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Sanding can be a messy job and is often a prolonged operation. It can also be dangerous if you aren't careful. Here's how to use a sander with safety in mind.

It is of utmost importance that you do not lose concentration, and that your working environment be correct, as pointed out below.

Read and understand your owner/ operators manual.

Stationary sanders may incorporate both belt and disc
sanding features. Portable sanders are normally single
feature sanders (disc, pad, or belt). You must exercise
caution and alertness to avoid injuries, such as skin
abrasions, that can result from contacting the sanding
medium or other moving parts-belts, pulleys, and arbors.

Don't use a small sander for a big job or a large sander
for a small job.

Read and understand the warnings on the sander itself.

Always wear safety goggles or safety glasses with side
shields complying with current national standard, and a full
face shield when needed. Use a dust mask in dusty work
conditions. Sanding dust may affect your breathing and
overcome you if you are not protected against it particularly
when working with many of the exotic (tropical) hardwoods.
Wear hearing protection during extended periods of operation.

Do not wear loose clothing, jewelry or any dangling objects
that may catch in rotating parts or accessories. Tie back
long hair.

Adequate ventilation of your work area is very important
when using any type of sander. The use of exhaust type
systems or bag collection is also recommended. Dust can
explode if the concentration becomes too great. Wood dust
and the finishes from woodwork are very combustible.

Before connecting a portable sander to the power supply be
sure the switch and switch lock (if provided) are in the "off"
position. If not the sander will start immediately and loss of
control could result in an injury.

Stay constantly aware of cord location.

Abrasive belts should be the width recommended by the

Always keep your face and hands well clear of moving parts
such as belts and pulleys.

Never lock a portable sander in the "on" position when the
nature of a job may require stopping the sander quickly, such
as using a disc sander on an automobile's fender well, the
rotating disc could get jammed and result in an accident. Hold
sander firmly.

It should never be necessary to force a portable sander. The
weight of the tool applies adequate pressure. Forcing too much pressure can cause stalling, overheating of the tool, burning of the work piece, and possible kickback of the tool or work piece.

With portable sanders be careful not to expose the tool to
liquids, or to use in damp, wet locations.

Keep power supply and extension cords from entanglement withthe moving parts of the sander. Damaged cords can result in an electrical shock.

A cord that is contacted by a moving belt can cause loss of tool control and possible injury.

When adjusting the tracking of the belt on a portable sander becertain that you have the sander supported and positioned to avoid accidental contact with yourself or adjacent objects.

Do not work with a faulty tracking sander. Discontinue work until the problem is corrected.

Your work area should be at least 3 ft. to 4 ft. larger than the
length of stock you are sanding on all working sides of a
stationary sander.

On stationary sanders, maintain a 1/16 in. maximum clearance between the table and the sanding disc or belt.

Always support your work piece on a stationary sander with the table or backstop.

Use jigs or fixtures to hold your work piece whenever possible.

Always unplug and, in the case of portable sanders, store
away after use.

Remove material or debris from the area that might be ignited
by sparks from sanding metal.