Woodturners spin their blocks of wood on lathes at speeds that can reach up to 1,000 RPM. This fact alone opens many ways to endanger oneself. As an aspiring hobbyist, you must adhere to the safety precautions you need to take as a woodturner. This way, you can avoid developing long-term health issues or exposing yourself to immediate bodily harm. Before moving on to bigger pieces, be aware of the dangers they pose and how to protect yourself from injury.
Don’t Wear Loose Articles
As mentioned, the lathe can spin up to and beyond 1,000 RPM. This makes it a potentially dangerous piece of equipment if operators mishandle it. Because of how fast it spins, there’s a high probability of bracelets, rings, shirt sleeves, and even long hair getting stuck.
Any one of these scenarios can cause significant bodily harm, and turners need to remove any excess jewelry, wear short sleeves, and tie their hair back when necessary. Anything loose can snag in the lathe, and turners need to think about what they have on before operation.
Guard Your Breathing
When turners begin cutting away at the woodblock, they chip away relatively large pieces. In the beginning, this is not a significant health hazard. But when the fine detail work begins, turners need to prepare for dust particles.
The fine wood dust that detail work creates can enter the lungs and cause respiratory issues after long-term exposure. This makes it necessary to have woodturner respirators on hand to filter out harmful particulate matter. You may not experience immediate damage after inhaling dust the first time, but it has a cumulative effect that will prove debilitating in the long run.
Secure the Wood Carefully
Aside from dust, there’s always the possibility of debris flying from the wood, your tools, and the lathe. The lathe spins it so fast that the wood can dislodge if you don’t secure your piece or the weight distribution is askew.
This will send the block flying, potentially hitting you or others in the room. Regarding your tools, the spindle roughing gouge can be hazardous, as the tang may snap due to catching on the wood. This will break off its pointed metal end, making it go airborne.
Go into the hobby knowing the safety precautions you need to take as a woodturner. Neglecting these procedures can cause long-term illness, bodily harm, or even death. Be careful with your tools, and make sure you wear the proper attire before turning.