In the Shop
As a farm machinery mechanic and writer, Dan brings a hands-on approach that only a pro can muster. Along with his In the Shop blog, Dan writes a column by the same name as well as the Shop Series for Farm Journal magazine. Always providing practical information, he is a master at tackling technical topics and making them easy for all of our readers to understand. He and his wife, Becky, live near Bouton, Iowa.
Don't Do This:
Jul 04, 2010
A reader's tongue-in-cheek response to my blog last week about using an air hammer to install hammer-rivets (gosh, I hope it was tongue-in-cheek...) prompted me to ponder all the times I've damaged in the shop various fingers, hands or other body components. While I'm extremely capable of doing bodily harm using simple hand tools--hammer, saw, screwdriver---my specialty for self-inflicted wounds is power tools. My "Don't Do This Again" list includes:
- Don't take a step to reposition your feet while using a cutting torch to cut metal. If you do, and feel warmth on the sole of your shoe, immediately dislodge the glowing chunk of metal that is melting its way through your work shoe on its way to the sensitive skin on the bottom of your foot.
-In that same vein, even if you're doing a brief personal project on a weekend, never cut or weld metal while wearing athletic shoes with cloth panels. Even worse are athletic shoes with cloth panels ventilated with small holes. (Who knew some synthetic fibers actually burst into small, colorful flames?)
-Don't use a die grinder with a cut-off disk without wearing gloves. Skin cut/burned by the ragged edges of cut-off wheels takes forever to heal.
-Air hammers tend to "walk" during use. Do not use your free hand to hold steady small objects you're attempting to air hammer. Unless you like blood blisters.
-Do not use a 1/2-inch drill at full extension of your right arm while standing on the last rung of a 5-rung step ladder.
--Do not use a sledge hammer when angry.
-And finally, in honor of the 4th of July, even though you did it dozens of times when you were younger, don't light and throw a firecracker. Either fuses have gotten faster or my reflexes have slowed down.