Never change your drill and router bits without first disconnecting the power cord.
Kickback is a leading cause of power saw injuries. A hazard inherent to all power saws regardless of brand or style, it occurs when the material binds or pinches the saw blade during a cut. In a split second, kickback can jerk the saw out of a user’s hands or shoot the piece of wood he’s cutting back toward him.
If you just bought a manual miter box, a simple modification will extend its useful service life. Insert and fasten a piece of 1x stock to the inside bottom of the box. The saw blade will then cut into the false bottom, without damaging the miter box itself. Occasionally move the wood back and forth, or turn it over, to spread out the wear. When badly cut up, just replace the piece.
A measuring or rafter square is a great addition to any tool box. You can use it to mark a board for square or angled cuts. It fits securely into a tool belt and can be used to check the trueness of an angle or as a cutting guide for a circular saw. It’s also handy when you’re working with large-dimensional lumber or when you’re laying out rafters.
When it comes to buying tools, don’t compromise on quality. Inexpensive tools may seem like a bargain at the store, but will almost always cost more in the long run.
Giving the power tool time to wind down after a cut is an often-overlooked safety mistake. Even without power, the spinning blade can still do a lot of damage.
If you will be building something which uses small parts produced on your tablesaw, you can let your shop vacuum pick up the pieces for you. It’s fast, efficient, and safer than getting your hand close to the blade. Clean out the vac, then wire or clamp the suction hose so that the small pieces are drawn in as you do your cutting. Then, when you are done, simply open up the vac and collect the parts.
If you’d like your project to turn out as strong, solid, and lasting as if a professional woodworker built it, do what they do…use your tri-square to check for squareness after each cross cut. Edges on boards that will be edge-joined must be absolutely square, so carefully check all sides. If a cut is not exactly square, use a block plane to trim. It takes a little extra time, but the improved results will be well worth it.
Periodically check your levels for accuracy. If dropped or bumped they can get jarred and out of alignment and ruin a project. Compare two or three levels at once to be sure.
If you drop one of your favorite steel planes and dent the sole, metal displaced from the dent will likely leave a raised ring around it that can scratch wood. Simply rub the surface with a fine honing stone to remove the raised area. Once done, you can ignore the remaining dent, oil the unplated surface, and put the plane back to work.