With summer in full swing, it’s time to relax outside and enjoy the sunshine. And what better place to do it than your own backyard? Whether you have a pool or a playground for your children or a garden full of fresh vegetables, there are so many ways one can appreciate their backyard. Since summer brings longer days and warmer temperatures, it can be the ideal time to tackle those backyard projects you’ve put aside during winter.
When it comes to backyard projects, it’s important to address any potential safety hazards. This includes the tools for your project and having children or pets around while working. To properly address these dangers and improve the safety of your backyard, we interviewed OLFA Pro All-Star Jacob Garrett (@thejakeofall). Jacob is an expert in various trades and a master of outdoor projects.
“When I’m working on a project outside there are key rules that I always follow so I can make sure my kids are safe if they’re playing outside, and that I am safe while handling the tools.
- Properly Store Your Tools
Before you even begin to start working on your backyard project, you need a designated place to store your tools. This can be a chosen bin or even a storage shed, but all tools must be in their right container to avoid injuries. Pro tip: if you are working with tools that have disposable blades, get an OLFA Blade Disposal Can so you can dispose of your used blades safely. With these, you don’t even have to get up to reach the bin— you can keep them in your pocket and keep working.
- Check Your Tools
No matter the tool you’re using, always check that it’s properly maintained and functioning before you start diving into your project. This is especially key when working with power tools or blades. Always store the blade inside the knife, and never use a dull or damaged blade because it can lead to injuries. If the blade isn’t sharp, the cut will need more pulling force and can slide out of your hand.
- Wear Protective Equipment
Based on the outdoor task I’m working on; I usually wear gloves. Some plants can be poisonous or have sharp thorns, and some materials can be harsh on bare hands. And sometimes certain tools require protective equipment—whenever I use my OLFA Saw blade I wear protective gloves. I also recommend wearing protection from the sun. Sometimes when you get wrapped up in the project, you forget you’re still outside. The sun can be beaming on you while you’re working. So, don’t forget to grab a hat and sunglasses”.
In addition to these helpful tips, we wanted to know if Jacob had some recommendations on which tools to use for some DIY backyard projects, and he had quite a few favorites!
“When I work in my backyard, I have my go-to OLFA tools with me, each with their own specific duty as part of the project. The OLFA 25mm XH-1 Fiberglass-Reinforced Ratchet-Lock Utility Knife is a must-have for those heavy-duty and tough jobs. I use it all the time when I need to cut any damaged plants in the yard or cut any types of irrigation pipes, turf and grass. And when this knife is paired with the OLFA 25mm HSWB-1/1B Saw Blade, I can truly achieve some powerful cutting. The other tool that never leaves my side is the OLFA 18mm L-1 Ratchet Lock Utility Knife. I’ve used it to thin down the dead leaves of my banana plants, and to cut the outline of small planter beds”.
For more information on the recommended tools for your outdoor projects and tips on how to use OLFA tools, follow us on our social channels. We provide informational and engaging content from experts all over the country– including our team of OLFA Pro All-Stars.
Jacob Garrett Bio:
“My day to day is all over the spectrum. I can go from running wire in an attic to trimming excess filament from a 3D print. I love working on cars, woodworking, metal fabrication, and using my hands and mind whenever a project falls in my lap. Whether it’s trimming edge banding and veneers or cutting sheathing off of wire, I am right at home in just about any shop.”