No, and no. I prefer the safety and control of my hands on a piece of wood
than the instability of a push stick used for the wrong task. Yes, I have
all of my fingers and I've been woodworking for over 35 years. Maybe you
have also, and I don't suggest you abandon procedures that make you
comfortable, but the level of pure asinine safety talk here is absurd. Most
of it is nothing more than people repeating things they've heard or read and
it becomes mantra, rather than being based on anything substantial. There
are too many people here who do nothing more than look for what they can
point out as a safety issue, just for the sake of passing wind.
As to the photos, neither you nor I know what number 44 is shaping. He has
a solid hold on his stock and that mitigates more potential problems than
anything you're going to do with a push stick. If he's just doing edge work
on that shaper his hands are perfectly safe where they are. What are you
seeing that is such a concern?
The young lady, likewise has a good hold on her stock and her hands are well
clear of the cutter. She has control. What are you seeing wrong with her
The problem isn't when the person has control of their stock, it's what
happens to their body if they lose control of their stock. Kickback
has happened to all of us at one time or another, and the girl trying
to control that short piece is asking for an accident.
A push block like ones used in a jointer would make that operation much
more safe, IMO.
Suppose that the block the girl is routing does get kicked back. What do
you believe is going to happen to her that a push block would prevent?
However I think you grossly overestimate the potential for kickback from a
Reply to jclarke at ae tee tee global dot net
That's precisely the point John. There is too much talk about kickback and
push tools, and too little consideration for whether kickback is a real
potential. It's a far more dangerous woodworker who does not understand
these dynamics than the one who is accused of not following every
conceivable safety measure.
Just for the record - don't take my comments on this topic wrong mac... and
others. If that's what makes you comfortable, then fine. After all, for a
lot of us this is more of a sideline than a career, and it should be fun and
relaxing. (Maybe someday the relaxing part will really happen... at least
more often). The point being, do what makes you comfortable. My comments
are only directed at those which precede them, and which sought to find
fault where there was none. Those comments took on a nature of witch hunt
and ignored what the pictures themselves showed. Heck - just look at the
title of this thread.
Sometimes we who only do this stuff occasionally will adopt practices that
are beyond the required level, simply because we only do it occasionally,
and we either need or want an extra margin of safety or assurance. That's
fine. The problem comes in when we start to apply that universally and
become critical in our view of what others are doing, and that what they do
does not match up to what we do. We forget that we have adopted our
measures based more on what we feel comfortable with than what is really
My little banner in this thread has not been one which flies in the face of
safety, but more so one which flies in the face of contrived safety. Some
topics like kickback have lost their meaning completely. My discussion with
Andy is a good example of that. We discussed the matter of the fellow
trimming a piece of wood on the table saw without a sled. The mantra of
"use a sled" has led to a point where the physics of the cut have been lost.
A perfectly safe cut is now deemed to be unsafe - because of a mantra.
There is a point where "better to be too safe" actually is not better. Once
we get to the point where we're looking for what we can see wrong all around
us, we've hit the point where our focus is on finding things, and not on
acceptable practices. That does not really benefit anyone.
That's where we disagree Larry. The push block or push stick put your hands
more in the clear is something does go wrong or they keep your hands more in
the clear in the case of tight cuts like up against the rip fence, but they
do not offer more stability to the work. They can remove control. They are
an extension to your hand and as such they are a somewhat flexible
extension. I do use them and I do not want to sound like I don't advocate
them, but every tool in its place. Likewise, do not critique a perfectly
safe procedure simply because you can. To use a push block on a piece the
size she is using is going to result in less control, and probably an
increase in likelihood of kickback. How is that possibly safer?
On 21 Dec 2004 13:28:20 -0800, " email@example.com"
He's standing clear of any kickback, from the look of the workpiece, it
appears the operation is a simple roundover, the stock is sufficiently
large that his hand is not near the roundover bit as it moves the stock,
what is your concern?
No hearing protection -- not a good idea.
Router bit in fence -- seems OK. It's a short piece that she is working,
use of a push stick would appear to me to be more dangerous than the
operation as she is performing it. If something grabs, she is out the the
way of any kickback, there is noone behind her. Her fingers are again well
clear of the bit, her eyes and attention appear to be firmly on the work.
I would probably have clamped a guard board over the exposed portion of the
bit at board height. A push block, particularly with an edged surface
would have the potential for tipping the workpiece.
On 21 Dec 2004 13:28:20 -0800, " firstname.lastname@example.org"
I hadn't noticed those two yet - nasty.
The first machine is probably illegal to operate in the UK in a
commercial workshop and is _certainly_ so in a school workshop.
