So here’s the deal: most people don’t take shop safety seriously when they’re doing projects. It really doesn’t matter how many times it’s hammered into our heads (great metaphor for a post about safety, genius) – we’re just going to run out there real quick to make a fast cut to this piece or it’s just one nail from the nail gun what harm can it do, right? We don’t need to suit up with all that safety stuff for that mess.
Yeah, that’s you. And me, honestly, because I’m guilty of it too. Safety gear can be a pain, it’s uncomfortable, and it makes you look like Rick Moranis in Honey, I Shrunk The Kids.
You may think he looks like a goober, but believe me – better to look like a goober than blow sawdust in your eyes or put a nail through your hand and prove you actually are one.
That being said, before we really dive into some of the shop projects I’ve been saving up, let’s do a review, shall we? This is going to be a whirlwind tour through Matt’s greatest hits.
Shop Safety for the Total Goober (or, “All The Things That Matt Has Done To Injure Himself”)
This one is tied with the next one for the most neglected safety gear. They’re just too dang easy to not put on. I mean, it only takes a couple of seconds to run that board through the table saw or make that miter saw cut. It would take longer to find your glasses and put them on than to make the cut!
Yeah…you’re a goober.
“But I can just squint real tight and keep stuff out of my eyes -” Let me stop you right there. Are you suggesting you’re about to run a board through a table saw while squinting? You do know you need those eyes to see the saw blade, right?
Let’s talk for a minute about how saws actually cut wood. Saws don’t have blades like knives, which slice through things. Saws have teeth, teeth that chew through wood at a very high rate of speed. And when it chews through wood, it blows out the material it chewed through – right into the air. And trust me, that stuff seeks out your eyes.
You know how Jesus taught about hypocrisy and said to tend to the speck in your own eye before paying attention to the plank in someone else’s? Yeah, whoever is ignoring those specks in their own eyes is trying really hard because sawdust in your eyes is not fun. And Jesus would have known, because the dude was a carpenter. Sawdust is just the least of your problems, too: you might possibly have splinters, metal shards, sparks, hazardous liquids, badgers, paint, dirt, nails, staples, or lots of other things flying around depending on what kind of project you’re doing. None of that stuff is good for your eyes, especially the badgers.
Keep those glasses on. And you can even get a snazzy looking pair for not very much money so you don’t look like a total dork. No excuses!
I can attest to this one personally. Story time! When I was a teenager I mowed lawns to make extra money. Mowing lots of lawns is boring, you guys. You can only go around the square so many times before your brain turns to mush. So I listened to music.
If you’ve ever tried to listen to music on headphones while a lawn mower is running then you know what you’re going to hear – lawn mower. And that’s about it. So the genius 15 year old me decided to take things to another level by turning the CD player all the way up. And then jamming the headphones down onto my hears by putting them on first and then wedging them in place with a hat. For a whole summer of mowing.
Yes, I’m one of the goobers I keep talking about. I’m 35 years old and my ears ring constantly because of a dumb decision I made when I was a teenager.
Saws are loud, you guys. They’re even louder if you’re in a building like a workshop instead of in the open air. Even minor extended exposure to that level of noise can damage your hearing for a long time. Other power tools can get just as loud, and that doesn’t even count stuff like concrete cutters or heavy machinery. Ear protection is a must for this stuff unless you want to constantly hear this high-pitched SKREEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE in your head for the rest of your life.
Either earmuff type protection or the in-ear kind of plugs work just fine. Personally I like the earmuffs because they have the added bonus of covering your entire ear and not getting all ear-gunky. Plus I’m not a huge fan of sticking things into my ears anyway. Unfortunately, if you go earmuffs there’s pretty much no way you’re not going to look like Doofus McDorkerson but that’s a price I’m willing to pay.
Whichever kind you decide to use, use them. Every time! Or you might end up like this:
We’ll continue this in another post to cover all those other bits you might want to take care of when you’re around cutty and stabby and loud things, like fingers, toes, noses, elbows, and knees. At least some of those. Safety isn’t really that big of a deal until you’re a goober and ignore it, and then you end up a blind, deaf, stub-toed cripple with three fingers on one hand. Until next time!
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