Safety First: Take care of your health
Working with metal, wood and other materials involved in the hobby activities supported by Nordic Edge is inherently dangerous.
Anyone using any of the tools or supplies we provide are personally responsible for learning the proper techniques involved and they assume all risk themselves of doing so. As a user of our products and services you assume all risk and accepts complete responsibility for any and all damages or injury of any kind, including death which might result from the use of any product or service purchased from Nordic Edge.
It is critical to use any tools, be it machine or hand-powered in a controlled and safe way. If in doubt, tired or not certain how to complete a process or use a tool in a safe and responsible way, seek assistance.
Particularly dangerous is the dust that is created from both metal, natural materials such as wood, and synthetic materials such as micarta, G10, acrylic, and a myriad of other products we offer. Nordic Edge recommends researching the health impact from dust from any material you might choose to work with, and invest in high-quality PPE lie dust mask, protective glasses. Dust extraction, separate grind room away from your main work area, hearing protection and long sleeved shirts and pants are only some of the ways you can reduce the health impact from creating dust.
PPE: Personal Protective Equipment
This can vary according to the tools and materials you are using, but it pays to consider what PPE you need to enjoy your hobby making without causing any negative health issues over time. The below is just a suggestion to get you thinking what might be appropriate in your situation:
- Dust mask to avoid breathing in dust
- Protective glasses to avoid particles or bigger damaging your eyes
- Hearing protection whenever doing something loud, such as forging or using a grinder
- Long sleeved clothing to reduce the dust on your skin
- Solid shoes is a great idea when working with sharp objects that might be dropped.
- When using chemicals like for instance acetone or epoxy glue, thin nylon gloves gives some protection as well as helps clean-up after gluing in a blade is easier when you can toss the gloves and have clean hands.
Dirty and Clean areas:
Avoid working without a dust mask in the same area as you are creating dust. Creating dust in an area is making that a "dirty area" as in it is not to be treated as clean and safe to be there without PPE, dust mask etc.
Particularly this means you should not have a grinder in your workshop, then sit down to work without a dustmask/respirator, with the air in the room full of dust. The dust we create is very fine and can be airborne for a very long time as well as be kicked up again into the air after settling.
Keeping a “dirty area” like a separate grind room or grinding outside might be a good way to avoid having dust inside your main work area.
The same goes for hand sanding – this should be done outside or in the grind room – never inside your living area or main workshop area if the dust can linger and affect you later.
Dust extraction is a great addition to any more permanent workspace – inside a dedicated “dirty” grind room. Dust extraction for knife making has some added complexities with metal vs wood dust we are not covering here, be sure to do your own research.
In the case of knife making, most of the dust involved is created when grinding either blade or handle material. When for instance having ground handle materials, it is common to be covered with a layer of dust from head to toe. Getting out of these clothes as soon as possible and not dragging this into your house, car or main workshop area is a great idea. Create a process that works for you, to reduce the exposure to dust by thinking out how you prefer to work and how you can modify the process to remove as much as possible the exposure to dust.
You might choose to not take dust exposure as seriously as we do – but please do take some time to consider your own process and how this exposes you to risk of injury from tools and techniques which usually are instant. But also the impact of having a hobby you enjoy without creating any long-term issues from exposure to dust as well as the chemicals involved, for instance acetone or epoxy glue.
After all we all want to make stuff and not get hurt, now or in the future.