction To The Workshop

  • Ear and Eye protection equipment must be worn when working in W840A, and when working with equipment and tools in W840. 

  • Dust collection unit must be turned on for any of the equipment in W840A to Work. Check that the gate is open for the tool you plan to use. 

  • All jewelry, rings and watches etc. must be removed, Tie hair back and tuck it under your shirt.  

  • Shirttails should be tucked in and long sleeves rolled–up firmly. It is advisable to wear short sleeves and sturdy form-fitting clothing when working in and around W840A 

  • Protect your feet- wear sturdy footwear with closed toes, no open toed sandals or shoes. 

  • Do not wear contact lenses in any studio area.    

  • Make Safety a fashion statement. 

  • If you are upset, tired, hungry or otherwise preoccupied spend your day somewhere else. All of your attention should be on the task before you. 

  • Never use equipment that you have not been trained in. If you have any confusion or question, please ask for clarification before you start. 

  • Art studio woodshops are teaching facilities; there are no clocks to punch, quotas to make or jobs to rush through.  

  • Be thoughtful and deliberate. Never leave a machine with the blade in motion or coasting. Allow yourself both the time to complete a task safely and the time to develop the skills necessary to complete the task. 

  • Observe your work site; a safe practice is to avoid clutter; keep it clean and organized, whether that is the saw you are working on, the assembly tables or floor space. Be considerate of the work and safety of others.  

All of the power in W840 is connected to the Dust Collector Switch. This must be turned ON before any power can go to any outlet or piece of equipment in W840A. 

  • Clean up is an essential part of your practice and greatly affects the quality and safety of your work experience and the safety of others using the shop.  Failure to clean up after yourself will result in loss of wood shop privileges. 

  • Do not use equipment that has been unplugged and or tagged as inoperative. 

  • Do NOT use woodshop equipment to cut or machine any materials other than wood. 

Regardless of previous wood shop experience, you are NOT permitted to utilize equipment on which you have not received formal training by either a Technician or Instructor in the Art Dept at the U of L. 

Generally speaking the equipment you will be introduced to can be divided by shape into two major categories. Is the blade or abrasive linear or circular? The answer to this question separates the woodshop equipment into two groups; circular and linear shaped blades. 

These categories can be further refined by identifying the desired action you wish to perform or the end result you which to achieve. What am I trying to do to this piece of wood? 

Are you making a shape? 

Are you making the material shorter?   

Are you making the material thinner?  

The answers to these important questions help you to determine the most appropriate piece of equipment by narrowing your focus to one of the first three groups or families of saws, which are defined and grouped by shape and process or cutting action. These groups are defined as Linear, Hybrid, and Circular blades. 

Your choice of equipment will then be assisted by considering the following: the size of the material to the size of blade, and your ability to control the material from the beginning of the cut to the end. Your level of experience and comfort will also have an impact upon the equipment you choose. Don’t be a victim of habit. Consider safety first.  

Combined, all of these considerations will help you identify which piece of equipment will perform the tasks you desire in the safest way. Ask before you start cutting! 

Handsaws, Scroll saws, Jigsaws, Belt sanders, and Band saws are all considered to have linear shaped blades. As such, they have the following attributes and have a similar impact upon the material you are cutting:

  • All cutting is the result of a blade’s movement upon a material. The action of a linear blade is the least complicated force because it is either expressed by a back and forth, up and down movement or by the blades movement in a singular downward direction. 
  • A good rule of thumb when using any equipment is to develop the safe practice of never using your hand to clear the off cut from your worktop. Always use a stick or longer piece of material to clear the garbage! 

  • Since the blade’s movement is considered linear its impact upon the material will follow the linear movement of the blade or belt. 

  • If the movement of the blade is in a downward direction, then material will tend to move downward with the blade or belt. (Band Saws and Belt Sanders) 

  • These tools require the operator to hold the material firmly against the table and push the material into the moving blade.  

  • When you are pushing material into any blade keep your hands out of the line with the blade.  

  • At the end of your cut always stop pushing on your material and just guide it to completion. Developing this safe practice will save you from pushing your fingers into a moving blade if you ever make a mistake.  

  • If the blade movement is both up and down the material will also have a tendency to move in both directions. (Handsaws, Scroll Saws, Jig Saws, and Reciprocating Saws) This type of blade movement requires the operator to hold the material firmly against the table or against the foot of the hand held tool. Clamp your work-piece in a stationary position so that both hands can be used to operate the tool. Do not use your body as a clamping device. 

  • Because linear shaped blades have less surface-to-surface contact with your material, they create less friction than circular blades, and have a limited impact upon the potential movement of your material. 

  • Linear blades are generally flexible- they have the ability to flex or bend slightly during the cutting process. With this flexibility comes a certain weakness, and if forced these blades will break. The thinner the blade the more easily it breaks so be aware of the forces you are applying on the blade. 

  • As a rule, the thinner the blade the smaller or tighter a curve can be made. A 1/16” scroll saw blade can make very intricate and detailed cuts while a ¾” band saw blade can make both gently curving cuts and long straight cuts.  

  • As well, with each increase in blade width comes a corresponding increase in the diameter of the red zone. The larger the red zone the more powerful and hazardous the equipment - act accordingly!   

  •  Every piece of stationary equipment in W840A has a red zone and you are not allowed to put your hands in this red zone!!!!!

