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Shop hazzards

While we’re on the topic of dangers in the shop, let me first agree
with Peter Rowe, the polishing lathe is probably the most common
source of injury (actually, carelessness, inexperience, etc., all
come first). But I am thinking of two more here. From a story in
JCK (trade rag), a jeweler was pouring nitric acid back into a bottle
that apparently had gotten water or some other contaminent in it
between the time he poured out the acid and tried to pour it back in.
It exploded in his face, causing serious injuries. Be carefull with
acids, it goes without saying, but I believe that when handling
acids, and other caustic or toxic materials, it may not be your first
thought to wear a face sheild, but it’s a good habit to get into.
The second incident comes from anectode. A properly sharpened graver
is ruefully sharp and can become a lesson in suffering sublime. I
was told, by an engraving instructor, of a woman who was putting
quite a bit of force behind one when it slipped and went clean
through her other hand. I know this has got to hurt. I once impaled
my hand on a piece of sharpened wire (yes, stupidity was involved).
It nearly came out the other side. The pain was so exquisite that it
made me promptly vomit. So, when pushing a sharp or very sharp tool,
please get in the habit of pushing away from your other body parts.

David L. Huffman

Hi Orchidians! About polishing chains… If you have to do it and must
use a polishing lathe,PLEASE not do it on free hand! Only one step in
failure and you will find a motor-saw onto your fingers. Fix the chain
around a wood-stick, polishing one side; then repeat for the other
side. Hope it may be helpful.


I know that this is a hard thing to do but break yourself of the
reflex to either close your legs rapidly or push your body rapidly
against the edge of the bench while working with ‘tools’, rather move
rapidly away and move your feet!. I have seen 2 Bard Parker #11
scalpels buried in thighs, 1 B-P #25 in an instep (mine) and have
seen numerous ‘tools’ stick people when the tried to ‘pin’ it against
the bench. FWIW.



Skip Meister
Orchid Jewelry Listserve Member

About Chains, If you have not yet used a tumbler and steel shot,
please try it. the results are wonderful. With this method it is never
necessary to try to polish a chain on a polisher.

This has become the only way for the Chain makers I know.

Be kind to your hands and try. Teresa

Thought I’d add one more example of disaster - I just finished my
first jewelry fabrication class at the local junior college, and one
of the students severed his Achilles tendon polishing chain. We did
not recieve much safety instruction at all, and found this to be
quite an eye opener. Only on Orchid have I seen a reference about
polishing chains.

Mary Anne

I just HAVE to ask in regard to the message saying someone severed
his achilles tendon while polishing chain. How could one do that??
Long chains??


G’day Mary Anne; two comments; 1) Your teacher was/is incompetent.
Find a better one.

  1. polish chain with a vibro polisher; make an El Cheepo one - see
    Orchid FTP site for pic and details.

PS. What was the student doing holding the chain with his foot?
(Oops! the Achilles tendon is the one holding the calf muscle to the
heel!) Never mind, eh? Cheers,

John Burgess; @John_Burgess2 of Mapua Nelson NZ

He was making a chain mail vest, and excuse my ignorance, I’m not
sure how that is spelled. He did this at home with no shoes on, and
a BIG grinder (not the brightest guy) - the chain shattered and went
flying everywhere. He is lucky that is all that happened. The thing
that bothered me was that our instructor did not advise us on safety
other than to tie hair back, and wear a face shield. Common sense
kept most of us from any mishap. The place is a disaster waiting to
happen. Many of these 18 year olds have never used tools…and I am
suprised nothing major has occured in the classroom.

Oh well, I will seek my education elsewhere.

Mer –

My very first jewelry instructor was (thank goodness) a safety nut.
Our first lesson consisted of an introduction to basic tools along
with how to handle each one, and some gruesome descriptions of what
could happen to you if you failed to use any of them properly.After
that, nobody got near a torch until the instructor felt that person
was ready for it. And any student who violated safety rules at the
soldering station was denied access to it for the rest of the day.
Then he had to write down what unsafe thing he had done, what the
consequences of it might have been, and how he planned to correct his
error in the future. This would be discussed at the beginning of the
following class I think fear of public censure motivated most of the
class into good habits very quickly. We learned how to use the right
tool for the job, how to take care of tools and equipment, how to
clean up after class,how to dispose of hazardous material,…I think
it was about four sessions later that the instructor finally
announced,"I think now you’re ready to learn how to make jewelry."
The guy may have been a bit of a martinet, but that basic training
was worth much,much more than the price of the course,and it has
stood me in good stead all these years. Long live discipline!