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DPRG: Hobby Injuries (was Re:Needs Survey)

Subject: DPRG: Hobby Injuries (was Re:Needs Survey)
From: Robert Singleton slugmusk at alias.flash.net
Date: Wed Mar 3 12:38:14 CST 1999

Eric Yundt wrote:

> john.r.strohm at bix.com wrote:
> Thanks for pointing out the seriousness of the matter.

In one of my other way-too-numerous hobbies (SCA), I build armor from
metal and leather.  The metal parts are typically purchased from someone
who is really talented at making the metal parts and then I assemble
them with the leather parts and straps, padding, etc that are needed to
make the armor safe and usable.  

These metal parts are almost invariably virtually unclampable. Much of
the repairs and construction are done in the field, often with cordless
drills, so many armorers are "forced" to resort to rather unsafe
procedures in an ill-suited environment resulting in the sad statistic
that many SCA injuries are not related to combat, but rather to the
construction of armor. One talented armorer's website includes a photo
of himself captioned "Voted 'Most Likely To Bleed On The Armor Your Buy

While I caught myself in time to avoid an injury, just this last
weekend, I was using a fresh-bladed utility knife to cut 12oz leather
with my own leg as a backing surface.  I often cut the ends off copper
rivets with side cutters and the ends fly off with considerable force.
Having once dug a similar piece of stainless steel out of my cheek, I
remember to turn the cutters not only away from my face, but away from
any  surface which might reflect the resulting schrapnel back into my

My hobby/work injury experience has allows me to condense just about all
the safety rules into a master rule that is applicable to every
situation that I yet have been able to test it on.  I think I will this
dub rule as "Singleton's Principle".

"Any activity that brings two or more physical elements together can
produce a particulate with a percentage of the force bringing the
elements together imparted to the particulate.  Steps should be taken to
protect any lifeform within the affected area."

To my testing, this wordy principle seems to cover drilling, sawing,
filing, grinding, bending, hammering, cutting, soldering, brazing,
welding, chemicals, paints and  polishes.  The applicable steps are
specific to the type of particulate and the vulnerabilities of the
attendant lifeforms. 

Please remember that "attendant lifeforms" includes pets, visitors and
family. Fish are not terribly fond of paint or etchant in their water.
Doggies tend to either scamper in fear or challenge power tools.  Cats
and sometimes children are stealthy by nature and thus likely to be in a
dangerous area without knowledge of the worker. I don't know if Barry
requires eye protection for all in the garage at RBNOs held at his
house, but I think I would.

The steps to be taken are both specific and general. You may safely feel
no need for gloves when hammering on a copper rivet if the hammer handle
is smooth and offers a nice grip and the piece you are hammering on is
sufficiently large to grip firmly and is backed by an anvil of suficient
mass.  But the elements of iron and copper are being brought together by
hammering force and particulates of copper are being formed with force
imparted to them from the hammer blow. Eyes are particularly vulnerable
to flying projectiles made of copper while hands are not so vulnerable,
so at minimum, eye protection should be worn by all persons in the range
of the flying copper.

Well, will you look at the time... I have rambled long enough on this

Robert "The Occasionally Principled" Singleton

P.S. I sustained minor injuries assembling my current still-unnamed
robot from touching hot, sharp, freshly ground surfaces. Gloves would
have been the appropriate step. I had eye protection for the actual
grinding, though...


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