Fred’s Head from APH, a Blindness Blog

Fred’s Head, offered by the American Printing House for the Blind, contains tips, techniques, tutorials, in-depth articles, and resources for and by blind or visually impaired people. Our blog is named after the legendary Fred Gissoni, renowned for answering a seemingly infinite variety of questions on every aspect of blindness.

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Friday, April 21, 2006

Safety Tips for Common Power Tools

By Debbie Johnston

When using power tools, safety is the most important thing to consider. Using power tools correctly and safely will ensure the safety of you and anyone else around you. Different power tools gave different procedures to make sure that they are operating safely.

The router is a great tool for shaping wood quickly and cleanly. However, there are several things to keep in mind when using a router. Test out the router on a piece of scrap metal to make sure that it is of the proper depth. If the router is too deep or not deep enough, you will ruin the wood, and could potentially harm yourself. Be sure to keep the bit away from the wood when you first start the router. When the router comes up to speed, firmly grip the handle and move the bit slowly and carefully into the object you are working on.

Reciprocating saws are used for cutting all kinds of materials, renovating and dismantling structures, and opening up walls. Naturally, this heavy-duty tool should be used with precaution. Holding the reciprocating saw with both hands when using it is a must. It is very powerful and has the ability to pull very hard on the user. The blades for this type of saw range from 6 inches to 12 inches. The blades can break, so have extras, and be careful with the blades when you are finished with the saw because the blades heat up tremendously while being used.

The power miter saw is also called a chop saw. It is used to make crisp, quick, and accurate cuts. It is often used on carpentry or picture framing. While in use, this saw should be raised off of the ground (this can be done with two-by-fours). It should be raised because the chips of wood that fall out of the machine can pile up and clog it if it is not elevated. Check the blade guard of the saw, and be sure to be cutting on a sturdy surface.

Finally, there are some general safety tips that can be applied to all power tools. Always wear goggles. This tip cannot be stressed enough. Eye injuries are very common when working with power tools, so always protect your eyes. Read all instructions thoroughly. All power tools have their little quirks. Read the instructions and learn the proper way to use the power tool. Follow warning labels. This may seem like a simple safety tip, but many people ignore warnings (for example: they stand on the very top of the ladder, and fall over). Finally, be very careful and eliminate distractions whenever possible. Following these few tips should help you be safer when using any kind of power tool.

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