Newbie taking woodworking 101 class - what to focus on

Discussion in 'Boatbuilding' started by speedracer264, Nov 24, 2013.

  1. speedracer264
    Joined: May 2013
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    speedracer264 Junior Member

    I have taken the advice of many from this forum- to truly determine if I will be able to build a boat I have enrolled in a woodworking class. I am currently taking the class and I am learning the basics of carpentry (how to use a table saw, miter saw, various sanding technique, band saw, router, etc.). I am also trying to focus on safety since my profession relies solely on my hands and fingers.

    What technique should I focus on or ask my instructor about that pertain to boat building with plywood. I would like to one day build a Glen-L runabout.

    In terms of boat building- what is the most dangerous part of building the boat- using the table saw? Any other unforseen dangers that I might not be aware of?
  2. PAR
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    PAR Yacht Designer/Builder

    The most dangerous part of a boat building project is starting one.

    There are many things that can get you into trouble, cutting off fingers, poisons, severe cuts, broken bones and other injuries, but nothing more damaging than the potential injury to family and friends. Many a marriage has been destroyed by a boat building project, ditto relationships with friends and family. Their support and possible participation can't be undervalued or much worse then a few stitches in a cut thumb will occur, trust me on this.

    Most boat building stuff is just simple common sense. Use tools safely, following established protocols and guidelines, etc., will generally be all you need. Learning the tricks of the trade - well I'm still learning and I've been around the block a few times. Basically, one step at a time until you've got a boat.
  3. NoEyeDeer
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    NoEyeDeer Senior Member

    I remember reading an article in Wooden Boat magazine many years ago. The author had an accident with a table saw, and required some bits sewn back on.

    While this was happening (local anaesthetic only) he was chatting with the surgeon. The surgeon asked what the tool that caused the most injuries in a workshop was, and the bloke took a guess at a jointer.

    The surgeon's reply was "No. It's the bandsaw, because everyone thinks it's so safe."

    This sums the whole thing up nicely. Accidents usually occur when you get complacent or are in a rush. Either way, they're usually the result of not paying proper attention to what could happen.

    There's a very good sig I saw over at another forum: "Anything with sharp teeth eats meat. Power tools have sharp teeth. People are made of meat." :D
  4. michael pierzga
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    michael pierzga Senior Member

    Every power driven tool is dangerous. Ive seen an electric hand drill powereing a hole saw break a workmans arm.

    To be attention in class !

    Always read the user guides with equipment..

    With machines that are variable speed always choose the lowest speed for the job...

    Always. securely clamp things to a work surface.

    Always work in a well lit area

    Always work clean and organized

    All these things. will be covered in class take it seriuosly, workman are getting killed flling off 5 foot step ladders
  5. hoytedow
    Joined: Sep 2009
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    hoytedow I'm not a cat.

    I agree with all the above except: With machines that are variable speed always choose the lowest speed for the job... Running the tool at a higher speed gives a smoother cut - be careful!
  6. Stumble
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    Stumble Senior Member

    In my shop I have a rule... The first time I catch myself trying to hurry, or thinking about dinner, I leave. Too many woodworkers have shortened fingers from power tools.
  7. PAR
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    PAR Yacht Designer/Builder

    Yes, rushing is the most common way, to trim fingers to less then desired lengths, though usually what happens is, you just plain screw up and have to do something over again. This is because we short cut things when in a rush to finish something and skip over established procedures, which just leads to screw ups. Some things you just have to be really anal about, especially when whirling teeth are involved (like my other half's).
  8. Nick.K
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    Nick.K Senior Member

    Totally agree.
    I do the same and also if I find myself making mistakes. Works for me. In about twenty years of daily working with power tools including doing free-hand curved work on big spindle moulders (200mm heads) I still have all my fingers and both eyes.
    I have always been nervous, even frightened of machines and I think that has kept me safe. As an employer I always told guys new to machines to imagine they were hand feeding an angry rottweiler but what amazed me was how sanguine some of them were about the risks.
    A friend of mine who is a first-class joiner had the misfortune to cut off all the fingers on one hand, they managed to reattach them by wiring the bones together with the wires sticking out of the ends of his fingers. I asked him to visit the workshop shortly after it happened and unwrap his hand...there was a noticeable improvement in attitude after!!
    If I had a new guy in the workshop I would only tell him twice and after that I would suggest he leave to find more appropriate work. I employed guys for ten years and did not have a single accident beyond minor cuts.
    Safety is all about attitude of mind and study of the risks.
  9. Stumble
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    Stumble Senior Member

    I don't have near that much experience as a hobbiest woodworker, but my first job was in a metal fabrication factory. Watching what those huge pressed can do to steel bars instilled a heavy dose of fear of large equipment.
  10. SukiSolo
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    SukiSolo Senior Member

    Had a work colleague who 'trimmed' the ends of three fingers with a radial arm saw at 2 in the morning building a model/prototype. He had started work at 7.30 am the previous day and was conversant with workshop machinery......

    For one job I did, I was the only one after a year not to have chopped through their tape measure with the radial arm saw......

    Bandsaw is the only thing I've nipped a finger nail on. Had trouble cutting plastic tubing on a table saw - tube exploded and bits almost fractured fingers but kept hands/fingers firmly held on guide/cross rail feed!. Lost teeth on a good table saw blade and don't know how/why, always stand to the left of the work so throw outs don't hit you. Don't push the footbrake on a lathe if the jaw unscrews - as done by a lecturer demonstrating safety at college and he wondered why I jumped away!, well befor the chuck actually left the thread - big Wadkin lathe 8'+ bed.

    Never ever take your eyes off the work and your fingers. Especially when someone says something to you, just ignore them until you have finished.

    Do not fight a tool, work with it, otherwise you risk it biting back. Feel your way and 'listen' to tools, even hand ones can do serious damage. Keep chisels and plane blades very sharp as there is less danger of them jumping or misbehaving. Each material is different and has a lot to teach you. Only use good quality or excellent quality tools, they will repay you and help to keep you safe.

    A few basics and you will be fine building, go for it.
  11. JustinT
    Joined: Jul 2013
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    JustinT Junior Member


    Most of the above excellent advice can be applied to boats and the sea. Just exchange power tool, or material for boat and sea.


    p.s. Build the boat. All projects are just connecting a bunch of small tasks. One step at a time.

  12. aaronhl
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    aaronhl Senior Member

    SAFETY AND PROPER MACHINE OPERATION IS THE NUMBER 1 FOCUS!!!!!!!! Seems like you haven't used these tools before so a 101 class will not do anything but show you how to operate tools safely. When you go to the gym, you don't start with 200 lbs weights even if you think you can lift them- dangerous

    I am 25 but have been using all the tools, including a table saw for about 10 years. They are not something to play around with, For Example: seems easy to just rip wood through the table saw, but there are MUST DOs and DONTs when ripping the wood through.

    Woodworking is fun even though you are next to blades driving a car is more dangerous. The few tips I have is so make sure you have a clutter free work area and some type of drawing or measurements to work off of, everything else will come naturally
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