Lathe Safety

L for Lathe Safety                                  


This guide focuses on Lathe Safety and feature hints to help make turning safer, both before and after starting the lathe.



Ten things to do before turning on the lathe.


1.   Check that the workpiece is securely located in the chuck or workholder.

2.  Check that the workpiece will revolve freely without hitting the toolrest, bedbars

or saddle.

3.   Remove loose bark, wood or pieces of debris from the workpiece.

4.   Check that the selected lathe speed is suitable for the task.

5.   Check that both the saddle and the toolrest are tight and that the toolrest is at the right height for the tool to be used.

6.   Clear the floor area around the lathe to give an unimpeded working area.

7.   Ensure there is a clear exit path out of the working area in case you need to bail out in a hurry.

8.   Have a remote way of switching the lathe off. Then if you have bailed out you do not  have to approach the lathe to switch it off.

9.   Remove any loose clothing, watches and jewellery that could get caught in the revolving work. (An 18 inch necktie catching on a 1 inch diameter workpiece turning at 1800 rpm gives the wearer less than 0.2 seconds to take action)

10.  Lastly don’t skip necessary preparatory work in your hurry to get turning.



Ten things to do when the lathe is running.


1.   Wear suitable eye and face protection.

2.   Use suitable respiratory protection when turning – not just when sanding (Dirt, dust and fungal spores are given off when machining wood)

3.   Stand to one side out of the ‘line of fire’ when switching on the lathe.

4.   Select lower speeds for initial turning of unbalanced work pieces

5.   Change operating speed if undue vibration is experienced.

6.   Ensure that the tool is resting on the toolrest before moving the tool to engage the work.

7.   Keep fingers behind the toolrest to avoid trapping between the rest and the revolving work.

8.   Do not rely on the taper fit to retain a drill chuck in the lathe spindle. (A threaded bar through the spindle will secure the chuck)

9.   Do not attempt to adjust the lathe or the toolrest with the lathe running.

10.  Take time to think about what you are doing, what you are going to do next and how you are going to do it safely.




LEARNING POINTS -   Take adequate time to prepare for and to do your woodturning.


Trevor Branton