As the old proverb says: “Know Safety, No Injury :: No Safety, Know Injury.” Today we would like to talk with you about woodcarving safety. Most likely, you will agree that safety is one of the main issues when carving.
✅ WHERE IS THE CUTTING EDGE? First of all, the tool awareness (knowing where the cutting edge of the tool) is common sense but you will be surprised how often carvers are hurt because they are not paying attention as for the tools cutting edges. They will set a knife or chisel down in such a way that when the carvers reach for it again they can be stabbed or maybe cut.
✅ EYE PROTECTION. Wearing eye protection is also very important. You will be surprised how far the small wood chip can fly when it pops up of the carving, with both knives and chisels.
✅ DUST PROTECTION. Many kinds of wood can have toxic issues causing breathing, even eye or skin issues. Dust protection should be used when sanding is important. Please read up on the wood you are working with. And if it is needed, a simple dust mask will solve the breathing issues.
✅ NO HURRY! Take your time, it’s not a race. Carve slowly and control the knife!
✅ DEFINE YOUR NEEDS! The right knife for the job makes a difference. So you need to know what knife fits your needs (sloyd knife, chip carving knife, detail knife, spoon knife etc).
✅ FIND THE LIGHT! Make sure to have your workplace well lighted.
✅ FIRST MAKE PEACE. If you just had some kind of squabble never start carving. Don’t ever carve in a bad mood!
✅ TAKE SOME REST. It’s better not to carve right after you finished your work, better take some rest preferably at fresh air and only then start carving.
✅ ALWAYS WEAR GLOVES! Wear a proper glove and know the placement of your hands (fingers) at all times before each cut. Ask yourself the question, what would happen now if the knife slipped with this cut. Always wear gloves on at least your non-dominant hand, if not both!
There are a few types of protective carving gloves available. It is important to understand that gloves can stop slicing cuts, but no glove will prevent the injuries, like punctures. Many carvers try a few different gloves before settling on the favorite that works well for them. Here, a few woodcarvers share their carving glove preferences.
Perhaps, you know the names of the most popular: Skylar Johnson: Kevlar glove with rubber gripping dots, Floyd Rhadigan: Kevlar glove with leather palm, Edmund Livingston, Jr.: Stainless steel filet or chainmail glove and others that are comfortable and help to stay safe when carving.
Carvers also need protective gears for their thumbs of their knife-holding hand. The woodcarver often uses paring cuts, which requires the carver to draw a knife through wood toward the thumb. The thumb guard protects the thumb as the carver makes this cut. It also cushions the thumb as it is pushing on the back of the blade when the carver is cutting away from himself.
Many carvers use the leather thumb guards to protect their thumbs. This is just a leather pad attached to an elastic band. The leather on some guards goes over the tip of the thumb and the top is open on other guards, but there isn’t much difference in effectiveness between these two types.
Some carvers wrap cut-resistant plasticized tape around the thumb to make the custom guard. While the tape carvers use is similar to the self-adhesive tape used by veterinarians to hold bandages onto animals. Please note that the vet wrap tape is not cut resistant and should not be used as a substitute. Also, some carvers fashion their own thumb guards from duct tape or using duct tapes to reinforce leather or rubber thumb protectors.
We hope you will consider these things when carving and will stay safe. Carving is really fun to do. It is like eating the chips, once you have done one it is hard to stop.
Enjoy Wood Carving with Beavers and Take Care! ☺️