Are you making a shape?  

  • If one was to assign a particular cutting process to linear shaped blades, that process would emphasis the ability of these pieces of equipment to make shapes- shapes that can be small with intricate detail and shapes that can be large, flowing, and gestural. 

Are you making the material shorter? (cross cut) 

  • With the introduction of a miter gage, Band saws can also make material shorter.  

Are you making the material thinner? (rip cut) 

  • With the introduction of a fence that restricts the lateral movement of linear blades, long straight cuts can be done making your material thinner on one or both dimensions. 

  • It is important to understand that as soon as you restrict the movement of your material with a fence, you must develop the safe practice of clearing the material from between the moving blade and the stationary fence at the end of the cut. 

  • If the gap between the blade and the fence is narrow, use a push stick to clear the material from between the blade and the fence. 

  • Handsaws are designed to perform a variety of tasks and have many different blades and handle styles like the rip blade, crosscut blade or dovetail blade and handle styles like the fret saw, keyhole saw or buck saw.  

  • Handsaws should not be overlooked- they are the foundation from which all power saws and power handsaws have evolved.  

  • Like any sharpened instrument you can be cut by a handsaw.  If the blade can cut wood the blade can break skin. 

  • Handle these tools with respect, taking care not to damage the sharpened teeth of the blades. 

  • Support your material on both sides of the cut line allowing for the free movement of your saw. 

  • Avoid bending saw blades as this makes it difficult to make a straight cut. 

  • Jigsaws operate with an up and down linear blade movement and are designed to be portable. Essentially the jigsaw is an electrically powered fret saw or an inverted scroll saw.  

  • When cutting with a jigsaw, clamp your material firmly to a tabletop and hold the foot of the saw firmly down against your material.  

  • Clamping allows you to engage both of your hands with the operation of the tool. 

  • The blade should be in motion before you introduce it to the material and both hands should be on the saw. 

  • If you need to stop the cut inside of your material make certain that the blade has come to a full stop before you lift it out of your material. If the blade is still in motion it can break or it can strike your material, potentially damaging the surface. 

  • Likewise, if you need to start the saw with the blade in the material make sure that the blade is not touching the wood until the blade is in motion.  

  • When making a pocket cut, pre-drill a large enough hole so that the blade is free of your material. 

Scroll Saws, like Jigsaws, have an up and down blade movement, which has a tendency to cause the material to move up and down. Therefore, you must hold your material firmly against the Scroll Saw table while cutting, and adjust the pressure foot of the machine to the thickness of your material.   

  • Scroll Saws have the smallest and most delicate blades in the wood shop. This means that very delicate and graphic cuts can be made because the blade offers very little resistance. However, because of the thinness of the blade they will break often and can be bent while cutting if too much force is used. 

  • If your blade breaks while working, please take the time to replace it.  

  • The maximum thickness of material that can be cut is 1 ½’ - any thicker and the blade guides will come in contact with the material. 

  • On the Scroll Saw table there is a red zone or no hands zone; keep your fingers a minimum of 2” away from the blades.  

  • Anytime you are using force against a blade to make a cut, know where your fingers are in relation to the blade at the end of the cut. 

  • Develop the safe practice of lessening the force you are using at the end of the cut to avoid the risk of cutting yourself. 

  • Dust collection unit must be on; check that dust port is open. 

  • Table, fence or guide must be correctly adjusted and tight. 

  • The clearance between sanding belt and table should not exceed one-sixteenth of an inch.  

  • Support work piece with table - keeping one edge against table at all times

  • Work piece can be pulled down with rotation of belt and your fingers could be caught under material. 

  • Keep hands away from abrasive surface.  

  • Control your material and keep it moving back and forth across the belts surface. 

  • Use crepe-cleaning pad regularly so that belts stay sharp for longer. Clean belts do not burn your material. 

  • Use a clamp to control small pieces or make a jig if you have large numbers to sand. 

  • Keep your work area clean- periodically remove dust accumulation. 

  • Make sure sander has been turned off and belt has come to a complete stop before you leave the equipment.  Sweep dust from equipment, floor, and work area when you are finished working. 

  • Portable belt sanders should only be used on the down draft table in W840A. 

  • Control portable belt sanders at all times with both hands. An uncontrolled belt sander can be propelled in the direction of the belts rotation. Both hands are needed. 

  • Keep portable belt sanders firmly engaged with material’s surface and keep sander moving flatly with the grain of your wood to avoid gouging and burning your surface. 

  • Empty dust collection bag regularly during work period. 

  • Clean work area when you have finished working. 

  • Shut off power when adjusting blade guides or fence. The blade guide must be adjusted within ¼ inch above the stock to be cut before power is turned on.  Do NOT make any adjustments to the tension of the blade or the tracking of the blade- only a qualified technician is permitted to make such adjustments. 

  • Do not allow your fingers closer than two inches to the saw blade when cutting. Always observe the red zone: keep your fingers out. 

  • Do not allow your hands to cross the blade line when operating the Band saw. 

  • Remember the safe practice!  At the end of the cut lessen the force you use to make the cut. 

  • The linear blade of the Band saw rotates down towards the table, therefore any uncontrolled material will be pulled down towards the table. 

  • Do not stand at right side of Band saw. A serious accident might result if blade should break.  

