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From: Robert Bastow <>
Newsgroups: rec.crafts.metalworking
Subject: Re: Steel Slivers
Date: Thu, 29 Oct 1998 21:24:48 GMT

Steve Cranage wrote:

> You are kidding, right? I wouldn't get any of my body parts within a foot
> of a spinning endmill or anything else with a cutting edge, gloves have got
> nothing to do with it. Why on earth would you ever get that close to
> something that's razor sharp and spinning at a couple of thousand RPM????
> Amazing. I guess there are people out there that clean clogged grass out of
> the lawnmower without turning it off first too...

Of course you wouldn't, nor would I, nor would any sane thinking person.

I suppose though, knowing that you are a careful and experienced driver who
never takes risks, you don't need to wear a seat can never happen to
you. Right?

My whole point is, that after a lifetime around machinery I am only too aware
that Shit happens. I once witness a 65 year old machinist, who had worked on the
same Horizontal Boring Mill for most of his life, KILLED by it on his last day
at work.

I also witnessed an experienced guy, running a large vertical roll bender, have
his arm torn out at the shoulder when a shear "spike" on the edge of a 1" thick
plate, snagged the mailed palm glove he was wearing!

Machines have a way of "Reaching out to touch someone"  As an apprentice,
running a twin spindle drill press, I had the nasty experience of spinning swarf
from the drill snagging a bandage on my hand and in a SPLIT SECOND it wrapped my
hand and wrist around the spinning drill before I could tear loose.  Nasty cuts,
damaged tendons and a weakened wrist that I still feel, decades later, when the
weather turns cold and damp.

It is a documented fact that gloves and machinery don't mix. No machine shop
owner worth his liability insurance will tolerate the wearing of gloves around
moving machinery.

If the trade off is dirty fingernails and a few splinters (Waa-Waa)..So be it.
If you don't like that...take up needlepoint!!

Robert Bastow

From: Robert Bastow <>
Newsgroups: rec.crafts.metalworking
Subject: Re: Safety question: Wearing gloves
Date: Thu, 28 Oct 1999 21:14:27 GMT

Jack Erbes wrote:
(Snip)...a pretty convincing (on the face of it) argument that fingerless gloves
are safer around (Rotating, flavor of day) machinery, and that
if you get close enough to get caught you are too close anyway.

Y'know, in the face of all these high powered arguments and pleas for "special
exceptions that therefore prove teenut is full of S**t"...from so many people
with so much experience and who would appear to be living ten digited proof that
Murphy can be foiled indefinitely..maybe I should just back off, say OK you win,
I was wrong..

Except for the fact that I am not in the habit of lying..and, as I have said
before.."any lie that goes unchallenged..becomes the truth!!"

What Jack is omitting to mention (Maybe because he doesn't know or maybe because
it might weaken his position) is that machine tools have the ability to "Reach
out and Touch someone"

Two examples:

The only time I ever got wrapped around a spindle was on a large drill press.
Earlier in the day I had badly burned the palm of my hand on a hot chuck.  After
a soak in Boracic and an aspirin, I was sent back to the shop with my hand and
the base of my fingers swathed with WOW (White Open Woven Bandage)

A couple of hours later I was treated to a grandstand view in almost suspended
animation/slow motion, Todd AO cinematography, as a foot long "propeller" of
spinning swarf from a 1" diameter drill, went on a search and destroy mission
across the drill table to where I was holding the end of a long bar, (against a
dead stop of course) in my bandaged left hand.

I watched in frozen horror as the blind "snake" of steel, sought out and
captured the only loose thread on my bandage and started to wind it in towards
the drill bit.

At first it was just the one thread, then it was joined by others and,
increasingly, more and more...all in seemingly dreadful slow motion. (Though
that gave time for my life to flash before my eyes the whole thing happened in a
split second, and far too fast even for my 17 year old reactions to trigger a

Before I had chance to pull clear the thin line of threads turned into a rope
that viscously pulled my hand into and around the drill bit and spindle.  (This
was a geared head 2" capacity Herbert # spindle gang drill with a 5 HP motor,
and it WASN'T fitted with an "Ouch" switch!!

Fortunately, just as my wrist and forearm broke in three places, and the drill
started to nibble at my coverall sleeve, the bandage also broke, and I was
thrown clear!

Had it not done so the next couple of times around that spindle may well have
torn my arm off, or as often happens, crushed my ribcage lungs,and heart, and
killed me!!

Another accident I personally witnessed, in real time slow motion, was when a
Plater's Mate was helping to feed a large steel plate, standing on its long edge
into some massive steel vertical bending rolls.

