Turning Archive 2005

UNSAFE at any speed

>That was Naders description of the Corvair but it could also be a decsription of a lathe in someone's hands who has not had a basic class. No matter how much safety gear you wear a lathe can still be a very dangerous tool if you do things that should not be done. In past years most of us began turning on a very small lathe with a 1/3 hp motor and a belt that would slip if a catch occurred; todays lathes are often direct drive and 1.5 or 2 hp and 20" swing instead of 10" or 12". These are great lathes and a big improvement over what I learned on but they have the potential to be much more dangerous; they also have the potential to be much safer because a variable speed lathe is safer than a step pulley lathe. The key is to stay away from the upper limits of these lathes until your skills are sufficient to go there. Learning to stay out of the "line of fire" is far more important than wearing a faceshield. Don't get me wrong, the faceshield is very immportant, expecially with new turners, but not standing where you will be hit if something blows up is much more important. Sometimes we think because we have on some safety gear that we are protected from a flying piece of wood but this is not necessarily so. Picture a 30 lb piece of wood hitting a thin plastic bubble; not pretty..... As we talked about safety issues a few days ago no one mentioned the importance of that first beginners class. In my opinion we missed the greatest safety item of all.

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