  • If blade should break while machine is in operation immediately shut off power, unplug machine and notify a technician 

  • When using the fence to make long straight cuts have a push stick handy to clear the material from between the blade and the fence at the end of the cut. Remember safe practice! 

  • Use the position of your body to assist you in keeping your material flat upon the table and flat against the fence to achieve the best cut. 

  • If it is necessary to back out of a long cut, power should first be turned off.  Wait until blade has come to a dead stop before backing material out of the cut.  

  • Be sure the radius of your cut is not too small for the width of the blade.  

  • Cylindrical stock must never be cut on the Band saw. 

  • Stock must not be cut on the Band saw unless such material is firmly supported against downward thrust of the blade. Do not saw into the toe of a long bevel cut unless the toe is on the table. 

  • A rhythmic click may indicate a cracked blade, shut off power and notify a technician.  

  • If help is needed to support heavy or long work, the helper should never pull or guide the work. The helper supports the weight while the operator runs the machine.  

  • Turn off the Band saw when you are finished and stay with the machine until you can see the teeth on the blade or until the blade has come to a complete stop. 

  • Sweep dust from equipment, floor and work area when you are finished working.

Drill Presses and Spindle Sanders are hybrid equipment that share characteristic with both linear and circular equipment. They have a line in space that may go up and down, as well as around and around. Therefore, the material you are working can go up and down and be caught and spun around by the machine’s movement. 

  • Check to see that the chuck key and all wrenches are removed before starting machine. 

  • To change a bit in a power hand drill, adjust the jaws by gripping the chuck and body of the drill; keep hands and fingers away from the bit. 

  • Wear safety glasses and hearing protection. Be certain to tie up long hair when working around rotating machinery. Rings, wristwatches, and gloves should not be worn. 

  • Use sharp drill bits and be sure they are balanced in the chuck. Do not use bent or broken drill bits. 

  • If you are doing a lot of drilling in wood consider attaching the vacuum and setting up a jig. 

  • The torque on a Drill Press or Power Hand Drill is more powerful than you. The larger the bit the more torque. When necessary use clamps to hold your material still against the tabletop. 

  • Clamp small pieces in a drill vise or clamp them directly to the table.  

  • With power hand drills support your work on a table or against a firm surface. Keep the hand drill close to your body and use the weight of your body to control the torque of the rotating bits. 

  • Keep the work surface clean- brush and sweep it regularly. 

  • Drill material easily without forcing bits.  The density and hardness of your material effects your drilling speed and the ease with which you can complete your task.  

  • On long deep cuts, back the drill bit out frequently to clean and cool the bit. 

  • Beware of the coasting machine.  Stay with the drill press until it has stopped moving. 

  • Need an extra set of hands? Use your clamps avoid bracing material with your limbs.  

  • Always have a sacrificial piece of scrap wood under your work piece.  This will ensure a clean cut on the underside of your material, and will protect the deck or table from damage. 

  • Sweep dust from equipment, floor and work area during and when you are finished working. 

  • Spindle Sanders have two directions of movement. The first follows the rotation of the drum and the second is the up and down movement of the spindle. 

  • Keep your material against the table when sanding, do not “free hand” your work. 

  • Keep your hands away from the abrasive and observe the red zone marked on the table. 

  • Use your body as center when using the spindle sander. This way your work will be less likely to be drawn into the rotation of the spindle and out of your hands. 

  • Press your material into the rotation of the sander so that you are pressing against the directional rotation of the sander.  

  • Use the crepe-cleaning pad regularly when sanding- this keeps the abrasive sharp and less likely to burn your work piece. 

  • Use a clamp to hold on to small work pieces or make a jig for repetitive tasks. 

  • Do not sand pieces which are small enough to be pulled into the gap between the drum and deck insert.   

  • Sweep dust from equipment, floor and work area during and when you are finished working. 

Disc Sanders, Sliding Compound Miter Saws, and Panel Saws, are all considered to have circular shaped blades.  

In the category of circular shaped blades and abrasives, the movement of the blade or abrasive should be considered complex, as the rotational movement of the blades can have a multi-dimensional impact upon the material you are cutting and therefore on your body as well.  

To support this claim you will notice that the red zones associated with circular blades are generally bigger as they are linked to the increased power required of the equipment as well as the increased complexity of the cutting action and the potential effect these can have on your material during the cutting process and on the offcuts of your material after the cut is completed. 

  • Every piece of stationary equipment in W840A has a red zone. You are not allowed to put your hands in this red zone!!!!! 

  • Circular shaped blades do not want to bend, therefore your material should be straight and flat to avoid binding with the blade. Do not use twisted or warped material with circular saw blades. 

  • Visually inspect all aspects of your material- look for metal inclusions from nails/screws. Remove these or do not use the material.  

  • Uncontrolled material will move following the direction of the blade’s rotation. Therefore, if the blade is rotating towards you your material can fly towards you as well.  

  • The combination of blade rotation and the movement of the cutter-head or the cutting action of the saw head can further complicate the potential movement of uncontrolled material.  

  • For instance, the cutting action of the Sliding Compound Miter Saw is a combination of the following series of movements and directions 

Blade rotation (into the material) 

Cutter head is pulled out, drawn down and pushed into wood 

At the end of the cutting action the cutter head is drawn up out of the material  

All of these actions will impact on your material and offcut. 

  • These multiple directions combine to create complex patterns that together effect the behavior and action of a cut. 

