The topic of safety in your woodworking shop is one which every woodworker should be very familiar with. Today I wanted to cover the issue of safety in relation to one particular tool that you may have in your studio. That is the spindle sander – covered in detail on this site.
Now, a spindle sander is definitely not on the list of the most dangerous woodworking power tools out there. It’s not the kind of tool that could chop off your limbs or anything like that, unless you do something really stupid with it. But given that it is a rotating power tool with sandpaper on it, it can still cause some unpleasant and nasty injuries if used incorrectly. You could end up with abrasions on your skin or similar which would take a while to heal.
So, speaking of safety in regards to the spindle sander, there are a few things to keep in mind. First of all, don’t ever touch the spinning spindle with your bare hands, or even with gloves. That should be obvious, but it’s always worth repeating.
Secondly, whenever change the sanding paper, make sure that the machine is stopped and unplug it from the mains. This will ensure that the machine will not start working if you accidentally flip the switch, or if there is some malfunction while you are changing the sleeve.
Third, always wear protective eye glasses while sanding. The dust and wooden chips can seriously hurt your eyes should they go there.
When first installing your sander make sure you read the manual in its entirety. Pay special attention to grounding instructions. This is a high-voltage machine, and if there are any electrical leaks they could be dangerous to your health.
Also, while sanding, do not ever make contact between the working part and the spindle in a sudden motion, and never throw things at the spinning spindle. This could cause the working part to suddenly slip from your hands and fly off in a random direction. You could accidentally hit your hand on the rotating drum and hurt yourself.
Other than that, as said earlier, spindle sanders are not the most dangerous machines that you could have in your workshop. Follow usage instructions properly and of course use common sense, and you should be relatively safe while using this multifunctional and versatile device in your woodworking projects.