Tutorials :  Safety

There WILL BE a test on this later!!

OK, OK, you've got you're new knife blade and you're chomping at the bit to get started. Don't blame you. But I want you to give some serious thought to safety . You are working with a knife blade that is sharp and if you don't respect it, it's going to bite you badly. 

Before you do anything, cover the sharp edge in masking tape. What the heck, cover the whole blade. (As shown to the right.)  This will protect the blade from scratches while you're working on it but more importantly, protect you from cutting yourself. This simple little trick could save you a trip to the hospital, stitches, or losing a finger. You'll still want to be careful handling the blade but this will give you a reasonable degree of protection.

When working with power tools, ALWAYS wear eye protection. Sawdust is bad enough, but now you're going to be throwing tiny metal shavings into the air!  And consider a dust mask even a cheap one like the drywall guys use ( Available at any hardware or home improvement store). I thought I didn't have any allergies to anything on this planet, but was surprised to find that I had an extreme allergy to Rosewood or Cocobolo wood dust.

And keep in mind that power tools sometimes have a tendency to grab your knife when you least expect it. I've seen it happen twice and it scared the living daylights out of me. Once, when using a drill press to drill a tang hole, the bit grabbed the blade and turned it into a whirling propeller with a razor sharp edge. Another time, I had a circular buffing pad grab the blade out of my hands and throw it into a wall.  Obviously, either of these incidents could have caused me a lot of damage.

Always plan ahead and try to figure worst case scenario. Try to figure out which way the knife blade would get thrown if grabbed by the buff and stand on the opposite side. ( As a matter of fact, most warnings I've heard from knifemakers concerned the circular buff ! ) Clamp the blade down to a hefty piece of wood when using it with a drill press. Better to break a drill bit than your fingers.

Never, NEVER take your attention away from what you are doing. Always know where the edge of your knife is and where the cutting edge of your tools are. Never get distracted, even for the shortest moment. Don't work with your knife blank and power tools when there are any kids or pets in the room ( remind me to tell you sometime how my cat jumped onto a spinning  saw blade on my table saw . $600 worth of stitches!  I'm serious.  Click here.  ) or anything else that might surprise or distract you from the task on hand.  And I enjoy having a few beers as much as anyone else, but wait until after you're done in the shop. 

Or, if you skip this page, disregard my cautions, get careless or choose not  to use common sense, please make sure that your hospitalization coverage is current, you have plenty of bandaids on hand and can dial "911" while missing a finger.

Get the message? I hope I worded it strongly enough to get you attention.  You can have a ball with this very creative hobby, but you have to take it seriously, too.