The first week of May is safety week for woodworkers! To join in I read through a WoodNet forum thread What do YOU do when you make a mistake? and a blog post by Stu: Sometimes…
Thanks to those two inspirations plus a good healthy dose of re-reading the Top Ten Most Dangerous Woodworking Power Tools, I bring you… 11 ways to tell hobbyist woodworkers should stop woodworking (for the day…).
1) Throwing *Anything*
If you throw anything in anger that’s a sure sign that you should stop – immediately. Not only because you’re causing destruction in your workshop, but because you’re liable to ignore your own inner alarm bells.
2) Too Hungry
Is your stomach louder than your power tools? Are you feeling light headed? Do yourself a favor and stop for the day – or at least long enough to get a good snack. Low blood sugar levels can really drag down your focus… and that can be very dangerous if there are power tools involved.
3) Too Tired
Tiredness causes accidents and low efficiency. Two things that woodworkers must hold as mortal enemies. The only problem is you don’t get into the shop until after work… sometimes after dinner. Stop woodworking if you’re too sleepy… or consider taking a power nap.
At ToolCrib.com we’re not against beer in the workshop – so long as all the power tool usage is done for the day. We recommend no drinking before using power tools – not a drop.
5) Frustration Already High
If there’s something else bothering you already… I mean REALLY eating a hole in your guts then the workshop might not be the right place for you. Unless you’re doing finish work or hand sanding… otherwise a walk might be better for you.
Speedy woodworking is an oxymoron… at least it should be. If you’re rushing and you can’t make yourself slow down then you might should take a step back and adjust your temperment.
7) Making Repeated Mistakes
Mistakes happen. All the time. But if you’re having “one of those nights” and you’re making mistake after mistake after mistake… consider calling it a day. Especially if you’ve gotten rattled and you’re obsessing over perfection so much you can’t concentrate.
8) Cursing More Than Normal
Are you the reason the rose wood blushed? If you’re cussing hard and loud enough to make the devil smile – especially if this is not normal for you – maybe you should knock off work a little early and do something a little more relaxing.
9) Feel Like You’re Forcing It
This feeling comes when you’re stretched too thin… Maybe you’re just a little bit hungry, just a little bit tired and in a little bit of a rush. Whatever the combination, step away from the work for a minute and get a drink of water. If you can’t settle comfortably into your work then maybe that’s a good time to call it a night.
10) Feel Your Focus Drifting
Sometimes music distracts me while I’m working. Sometimes not. When it distracts me that’s usually because I’m hungry, tired, frustrated about something, forcing my work, etc… If your focus drifts and won’t come back to where you need it then figure out how to fix your focus or just call it a day.
11) Temperature Too Hot/Cold
Sweat dripping on your work? Shivering too much to feed wood smoothly? Temperature can play a large role in your ability to concetrate on your work. Take a break from your woodworking and read Workshop Climate Control: Insulating, Heating and Cooling Your Woodshop.
Update: 12) Inability to Stop Working – Compulsively Trying to Finish
Most woodworkers are highly driven people with excessive attention to detail – in short, they are OBSESSIVE by nature. If you find that you “can’t stop” on your current project, no matter how hungry, tired, frustrated, irritable, ETC you happen to be, then that’s a SURE sign that you need to take a breather. This can be the hardest sign to accept that it’s time to quit for the day, but it’s also one of the most important signs to listen to because obsessive drive to finish can muffle your innate warning bells. Your project will be there tomorrow… your fingers might not. (Thanks to Stu for inspiration… AGAIN ;)
>> Woodworkers’ Safety Week 2009 Articles
Video: Woodworker’s Safety Week 2009 Kick Off
Woodworker’s Safety Week
Woodworker’s Safety Week 2009: The 12″ and 3″ Rules
Woodworker’s Safety Week 2009: Working with a Router
Woodworker’s Safety Week (May 5th-May 9th)
>> Safety Articles from ToolCrib.com
Top Ten Most Dangerous Woodworking Power Tools
When Kickback Calls… Six Favorite Table Saw Splitters
Using Gloves in the Woodshop
Do You Have a TV In Your Wood Shop?
Battery Charger = Fire Starter: Don’t Let them Charge Unattended
Video: Table Saw Daredevil Shows What NOT to Do
Nicely summarised! And all too true.
Unfortunately, tiredness is like alcohol – the more tired you are, the harder it is to have a coherent thought to say “too tired, stop work”
(The alcohol analogy – the drunker you get, the more confident you are in your rapidly failing capabilities).
You make a great point. I know that sometimes the HARDEST time to stop working is when you most need to stop…
I should probably add that one in there… “Unable to Stop Working…”
Thanks for providing the inspiration for this post: http://stusshed.wordpress.com/2009/05/03/sometimes/
You are on to smoething… Never work when your aren’t feeling right :-)