LJ Gateways #4: Lessons Learned The Hard Way

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Blog entry by MsDebbieP posted 10-25-2011 10:48 PM 6668 reads 0 times favorited 11 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 3: Gateways: Tips & Tricks Part 4 of LJ Gateways series Part 5: LumberJocks' Challenges »


what are your “lessons learned” and other “don’t do” tips/stories for fellow woodworkers?


(also add links to helpful blogs etc that are related to the topic)

Gateway to all Tips & Tricks Topics

-- ~ Debbie, Canada (, Young Living Wellness )

11 comments so far

View Gary's profile


9402 posts in 3944 days

#1 posted 10-25-2011 11:30 PM

What a wonderful thing. You really know how to make this a better place. Thanks

-- Gary, DeKalb Texas only 4 miles from the mill

View mainwoodworks's profile


112 posts in 3159 days

#2 posted 10-26-2011 12:20 AM

I have nicked (deep enough to go to ER) 2 fingers. 2 different occasions in the last year. Both was on the left hand, index finger, and ring finger. You would think that I would learn.
both times I was using the left hand to guide a narrow piece of wood over the table saw. Both times I was trying to finish a project and was in a hurry. Both times I was thinking of the next step in the project. Both times it was after I finished the rip cut and was withdrawing my hand back.
Now I have been working with wood and power tools pretty regularly sense 1963, so it not as if I don’t know better, and have not always done better. The wife says I am just getting old and forgetful. I certainly hope I never have to give up woodworking.

The lesson is “no mater how many times you have done something, the first time you get careless, it will jump up and bite you”. Carelessness can become a habit.

-- Measure twice, cut once, and hope for the best.

View 404 - Not Found's profile

404 - Not Found

2544 posts in 3480 days

#3 posted 10-26-2011 01:07 AM

I have a 32mm scar on one index finger that serves as a reminder to always chisel away from you.
See mainwoodworks lesson in carelessness.

It’s probably also a good idea to knock off ALL the power when you’re doing anything electrical. A lesson I learned in my attic when I was adding a spur for the landing and inadvertently cut through the cable for the immersion heater.

Come to think of it, there’s so many dumb ass things I’ve done, I’m lucky to still be intact. The main thing is to think about what you’re doing when you’re doing it.

View NoLongerHere's profile


893 posts in 3187 days

#4 posted 10-26-2011 01:31 AM

carpenter with black finger nail says: Never pull on stuck bungi cord.

View chrisstef's profile


17960 posts in 3517 days

#5 posted 10-26-2011 01:38 AM

When using a chisel, especially a sharp one, do not attempt to hold the piece youre working on with your hand, clamp it to the table. A chisel carves wood but will do a number on flesh, tendons, and ligaments.

-- Its not a crack, its a casting imperfection.

View Beaujangles's profile


5 posts in 3310 days

#6 posted 10-26-2011 01:53 AM

Don’t overestimate your ability to dodge a piece of wood if a saw decides it wants to throw it at you. You are never as quick as you think you might be..

-- "If you can't explain it to a six year old, you don't understand it yourself." -- Albert Einstein

View RGtools's profile


3372 posts in 3165 days

#7 posted 10-26-2011 03:13 AM

Never work earlier in the morning than you are ready to. I darn near lost a fingertip to a hatchet in one of those “I thought I was smarter than that” moments. Take some time to wake up and you will be a whole lot safer.

-- Make furniture that lasts as long as the tree - Ryan

View Woodbutchery's profile


424 posts in 4096 days

#8 posted 10-26-2011 05:53 AM

I have been blessed by fortunate accidents – things that happened while I was doing all the safety things that underlined, bold-faced, highlighted, and placed in bright neon right in front of me, every day I step into the shop, that there’s a reason the magazines, shows, web sites, and fellow woodworkers admonish new woodworkers to take these steps:

1st time I used a circular saw I bought a pair of safety glasses with the saw, put them on because I’d bought them and why not, and as I’m making my first cut a splinter of wood shoots up from the blade and makes straight for my pupil, then bounces off the safety glasses.

Things like that. Don’t work tired. Don’t work angry. Pay attention when you are ready to start your machinery. It’s worth the effort.

Push blocks and other things that keep digits away from whirring metal revolving at high speed is good.

-- Making scrap with zen-like precision - Woodbutchery

View BertFlores58's profile


1698 posts in 3433 days

#9 posted 10-26-2011 09:35 AM

Being positive about learning the hardway…. allow me to share my first veneering experience.

I was tortured in trying my best experience veneering in making this box from concept to reality. The endeavor was truly a lot of hardwork and neckbreaking one. Learning this, I maybe going for next one. If you want to look back for the details just follow this project and blog for the step by step details.

-- Bert

View Roz's profile


1707 posts in 4297 days

#10 posted 10-28-2011 05:15 PM

Never allow yourself to be destracted with performing any shop operation. Cut, then talk, never do them together.

-- Terry Roswell, L.A. (Lower Alabama) "Life is what happens to you when you are making other plans."

View Rustic's profile


3256 posts in 4107 days

#11 posted 10-29-2011 05:48 AM

always wear carving glove and thumb guard when carving

--, Rick Kruse, Grand Rapids, MI

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