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Some Basic Carving Safety

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  • #46
    frosty2 (2).jpg Never drink delicious cold beer from a frosty mug while using power tools or smoke the pine, now I am serious here just say no


    • #47
      Ok, NO:::: I'll drink to that.................Tom
      If I took the time to fix all my mistakes, I wouldn,t have time to make new ones.


      • #48

        • Hold your work securely to a stable bench or surface, so that it can never move unpredictably.
        • The rule is: Only the cutting edge moves; the workpiece remains fixed.
        • Re-position the work to avoid carving dangerously.
        • Check clamps and fixings periodically.

        Bench discipline:
        • Lay the carving tools you aren't using flat down, in a row, at the back of the bench and away from where your hands are working. (Be methodical about this good habit which also protects the delicate cutting edges from clashing together.)
        • Normally, you'd be keeping your cutting edges pointing towards yourself to make it easier to recognize the particular tool you need. This is, in the main, a safe way of working.
        • However, if you must work with the blades close by your hands, or sticking up a bit, then at least make sure the tools will push backwards loosely and easily if you knock against their sharp edges. The last thing you want is for the tool handle to abut something fixed, while the spike-like, immovable edge is pointing at you.
        • Never try to catch a falling carving tool, either with your hand, or by putting your foot in the way. Let it go!
        • Carve in footwear strong enough to protect the feet from falling clamps, tools or wood.

        • Keep your tools as sharp and clean as possible.
          A blunt cutting edge needs far more pressure to cut wood fibres and, at the end of its cut, a blunt carving tool tends to jerk uncontrollably out of the wood and into the fresh air.
        • Contrary to what most people think, a sharp tool is safer because it cuts cleanly and with less effort.
        • Take particular care when using the benchstrop - especially the forward stroke.

        Tool use:
        • Keep both hands and fingers behind the cutting edge at all times.
          Since only the actual cutting edge is sharp, it follows that it is impossible to cut your your hands and fingers so long as they're behind the edge.
        • Don't wave your carving tools in the air - something easily and unconsciously done while talking or demonstrating. Students and onlookers will find such waving, at the very least, alarming, and you'll feel very silly dressing your own wounds.
        • Carving tools are offered to the wood at many different angles: be prepared to re-position the work or your body to avoid carving dangerously.
        • Never cut, or exert pressure, towards any part of the body.
          Both hands should be on the carving tool, with the blade-hand resting on the wood.
        • The only exceptions to this are mallet work and specific, one-handed carving techniques.
        • If you need to hold the work with one hand and manipulate the chisel with the other, use the thumb of the work-holding hand as a pivot or guide to control the cutting. Never cut towards the work-holding hand.
        • In vigorous mallet work, especially with very hard, brittle or old and dry woods, wear eye protection.

        Bench height:
        • Try to work with a straight back at all times and you will avoid backache. To this end, the bench (or workpiece) must be at a correct height.
        • My book Woodcarving Tools, Materials & Equipment has a discussion for figuring correct bench height - which is an individual matter for you, the carver.
        • The normal woodworker's or joiner's bench is far too low for most people. Raise it on blocks or fit a false top, and adjust the workpiece as necessary. Relief carvings can be fixed vertically - details of some vertical carving stands can be found in my book Elements of Woodcarving.

        Wood: A lump of wood can be surprisingly heavy, and toes surprisingly small and painful. Wear boots with steel toe-caps when shifting and sorting lumber.

        Lifting: Don't just bend over and use your back. Keep your back straight and use your strong leg muscles by bending and straightening your knees.

        • Work rhythmically at a regular pace - this is less tiring and easier on the joints than sporadic, violent bursts of passion.
        • Use the lightest mallet that will do the job.
        • Keep the elbow of the mallet arm in (towards the body) as much as possible, and strike so as to include the shoulder. This lessens the stress and fatigue on the elbow and arm.
        • Use the mallet with either arm - learn to do this from the start.
          Wear eye protection with hard, brittle woods.
        • Malletwork can be hard on the ears! Ear defenders reduce the tension that creeps up on you with loud, sharp noises.

        Wood shaping:
        • Use a tough leather glove to protect the skin if you grip the end of a rasp.
        • Protect the heels of your hands from sharply-cut edges, splinters and facets of wood with fingerless gloves.
        • Use a dust mask without fail when you sand wood, and protect your eyes. Never blow away sandpaper grit and wood dust.
        • Know your material: some tropical hardwoods are toxic to everyone, others cause allergic and other reactions.

        courtesy of Chris Pye who has on line classes....awesome list Chris!!!!


        • #49
          Sleepy, overworked, got something else on your mind,....hungry.....time to stop carving. This is a time when it gets very dangerous. Push this thread to the front for newcomers.


          • #50
            Safety using a dust mask when power carving with a Dremel flex shaft, micro motor, and other wood carving tools. . This is a major issue as you do the research like people here on the island with the becomes clear a lot of masks do not work for the various reason...yet it was a major issue that any mask is better than no mask Here is a video on mask and dust issues and I highly recommend you read various threads on the subject.


            • #51
              Nothing to add here. I agree with all the good advice. The next part is to follow it. I have never gotten hurt when I did the things that have shared here. But I have had a few trips to the ER because of a what pallin's described as stupidity. It just takes a few seconds to put on a mask and secure the work. Or taking a second look to make sure the work area is safe. Thanks everyone for sharing this is always a good subject.
              We live in the land of the free because of the brave!



              • #52
                Old thread but a good one. Not related to carving but had safety glasses on and had a piece of 2X4 hit me in the eye from a table saw. I had safety "type" glasses on and they flew off with the hinge and frame jamming into my right eye. Yeah, lots of blood, an ambulance ride to the ER and didn't get stitches (my request). It was a reminder that even safety equipment isn't the total answer to safety.

                I was raised with a Dad who reminded me daily of safety, from his days of working without an OSHA in lumber yards around belted machinery with no guards, etc. He also worked as a welder on battleships and saw numerous killed and injured. I won't post the stories but I was raised with many.

                When I started carving in the late 1970s my first daughter made a set of carving rules on a piece of paper: smurf carving rules. She listed 4 of the major ones. I had that hanging for years wherever we lived. I have them packed away now but good memories about safety. She has passed and I probably should get it out and post it again.

                . Always carve away from you
                . Always use a sharp knife
                . Always wear safety glasses and hand protection
                . Use good wood

                Living among knives and fire.



                • #53
                  The safety facts change a little, depends on how you carve, the tools that you use.
                  The only time that I ever carve towards myself is with Pacific Northwest native style tools.
                  Crooked knives = you must have chest protection because they wreck shirts and they sting.
                  Adzes & planer knives = will be stopped by bones in hands, arms and legs. Always, always know where a miss-strike will land.

                  These were a profound shift from mallets and gouges. Just things I had to re-learn.
                  Brian T


                  • #54
                    Knock this up brother cut off a finger with a chainsaw, and killed a darn good chainsaw,...that sucker is dead. Moral of story does not matter how long nor how good you get at have to keep up your safety methods. Making hamburger meat of your hand is not fun healing either.


                    • #55
                      someone should combine all this and print a book or put it in a article in wci. how about don't let your dog pick up your carving knife and run around the house with it and then you try and catch him ouch