If you are building your first stringed instrument, you should have a basic knowledge of woodworking tools, their function, capacity and a knowledge of how to use them. If you don’t, I would suggest getting your hands on a good woodworking book and do some in-depth studying on the subject. Another option is to take a few classes at a community center, where they often offer such classes as these. Afterall knowledge of these tools will minimize injury, especially when using power driven tools.
Shop Safety: How can we talk about wood working without talking shop safety. Many of these things I’m sure you have herd before, but it doesn’t hurt to go over them again. Did you ever have a close call and after it happened, broke into a cold sweat thinking that you really could have lost a finger or an eye. I happens so fast you often don’t even feel it. So be extra careful.
- First: Wear eye protection. If you wear glasses make sure that they are made to safety glasses specification and will resist a blow from a flying piece of wood or metal.
- Secondly: When working with exotic woods, make sure to wear breathing protection as many people (including myself) have severe allergies to exotic wood dust. There are a variety of dust masks on the market including those with their own air supply. If you have power tools such as a table saw, band saw, power drum sand etc., make sure to invest in a good dust collection system. It is essential to run grounding protection within all of the collection lines that is securely grounded to each piece of machinery to minimize a dust explosion.
- Third: Always keep tools sharpened razor sharp. This includes both hand tools and power tools and stationary tools. More people are hurt with poorly or improperly sharpened tools than anything else. Any undo force when using tools can easily result in severe injuries. Also keep hands and fingers well clear when using wood chisels.
- Fourth: Do not wear any loose clothing that can be caught in machinery or a spinning blade. Wear short-sleeved shirts when possible. Also do not wear any jewelry that could be caught in a blade such as a loose bracelet or necklace.
- Fifth: When using petroleum based finishes, where appropriate gloves. Some of these chemicals get absorbed directly into the blood stream through the skin. When completing a cleaning or finishing operation be sure to wear a resparator that will completely protect your lungs.
Adhere to these simple yet basic safety rules and you will retain all your digits, eyesight and live a long and hopefully prosperous building career.