Mess in the woodshop


If the woodshop keeps looking like this when I come in each morning, I’m going to start reviewing the video and removing woodshop 101 permissions from the culprits. This is your one and only warning. Not cleaning up after yourself is a safety violation. Safety violations are grounds for removal of basic permissions. You will then be required to retake woodshop basics and come to the next maintenance day to regain access.


It takes no more than 15 minutes to put tools away that are out of place, brush off every machine in the shop, and sweep the whole floor. Just plan 15 min of cleanup after every session, doing something is better than nothing.


Please review the video and approach the individuals that are responsible for the mess. I don’t understand how appealing to all of the TALK forum solves this kind of an issue? The issue doesn’t look to be the general build up of small messes left behind, even though member had attempted to clean. Rather, it looks like the work of 1 or a small group of individuals that just didn’t clean up.



I will support and help you with this in any way other than individually cleaning up after some pigpen/slob (as opposed to a general clean-up day or impromptu clean-up hour), which only serves to reward and incentivize the bad behavior.

Things I’ll gladly do:

– Review video and forward to you for any action you felt appropriate. I’d rather post publicly here on Talk so it was absolutely clear to general membership that Woodshop is finally taking this seriously.

– When I am in the Woodshop, actively police the area such that people making or leaving messes understood they needed to correct their behavior or risk suspension or loss of privileges.

– Yellow- and Red-carding people when they are seen doing something like what you have called out in your pictures above.

Where/when appropriate, I like the idea of asking people to pack up and leave for the day/24 hour period; it is barely a slap on the wrist, but will clearly communicate the shop priorities of working safe and clean (e.g. not generating ridiculous amounts dust, leaving a night’s worth of crap sitting on work tops/tables, leaving a garbage can full of cut-offs or chips/dust instead of taking it out to dumpster), and enough of a bother that it won’t soon be forgotten. Those people will also tell other people what happened so that message spreads, and so on…

– Call impromptu clean-up sessions: anytime the place looks like you found it, all making stops and only proceed after all stations and dust collectors have been cleaned. This type of shared pain/annoyance should help incentive individual shop users to help/inform/call out others to “work clean.”.

– Actually remove people’s Woodshop permissions; they could then appeal to you if they felt they had been treated unfairly.

As I said, I’ll be happy to help with this in ways outlined above, or any other way that is actually effective; in fact I already do some of this everytime I am there, just with no authority to actually make a difference. You’d need 3 or 4 others to take up this role(s) as well, so that woodshop users understand that there would be a decent chance of getting called out if they were not working clean.


This is an ongoing problem in the woodshop. This is not the first time I have spent more than 2 hours cleaning up someone elses mess. My statement was that if it happens again, that I will be reviewing the video and taking corrective action. This talk post is to serve as the last and final warning to ALL MEMBERS WHO USE THE WOODSHOP. Please limit your responses to those that actually pertain to the post itself and not include any that just pertain to pointless bitching. Cleaning up your mess when you are finished with whatever you are doing applies to all makers in all committees.


I hope this is true, I support you in reviewing the tape and taking actual action. I don’t feel there needs to be any final warning. The numerous woodshop was left a mess posts that have gone across the forum for the last 3 years should of been plenty warning. Good luck on enforcement.


Thank you for clarifying. This is the only time I have made such a post since becoming chair, and the only time I intend to. I have been rescinding permissions for safety violations even when I was vice chair, but not for leaving a mess. Messes of this mornings magnitude are hazardous even to the people who clean them, and I feel they need to be addressed in the same way. I’m sure it will have much more of an effect when there are rfid readers on all the stationary tools in the woodshop after expansion. I hope to get everyone in the habit of maintaining a clean work environment before that happens. We have some very nice tools on their way, and they will have to be cleaned and maintained properly to stay that way.


I would like to thank everyone who worked to help keep the woodshop clean yesterday. It was cleaner when I went home last night than I have seen in a long time and definitely looks much better today.
Thank you!


Can we not make this creepy though? There have been a couple times in there that I know I’m not doing anything wrong but I feel like there have been one or two people not even really working on something and just side eye watching people work like they are a spider or a speed cop waiting to catch someone.

Edit: To be clear, I’m not saying you were doing this yourself.


I understand. But in fact I have done exactly what you are talking about, because it was clear from a particular person’s behavior that they didn’t know what they were doing. E.G. imagine noticing someone having a problem finding the power switch/on button for a machine covered in Woodshop Basics, or someone setting up a cut n the table saw without a fence or sled, i.e. free-handing. No sense waiting around for the inevitable to happen…

Of course, if it’s just some goofball hanging around without anything to do eyeballing you (or whomever) then I get it…it’s a little weird…just go make something, right? I’ve had some just “Lurch” over my shoulder to peer at what I was working on while turning something on a lather. I mean his head was directly next to mine. Yes, it was creepy. That situation didn’t end to well for the guy.


Bear in mind that, in my case, the behaviour you observe is very likely me trying to remember why I wandered into the woodshop while simultaneously hoping no one notices me not really working on something.


My name is Nate not Lurch! I just wanted to be next to you.

Thanks for posting this Mark. Regardless of the past posts surely if you didn’t address it and state the consequences people would be up in arms because, well, people.


Haha nope I’ve done that too. The situation I’m recalling was definitely someone who half working on something while side eying everyone else. Was a bit uncomfortable, like a parent watching a toddler they expect to color on the walls.


How did you know they were continually looking/scanning around? (hint: its a trap! beware!)


For clarification when you are watching someone use a machine improperly do you go over and offer guidance or throw yellow/red cards at them? Your previous post indicates the later but I want to hope that’s not the case. :slight_smile:

Now seeing someone leave a mess is another story.

Also keep in mind that a lot of people in there might be watching just to learn but don’t want to interrupt you to ask questions. Just acknowledge them and see if they have any questions.


It depends, of course. But I am willing to bet I have spent more time mentoring and helping people out in the woodshop than anyone else you might be able to name. Those opportunities often start with me side-eyeing them…

You are very wise. Thank you for your insights.


Machine shop, like many committees, actively promote members to take a second and correct something or offer help. Many times, something simple like: no safety glasses, sleeves aren’t rolled up past elbows, wearing gloves while operating machinery. I’ve done that at least three times this past week, just a gentle reminder, no push-back from person, almost a hand to forehead “Doh!”

I like looking at what people are making, fund unique ways to fixture things … maybe not the way I’d have done it, but it works. Plus, there are some really cool things being made.


Now I’ll give you this, people definitely do this too. Perhaps then it’s a body language thing.


Somewhat sad to think but there is likely some implicit bias since you are a girl. Some guys will immediately assume you don’t know what you are doing.


All I know is the time I was not using proper technique he came over AFTER I had turned the saw off. He started massaging my shoulders, presumably to put me at ease, then gently whispered in my ear “hey man, I noticed you struggling, you need some help?”

Ok not really, but in all seriousness, Marshall has given me a few unsolicited tips in the shop that really did help with what I was doing. And unlike some others who had attempted to give well meaning advice, he wasn’t condescending about it.