1. Get to Know Your Equipment and your limits: Understand your lathe, its limits and how it operates. Know how to properly use your tools. If you’re uncomfortable with a new technique, do not perform it. We have members that would be more than happy to help you get the most out of your lathe and tools.

2. Keep work area clean and yourself clear of spinning wood. Make sure your tools are safely stored, while using and when finished. Make sure nothing will get wrapped around your chuck while it’s turning . . . including your hands and fingers. Keep your work area well lit (or lighted) and ventilated. Keep long hair tied back, no loose clothing or jewelry. You should not wear gloves (I do know some turners do to help pad their hands, but it is dangerous).

3. Inspect Your Lathe and the wood. Ensure your lathe is in good working order before turning it on. Check to ensure that the speed is appropriate, no chuck keys or adjustment wenches are on equipment.

  • Always spin the wood at least one full turn before turning the lathe on after making adjustments.
  • Always stand to the side when starting up a lathe.
  • Never leave a spinning lathe unattended.

4. Wear Safety Equipment. To operate a lathe you must wear at a minimum of eye protection. A full face shield is required when turning larger items such as bowl turning. A dust mask is recommended at all times.

5. Securing the Wood. Try to turn between centers whenever possible. Use slower speeds when first roughing out a piece. Never use wood that has a crack.

6. General Safety Techniques. Keep your tools sharp; don’t force the tool through the wood. Turn off the lathe to reposition the tool rest and keep it close to the work. Keep the tool firmly against the tool rest, you’ll find out fast what happens when you don’t. Use only paper towels, never cloth on spinning wood.

Other safety information:

AAW Safety Information
Turning Tools Safety – Turning
Craftsy Safety Tips