woodworking dangerAnother reality of woodworking is that it exposes you to dangerous tools and environments that many other jobs do not. Of course, with the proper training and safety precautions (see Health and Safety), you can have a long career in woodworking without any injuries, but the potential is still there pretty much everyday.

Of course you will have control over your own actions and if you make the decisions to work safely, then your chance of injury will be greatly reduced. However, you will be working with all sorts of tools that may or may not be maintained properly. The company you work for, may not 'care' enough about its employees to spend the money to have its tools maintained properly or have blades sharpened on a regular basis.

You also do not have control over the person working next to you. If he/she doesn't tighten that router bit sufficiently, it may come flying out in any direction, perhaps toward you.. (I personally witnessed this happen, that is why I am giving it as an example.)

Kickbacks may happen at any time, and depending on the layout of the shop, you may be in harm's way more often than not while others are working.

Another hazard is the respiratory exposure to dust. I've seen many shops where dust collectors were just not adequate enough to filter the air properly. Long term exposure to dust, especially from MDF and particle board, can be very toxic to your health.

The same goes for finishing products. Exposure to lacquer and hazardous finishing solvents is very common as a woodworker, even if you do not work in the finishing department.

Sure, other jobs have their dangers too. Sitting at a computer for years on end is not healthy either. But, if you are a nervous person, become stressed around potentially dangerous machinery, or just a clumsy person, the daily exposure to all these hazards may make woodworking not a good career choice for you.

There will always be pressure from either the boss, floor manager, shop steward, or coworkers to get things done a little bit faster. But always remember, getting a few extra cabinets finished in a day or a few more panels cut before break is not worth any of your fingers.

For the most part, most of these dangers and hazards are controllable. Sometime it takes working in a few different shops to get find the right place that you are comfortable working in. You just have to be aware of what you are doing and take adequate precautions.

Yan G.
Author: Yan G.
Professionally trained/educated cabinet and furniture maker, with over 20 years of woodworking business experience.