There are so many different types of power sanders on the market today. Some are larger and more powerful, while others are designed for detail work in small spaces. No matter what kind of power sander you are using, there are several safety tips that should not be ignored. Follow these six easy steps to ensure your next woodworking project is a safe one.
1. Every time you use a power sander, be sure to wear eye and ear protection
Ear plugs are usually good enough protection, but investing in heavy duty noise canceling headphones is the best way to protect your ears. Many power sanders can be quite loud, especially when they first are turned on. For eye protection, safety goggles that also cover the sides of your eyes should be worn. Few things are more painful than sawdust trapped in your eye.
2. Respiratory protection is also very important, and unfortunately is often overlooked
Disposable respirators can be purchased for a very cheap price, and a nicer respirator is worth the investment if you plan to sand for extended periods of time. This step is critical to your long term lung health, as it keeps harmful dust particles from entering your body.
3. Be aware of what you are wearing while you work
Avoid wearing anything that could get caught in the power sander, such as loose fitting clothing or jewelry. If you have long hair, put it up in a ponytail, or better yet, tuck it under some sort of hat or head covering.
4. Be sure to use your sander in an area that is properly ventilated
Use every type of dust collection and ventilation system available to you. Most of today's power sanders will come with a port to attach a vacuum hose to, or an on-board dust collection canister or bag.
5. When you are operating your sander, be sure not to apply too much pressure
Use the weight of the tool to apply pressure, and never add more than that. Forcing a sander can cause overheating, kickback, stalling or burning. Ignoring this safety step could get you seriously hurt.
6. Use a vise, clamp, or some other mechanism to firmly secure the workpiece before using a power sander.
This will keep you safe and keep your work surface from being damaged.
Woodworking can be an excellent hobby. For some, it is an exciting profession. No matter what your level of involvement with woodworking and power sanders, your physical health and safety should always come first. Follow these six simple steps, and you will be woodworking for years to come.
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