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Safety Devices | Safety Rules | Speed Conversion Chart

Safety is a frame of mind, and should be an important part of everything we use or do. You can have an accident when driving, trip when climbing stairs, fall when pruning a tree, or slip in the tub. We are surrounded by potential hazards.

The people who don't become victims are those who accept the possibilities and prepare for them. Woodworking safety requires good common sense.

Some woodworkers have been known to neglect to use guards and will ignore correct procedures, feeling that they are knowledgeable enough to be immune. Accident statistics are comprised of these people, and it is interesting to note that included are more professionals than amateurs. Safe woodworking is not a matter of experience or expertise, or the sophistication of the tool you are using. Safety rules should be studied and followed, not ignored.

Warnings, Cautions and Notes appear throughout this book. When you come to one of these statements, plese read and understand it fully. Their meanings are:

Warning: A Warning is given when failure to follow the directions is likely to result in injury, loss of limb, or other serious injury.

Caution: A Caution is given when failure to follow the directions is likely to result in damage to the equipment.

Safety Factors Built into the System
Warning: For your safety, always read, understand and follow the procedures in the Owners Manual and use the guards and safety equipment that came with your machines.

The Shopsmith Woodworking System has many built-in safety features, but the effectiveness of these features depends on you.

Guards--Most shop accidents happen on unguarded power machines. Therefore, it is important to keep guards in working order and to always keep them mounted on the machine during operations. Guards, like the upper saw guard shown in Figure 1-20, are designed to prevent kickback and to help keep your hands out of the danger zone.

Safety Accessories and Devices--Accessories and devices such as the miter gauge with safety grip, fixtures and extensions help to keep your hands away from the blade, cutter or disc. The miter gauge with safety grip holds the stock securely and safely during the operation (Figure 1-21). Rip fence and miter gauge extensions, and fixtures that you can make help to support and guide the stock (Figure 1-22).

Shopsmith Safety Kit--The safety kit (Figure 1-23) contains a push stick, push block, feather board and fence straddler.These devices either help guide, hold and control the stock safely during operations on the Mark V or Major Accessories.

The push stick (Figure 1-24) is used to guide small to medium sized stock. Place the foot on top of the stock and hook the heel over the back edge.

The push block (Figure 1-25) is used to hold down and guide the stock. As you press down, forward, and to the side, the rubber pad grips the stock. The handle is tilted to help keep your hands out of the danger zone.

The feather board (Figure 1-26) is used to press stock against the rip fence or the table. Mount the feather board in a table slot, in the slot of a fence extension, or clamp it to the table. The fingers must be angled in the same direction that you feed the stock-use the arrow on top of the feather board as a guide. Position the fingers so they press against the stock just before it gets to the blade or cutter, then tighten the locking knobs. To reverse the direction of the fingers, remove the mounting bar, turn the feather board over, then replace the bar.

The fence straddler (Figure 1-27) is used to hold down and guide small narrow stock past a blade or cutter. The body rides on the rip fence, while the heel hooks over the back edge of the stock. To change the height of the heel, loosen the locking knob. To reverse the heel, rotate the side 180. Be sure the lcoking knob is secure before using the straddler.

Mark V Table Inserts--The Mark V worktable has an opening that is shaped to receive various table inserts, each of which is designed to accommodate a particular blade or cutter (Figure 1-28). The purpose of the insert is to support the stock and to minimize the opening around the cutting tool. If you're working with very thin stock that could be drawn down into the opening, make special inserts like the one shown in Figure 1-29. As you can see, there is no room for thin material to be pulled beneath the table. Construction details for the special inserts are found in Chapter 2, "Special Table Inserts."

Mark V Spindles--The main Mark V spindle and the upper auxiliary spindle which projects at the rear of the power plant are designed with a "reverse taper" to keep accessories secured. All the accessories and arbors that mount on the spindles must be positioned so the locking screw seats firmly against the flat (Figure 1-30). This is a safety feature that is provided as a precaution against tools coming off the spindle should the locking screw become loose.

To properly mount an accessory, push it all the way on the spindle. Then use a 5/32" Allen wrench to tighten the setscrew against the flat of the spindle. To make sure the accessory is securely mounted, rock the accessory back and forth slightly as you tighten the setscrew and then again after it is tight, while keeping the spindle from turning, If the accessory seems to loosen, tighten the setscrew again until you've removed any 'play.' Warning: During any prolonged operation, always check the locking screw occasionally to be sure that normal tool vibration hasn't caused the screw to loosen.

Important Safety Equipment
Besides the built-in safety features of the machines, there is other safety equipment that you'll need to add to your shop.

Eye, Ear and Nose Protection--Figure 1-31 shows products that should be standard equipment in any shop. They don't saw, sand, drill or plane, but they protect you when doing such operations. Safety glasses, goggles or a face shield should be worn for all workshop operations. Ordinary eyeglasses do not provide adequate eye protection.

Many people feel that a dust mask should only be worn when doing sanding operations. Actually, sawing, jointing, planing, shaping and routing can produce dust that is fine enough to accumulate in the lungs--a potentially harmful situation. Warning: The bonding agents in some plywoods can irritate the throat and lungs; the dust from some woods can be toxic causing an allergic reaction or other injury. Wear a respirator when doing any operation that produces fine particles. Be sure to clean or replace the filters in the respirator regularly.

