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Safety Tip: Think of the Finish Before You Start

I am a wood turner, but this applies to all power tool usage. Just as in sports (golf, baseball, tennis, etc.) the follow through is part of the action. I can't tell you how many times I ruined a turning by not thinking of my follow through after "finishing" a cut. The "catch" as you carelessly pull the tool away can not only ruin the workpiece - it can also toss a very sharp tool if it is carelessly held. The cut is not finished until the tool is clear of the work.

Plan your finish before you start, set your body position for the finishing act - or if you have to move to finish the cut do it in small increments as you proceed. This is particularly important for me as I have a prosthetic leg and have a bit of a problem shifting position, but it applies to every one. Make sure the area is clear, nothing more frustrating than to find yourself at the end of a band saw or table saw cut and have the work piece bump into something. It is also dangerous as you can get a kickback easily. You need the clearance to be able to pull the work piece through cleanly - and don't forget that that means both the work piece and the waste. The end of the cut is not the time to figure out your "follow through".

Jon Murphy

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