3 Tips for Working Safely with Wood After Cabinetmaking School

September 25, 2019

cabinet making training

Cabinetmaking is a craft that combines the traditional art of carpentry with the most sophisticated woodworking instruments. For someone who enjoys woodworking, learning about cabinetmaking can open up exciting career opportunities. While cabinetmaking encompasses everything from the identification and selection of the finest wood, to the reading of designs, to the operation of woodworking equipment, one aspect remains perhaps the most critical: safety.

The skills that you learn in cabinetmaking school must be applied with safety always at the top of your mind. If you might be interested in a career as a cabinetmaker and you want to avoid injury, keep reading to learn some essential safety tips!

1. Where You’re Working is as Important as How You’re Working

When working in cabinetmaking, you might decide to eventually begin your own business or simply do some projects on the side in your workshop. Ensuring that the space you work in is safe should be a top priority.

If you, like many woodworking specialists, decide to set up your headquarters in your personal garage or on your property, you need to make sure that the space meets safety standards. You must consider suitable ventilation, fire hazards, and emergency protocol. Remember that while you may not be in a commercial shop, you too must take safety just as seriously if you decide to go out on your own after cabinetmaking school!

2. What You Wear Can Help Protect You from Safety Hazards

Every woodworker should have the right personal protective equipment (PPE) to wear. While sporting the appropriate PPE might seem an obvious recommendation, injuries as a result of non-adequate protection represent a significant percentage of woodworking injuries. One of the reasons for this, ironically, is expertise. Sometimes, when a professional feels overly confident in their abilities, they decide to omit some of the basic PPE. And although they have achieved mastery of their craft, certain things cannot be predicted regardless of experience. A malfunctioning piece of equipment kicking back and chipping a particle of wood or metal into an unprotected eye can cause irreversible damage!

Wearing personal protective equipment helps keep you safe on the job
Wearing personal protective equipment helps keep you safe on the job

When you’re equipping yourself for the job, make sure you also pay special attention to:

  • Clothing (avoid baggy, floating clothes that might get caught in the machinery)
  • Jewelry (a long chain of loose bracelet might also be a hazard)
  • Hair (if you’ve got long hair, make sure it’s tied up so it doesn’t get caught in the equipment)

3. Get to Know Your Tools and Equipment in Cabinet Making Training

Another important aspect of safe woodworking practice is the equipment that you are using. You’ll learn in cabinet making training about how to safely use woodworking tools and equipment. You should know what tool is required for what job, and you should know how that tool can be used most effectively. You should always verify that the tool is in adequate condition. For example, there is common a misconception that a sharp blade is more dangerous than a dull blade when, in fact, a dull blade risks getting caught or kicking.

Ensuring your equipment is working properly is a key safety tip
Ensuring your equipment is working properly is a key safety tip

Soliciting help is another important part of safety. If you are operating a tool with which you have little experience, or if you know that a specific task will be easier with the assistance of a fellow woodworker, then it might be a good idea to get help. Be careful, however, to only get help from people who are properly trained!

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