  • It is essential that you identify and understand the impact each particular type of circular blade will have on the material you choose to cut. 

  • Understanding the impact of these combined forces is essential to understanding the behavior and potential movement of your material and offcut.  

  • Remember this safe practice - never use your hands to clear the offcut or garbage from your tool. Use a long scrap of wood instead. Keep your hands out of the red zone, even if the blade is not in motion. 

  • Sweep dust from equipment, floor and work area during and when you are finished working.

All circular shaped blades should be considered complex in their use- they do not bend, and the equipment is designed to either make your material shorter (cross cut) or to make your material thinner (rip cut).  

In Advanced Studio, Foundation, Senior Studio, you are requested to use the Band Saws or Jigsaws to make your material thinner (rip cuts). A technician will be happy to cut your material on the table saw for you. As well, we will be happy to arrange a separate introduction that will focus on the use of the table saw if you feel your practice will require the regular use of this equipment. 

Remember the three important questions to ask before you start working with a particular piece of equipment to be certain that you have chosen the right one: 

Are you making a shape?  

  • Do not use a circular blade to make shapes, circular blades are only used for straight cuts!  

Are you making the material shorter? (cross cut) 

  • If you are making your material shorter by cutting across the length of your material you are making a cross cut

  • If you have a long narrow piece of material you can cut it shorter with a Handsaw or with the Sliding Compound Miter Saw.  

  • If your material is wide and long you can cut it with a Handsaw, Jigsaw or with the Panel Saw.  

  • The Panel Saw and Sliding Compound Miter saw are designed solely to take a long length of material and make it shorter.  

  • To accomplish this task safely your material is placed on an integrated support and held firmly as the rotating blade on the movable cutter–head is drawn into the stationary material.  

Are you making the material thinner? (rip cut) 

  • When you make your material thinner by cutting down the length of your board you are making a Rip Cut

  • A Band Saw with the fence attached to the tabletop could be your first choose of equipment for your rip cut. 

  • Remember that the fence restricts the movement of your material and any uncontrolled material trapped between the moving blade and the stationary fence will move with the direction of the blade’s rotation and must be cleared from the blade at the end of the cut. This is the safe practice.

  • If your material is too big to handle safely, put it on a table and use a jigsaw and straight-edge to make your cut.

3.11.1 Disc Sander
  • Dust collection unit must be on; check that dust port is open. 

  • Table, fence and guides must be correctly adjusted and tight before turning on the equipment. Stop sander to make adjustments. 

  • The clearance between sanding disk and table or rest should not exceed one-sixteenth of an inch. 

  • Sand only on the down stroke side of disc, the up stroke red zone will launch your material across the room!  Sand only on left side of the disc

  • Never touch a moving sanding disc. 

  • Move the work about to avoid heating and burning a section of the abrasive paper or your material. 

  • Do not hold small pieces in your hand. They have a tendency to rotate with the attendant danger of pulling your fingers against the revolving disk. 

  • Do not “freehand” with the disk sander- keep your material supported against the table, guide or jig. 

  • If you are sanding a large number of small pieces, devise a jig to hold the work securely. 

  • Use the crepe-cleaning pad regularly to keep work from burning and to keep the paper sharp. 

  • Never operate the disk sander if the abrasive paper is loose or torn. Report this condition to the Technician or your instructor.  

  • Sweep dust from equipment, floor and work area during and when you are finished working. 

3.11.2 Sliding Compound Miter Saws
  • Sliding Compound Miter Saws are designed to only make cross cuts, meaning that they can take a long piece of material and make it shorter.  

  • They are also designed to easily change the angle of the miter by swiveling the tabletop and saw head to the left or right of 90 degrees.  

  • As well, you can easily change the bevel of the saw by rotating the saw head to the left or the right of plumb. This explains the “compound miter” descriptive in the name of the saw. 

  • The “sliding” descriptive refers to the option of pulling the saw head away from the base allowing you to cut material that is up to 11” wide. This is accomplished by pulling the saw head out fully, pushing it down into your material and back towards the fence.  

  • It is extremely important that you push the cutter head down and back when you are cutting wide pieces. Failure to do so can lead to drastic results. 

  • Given the complicated movements that are in use, your material could be thrown in any of these directions if you are not in complete control of your material from the beginning of the cut to the end of the cut. 

  • The red zone on the Sliding Compound Miter Saw is large for a reason.  Never put your hands in the red zone.  

  • If your material is too small to follow this rule, find another piece of material that is longer. Otherwise use a miter gage at the band saw to make your cut on the too short material. 

  • Remember your safe practice and don’t use your hands to clear away the offcut or garbage from the work surface.  Use a long piece of wood or a stick! 

  • Visually inspect your material for embedded screws nail or staples and to see that it is both straight and flat. 

  • Miter Saws are right hand operated only - never cross your arms over your body to operate. Using your right hand, engage the safety and the trigger, and smoothly draw the blade into the material. 

  • While your right hand controls the cut your left hand holds your material firmly against the fence and flat on the tabletop while staying out of the red zone

  • When your cut is complete, use your left hand to pull your material away from the blade before you return the cutter head to the start position. Or you can hold the cutter head down until the blade has come to a complete stop and then return the cutter head to the start position. 

  • Either way your cut is finished when the cutter head is lifted up and out of your material. 

  • Never make any adjustment to the miter saw if the blade is moving. 

