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Chris and I run two workshops separated by 5 hours of drive time, so rarely get to work together. However, He does try and help me whenever he can to guide me in my shop procedures. Sometime I go rouge and think I know what I am doing.

As someone who is relatively new to woodworking (as I talk about in Garth’s First Blog Post), I am quite new to the bandsaw. To the novice, the bandsaw seems ultra safe, slow speed cutting, no kickback, easy to control. We use ash for our bench dogs and it tends to have hard and soft spots as you rip saw the boards. I was hand feeding a 36″ board, getting right towards the end when I hit a 3″ soft spot in the grain and the board instantly jumped through the blade, cutting off my thumb nail. After about 15 minutes my nerves settled and I proceeded to very carefully use the bandsaw to cut out a push stick which I should have been using in the first place.

My new best friend, the push stick. I was so freaked out it was a good thing I could be 12" away from the blade when I was cutting the notch.

My new best friend, the push stick. I was so freaked out it was a good thing I could be 12″ away from the blade when I was cutting the notch.

Another place in my shop that has messed with my safety is my Milling Machine (no, its not strictly woodworking, but I do have a point). During the blade making process I do a lot of edge milling at high speeds (1000 RPM, which is high for metal working). The chips are very small, appear to travel just a few inches from the source and I thought were captured by the coolant fluids being sprayed.

The next process is milling the taper into the blade.

The chips seem to be low velocity, close landing particles. When I started looking closely, there were high velocity, high temperature chips traveling several feet.

Just in case, I have been wearing a full face shield, thinking on the conservative side of safety. I also wear a Lee Valley apron and an old ratty shop sweater to protect my clothes from the cutting fluids. A few months into operations it was time to wash the shop clothes and the wife always rags on me about checking pockets before putting stuff in the wash. The bottom of ALL the pockets were filled with a fine layer of metal chips. This tipped me off to look at my face shield , which had tiny chips out of the entire surface. A general shop inspection revealed tiny chips as far away from the milling machine as 12ft! So much for my few inches theory!

Now, think about your router running at a minimum of 10,000 RPM, 10 times faster than my milling machine; time to put on a full face shield? I have used a router very few times; unlike my milling machine, I have to hold the router in my hands, a very scary tool.

This is a hobby for most of us. Keep all your bits and pieces attached, your family will thank you for it!