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A call to the left-handed


#1
I find that simply keeping a slow steady flow of air from my mouth
into the cutting area clears most of the dust from my face when
using cut off and snap on discs. The worst is when I use bristle
>brushes, but again just a slow steady flow of air from the lungs
is a huge help 

Yikes! James, this does not sound good at all! Isn’t that breath
coming from the same dusty air you’re trying to avoid? Surely there
must be some combo of fans, suction, and masks that would be a better
solution. Maybe I’m missing something, but this seems too old-school
to be a viable choice given our current knowledge of health and
technology.

Allan Mason


#2

Anytime you are cutting or removing any material, whether you are
grinding, polishing or even sawing you want to either pull the work
against the rotation of the tool or pull the tool towards you against
the work. Imagine running you polishing machine backward or pushing
your saw blade up hill instead of pulling it. This applies to all
activities.

If you switch to the left and reverse the motor you can use some of
your tools but any mandrels that have threaded attachments will of
course unscrew. I suppose you could try locking them so tight that
you might get away with it, but if you consume wheels like I do its
pretty impractical. A jeweller needs every tool ever invented at his
disposal and it doesn’t make sense to restrict your choices in order
to work only left-handed.

My son Phillip is a leftie. Started his apprenticeship at 16 under
an exceptional master who understood tool work and the principles
behind it very well. There was a right way and many wrong ways. In
Phillips case he did what he was told and never though about using
his Left hand for grinding or soldering. He files with his left hand
but starts in the center position and cuts to the left, he does it
automatically without thinking. When he moved on to glass blowing he
says there were no left handed benches for glass blowers so he
switched to the right and thinks his early training in jewellery
work made the adaptation easier for him. I have always been told that
you need to start a craft at a young age with good masters and good
work. This might be an example of the truth of that idea. Good
technique is the foundation of good work and absolutely essential for
mastery.

I don’t know if one can learn this late in life, but I would give it
a serious effort. I guess playing a musical instrument might be a
good analogy. Practice, practice, practice.

Dennis Smith - thejewelmaker


#3

This is great! I’m a lefty and couldn’t figure out why my
attachments were unscrewing. I think unless it’s precision work, I’m
going to try to use my right hand with my flexshaft. Wish me luck!

Veronica