In fact the first one just isn't something _I'd_ do. That's the most
common table-mounted router accident requiring a hospital visit
(according to the HSE's figures) - a blind emerging cut, where the
pushing hand goes straight into the unseen cutter.
The second picture is one I'd cheerfully do, but I'd never let kids do
it. _I_ have some idea of where my fingers are, where the bit is, and
how far to separate them. Kids can't reliably do that.
A blind emerging cut 1/4" high with a 3 1/2" high workpiece is considered
hazardous? Just how would one make such a roundover in the UK? Surely a
hand-held router would be considered even more dangerous (free-spinning
unguarded bit along with chance for router kickback if the person forgets
the proper feed direction -- see your comment below regarding kids).
I think you are underestimating young teens. I know that when my dad
taught me how to use power tools, the single most important comment he made
was, "that blade doesn't know the difference between your finger and a
piece of wood -- know where it is at all times. Seeing how that girl's
concentration as she is making the cut, it appears she has been similarly
On Tue, 21 Dec 2004 18:15:26 -0700, Mark & Juanita
I can't see how big the workpiece is from that picture. Maybe it's not
really that hazardous.
It's certainly _considered_ hazardous - the HSE are having a real
thing about emerging cuts. Looking at the actual stats for hand
injuries, they seem to have a point. We might all just be careless
drunks working with our eyes shut, but that's when the injuries are
Same way as in the picture - but not feeding it with your fingers.
For a commercial workshop there's a strong pressure to fit tunnel
guards for this find of work
To be honest, you're going to find no (UK) school workshops and very
few colleges with spindle moulders.
Depends on circumstances. There's a good working principle in PUWER
which says that works should be done on the least-risk machine - which
means the fixed vertical spindle, if you have one. However spindle
moulders have a bad reputation in the UK and many people avoid having
one altogether - leaving them with the free router.
I'm probably underestimating that one, but deliberately so. You have
to plan around the worst behaved and least attentive of the group.
This is also the one most likely to whine "But _Siirr_, you let Sammy
Maloof use the bandsaw!"
If you can filter the group, perhaps a woodworking club, then you can
achieve a lot more. Your best pupils are still the same, but you don't
have to account for the less able or committed to the same extent.
Through 3" of wood? I think not.
I have to respectfully disagree Andy. My own kids are proof of that and
I've had a few other kids that were either neighborhood kids or the kids of
friends, who over the years I've taught a bit of wood working to, or have
for one reason or another, have done wood working in my garage. I assure
you - not all and even *most* kids that are interested in this stuff are not
the absent minded air heads you typically find in the shopping malls.
There's a world of bright, attentive kids out there. If you haven't crossed
paths with them, then that's truly a shame, because it does your heart good
to work with them. They can indeed reliably function in a wood working
I've read more stuff here that concerns me than what I've seen and
experienced with the attentiveness and capability of the kids I've worked
I personally don't see a problem in any of these pics. At least the
operator appears to be concentrating on the task at hand. In fact, the only
time i ever use a push stick is for ripping narrow pieces with a TS. I
would rather guide things with my hands if possible, but i run WW machinery
for a living, and am comfortable with that. I DO pay careful attention to
where my fingers are in relation to the danger areas.BTW, I still have all
my fingers attached and intact! --dave
I guess I am missing the reason for alarm. Yeah, I see a couple of pics
that make me a little nervous but snapshots don't always catch the action.
If the router example is the young lady in Orange, I can't imagine
controlling that block she is routing with a push stick - she has her hands
in a defensive position and unengaged fingers raised. The young fellow
using the shaper does bother me but I don't know if the right hand crossed
over the knife path or he just put it there.
It is easy to pick a shop class apart from a few pics. If you look at all
of them there appear to be some pretty well-trained hands and eyes among
I'm impressed that they even have a SHOP, or a class for it..
They haven't had shop classes in Calif. forbears, that I know of..
Kids hear you talking about high school shop class and think you're
talking about training mall rats..
Shaper was the only one that really bothered me, too. I'm a stick and
Overarm router should have a pin underneath to follow the pattern, limiting
I really like the middleschoolers' stuff. They've got a lot of enthusiasm
at that age, and they really like a quick project. Always a challenge to
get some sort of result quickly. I liked box-jointed boxes for the first
one. Teaches square and same size pieces, about a third of any woodworking
"Dylan" on the shaper, and "Tabatha" routing that small piece, were the only
ones that really made me want to say "be careful there". But the pictures
certainly may not give a proper perspective.
Pretty impressive work, though.
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