By themselves, tools are not dangerous. Tools become dangerous only in the hands of a careless person. The best safety rules for handling tools are the simplest:
• Keep all tools in good condition
• Use the correct tool for the job
• Put away all tools when you are not using them
• Keep your working area neat and clean
• Know which end of a tool cuts, and always keep that end turned away from yourself and other people
• Use power tools that are grounded or double-insulated
• Wear eye protection when you use tools that make flying chips
• Keep power tool guards in place
People can stumble and fall on a sharp saw or chisel. They can accidentally knock a hammer off a bench on to someone’s foot. If everything is put away, all the time, accidents like these become rare.
Tools in good shape are easier and safer to work with. Dull chisels, loose hammer heads, and broken screwdrivers should be repaired or replaced.
Tools that are safely put away do not cause accidents and injury.
Everyone knows what a nail or a screw is—until a store clerk asks which kind you want. There are many to choose from. The most common fasteners are:
• Tacks, nails, and brads
• Nuts and bolts
Tacks have large heads. Brads are small nails. Nails are sized by the “penny” (d): the bigger the penny number, the larger the nail. Some nails have extra-large heads to keep from pulling through soft material. Finish nails or casing nails have very small heads so they can be set below the surface. This is done with a nail set. The holes are then puttied over. There are even special nails to be driven into concrete.
Screws also come in many types and sizes. Their size is based on the thickness of the shank. Screw gages tell how thick the shank is. Most screws with flat heads can be driven so they are flush with the surface. This is called countersinking.
Countersinking and drilling for flathead screws. If you have to sink a large number of screws, buy a special bit that drills both size holes and countersinks all at once. A little wax rubbed on the screw thread will make it easy to drive the screw into the wood.
Nuts and bolts are also good fasteners. They come in different sizes and are used for different jobs. Nuts, bolts, and machine screws (those used for metal) have a number telling the diameter of the shank, followed by another number which tells how many threads per inch. For example a 1/4-20 bolt has a 1/4 inch shank and 20 threads per inch.