search  current discussion  categories  safety - misc 

safety tips/story

updated tue 25 may 10


mel jacobson on sun 23 may 10

i just finished a weekend at the farm with my apprentice's dad.
he is a contractor, cabinet maker and general smartypants.
he knows how to do stuff.
we built 2x4 pine ladders for our bunk bed system...six of them.
we decided on 1200 lb load. they work. we cut slots into the uprights
and set the steps into them. glue and screw...a good motto. the bunks are
screwed into the wall so they do not move. now the ladders are as safe as
can be. we had step ladders...they are now gone.
of course we used my magic radial arm saw. but, we sure are deliberate.
and, we cut the slots with a datto. worked like a dream. a bit unusual
on a radial arm, but we know what we are doing.

we were talking about safety, how to etc.
we both are of one mind. deliberation.
be deliberate. never hurry, always think.

we both are great friends with the wood shop teacher
that he had, and taught me a great deal.

this is the way we were taught:

do this, every time.

say that poem every time you start with machinery.

know what your hands are doing, and know where they are.
check blades and travel.

double check everything...then cut. know what is behind you,
know how to move on a saw. look at the path of the torpedo that
will coming right at you. step away from that path.

my old friend would say: `stupid people do stupid things, and often
they have college degrees.` and, this old one: `turn your head away
for ten seconds and a dummy will do something wrong.`

we have another dear friend at the farm that has run a saw mill for
69 years. never had a close call. he is so deliberate it makes you
smile, he seems almost asleep. one step at a time. a 5 foot circle saw
blade with full trees going through that blade. back and forth. over and
over, day after day. it would be worth a thousand dollars for any
clayarter to watch him work for a full day. it is amazing. and, i would
pay anyone a hundred bucks to record him talking about aluminum. no
one can say that word like he breaks me up so much i can't ever
ask him to say it.
(i will post a picture of him on my website. i did his portrait for
his family.
it is there now.) clayart page.

butch bought a diesel semi tractor that was in a crash. he took the
engine out, and uses it for his sawmill. everything the man owns for
machinery was built before 1930. all cast iron. he has planers, surfacers=
he can make tongue and groove flooring etc. he found three wonderful
birch trees that had just died...he cut them into a floor for my cabin. we
had about three feet of waste material. pretty as can be.

i have seen with my own eyes, 12 foot, 5 quarter red oak boards...22.5 inch=
wide. not one knot, and the pile had about 60 of them/ in his drying shed.
he said...`found a nice tree, wish i had a bigger blade for the saw, i coul=
have gotten them 25 inches i think.`

and don't talk ecology bs to that man. he could no more cut a living tree
than kill his own son. he knows what trees `must` be cut, and `when` to cu=
them. he knows more about trees than anyone on the planet. they are
his life. (and, we live in the land of millions of trees.) trees grow fast=
in wisconsin than weeds.

he cuts pine for us...bob holman works and carves norski chests.
boards 16 feet long,
20 inches wide, 4 inches thick. clear pine. it is so pretty it makes one
cry. we must have a hundred boards like that at the farm. various
of the above spec. bob orders 5 or 6 every time we go up to butch's.
a board that size...20 bucks. (our price.)

well, butch says it so clearly...`gd it, slow down, what is the rush, take
your time, do a good job and save your hands.` and of course his best
line...`and gd it, no likkker around saws, even the day before,` he does
have a little round can in his back pocket however.

from: minnetonka, mn
clayart link:
new book:

Clyde Tullis on mon 24 may 10

Here, here Mel,

Your message on safety should always ring true. I am ending a 5 year sho=
endeavor into the construction field as a respite from a long career in
clay. I'm now returning from this frolic to get back to work with the mud=

With one trip to the ER after a long step off a low scaffolding I feel lu=
in light of the many stories of falls from roofs and ladders, injuries fr=
airless sprayers, nail guns and the obvious spinning blades that populate=

the construction sight. All these tools are necessary and sure make easy
work out of building stuff but respect is the first rule of thumb.

There are less obvious dangers though on the construction sight as well a=
in the studio. Owning a good respirator is evidence of respect for what w=
work with. Venting the electric kiln is another. I mentioned the 5 years =
from clay.,,,,,,,,,,, late onset asthma, according to the doctor caused b=
these exposures.

On a lighter note, I'm very much looking forward to getting my hands back=

into making beautiful things.

CT, now in Denver

Arnold Howard on mon 24 may 10

From: "Clyde Tullis"
With one trip to the ER after a long step off a low
scaffolding I feel lucky
in light of the many stories of falls from roofs and
ladders, injuries from
airless sprayers...
I have a two-story house with a steep roof. Last summer I
installed new siding around the chimney. One afternoon I
slipped off the scaffold and found myself sliding down the
roof on my side. The only thing that kept me from plummeting
off the edge was a safety rope that I had wrapped around my

My safety glasses fell into the backyard. I found them the
next day with the stems neatly chewed off by one of my dogs.

Just a reminder about safety: Before firing your electric
kiln, make sure no one has placed combustible materials
nearby. It is easy to overlook. Also, if the kiln has been
moved, make sure the cord is not resting against the kiln


Arnold Howard
Paragon Industries, L.P., Mesquite, Texas USA /

Elizabeth Priddy on mon 24 may 10

I just don't get cold, I live in a temperate zone and as the Great Jimmy Ca=
rter suggested 40 years ago, I can put on a sweater.


I catered to the ridiculous hothouse flowers in my pottery classes this win=
ter and hooked up a continuous heater, encased radiator style with a proper=
cord in a proper outlet.

Spring came and I was not working in that studio, so the thing still ran, I=
assumed that it had cut off because of the thermostat in it.

I went to unplug it and found the wall outlet black and the plug fused plas=
tic. Never trust things to work exactly right. I have a beautiful studio,=
and I don't think insurance would have replaced it.

From now on, studio closed in the winter to anyone too dumb to wear warm cl=
othes in an outdoor pottery.

Good grief.

- ePriddy

Elizabeth Priddy
Beaufort, NC - USA