When you work around power equipment, hearing protectors are just as important as eye protectors. Warning: High frequencies can be generated by high-speed motors and even some woodworking operations. The effects are cumulative; each prolonged exposure can have an effect that, over the years, may result in a hearing loss. A good pair of hearing protectors will screen out high frequencies while still permitting normal conversation.

Dust Collection System--As you work, with your Shopsmith Woodworking System, you'll find there's another hazard that literally springs up under your feet if you don't do something about it--sawdust.

Sawdust like other woodworking clutter, can cause you to lose your footing and fall into the machinery. It can also be a fire hazard. Tracking sawdust from your shop into your home can be a nuisance to those with whom you live. Warning: Breathing sawdust can be a health hazard. Several medical studies have shown that prolonged exposure to sawdust may cause impaired breathing. Sawdust may also cause you physical discomfort, especially if you have emphysema, asthma, or an allergic reaction.

If you work in a shop where the dust in the air can become highly concentrated, or if your woodworking generates a lot of fine wood dust, wear a close-fitting dust mask, open a window and use an exhaust fan to ventilate your shop.

One of the most effective ways to protect yourself from the effects of sawdust and keep your shop clean at the same time is to use a dust collection system. The hoses from a system connect to the dust chutes on your power tools. The Shopsmith Dust Collector (Figure 1-32) is an extremely effective dust collection system. It will give you virtually dust-free woodworking. Refer to Chapter 25 for Dust Collector information. Pay special attention to Table 25-1, a listing of toxic woods and possible reactions.

General Safety Rules for Power Tools
Here are some general safety rules to follow when operating power tools:

  • Read, understand and follow the Owners Manual for any tool you operate.
  • Keep your hands and fingers out of the danger zone.
  • Ground all tools (unless double insulated).
  • Wear proper eye and ear protection. Also, wear a dust mask.
  • Keep guards in place and in working order. Most injuries occur on unguarded power tools.
  • Remove adjusting keys and wrenches.
  • Do not wear loose clothing, ties, gloves, or jewelry. Roll sleeves up above your elbows, wear nonslip footwear, and tuck long hair under a hat.
  • Do not operate power tools if you are fatigued, taking medication, or under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
  • Do not use power tools in damp, wet or explosive atmospheres.
  • Keep work areas well lit, clean, and free from clutter.
  • Make sure accessories, safety devices and fixtures are properly adjusted and secured before turning on the machine.
  • Secure all locks.
  • Make sure the machine rests firmly on the floor when in use-not up on the retractable casters.
  • Operate tools at the correct speed for the operation.
  • Never stand directly in the line of rotation of a moving blade, cutter, disc or stock. If a kickback occurs you could be hit by the stock.
  • Do not work with stock that is too small or too large to handle safely.
  • Do not use second-hand lumber or wood that is wet, pltchy or has loose knots.
  • Do not force a tool; it will do the job better and more safely at the rate for which it was designed.
  • Do not use a tool or accessory to do a job for which it was not designed.
  • Feed the workpiece into the cutter against the rotation of the cutter only.
  • Repair or replace damaged parts before further use. If a strange noise or vibration develops, turn off and unplug the machine. Correct the problem.
  • Use clamps, fixtures, and other devices to hold, support and control workpieces.
  • Do not overreach. Keep proper footing and balance at all times.
  • Turn off the tool and wait until it comes to a complete stop before removing workpieces and scraps.
  • Never try to stop the tool by grabbing the workpiece or any part of the tool. Turn off the tool and let it come to a complete stop by itself.
  • Do not leave the tool running unattended. Turn power off. Don't leave tool until it comes to a complete stop.
  • Avoid unintentional starting. Make sure the switch is In the "off" position before plugging in or unplugging the tool.
  • Turn off and unplug tools before changing accessories and setups, making adjustments, and performing maintenance and repair.
  • Do not stand or lean on the tool. You could fall onto the tool or it could tip over injuring you and/or damaging the tool.
  • Keep parts and tools sharp, clean and maintained according to the Owners Manual.
  • Make your workshop childproof. Unplug tools, use padlocks, master switches and remove starter keys.
  • Keep children away. All visitors should stay a safe distance from power tools, and wear eye and ear protection.
  • Use only recommended Shopsmith parts and accessories on your Shopsmith Woodworking System. NEVER use non-Shopsmith replacement parts or accessories. They are not designed like Shopsmith parts. Using non-Shopsmith parts may create a hazard and could void your warranties.
Table 1-1: Speed Dial Conversion Chart for 50 hz Operations
RPM Speed Dial Setting


NOTE: To determine the speed dial setting for 50 hz operations find the RPM closest to but not exceeding the RPM recommended in the text. Set the speed dial to the letter given.

Speed Conversion Chart
The Mark V is equipped with a speed dial that is calibrated by letter through variable speed ranges (Figure 1-33). Correct speeds are important for safety and good craftsmanship. The speed setting is determined by the operation being performed and the material being processed. Speed dial settings for particular operations are given throughout the text. When there is doubt about what speed to use, start with a slow speed and increase it slowly to the point where the operation is going smoothly. The main and upper auxiliary spindles turn from 700 RPM to 5200 RPM. The lower auxiliary spindle turns 1.6 times faster than the other two, or between 1120RPM and 8320 RPM.

The Mark V speed dial settings with the RPM in parentheses that are given throughout the text are for 60 hz operations only. Most owners have the 60 hz machines. If you have a 50 hz machine, use Table 1-1 to convert the RPM for 60 hz operations to the proper speed dial settings for 50 hz operations.

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Introduction | Starting Your Shop | Adding Major Tools | Adding Accessories | Safety