The man was wearing mailed palm gloves..a reasonable protection against the
razor sharp, sheared edges of the 1" thick plates being fed.  Obviously a safe
operation too..this particular guy had done this every day for more than twenty
years, and of course he was careful to keep his hands two to three feet away
from the rollers and the added protection af a massive welded steel mesh safety
guard. Given the feed rate of the rolls was only a few inches a minute this was
a "safe" operation.

Well on this particular day, Murphy must have been bored and decided it was
"time to play".

As the plate was fed in a razor sharp, needle pointed shear "spike" (Where the
shears took a double cut) about three inches long, lying close enough to the
edge to escape notice, caught the wrist band of the man's glove.

As I watched from thirty feet away, and in the time it took me to react, and
cross the intervening distance, the plate pulled him in THROUGH the guard and
pull his hand his arm AND the crumpled remains of the guard and it's Angle iron
frame inexorably into the zero gap between the roll and the plate.

I reached him and punched the "Big Red One" as his shoulder and chest started to
crunch and collapse.  During all this time he didn't utter a sound and is mate,
around the other side of the plate was totally unaware of any problem until he
came around to see why the machine had stopped!

As I hit the stop I grabbed him to prevent him from falling as he lost
conciousness.  My Job, for the next 40 minutes, was to hold him upright as the
millwrights tore the machine apart to free him.  For twenty of those minutes I
listened to the crackling, gurgling of his slowing breathing, in and out of his
half crushed chest.

For the remaining twenty minutes I gently cradled a dead stop his face
from getting all dirty!!


From: Robert Bastow <"teenut"@>
Newsgroups: rec.crafts.metalworking
Subject: Re: Metal Splinters
Date: Fri, 26 Nov 1999 04:38:00 GMT

Morris Booton wrote:
> Hi Everyone:
> How does the Professional Machinist cope with the small metal
> splinters that get in your
> hands, most that you can't see. Is there a trick that is a big
> secret? Or do you just
> live with the problem?

A)  The Pro. learns to avoid getting splinters in the first place.

B)  When putting hands in or on "splintery" places, the pro learns not to press
down or squeeze too hard until he is sure no splinter is going to penetrate the

He doesn't wipe his hands on splinter covered coveralls or rags.

He brushes chips away from machines and machined parts before using his hands
around them. He keeps his hands relatively clean and oil free so that chips
don't stick to the skin..waiting for the opportunity to penetrate.

A pro may go weeks at a time without getting a splinter in his hands that
requires a stop to locate and extract it.

C)  The pro's skin is usually toughened in the places that get splinters.

D) Most tiny splinters never pentrate through to the underlying nerves.  They
form little black spots in the skin that eventually get dug out in an idle
moment, or simply disappear in time.

When a splinter DOES get through the "outer defenses" the procedure is to
immediately go to his toolchest wherein rests a strong glass or lupe, a needle
with the point honed to a tiny scalpel like blade, and a REALLY GOOD pair of
flat or pointed nosed tweezers..usually both.

With a good light the splinter can usually be spotted if backlighted.  If it is
below the skin it is dug out with the needle/scalpel..or the surrounding skin is
excavated until the pointed tweezers can dig in and get a grip.  Yes, sometimes
it hurts..but not as much as a septic finger or a lost paycheck!!



From: Lou Boyd <>
Newsgroups: rec.crafts.metalworking
Subject: Re: OT: Wiring woes
Date: Fri, 26 Nov 1999 20:04:18 +0000

Jack Erbes wrote:
> Interesting Thread.
> Oh! I *do* have something I can contribute here to get my name on this
> thread!
> It is safe to wear gloves while doing electrical work.

Electrical work on live circuits with significant energy available is
inherently dangerous with or without gloves.  Gloves may be useful but
can also give a false sense of security.

As with other occupations gloves have the benefit of giving you some
protection against electrical contact, abrasion, contact with molten
metal, and various chemicals.  The also reduce sensitivity of touch,
occupy space, and can get caught on objects.  Like any other tool,
thought has to be given whether a glove is appropriate and whether it
introduces additional hazards.   High voltage insulating gloves require
careful use and very careful maintenance including high voltage testing
prior to use. Even then they can still be torn or punctured.  There are
usually better methods for working with high voltages or high currents
than to depend on gloves.

I look at it this way.  Will a failure of the glove result in my death
or permanent injury?  If the answer is yes I don't use a glove and don't
do the task manually.  If the failure of a glove could result only in
minor pain or minor injury from which I would quickly recover from I'll
probably choose to use the glove.

Lou Boyd

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