Get Woodworking – Tip for New Woodworkers

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Hey new woodworkers, WELCOME. As you read about “Get Woodworking” this week, follow through by getting out to your workshop (whatever it is) and build something.

photo of pepper shaker and pile of Band-AidsHere’s a quick tip: keep these two simple things in your shop. Yep, Band-Aids and pepper.

Since most of my woodworking is with hand tools, the risk of injury is much lower than the woodworking that uses spinning sharp things. The most important rule with the sorts of tools I use is “Keep both hands behind the cutting edge.” When followed, it is very effective for avoiding all sorts of stabs and slashes. I have NOT YET cut my self with a woodcarving chisel or gouge while carving. The rule works.

However, I do occasionally draw blood while handling the tools … yeah, handling, not using. Typically, it’s just a light swipe or brush of an edge while sharpening or while picking tools up and putting them away. One very good things about surgically sharp tools is that they make very clean cuts which, don’t hurt much, heal very quickly, but sometimes bleed like the dickens. I hate getting blood on my woodworking projects.

Thus, Band-Aids and pepper, both close at hand. Having the Band-Aids is obvious; they stop the blood dripping on that beautiful freshly planed wood. The pepper? One word: coagulant. Being one of those people on a low dose aspirin regimen, my blood clots just a little slower than normal. I found this tip a long time ago at a woodcarving discussion. Lots of powders can be sprinkled on a wound to hasten coagulation. In fact almost any powder will work. Yet, whereas sawdust might contain toxic stuff from some species of wood, pepper is much safer, readily available, and cheap. And…. it does not sting. Sprinkle some on and wrap with a Band-Aid.

Next time you drag a knuckle across a plane iron, pass the pepper.

2 Responses to “Get Woodworking – Tip for New Woodworkers”

  1. Jim Marsh Says:

    Pepper. I love it. I to take low dose aspirin but have never heard of pepper as a coagulant. I will keep some close and give it a shot.



  2. Jim Stuart Says:

    I’ve never heard of pepper as a coagulant either. It almost makes me anxious to get cut, so I can try it out. I’m sure I won’t need to wait very long. What I’ve always used is super glue. Years ago my friends would tell me that using the super glue would get in my blood stream and kill me. Now I see that one of the band aid companies has their own formulation that’s virtually the same as super glue.