  • Remember the safe practices and keep your work area clean and clear of off- cuts. Use the long end of your material to clear red zone, or use a piece of scrap wood. Never use your fingers.  

Alternative Technique: Miter Saw – Half Lap Joint 
  • You can make a half lap joint using the Sliding Compound Miter Saw by simply flipping the depth stop (located on the left of the cutter head mount) to the right. 

  • This will limit the depth of your cut. Adjust the stop to a depth no more than half of the thickness of your material. Test on the end of your board or on a similar piece of material. 

  • Put a false fence on the worktable of the saw to bring out your material far enough to compensate for the roundness of the blade. This should be straight and flat, about 3 inches wide and 18 inches long. 

  • Hold your material against this false fence and use the sliding operation of the saw to remove the material for your half lap joint. Using repeated cuts set to the required depth you can cut away the material until you have made a gap that is the exact width of your cross member. 

  • Perform the same operation on both pieces of material. When they are overlapped in a cross formation their surfaces should be flush. 

  • Sweep dust from equipment, floor and work area during and when you are finished working. 

  • The Panel Saw is also a cross cut saw. It was designed to safely handle large panels of material like masonite and plywood, which come in 4 foot, by 8-foot sheets. 

  • Like all other cross cut saws, the material is stationary and the cutter-head is moved along a sliding mechanism and into the material to perform the cut. 

  • Lift paneling onto the left side of panel saw, making sure that the piece is secure and that it lays flat along bottom rollers and flat against saw body. 

  • Adjust stops to desired measurement and slide material to the right until it gently nudges the stop. 

  • Cutter head should always be returned to full upright position and locked in place.  

  • Place your right hand on the handle, loosen the lock nut with your left hand so that you can hold the cutter head up. 

  • Depress the lock switch and trigger with your right hand and draw the cutter head smoothly through your material to perform the cut.  

  • At end of cut, release the trigger and wait until blade has stop moving. Then raise the cutter head back up to start position and lock in place.  

  • Never draw your hands over or through the red zone on the panel saw. Move stock either from the left or the right of red zone

  • When lifting heavy material, have a helper to assist. 

  • Some materials have a good side and a bad side. When cutting with a panel saw, place the good side of the material facing the wall. This way any chipping will happen on the bad side. 

  • If your material does not rest on two of the rollers on the left hand side of the saw it may be too small to cut with the panel saw.  

  • Similarly, if your material does not rest on two rollers on the right side it will have a tendency to fall into the blade at the end of the cut. This is the reason that you wait until the blade has come to a complete stop before raising the cutter head to the start position. 

  • Sweep dust from equipment, floor and work area during and when you are finished working.

All power tools are designed for unique applications. They have their limitations and can create potential hazards when improperly used. Here are some points to remember when using power hand tools: 

  • The operation and repair of any power tool must be restricted to trained and authorized personnel. 

  • Only use tools on which you have read the safe work practices and have received instruction on the proper use and procedure. 

  • Select the proper tool for the job. The size of the power tool to be used is based on both the limitations of the tools themselves, the amount of work to be done, and your ability to use the tool with full control. 

  • Inspect electrical cords and plug ends, look for cracked or broken insulation and weak or faulty connections. 

  • Use both hands, not one, to operate the power hand tool. This will avoid injuries as a result of tool torque or twist.  

  • Avoid applying force with the use of a power hand tool. Work within the specifications and power of the tool you have chosen. 

  • Always be alert to potential hazards in the area such as debris, damp floors or combustible materials. In wet areas, use insulated platforms, rubber mats, gloves, and boots for an additional factor of safety. 

  • Make sure all power tools are of the double-insulated type or they are properly grounded. If the tool is equipped with a three-prong plug, use a three-prong cord. Electrical circuits intended for power tools should be provided with ground fault circuit interrupters (GFCIs) 

  • Be sure not to handle a power tool in a manner that can injure you if it slips. Think about your movements and position your body accordingly. Keep proper footing and balance at all times. Avoid over reaching. 

  • Appropriate protective clothing should be worn at all times. Avoid wearing loose clothing or jewelry that can catch in moving-parts. Wear safety glasses, hearing protection, and where necessary a dust mask. 

  • Never rest a power tool against the body when loading or making adjustments.  

  • Don't set the tool down or leave it unattended unless you have waited until all moving parts stop. 

  • Use Down Draft tables, brushes, vacuuming equipment or special tools to remove chips or sawdust.  

  • Secure work using a clamp or vice when practical. Never apply a power tool to a moving object. 

  • Keep guards in place and in working order. Don't remove or wedge the guard out of the way. If the guard has to be retracted, use the handle on the guard. 

  • Beware of accidental start-up. Make sure the switch is OFF before plugging in the cord and before investigating a power loss. Do not carry a plugged-in tool with your finger on the switch. 

  • Never turn off a power hand tool by pulling the cable. Use the switch and pull the plug end to remove it from the wall socket. 

  • Have a power tool serviced by a professional if it shows the slightest defect or is not running properly. 

  • Clean your tools after you're finished with your work. Make sure keen-edged blades, drill bits, routers, etc. are sharp, regularly maintained, and stored in a dry secure place where they won't be tampered with. 

  • Sweep dust from floor and work area during and when you are finished working. 

