Safety first and everywhere

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Safety procedures must be observed with tools. Doesn’t matter what the tool is; disobey a safety rule and you’re likely to lose something.

You may have noticed I didn’t post a blog on Friday. That’s because my computer died. Specifically, my hard drive failed. As I discussed last time, half of my woodworking takes place in front of the computer, and without a computer I simply can’t work. It would be no different for you – if half the work you do in your shop takes place on the table saw and it failed, you can’t work either.

However, because you exercise all proper safety procedures, if something goes wrong on your table saw that puts it out of commission you hopefully won’t lose something, such as a body part you’re particularly attached to. Or, more importantly, attached to you. If that happens your woodworking career will be impacted severely, and your working ability compromised for a long time to come. But because you operated safely and with precautions in place, your task then becomes merely getting the table saw back in running order and picking up where you left off. You’ve lost nothing but time.

Same with my computer. I don’t mean to sound like I’m making light of shop safety – there are few dismemberment risks using a computer, and I surely don’t mean to equate the two – but without using proper safety procedures I could have lost a lot when my hard drive irreparably failed.

But I used a safety precaution: an external hard drive that backs up absolutely everything on my computer hourly. Once I had a new hard drive in place, formatted and with the computer’s operating system installed on it, it was just a matter of restoring several gigabytes of information – years of work, much of it irreplaceable in-progress projects – back onto my computer. All I lost was time.

Again, I’m not making light of shop safety. To the contrary, I’m emphasizing it. We think about shop safety every minute we’re in our shops, and that’s a Good Thing. Rarely, though, do we get reminders of it outside the shop.

For me, this was one of those times.

Till next time,

A.J.

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