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