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"Stay out of the line of fire"

Discussion in 'Woodturning Discussion Forum' started by Dennis Weiner, Dec 31, 2020.

  1. Dennis Weiner

    Dennis Weiner

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    STAY OUT OF THE LINE OF FIRE

    1. This warning message paints a specific picture in my mind when applied to a firing range. I am not so sure that it carries the same meaning when applied to woodturning. There may be an area around the lathe where the probably of an airborne wood fragment would be greater than another. In my experience, there is no one straight line (of fire). What is your interpretation of this warning phrase? What does it mean to you?

    2. If there is a no standing zone, does it conflict with proper woodturning stance and body movement that is usually taught?
     
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  2. hockenbery

    hockenbery AAW Advisor Staff Member

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    The common “Line of fire” is perpendicular to the lathe bed and the width of the turned object.
    pieces of bark or wood detaching from the turning wood will fly out into that Region which is torus or donut shaped.

    pieces can bounce off the tool rest and change angles.

    spindle turners have to work in the “line of fire” since they make their cuts toward the center of rotation.
    Face grain turners make their cut parallel to the lathe bed and outward from the lathe bed- many cuts can be made standing outside of the “line of fire”. When hollowing a bowl or hollowform it is almost impossible to work in the line of fire.


    Saw one really good turner get a severe facial injury turning a small box size spindle between centers when the tailstock moved releasing the piece spinning at high speed. The block hit the tool rest and then the turners unshielded face. The 3x3x4 block cause a lot of damage that a face shield would gave prevented. 12 stitches and teeth wired in place.
     
    Last edited: Dec 31, 2020
  3. John Torchick

    John Torchick

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    I was standing off the the side of the lathe while trying to check the balance of a small piece of a log. It came off the lathe, bounced off the wall, came off at a 45 degree angle and hit my forearm. Still have two faint scars from the mishap. Thinking of taking up knitting.
    I have been viewing some of Tim Yoder's videos. He wears a motocross suit of "armor" with a full face shield. Seems to be a good idea for preventive medicine.
     
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  4. odie

    odie

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    With any aspect of woodturning, there is an element of danger. You can reduce the risk, but you can't eliminate it. The old adage about staying out of the line of fire is solid advice. You can improve on it by adding things like cages and face guards.....but the more you add to your safety, the more inconvenience you add to yourself.

    Even then, It ain't 100%.......o_O

    So, what is the total solution? Don't do stupid things, or:
    -----odie-----
     
  5. Roger Wiegand

    Roger Wiegand

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    A lot comes down to the piece of wood for me. If I'm turning a 60 lb crotch with uncertain structural integrity, rot, and voids, you bet I want it to use up some kinetic energy bouncing off a few other things before it gets to me. If I'm turning a 3 ounce Christmas ornament or a pen I pretty much don't care. Sure, freak accidents will happen, and to ensure complete safety, as I've said before, the best solution is to use a CNC lathe with some heavy shielding and get the human out of the picture.

    I used to pretty routinely participate (for fun!) in activities that involved people throwing 10 oz balls at me at 60 mph or intentional, full on collisions with other 200 lb people, or sliding down icy mountainsides full of trees at 30 mph; I figure turning can't be much worse than that! (not that it was particularly bright or safe thing to do at the time)

    Once I'm sure that my workpiece is structurally intact and as I've cut it down from 60 lbs to 10-15 lbs in a much more symmetrical form less likely to cause shearing stresses I become more willing to get into the firing line to do what needs to be done to finish the piece. If at that point I'm still seriously worried about it flying apart I'll probably consign it to the firewood pile.

    Safety glasses and a good face shield (mine incorporates a hard hat as well) plus some experience and sense will go a long way. Wood turning by hand will never be 100% safe. I'm not yet ready to live in a bubble-wrapped cocoon.
     
  6. Lawrence Duckworth

    Lawrence Duckworth

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    have you seen how sharp knitting needles are?...they could poke an eye out if you're not careful and well protected with the necessary pp stuff!!
     
