Frostic School of Art
Western Michigan University
Frostic School of Art Woodshop
K1140 South Kohrman Hall
Brad Smith -
The woodshop is located on the first floor of South Kohrman Hall and is a support facility for the students, faculty and staff of the Frostic School of Art (FSoA).
The mission of the Frostic School of Art Woodshop is to provide a safe and reliable
work environment for the exploration and study of wood-
Safety in the woodshop is the highest priority. Accidents may result in serious bodily harm or death. Following proper safety procedures and conforming to the woodshop policies as outlined in this handbook will greatly reduce any chance of injury.
If you are not 100% sure about any tool operation or the safety of a cut -
Do not experiment with the tools or try to figure out how to use a machine on your own. If you do not use a tool or machine exactly how you have been shown or neglect to follow all safety rules, severe injury could result.
Under the direction of Brad Smith, students involved in the “Fine Woodworking Apprenticeship Program”, design and create commissioned pieces of wood art and functional furniture. Proceeds from the work created in the Woodworking Studio help to support the woodshop and the apprenticeship program.
Commissions are selected based on educational value and the size and scope of the
project. Preference will be given, but not limited, to non-
The student apprentice benefits by learning traditional and modern woodworking techniques
while gaining real-
Eye protection must be worn while working in the woodshop facility -
Consistent failure to wear eye protection will result in loss of shop access.
In the event of an injury-
Notify the shop supervisor or monitor on duty immediately. Shop personnel will follow
No loose fitting clothing while working in the woodshop. Hair needs to be pulled back and secure. Footwear should cover the toes, heel and top of foot.
In the event of accidents resulting in machine damage, material “kick-
If gross negligence is determined to be involved in the course of a non-
If an individual is consistently working in an unsafe manner, shop privileges will be revoked.
In order to maintain a safe work environment, strict user limits will be enforced. Faculty need to be aware of this limit when planning woodshop use and should utilize some type of rotation or other strategy to avoid exceeding the occupancy limit.
The maximum number of individuals allowed to work in the woodshop at any given time is 9.
This occupancy limit was decided upon in consultation with the department of Environmental Health and Safety at WMU. The official report and recommendation can be made available upon request.
At least two weeks notice must be given to reserve the woodshop for class use. This includes orientation/training, demonstrations and student use of the woodshop.
Contact Brad Smith to reserve a day and time. Reservations are made on a first-
In order to ensure that there are sufficient open shop hours for all woodshop users, only one class per day may reserve the woodshop.
Brad Smith or a trained monitor must be present at all times while students are working in the woodshop.
When the woodshop is reserved for a class, it is closed to other students.
A limited number of small lockers are available for materials/project storage on
Special arrangements may be made for large material storage. Such storage is only allowed for limited periods of time and requires a specific removal date. All materials stored beyond the removal dates will be subject to discard.
Projects may be left on workbenches for a specified period of time after consulting with the woodshop supervisor.
Lockers will be emptied at the end of finals week of both fall and spring semesters. Any contents not immediately claimed will become the property of the woodshop.
Each user is responsible for clean-
Each machine and work area should be cleaned immediately after use.
The last person to use a machine is responsible for cleaning the machine and surrounding work area.
Users who consistently fail in their clean-
With the exception of the scrap bins below the miter saw tables and garbage cans, the woodshop does not provide free materials. The woodshop does sell a limited selection of hardwoods, picture frame stock and materials to make canvas stretcher frames. Purchases can be billed to student/employee accounts or paid by check or cash. See woodshop staff for more information.
Tools and Machinery in the woodshop are intended for cutting and shaping wood and wood based materials only. Please see the shop supervisor if you wish to work with other materials in the woodshop.
Used wood and wood based materials may be processed in the shop as long as the material is clean, free of dirt, grit, grime or abrasive materials. Material that is excessively contaminated with dirt or grime should not be processed on any of the workshop equipment. Material should also be free of paint or finishes (varnish, enamel) and free of metallic objects (nails, screws, staples). Shop users using used materials may be found liable for damage to the tools and equipment caused by those materials,
No pressure treated/chemically treated wood allowed in the woodshop.
No green wood -
Plaster objects may not be worked on any of the equipment or machines in the woodshop.