Extension cords are one of the most abused and neglected items on the job site. They are run over, stretched, pulled, twisted and exposed to all the elements. They have been the cause of more accidents than the tools for which they are used. The following recommendations should be observed whenever extension cords are used: 

  • Prior to use, inspect cords to ensure that: 

- the insulation is intact around the plugs at both ends of the cord. 

- the pins on the plugs are not broken or burned. 

- the outer jacket of the cable is intact along its entire length. 

  • Extension cords should be replaced or repaired when a defect is found. 

  • Do not assume that everyone is able to repair or replace plug caps. All personnel should be educated to recognize the importance of properly wired circuits. 

  • Use only cords that are rated for outdoor use on construction jobs. These industrial cables (types S, SO, SOW) are oil, water, and abrasion resistant. 

  • If you require the use of an extension cord with a power hand tool, make sure it is the appropriate size for the tool you are using. 

  • When using an extension cord avoid creating trip hazards for others working in the shared shop environment.  

  • Do not tie an extension cord in a knot. 

  • Never unplug any cord by pulling the cable. 

  • Never lay out a cord in any area where it could be damaged by vehicular or pedestrian traffic or where materials could fall or be piled on it. 

Safe Work Practices  
  • Do not run extension cords across doors ways, hallways or otherwise causing a trip hazard for other workers in the studio. 

Air powered tools in the studios range from stapling guns to sand rammers. If not treated with respect, these tools can become a powerful enemy rather than a servant. 

  • Compressed air must not be used to blow debris or to clear dirt from any worker's clothes or skin as the pressurized air could cause fatal embolisms.  

  • Compressed air must not be used to blow dust, chemicals, metal filings, etc. from work surfaces. Surfaces should be swept clean or vacuumed. 

  • All hose connectors must be of the quick disconnect pressure release type. 

  •  Wear personal protective equipment such as eye protection and face shields, and ensure other workers in the area are made aware of or have restricted access to the hazard area. 

  • Hoses must be checked on a regular basis for cuts, bulges, or other damage. Ensure that defective hoses are repaired or replaced. 

  • A proper pressure regulator and relief device must be in the system to ensure that the correct desired pressures are maintained. 

  • The correct air supply hoses must be used for the tool or equipment being used. 

  • The equipment must be properly maintained according to the manufacturers requirements. 

  • Follow manufacturer's general instructions and comply with legislated safety requirements.

  • Safety glasses/goggles must be worn when using the brad nailers or staplers. If someone else is working in the vicinity they should also wear the PPE. 

  • Before attaching tool, check hose for any bulges, or signs of wear.  

Safe Work Practices  
  • Load firing chamber with the appropriate brads or staplers before connecting tool to the air hose, then adjust regulator pressure.  

  • When adjusting air pressure do not stand in front of regulator.  Stand to the side and set the regulator pressure to 80 PSI for the brad nail gun or staple gun.  When stretching canvas, set air pressure to 50 PSI for staple guns. 

  • If your wood is of a hard variety the air pressure may need to be increased slightly at the regulator. 

  • Disconnect air supply from tool when making any adjustments and when tool is not in use. 

  • Handle air actuated equipment with care. Do not point the tool at any one or engage in horseplay. 

  • Never engage the trigger unless nose is directed towards the work. 

  • Prevent accidental actuation of tool; do not keep your finger on the trigger especially when you are moving to another location to work. 

  • Keep hands and body away from discharge area of the tool. 
  • Do not drive fasteners close to the edge of your material. This may cause wood to split. 

  • When you are finished working, relieve pressure at regulator, disconnect the air hose and clean up your work area. 

  • Return tool to storage area and empty firing chamber. 

The three major causes of back injury are over-extension, poor lifting techniques, and trying to lift too heavy an object. The following tips should help reduce the chance of injuring your back: 

  • Keep your back straight and get as close to the object as possible to avoid over-extension. 

  • Place one foot slightly ahead of the other in the direction you intend to move the object. 

  • Bend your knees and get a good grip on the object. Lift with your legs. 

  • Move forward in the direction of your most forward foot to avoid twisting your back. 

  • Reverse the procedure when placing the object down. 

  • If at all possible, keep the objects off of the floor to reduce the strain of lifting in awkward positions. 

To reduce the strain on your back while standing: 

  • Whenever possible, stand with one foot elevated. 

  • Change position often. 

  • Interrupt long periods of standing by sitting whenever possible 

  • Interrupt long periods of sitting with standing whenever possible. 

Lifting from floor or lowering: 

Starting position must be comfortable and effective. This position allows for an erect spine; hip and knee bending is necessary to keep spine erect. 

  • Position yourself so your body is in contact with or as close as possible to load. 

  • Use a palmer grip to hold objects. 

  • When preparing to lift, tuck chin in and brace spine by tightening the stomach muscles. 

  • Tense biceps to prevent the load from dragging you forward. 

  • Once load is secure against your body, lift with legs by straightening knees. 

  • When turning the load, do not twist. Use small steps to turn the whole body. 

Lifting from above the Shoulders: 

When lifting from above your shoulders, maintain walking stance and distribute weight evenly: avoid bending lower back 

Pushing and Pulling: 

  • Use the same procedure of keeping spine straight and using body weight to push or pull rather than using arms. 

As with all ladders, make sure that the Step Ladder is in good condition and is the right ladder for the job to be done. 

  • Step Ladders are to be used only on clean and even surfaces. 

  • No work is to be done from the top two steps of a Step Ladder, counting the top platform as a rung. 

