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Hot items safety

I was sitting beside a handmaking jeweller some years ago. He placed
his hot gold ring to cool on a metal slab beside my bench. Well
unknowing to me, it was still extremely hot, but not red to the
colour…I reached over to get a can of oil…sizzle went my skin as
the ring left an “b-b-q” imprint mark on my fore-arm…you can still
see the ring of the shank and the four-claw-setting to this day on my
skin !!! Moral of this story…keep those hot items where no one can
reach and touch them…Gerry!

Moral of this story..keep those hot items where no one can reach
and touch them... 

Or there’s another moral. Don’t go picking up or touching things on
someone elses workbench without asking or otherwise being sure it’s
OK. Not just regarding hot things which do a fine job of teaching
their own lesson to nosey people. But simply misplacing someone elses
tools can result in their having to waste time finding things that
aren’t where they should be. You can also knock small items off their
bench or cause other mayhem without knowing it. If the “owner” of the
bench is there and working, also be sure they know you’re behind them
before reaching into their workspace. A jeweler carefully working to
set a fragile stone really doesn’t need to be startled by a suddenly
appearing hand in front of their face. That can be a costly surprise.
Jewelers benches have a habit of being rather “busy” places. If it
isn’t your bench, hands off is a great policy to try to hold to…

The worst offenders I’ve had to contend with are usually either
salespeople or bosses, both of whom sometimes think they own the
place. I’ve had both learn hot lessons from still cooling jewelry, or
from lit torches who’s flame they didn’t notice when reaching blindly
over my shoulder without warning me…


Reminds me of an old west joke… (Apologies to Gerry for making
light of his injury. Believe me when I say burns like that hurt like
the dickens and keep hurting for a long time. I’ve done worse.
Construction site etiquette: Never argue with a hot tar roofer when
he’s adding chunks of tar to the hot tar pot that is partially filled
with hot tar.)

A blacksmith pulled a red hot horse shoe out of the coals and struck
it to the shape it needed and left it on the anvil to cool. A city
slicker came in and picked up the horse show and quickly set it back
down. The blacksmith chuckled, “Hey, was that horseshoe a little
hot?” The city slicker answered, “No. It just doesn’t take me long to
look at a horse shoe.”

[insert rimshot here]
[roll canned laughter]

Rick Copeland
Silversmith and Lapidary Artisan
Rocky Mountain Wonders
Colorado Springs, Colorado

Hi Peter and All,

If it isn't your bench, hands off is a great policy to try to hold
to... The worst offenders I've had to contend with are usually
either salespeople or bosses, both of whomsometimes think they own
the place.

Now this is a topic that has many times given me the reputation as
being a crabby guy!

(put mildly). If it is on my bench you better not touch it without
asking first! When I used to work in stores doing piece work I’d
have a lot of jobs laid out. Even the owners knew to stay clear.

Sorry Gerry you learned the easy way in my book.


In a goldsmith’s studio the basic protocol is to expect that
anything in the melting/pouring/annealing/soldering area is hot. In
my studio there is a brick lined station for all of these tasks and
any piece of metal or tool or crucible or ingot mold laying about is
potentially too hot to touch.

Another general rule of thumb is if you are not working or studying
on the premises just don’t touch anything, without asking first. Its
better to be safe than to be looking for an ice pack.

Michael David Sturlin

What really frosts me is when I invite someone into my shop and they
find an interesting item, not a gem or precious metal, but some
thing that seems like it’s not a necessary tool, but just some
interestingly shaped doodad, and they just take it! I use a round
piece of leather to do certain work on, to prevent scratching a
piece and to keep it from sliding…and it just vanished the other
day when a customer was invited to watch me solder her piece! Now I
have to search out and find a replacement. It’s a huge waste of time!