Dangerous woodworking videos?
Since I’ve been spending more time on Instagram lately, I’ve noticed that I’m wincing at a lot more videos than I had anticipated.
They usually include scenes involving a table saw, but sometimes a mitre saw, jointer or other power tool commonly found in a woodworking shop.
To be clear, I’m not saying the operations the creators are showing are inherently dangerous. I’m just saying they look dangerous. This is usually because the videos are sped up about five times, maybe even up to 10 times, and they’re edited to remove some of the dull moments when nothing is happening. When this happens, people’s hands and arms are whizzing around looking wild and uncontrolled, and almost always within a few inches of a rotating blade.
One thing I tell my students is to always move slightly slower than they normally would when operating something like a table saw. Rather than quickly reaching for an offcut or moving a workpiece, take a bit of extra time to move slowly and deliberately so your mind has time to catch up to your hands as they reach, grab, move and lift while a machine is on. Watching videos set to a high playback speed, especially when they’re edited to remove the waiting between some operations, only makes me think someone is going to lop off a finger.
My videos, too
A few videos I’ve made over the past few weeks had me worried I’d cut my fingers off and somehow didn’t notice. I didn’t do it on purpose, but that was what the videos left me thinking after watching them after they were edited.
Even though these sorts of videos make me nervous, creating videos that move more slowly won’t attract many views on social media sites. Sure, some woodworkers may want to watch a 15-minute video on how to cut a mortise and tenon joint, but these videos serve a different purpose.
The high-speed videos I’m talking about are more for entertainment and inspiration than the longer, more detailed instructional videos. Instagram is for entertainment and fun, whereas the instructional videos we’ve produced for our website are very much on the slow and detailed side of the spectrum so viewers can become better woodworkers.
Looks can be deceiving
Maybe I have a sick mind, but watching all of these videos got me thinking about trying to make videos that look dangerous when they’re sped up 10x, but are actually not at all dangerous when played back at regular speed and are unedited. It’s not that I want to scare anyone, but rather show viewers that looks can be deceiving. Just as not every video that’s been sped up and edited is dangerous, not every video that’s on the internet playing at normal speed is safe. It’s up to all of us to make up our own minds. A good rule of thumb would be to not do something that we’ve seen on the internet if we think it might be unsafe. Basically, think for yourself, be aware of good practices and learn how to operate machinery, power tools and hand tools from a trusted source so you don’t injure yourself.