NMTM Essential Skills Series: Safety First

Tack making, by it's very nature, has some small-but-inherent risks. We use sharp pointy objects, small power tools, permanent dyes, and chemical-based glues. 

Based on the safety advice thread, the most important things are knowing how to use your knives, adequate ventilation when using glues or dyes, wearing a respirator while skiving (especially while using a dremel), and wearing gloves while dyeing. Most of the advice from the tack makers on the NMTM Facebook group revolved around sharp objects...

And objects you might not think of as sharp! (I've never been gotten by tweezers, but I've had an unfortunate encounter with a pair of very pointy pliers.)

Here are my additions:

Wear gloves when dyeing - but if you don't, rubbing alcohol makes a good cleaner. Nail polish remover does a pretty good job of unsticking super glue, too.

Always keep the straight edge between your hand and your blade - you're less likely to slip and cut yourself, and you'll have greater control over the blade.

Like Keren, I use a container to store my used blades (the new ones stay in the original packaging). I use a snack cup with a lid rather than a soda can, though. I cut a slit in the top and drop in the used blades. When the cup is full, I tape the lid closed and toss it in the trash. Bonus: when I need a new cup, I get a snack, too! Many US retailers sell these go-cups for $1 by the registers.

And finally - wear proper safety equipment! A simple face mask is enough when you're skiving, but if you also customize it's probably worth it to invest in a proper respirator.

Most adults and hobbyists who have been making tack for a while have probably picked up some bad safety habits, but if you're new to the gig I strongly encourage you to start good habits now! It's so much easier than trying to unlearn them after you get hurt.