The woodshop is open during posted hours or by appointment.
Open shop hours are posted on the website and woodshop door.
Don’t work if you are tired, distracted or under the influence of drugs, alcohol or medication. Working with this equipment requires your full attention.
Every person is required to wear eye protection while working in the woodshop.
Tie back long hair when operating machinery.
No loose jewelry or clothing.
Footwear must cover the toes, heel and top of foot.
All accidents, even if very small, must be reported to your instructor/woodshop supervisor or the shop monitor on duty.
A safe attitude will protect you and others. Think -
Respect the rights and property of others. Be thoughtful and helpful toward others in the shop.
Horseplay, running, yelling and/or fighting is absolutely forbidden in the shop.
Do not use stationary equipment work surfaces for sanding, project assembly, layout, applying finishes, etc. Or for uses other than their intended purpose.
Make sure machines are in the “off” position and motion has stopped, before leaving them after use.
All safety guards must be kept in place while operating equipment. If a guard or
safety device is an impediment to safe operation of a machine -
Use equipment only for its intended use.
Do not use equipment until you have received proper and safe instruction and feel comfortable with its operation.
If you have made an adjustment to a piece of equipment, return it to its normal position after you are done.
Do not use broken or damaged equipment; report immediately to the woodshop supervisor or monitor on duty.
Do not attempt repairs to any equipment that is broken.
Make sure the machine’s work surface is unobstructed and clean before use.
Always be aware of the proximity of moving machine parts to body parts -
Never talk to someone operating a machine.
Avoid talking or other distractions while operating tools and equipment.
Clean up your mess! Pick up your materials. Put away tools. Sweep the benches and floors.
Return all tools to their proper storage place after using.
Absolutely no tools out of the shop.
Ask the woodshop supervisor for approval before storing materials or projects in the shop.
All used lumber must be inspected prior to working.
Do not use previously painted or finished wood in the shop.
Do not use pressure treated (green treated) lumber in the shop.
Do not use plaster or similar material on any power machines.
Earphones, cell phone use and texting are not allowed in the woodshop. We need to be able to get your attention and you need to hear what’s going on around you. Cell phone use and texting are distractions. Simply go elsewhere to use your phone.
These rules are meant to insure a safe and orderly work environment; please respect them.
To operate a machine safely, you must know more than just how to turn it on and off.
You must know how to perform the basic operations and how to make simple adjustments.
Always maintain a healthy respect for the tool’s capabilities and limits. Never
use a machine for a job it was not designed for and never experiment -
Wear eye protection at all times -
also require the use of a face shield.
Always keep your hands a safe distance from cutters and blades.
Make sure all guards and safety devices are in place. Do not use a machine
without the proper guards.
Know the physics of the machine and where the cutting force wants to throw the
When feeding material through a machine with the hands, be aware of the
direction you are pushing (away from blade or cutter).
Never operate a power tool when alone in the shop.
Defects in the wood can be dangerous. Check the stock carefully for knots,
splits, and other defects.
Keep the machine clean. Remove all tools, lumber, and unnecessary materials.
Objects left on the machine can vibrate into revolving cutters. They can then be
thrown from the machine with great force. Never clean a machine while it is
Always work with a plan of procedure. Consider and think through each step
ahead of time.
Never make an adjustment unless the power is off. The tool must come to a
Your stance is also important -
position when working with power tools. Both feet should be firmly on the floor.
If something doesn’t sound right, or feel right -
the supervisor or monitor.
Above all, think before you perform any task. Know the tool’s capabilities and the work it is intended for. If you feel unsure, STOP and ask for assistance.
Only change blades, bits, etc., when the tool is off and unplugged. It is very easy
to turn it on by mistake when you pick it up.
Know what direction it should go and be prepared to react and compensate for
the torque of the motor.
Many rules for the corresponding stationary machinery apply as well to the hand
Turn off before unplugging, and always check that it is turned off before
These tools, while they do not involve the same dangers as power machinery, should
be used cautiously. Often, the type of injury sustained while misusing these tools
are small cuts and lacerations -
Never use a dull tool -
Think about the direction your energy is going while performing an operation. If
you are holding material in your hands, be sure the action if going away from
your body. Better yet, clamp the material in a vise or to the surface of a
Like power tools, think through a procedure before you attempt it. Many times,
we become complacent or are rushing through a job -
Most find the band saw one of the less-
Know and follow the general safety rules for operating stationary woodworking
Adjust the upper guide so it is from 1/8 to 1/4 inch above the stock.
