Although many of us may not realize it, a degree of caution should be used when working on a railroad model train set. A few safety measures taken will prevent cuts, burns and other injuries.
Working on a train layout usually includes the use of blades, paints that can be toxic and electricity. A healthy dose of common sense can go a long way in reducing potential hazards. You'll want to keep your work area clean, your tools organized and incorporate safety goggles anytime you're working on your train set. The fact is, you never know when tiny slivers of wood or other particles will become airborne with a target for your eye and face area. Electrical burns, although not common, are always a possibility and a dropped Exacto knife can easily result in minor cuts.
Another safety tip that's worth mentioning is the importance of using the right tool for the task at hand. Certainly there's no need to invest in every possible tool you could ever use in your railroad model hobby, but if you plan your projects, odds are, you'll know what tools you'll need in advance. Not only that, but buying tools a few at a time won't put a dent in the budget you've allocated for your train set. By the same token, using dull blades is never a good idea and is unsafe. Regularly check any blades you're working with to ensure they're sharp - just do it in a safe manner.
If you regularly use glue in your railroad model, consider a water based adhesive such as carpenter's glue. It's durable enough for most projects and because it is water based, it's less likely to be harmful than other chemical based adhesives. That said, carpenter's glue is designed for use on wood projects. If you're using plastic, you'll need to consider rubber based glues. Consider Goo as it's designed for model train set enthusiasts. Keep glue solvent nearby for those unexpected spills or the occasional and unintended sealing of your fingers to the project. Acetone is ideal for this purpose and is the primary ingredient in nail polish remover; however, it is a chemical and should be treated as such.
Finally, paints are a big part of train set collecting. They can release toxic vapors and thereby should be used in well-ventilated areas. You might wish to consider investing in filter masks for use while painting. They're inexpensive but necessary to prevent inhalations that can be harmful to your lungs and general health.
Other tools of the trade, so to speak, include smoldering tools which can easily cause burns if not used with caution and power tools. It's strongly recommended you wear gloves when working with smoldering tools and ensure there's no loose clothing that can jeopardize your safety when working with power tools.
By incorporating these safety tips, a bit of common sense and a sense of caution every time you work on your train set, you're ensuring your railroad model hobby remains an enjoyable pastime - just as it was intended.
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Joe Kanooga is a father of two kids, a successful business owner and the author of numerous articles about railroad model toys. Click here to download a free train set guidebook filled with hobby tips, ideas and information.
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