When you work on mini wood lathe projects, you may not think nearly as much about safety as you do when you are working on large projects. Some of that is because the things that can go worn on a mini wood lathe aren’t as big in some situations as things that can go wrong on a large wood turning lathe.
The mental image you have of the little tiny dowel you are turning wooden flowers from coming loose and falling off when you turn the machine off is not nearly as threatening in many ways as the mental image you have of the large fifty pound wood trunk that you cut down yourself and can barely lift with both hands. While a used engraving machine usually has things involving safety, a small lathe seems harmless.
While it is true that if you are sitting at a table and using a table top lathe, you don’t need to worry nearly as much about foot protection, and even a large lathe is a fairly quiet machine, meaning you don’t need to cover your ears with a small lathe, a small lathe still generates fine wood particles, and you still use things like methanol, toluene and turpentine, and the machine still spits out little wood shavings that can get in your eyes and cause serious problems. With a small lathe, you don’t need to worry about ear protection, and you don’t necessarily need to worry about foot protection over normal, but you should still protect your eyes and your lungs.
If you’re using chemicals to treat the wood, you also need to figure out skin protection. Always wear eye protection, and if you can, get one with a built in respirator This sounds like an overkill, but small wood particles that build up in your lungs over a long period of time can cause cancer. People feel sympathy to most cancer patients. Breast cancer, leukemia, colon cancer all get marches every year to remember them. People with lung cancer get disdaining looks due to the stigma attached to smokers. Be nice to your eyes, and be nice to your lungs, even on a small machine.