  • No work is to be done from the backside of a Step Ladder. 

  • When in the open position ready to use, the incline of the front step section shall be one horizontal foot to six vertical feet. 

  • The Step Ladder is only to be used in the fully opened position with the spreader bars locked. 

  • Tops of Step Ladders are not to be used as a support for scaffolds. 

  • Don’t over reach while on a ladder. Climb down and move ladder over to a new position. 

  • Only CSA Approved Standard Ladders will be used.

Cleaning solvents are used to properly clean and prepare surfaces, tools and equipment. Special care must be taken to protect the worker from hazards which may be created from the use of these liquids. Whenever possible, solvents should be non-flammable and non-toxic. The following instructions or rules apply when solvents are used. 

  • Use non-flammable solvents for general cleaning. 

  • When flammable liquids are used, make sure that no hot work is permitted in the area. 

  • Store flammables and solvents in special storage areas. 

  • Refer to SDS for all solvents before use. 

  • Provide adequate ventilation where all solvents are being used.  

  • Use goggles or face shields to protect face and eyes from splashes or sprays. Wear nitrile gloves to protect skin and a protective apron to prevent contamination of worker’s clothing. 

  • When breathing hazard exists, use appropriate respiratory protection. 

  • When using solvents, use the smallest possible amount to do the job, and do not leave open containers or used rags. Close all containers and return to proper storage, and put used rags in fireproof containers. 

Flammable Products 

Certain products in use may contain solvent components such as xylene or propanol. These solvents have relatively low flash points and will ignite when exposed to sparks or open flames. The following guidelines must be observed: 

  • No smoking in or near the work area 

  • Type ABC fire extinguishers should be located in easily accessible stations in the work area. 

  • No open flames or welding torches should be in the work area. 

  • Enclosed areas create explosive conditions. Use of explosion-proof fans is necessary to disperse the vapors, and bring in fresh air. 

  • Ascertain ventilation requirements prior to using hazardous materials.


Only students who have received table saw training are permitted to use this machine.  No exceptions. 

  • Never allow another student to walk behind you while you are using the table saw. 

  • As mentioned in the introduction to the woodshop, the table saw is primarily designed for rip cutting, taking long wide pieces of wood and making them thinner.  

  • The blade rotates towards you on the table saw. This means that any uncontrolled wood that is between the fence and the blade will be propelled towards you. 

  • The rip fence, which must always be used when ripping, restricts the lateral movement of your wood, allowing you to make long straight cuts along the length of your material. 

  • The result of this restriction means that any piece of wood caught between the moving blade and the stationary fence will be kicked back towards you, propelled by the force and direction of the blade’s rotation. Remember your safe practice: clear the material. 

  • Always know where your hands are in relation to the blade- keep your hands a safe distance from the blade at all times. We recommend a minimum distance of eight inches. 

  • Concentrate on keeping the material against the fence from beginning of cut to end of cut.  

  • Most kickbacks happen towards the end of cut when the operator shifts their attention from the fence to the blade. If you know where the blade is and where your hands are you should not need to look away from the fence at the blade. 

  • Placing your body to the left of the blade greatly improves your ability to keep your material against the fence. Establish the following relationships: body-blade-material-fence. Stand against the table as you approach the end of your cut. Do not stand back away from table this shortens your reach. 

  • Develop the following safe practice: never allow your fingers or hands to cross over the blade even if the saw is not in operation. Always move your hands well to either side of the blade.  

  • A push stick must be used when a cut is less than eight inches from the fence or when ripping narrower pieces of lumber. 

  • Safe practice: never clear away scraps with your fingers. Move them to the side with a stick. You can use your push stick at the end of the cut by sweeping your material to the left when your material is on the pink tabletop.

3.21.1 Operating Technique
  • To develop experience with the table saw follow our safe cut protocol; set the fence for your cut, lower the blade under table and make a practice cut. Pay strict attention to how you handle your material, where your hands are, and that you can keep your material against the fence throughout the length of your cut. This safe cut protocol will alert you to any difficulties and give you valuable hands-on experience. 

  • Visually inspect wood before making a cut. Material should be straight and flat. Warped and twisted pieces will bind between blade and fence causing kick back. 

  •  Adjust the blade ¼” above your material.  

  • Your left hand should be placed firmly on the tabletop.  The safe practice is to avoid advancing left hand forward with a cut. Move the material through the stationary left hand. 

  • Your left hand pushes your material down onto the tabletop and against the fence. When using the table saw maximize your triangle of control.  

  • This is the acute triangle that is drawn between relationship of you as the center (left hand or body) the gap between the blade and the fence, and the far end of the fence that extends onto the pink tabletop. 

  • Your right hand supports the length of your material and pushes the material into the blade maintaining an even rate of feed. 

  • If the material between the blade and the fence is less then 8 inches you must use a push stick to feed your material onto the pink tabletop - safe practice! 

  • If your material is greater than 8 inches you can shift your weight or center of control over the material and continue to guide it against the fence until it reaches the pink tabletop - safe practice! 

  • As your material becomes wider you are encouraged to reposition your body as you approach the end of your cut so that your body is behind your material increasing your triangle of control. 

  • If you are helping someone handle large material on the table saw remember there can only be one driver! Your job is to support the material. Do not push, pull or force the material in any way- you could cause an accident. 

