Tools - Safety and General

Old, slightly broken radio.

This is one of the most important tools for most jobs and this particular radio has accompanied me during many projects. It is not an expensive radio (it was free) so it doesn't matter if it gets coated in sawdust (or paint, oil, grease, soil etc).

I also work better or even run on coffee. I am an engineer by profession so I am used to working with a cup of coffee on my desk. Extra care has to be taken in the loft. I have a series of plastic mugs that will not chip or break when knocked (over). I try not to spill, but I am not 100% successful. Also don't saw above or too near to your mug otherwise it will obtain a sprinkling of sawdust. If I am planning on working for a while a fill a flask. This means I can pour half cups, so I can drink it before it goes cold (remember the loft is cold in winter).

Yellow plastic mug of coffee and flask.
Insulated mug

Mary suggested a solution, an insulated mug with a lid (as used by soldiers). The coffee stays hot, the dust stays on the lid and does not form a suspension in the drink and if (when) I knock it, there is only a small hole for the liquid to come out of. This means if I am quick enough, when the mug is full (which is usually the case) when I knock it over I only spill half the beverage before I realise what I have done. I thought this mug was so good, I got another one for at work.

This is a dust mask, a piece of safety equipment. Some people choose not to use protective equipment. It is your body. A dust mask protects your lungs from damage that will only show itself later in life. I wear it when working with insulation, or when sweeping up. Even when I use a dust mask, I find the coffee (see above) is needed to cure a tickly throat. These are only disposable dust masks (about 10 pence each) and they don't stop everything. If you don't believe me, look after blowing your nose!

Disposable dust mask

I wear goggles when drilling and definitely when routing. Not much is thrown up when drilling but the consequences would be disastrous. Close your eyes. Now keep them closed, forever. Even if your eyes are not permanently damaged, it can be very painful and distressing if you do get anything in your eye. I experienced this when blowing sawdust away, with my eyes open, on another project.

These are disposable plastic gloves. These are very important when working with insulation that is made up of glass fibres (or rock wool). They prevent little painful splinters. If you do get glass fibre on/in your hands, plunge them into hot water. Your pores will open and hopefully most of the fibres can be released.

Disposable plastic gloves

However I have also been advised that this is completely wrong and dangerous and you should use cold water so that the fibres do not get into the pores. Thanks David for the advice. You have to make up your own advice, but best of all, wear gloves and cover the rest of your skin.

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