Working safely with timber

By | 2019-11-22T06:29:02+00:00 December 1st, 2019|

By Dineo Phoshoko

Working with timber can be exciting, but also very dangerous. As a material, timber involves a lot sawing, hammering and drilling – activities that could potentially cause injuries.

Clamps keep the timber in place when working with timber. Pony Jorgensen

Clamps keep the timber in place when working with timber. Pony Jorgensen

Equipment manufacturers have put a significant amount of effort into the improvement of safety for their products. They have designed and produced products with smart and simple technologies to enhance safety when working with timber. The following are just some of the products available on the market:

Braking system for chainsaws

The inertia chain brake enhances the safer use of the chainsaw.STIHL

The inertia chain brake enhances the safer use of the chainsaw. Credit: STIHL

STIHL chainsaws have the inertia brake, which is specifically designed to limit the risk of injury in certain kickback situations (no chain brake can eliminate 100% risk of kickback injury).

The inertia chain brake enhances the safer use of the chainsaw by automatically engaging the chain brake in the event of kickback.

Chainsaw kickback is a serious potential threat to any chainsaw operator, regardless of skill or experience and occurs when incorrect cutting methods or procedures are used. These include using the upper quadrant of the nose of the guide-bar, or if the chain gets obstructed or jammed in the cut. This causes the tip of the guide-bar to rotate in an arc towards the operator with great speed and energy. Since kickback occurs in a split second and with great force, the inertia brake is invaluable in preventing serious injury to the operator.

The chainsaw brake handle, brake spring and band have been developed to be the ideal weight and tension to activate automatically in the event of kickback by the rapid movement of the saw.

Clamps keep the timber in place when working with timber. Pony Jorgensen

Clamps keep the timber in place when working with timber. Credit: Pony Jorgensen

Adjustable clamps

Strength and reliability are an important safety aspect when working with timber. This is where clamps come in as they have the capacity to handle all timber types. Pony Jorgensen has a range of clamps are made from high-quality ductile cast iron, drop-forged, high-carbon steel, and anodised aluminium.

Bar clamps

These are available in aluminium and steel having an excellent strength-to-weight ratio, making them strong, lightweight, and perfect for both commercial and DIY applications. The bars are crafted from anodised, rust-resistant aluminium, and their rectangular design creates a stable clamping surface for edge gluing. The tail-stop’s trigger spring takes advantage of notches on the bar to lock into place. The steel version of the bar clamps provides seriously strong cast-iron stationary and sliding heads, merged with a high-carbon, rust-resistant steel bar that packs a whopping 100 000 pounds per square inch of tensile strength.

C-clamps

The most popular and complete line of light heavy-duty C-clamps, these are smoothly cut, the acme-threaded steel screw is zinc plated and protected with a black finish for lasting durability. The clamp casting is made with ductile iron for strength before receiving a powder-coated Pony-orange finish. Available in a wide variety of sizes and clamping forces, all with full-closing screws.

Spring and hand clamps

These metal spring clamps are said to be the most durable clamps available, and the hand clamps allow for pressure adjustments to meet any woodworking need.

Band clamps

These clamps are ideal for round, rectangular, or irregularly shaped woodworking projects together with the range of quality nylon, canvas, and rapid-acting band clamps.

Specialised clamps

In addition to traditional clamps, Pony Jorgensen also has specialty clamps. The range of specialty clamps include the hand screw, and hold-down clamps, cabinet claws, press screws, gear, and edging clamps. All are available in their option of sizes, materials and finish.

The SawStop Safety innovation reduces injuries caused by saws. SawStop Safety

The SawStop Safety innovation reduces injuries caused by saws. Credit: SawStop Safety

Saw safety

Working with timber requires the use of saws, which can potentially cause injuries. SawStop Safety is an innovation that reduces injuries caused by saws. Table saws cause tens of thousands of serious injuries every year. SawStop minimises these injuries by stopping the blade within 5 milliseconds of contact. That is ten times faster than a car’s airbag. Ten times faster than your reflexes can respond to danger.

The blade carries a small electrical signal, which the safety system continually monitors. When skin makes contact on the blade, the signal changes because the human body is conductive. The change to the signal activates the safety system.

An aluminium brake springs into the spinning blade, stopping it in less than 5 milliseconds! The blade’s angular momentum drives it beneath the table, removing the risk of subsequent contact and the power to the motor is automatically shut off. Resetting the saw yourself is easy. Simply replace the blade and affordable brake cartridge and your saw is operational again. The entire reset process takes less than five minutes.

Dust extraction

Festool Dust Extractors keep the workplace safe and healthy for all workers. FESTOOL

Festool Dust Extractors keep the workplace safe and healthy for all workers. Credit: FESTOOL

Whether cutting, sanding, sawing or routing, dust is produced as part of day-to-day operations in workshops, on construction sites and at other mobile operating sites. However, a dust-free working environment is indispensable in order to ensure that your work produces good results. If dust settles on the workpieces, this is guaranteed to impair quality. It has also been proven that tools from which dust is actively extracted have a significantly longer service life. When working without dust extraction, tradespeople breathe in the substances, some of which are hazardous. This poses a health risk.
The Festool Dust Extractors keep the workplace safe and healthy for all workers, offering numerous versions of extraction systems providing the appropriate model in the correct dust class for every user.

“Clean air and good working results go hand in hand. This is why we offer numerous versions of extraction systems which provide the appropriate model in the correct dust class for every user. All Festool extractors have proven in independent tests that they comply with legal requirements and are manufactured according to the ‘Made in Germany’ standards,” explains Festool product manager Andreas Buck. In addition, the extractors are suitable for use with Festool’s fully compatible system – whether for applications with power tools, air tools or cleaning accessories.

Companies use different extractors to optimally remove dust, depending on whether the work is being carried out on a construction site or at a mobile operating site. The Occupational Exposure Limits (OELs) for the machined materials can be taken from the materials lists of the occupational insurance associations. Each OEL value determines the maximum dust concentration of certain types of dust in the air. The benchmark is that the dust remaining in the air must not pose a health risk, even when work is carried out for up to eight hours each day.

Dust and dirt on construction sites are sucked in via the air volume flow of the tool extractors. The extractor’s turbine creates a vacuum and therefore the air or volume flow required for this. The air speed must be increased for sucking in heavier materials. “Many people are unaware that the suction power is not directly related to power consumption. That’s why you shouldn’t pick a new extractor solely based on the declared power consumption,” explains Festool Product Manager Andreas Buck.

A different air speed might be recommended – and therefore a larger hose diameter – depending on the materials to be collected: The larger the hose diameter, the lower the air speed. The larger the hose cross section, the greater the volume flow. For instance, lightweight materials, such as wood, stone and glass dust, metal chips or PVC, only require low air speeds up to 25 m/s with a large hose diameter. By contrast, the best way to collect heavy materials, such as oil or stony sand, is to use high air speeds with a small hose diameter.

In addition to the filter performance, another important feature of the mobile dust extractors is ease of transport on construction sites and at mobile operating sites.