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As Norm Abram says weekly, "First, a word about shop safety."

After blathering a bit about reading and understanding all of your tools' manuals, he goes on to say, "There is no more important safety device than these {points to glasses}, your safety glasses." This is true to a point, but there are several other basic shop safety rules that should be observed at all times.

As already mentioned, safety glasses are very important. I personally use safety goggles that my wife swiped from her work place. For dusty operations, they are much better for keeping gunk out of your eyes, and keeping you from being blinded.

Also very important is ear protection. I use the ear muff type that cost about $30 from Home Depot. They are much more expensive that the foam type that stick in your ears, and probably don't keep as much noise out, but they are easier to put on and take off, and they don't get all gunked with ear wax, which is really gross.

Use every protective guard that came with your tools. If these are inadequate, build/buy better ones. This INCLUDES the table saw. Our buddy Norm never uses his table saw guard, which now makes me shudder. Until a couple months ago, I was a non-table saw guard user, but then I nearly cut off my thumb. I luckily ended up only needing a small skin graft and having a somewhat numb thumb.

Dust is slippery. If you don't have a dust collection system, keep a broom and shop vac handy and keep the dust off the floor. The last thing you need is to slip on a pile of dust and fall onto some whirling blade of death.

Wear proper clothing. Loose stuff is very bad, as it can become easily tangled in moving machinery. Tough shoes, preferably with a reinforced toe box, are good as broken toes hurt real bad.

Finally, Respect and Fear every tool in your shop, and realize the ways in which each could possibly cause you grievous bodily harm. There are many books on the proper operation of just about every woodworking tool. Go to the library. Check them out. Read them. The time required to do this is much less that the time required to learn by trail and error, and you'll be much less likely to end up in the emergency room.

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