A wood shaper is a vital tool if you frequently undertake woodworking projects. It enables you to shape wood easily, yet accurately. Although extremely useful, it can be dangerous if not used properly. This is because of the high-speed cutters which can be difficult to control if the machine is not properly handled. Below are 7 safety measures to enhance your personal safety while you work.
1. Do Not Use without a Plastic Guard
The plastic guard is fitted above the cutter. It allows you to spin freely because of the bearing situated in the middle of the guard. Always ensure that the guard is in place before spinning.
2. Machine Settings
Always check to ensure the machine settings are correct before you begin shaping. The spindle must be securely attached to the shaper. You must also lock the spindle’s height. When you turn the spindle manually, the cutter should also turn. If there’s lack of synchrony, do not use the shaper. If need be, replace the spindle. Ensure clamps are all in place before you turn on the machine. Also be sure to change the speed of the spindle depending on the cutter in use.
Select the right speed setting for the job. It is best to use a low to moderate speed. Avoid using a high speed when cutting to reduce the incidence of flying chips. However, the type of stock and its diameter are also determinants of which speed you should use.
4. Use Proper Stock
It is best to use stock that has a smooth finish. Do not use stock that has splits or knots. It may disrupt the smooth motion of the cutters, causing a machine jam. It may also result in flying bits of wood which reduces the safety of the work environment. Also avoid feeding small pieces of stock into the shaper.
5. Feeding Stock
It is important that you feed the cutter in a regular manner. Put in stock smoothly and at a steady pace. Keep your hands as far away from the cutters as possible when feeding stock.
6. Do Not Leave Shaper Unattended
Always make sure you have turned off the machine once you complete work. Also wait for the machine to stop completely before you leave the work site. It is a mistake to leave the machine running while you go off to check on something even for a short while. This is a vital safety practice, especially if you have children in the home.
7. Dress Appropriately
It is a good idea to wear safety goggles or a face shield when working. Bits of wood may fly around and land in the face. Safety wear will help prevent injuries to your eyes. You also need to avoid wearing loose clothes or clothes with hanging parts. Do not wear jewelry, loose belts or a long-sleeved shirt. These could get caught in the machine parts.