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Feel the Power of the Tool, Literally

Randy DeVaul

Posted on July 13, 2019 09:55

1 user

If you own portable power tools, I am hoping you actually know how to use them correctly. Since owning one does not equate to knowing how to use one, please be safe and learn how to properly use it so you can enjoy your hobby and new skills and stay safe at home.

Do you own portable power tools like a portable drill, jigsaw, or screwdriver that are sitting on a shelf somewhere? Of course, you may have a bigger collection, including a circular saw, sander, grinder, router, and others.

Owning a power tool is not the same as knowing how to use the power tool. No, no, I am sure you do, but your neighbor might be power-tool challenged; let’s review some overlooked hazards.

First, have you (oh, I’m sorry – do you know someone that) used a power tool for things it was not intended? For example, a bit on a portable power screwdriver is NOT a substitute for a drill bit. Doing so means that you (sorry, again – your neighbor) do not know how to use the screwdriver properly; there is no intention of purchasing yet another tool that will spend most of its useful life on the shelf. You’ve done it before so you are now an "experienced" tool handler or any combination of the above.

How about that trigger lock? Nope, not the one that prevents you from shooting the gun you just purchased for self-defense, but the one on the power tool that lets you run the tool hands-free. Oh, yes – the amputating machine. Running a power tool with the trigger lock engaged is like driving your car on cruise control and thinking you don’t have to steer.  One problem is tool manufacturers keep making tools with trigger locks. I guess they really do expect you to “read” the manual – right?

Guards – those plastic or metal covers designed to protect your body parts from coming in contact with the dangerous tool parts – are supposed to be on the tool. Here’s a little wake-up call: if your neighbor decides it is easier to run the tool with the guard(s) removed, it is a sure sign to you that your neighbor does not have any clue on how to use that tool correctly.

Some of my neighbors take a lot of pride in their accumulated tool collection. Some of them actually even know how to use them properly.  But for those of us happy homeowners that have to buy the latest so we can simplify our home project list, take heed.

First, don’t buy a tool for a one-time or good-intentioned lifetime use. Rent it. It is cheaper than buying it, and it will save you money to pay your deductible or co-pay when you go for stitches. If you absolutely have to own it, check out some of the workshops at the home improvement stores or at least have someone (who already knows how to use it) show you the proper way to use the tool.

As a final note, use personal protection (still talking about tools, here) – safety glasses, ear plugs, and face shield. Doing it right saves time, pain, and wear on the body parts. Set a good example for your kids, too. Stay safe at home.

Randy DeVaul

Posted on July 13, 2019 09:55

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