Keep your hands out of line with the blade. Keep your fingers at least 2”
away from the blade at all times.
Never perform an unfamiliar technique without hands-
Don’t push the wood with your fingers moving toward the front of the blade.
Wood can split and your fingers can go into the blade. Keep you energy directed
away from the front of the blade.
Use the proper size blade for the task you want to accomplish, i.e. resawing vs.
cutting tight curves.
Make sure the guides are properly set.
If you hear an unfamiliar sound, stop the machine and inform the supervisor.
Keep work area free from debris.
The miter saw is used for cutting materials to length. It excels at precision 90
degree and angle cuts, including compound joints. They are fast, and cut angles with
repeatable accuracy. All miter saws have scales showing the angle of the cut, as
well as detents (positive stops) at often used miter angles. When used with a stop
block, the miter saw can make short work of cutting stock to length. A big advantage
is you can get a cleaner cut, especially when cutting long lengths. As opposed to
the table saw -
Guard should be used at all times.
Don’t start saw with wood touching the saw blade.
Always be aware of where your fingers are in relation to the blade.
Don’t hold the wood on the left side of the saw with your right hand.
NEVER place your hands closer then 6" from the blade.
Don’t start cutting until the blade is moving at full speed.
Cut only one piece of wood at a time.
Maintain a balanced stance -
The most common injury when working with stationary sanders is abrasions to fingers
and knuckles. Follow general safety guidelines for stationary machinery when using
sanders. While using the disc sander, work on the “down” side of the disc -
Use a dust mask if needed. Fine dust particles are inevitable even with the use
of a dust collection system.
Don’t attempt to sand very small pieces on the belt sander.
Be sure that sanding belts are tracking properly.
Don’t use with a torn belt or disc.
Do not touch moving belts or discs.
Support the work securely against the guides before moving it against the
The drill press is not inherently dangerous, but it deserves respect and warrants some precautions. The greatest hazard is spinning work. Large bits muster enough torque to rip work from your hand; it is best to clamp the work to the table to prevent this.
Run drill at correct cutting speed -
Use a vise or clamp to hold material.
Remove chips with brush or compressed air, never by hand.
Ease up on pressure as bit breaks through material.
Don't drill with too much pressure, if the bit is dull -
If drill binds, shut off machine; turn chuck backwards by hand to free bit.
When drilling deep holes withdraw drill to clear chips frequently.
Never wear gloves, loose clothing or jewelry when using a drill press. Tie long
Support the underside of the stock to be drilled.
Insert bit into drill chuck and tighten with the chuck key. Remove chuck key from
the drill chuck before starting the drill press.
Make all drill press adjustments with the power shut off.
Keep hands and fingers at least two inches from rotating drill bits.
Never stop the rotation of the drill chuck and spindle with your hands or
Always clean the drill press table and work area upon completion of the drilling
The Scroll Saw is the ideal tool when fine, intricate curved cuts are
Be sure blade is tensioned properly before cutting.
Keep your fingers at least 2 inches from the blade at all times.
Be very careful at the end of the cut to keep fingers clear. The blade can spring
forward as it completes the cut.
When steering along a curved cut, do not warp the blade sideways from its natural position.
The use of air -
Be sure air supply is turned on.
Use the appropriate nailer and nail size for the work you are doing.
Be very careful how you hold the work while nailing. Never place your hand
where the nail can leave the material and strike your finger.
While this handbook does cover numerous safety issues, it is not a replacement for time spent practicing safe work habits in the woodshop.
Ultimately, it is the responsibility of the woodshop user to follow all safety procedures as outlined. Failure to do so could result in serious injury.
Completing the process to become Shop Certified in no way makes the user an expert.
Becoming accomplished at working with wood-
Finally, the user needs to understand the limits of the equipment, the materials, their own technical ability and the size and scope of the project when considering work in the woodshop.
Contact Brad Smith if you have any questions about the School of Art Woodshop.
K1140 South Kohrman Hall