  • Remember to concentrate on the fence, know where your hands are, and know where the blade is! 

3.21.2.  More Table Saw Do’s & Don’ts 
  • Look down the line of cut to see that no fence or setup will be in line of the blade or touching the blade before starting work or turning on power. 

  • Avoid ripping through loose knots or checks where large slivers might be cut loose and thrown by the saw. 

  • Cylindrical stock must not be cut on a circular saw. 

  • Be sure that the blade on a tilting arbor saw will clear on both sides when adjusting blade angle, before power is turned on. 

  • Never lower pieces of stock down over the blade. 

  • The guard must be kept down over the saw while machine is being operated. 

  • Do not rip stock without using the ripping fence, or crosscut stock without using the sliding crosscutting fence. No freehand cuts! 

  • Do not use ripping fence combined with miter gage. 

  • Only adjust the fence when the saw is at a dead stop. 

  • Sweep dust from equipment, floor and work area during and when you are finished working. 

  • Get the right PPE and add a dust mask when using a router- large particles and quantities of dust are produced.  

  • Routers are power hand tools that are used primarily to trim the edges of material, to make ornamental details, and to use with templates to repeat patterns of shapes. 

  • Only use Routers after you have read the safe work practices on them and have received instruction on the proper use and procedure. 

  • Keep power cable free during all operations. As with all power hand tools both hands should be used to control the movement of the router. 

  • Use clamps or bench braces to secure work piece- do not use any part of your body. Check workplace for any foreign objects that may affect cutters or interrupt work. 

  • All adjustments must be done with the tool switched off and cord unplugged. 

  • Select the appropriate router bit, tighten it firmly, and make sure the shaft of the bit does not make physical contact with rotating parts. 

  • Do not overload router motors.  Some operations will require several passes. Never adjust settings while motor is running. Wait until bit has come to a complete stop before making further adjustments to settings and when setting router down between operations. 

  • After first adjustment is made do a trial cut on scrap stock to check settings.  

  • Bit rotation is clockwise, therefore you operate the router by moving from left to right. 

  • When working on the inside of a template move the router in a clockwise direction. When working on the outside edge of a template move the router in a counter-clockwise direction. 

  • Avoid climb cutting (moving in the opposite directions mentioned above). This will lead to lose of control. 

  • Sweep dust from equipment, floor and work area during and when you are finished working. 

  • Wood Lathes rotate wood at high speed enabling tooling along the length or into the end stock. 

  • Wear appropriate PPE including eye/ear protection. Use a face shield to protect against flying woodchips. Make sure all clothing clings to the body and cannot become entangled in the work piece. Do not wear gloves. 

  • Ensure that the work area is clear of debris and clear of other workers who may be affected by flying wood chips. 

  • Turn on dust collection unit and position dust port to best effect for the procedure intended. 

  • Ensure that all gouges and chisels are sharp and in good condition and are appropriate for the intended procedure. 

  • Keep the machine clear of tools and clutter. 

  • Use only appropriate wood stock and check for loose knots or possible staples. Use care and appropriately clean up moldy or spalted wood chips and dust. 

  • Maintain ample clearance for the chuck when roughing out your blank. You can remove excess wood after the lathing is finished. Be careful not to run a tool into the chuck. 

  • Never use a tool without a proper handle. Use only tools specifically designed for use on a lathe. 

  • Rough out the shape at the band saw, if possible, to produce a smoother, more efficient process at the lathe. 

  • Secure the piece to the lathe by locating the center of the stock to be turned and aligning it with the chuck and tapping it with a hammer to set the wood into the holding device. Support the tailstock at the other end in the center and tighten the piece until it is firmly attached but still turns freely between the centers. 

  • Adjust the lathe so that the stock turns easily but is held securely in the chuck. Spin by hand to check that the piece is centered and the lathe spins easily. 

  • Adjust the tool rest so that it is as close as possible to the wood. Turn the wood to ensure that all sides clear the tool rest. Elevate the tool rest so that the work takes place slightly above the center of the wood piece. 

  • Adjust the speed setting to a moderate speed and turn the lathe on. Stay clear of the piece as it comes up to speed. 

  • Begin to rough out the shape with a large, heavy gouge using light pressure resting the gouge against the tool rest and contacting the material at a perpendicular angle. Hold the tool firmly but gently. You should not require brute force to carve out the shape.  

  • Hold the cutter firmly in both hands and slowly ease the cutting edge into the piece. Keep the tip of the tool slightly above the handle for optimum cutting. 

  • Move the tool along the rest keeping the piece at a similar stage along its length until you have the general shape. 

  • Stop the lathe before taking any measurements. 

  • Refine the piece using the variety of tools located on the shelf behind the lathe. You may find a higher speed necessary as the shape is refined. You may adjust the rotation speed while the lathe is turning. Do not use a speed higher than necessary. 

  • Adjust the tool rest by turning the lathe off and waiting for it to stop before you attempt to move it. Loosen the handle, reposition the rest and retighten it. Then resume cutting. Try to keep the tool rest as close as possible to the work piece. Reposition as often as necessary. 

  • Do not attempt to reposition the tool rest with the lathe spinning. 

  • Never leave a lathe running unattended. 

  • Finish by using sandpaper and a higher rotation speed. Remove the tool rest whenever sanding and finishing. 

  • Sweep dust from equipment, floor and work area during and when you are finished working.