Always clamp down your lumber before cutting, drilling, or routing. When you're in a hurry or just need to make a quick shave the edge of a piece to make it fit, it's tempting to hold onto the wood instead of taking the time to apply a clamp or two. But wood, and small pieces in particular, can move or even go flying when the blade or bit makes contact. That means you may not get the precise cut, hole, or edge you need, and you could get hurt. "When a piece of wood moves, unless you're an experienced woodworker your first reaction is to jerk your hands away," Lyons says. "That's an accident waiting to happen. You could pull your hands right into the blade. Clamps take your hands out of the equation."

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