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  7. john lucas

    john lucas AAW Forum Expert

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    I try to stay out of the line of fire but one time a huge knot came loose, hit the ceiling and came down and hit me on top of the heat. I had a face shield on but it doesn't have any protection much above my eyebrows. When I was teaching at John C Campbell there is a dent in the garage door about 15 feet from any lathes. The door was apparently open when it happened and the dent is in the top edge right next to the ceiling. don't know how fast they were turning but it was obviously too fast for a piece of wood that large and heavy to travel that far and hit the door.
     
  8. Glenn Lefley

    Glenn Lefley

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    Well that’s not good news at all. I broke my tibia and fibia downhill skiing, in hospital for two months motorcycle crash! Scalped myself hitting another vehicle, ripping off my helmet, Etc etc. I thought woodturning was safe!
    When I was taking a course with Jimmy Clewes in Calgary I noticed half a bowl stuck in the ceiling from a previous class of unknown teacher and student.
     
  9. John Torchick

    John Torchick

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    It is more dangerous driving to the store for a piece of wood for turning. As odie stated, there is a certain element of danger in turning or any kind of woodworking.
    Roger, my father was invited to go to Colorado for a ski trip on a long weekend. The three guys were single and Dad opted to stay home with my mother and me. Result? One twisted knee, one sprained ankle and one spill that resulted in various and sundry bruises and abrasions. Dad said if he had gone, he would probably been killed.
    Glenn, have a friend who was in a motorcycle accident. Several weeks in ICU plus recovery in the hospital and at home.
    We could spend out time in the recliner and watch TV but might trip over the dog or cat on the way to the refrigerator for a snack.
     
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  10. Dean Center

    Dean Center

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    One time while I was orienting a new group of high school students to the lathe, starting with our usual safety pitch, 60 mph edge speeds, line of fire, and such, the teacher came up and listened in. As I started demonstrating turning down a square spindle blank to a cylinder, the teacher piped up, "Did ya see the way he stepped off to the side as soon as he turned on the lathe?" No, I didn't. I had no conscious awareness or intention of showing them how to avoid the line of fire we had just talked about. After half a dozen flying wood episodes, I should know enough to move to the side and apparently, I do. Good to know.
     
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  11. Mike Johnson

    Mike Johnson

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    Smaller billets of wood are usually not too much to worry about, it is the Big Bada Boom you want to avoid at all costs. A billet falling out of a chuck pretty much drops straight down to the ways and tries to climb up and over the steady rest. If you get a nasty catch with a gouge and wrench the billet from the chuck jaws the billet can take some abnormal directions bouncing off of every surface that gets in its way, this is when you want to practice your duck for cover routine quickly. A nasty tool catch usually occurs quickly and the average person can not react fast enough to move out of the way, most people are lucky and happen to not be in the line of fire when it happens. Most of the tool catches I have encountered over the years was from working too many hours on the lathe and getting tired and then lacking focus with the tool. Watching a tire come off of a car is a good example as to the amount of energy that is stored in a rotating heavy round object, they don't slow down very fast and you won't stop it until it runs its course.
     
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  12. John Hicks

    John Hicks

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    Memories of my old Oliver shaper kicking a hunk of wood through the garage door 25 feet away and leaving me with a piece of wood shrapnel just raced through my mind. A few close encounters with flying wood is a "going to happen sooner or later" in any woodworking shop. Be as safe as it allows is all you can do.
     
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  13. Owen Lowe

    Owen Lowe

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    As a general rule, it's a good one to follow in certain circumstances. I won't stand in front of raw bowl stock that I'm beginning to rough out. Anything larger than 8" or so with bark and corners still on it is something I'm very leery of being in front of; had bark chunks and some pretty big inclusions fly off in the past. Smaller turnings don't generally concern me because they don't have the rim speed of larger pieces.
     
  14. hockenbery

    hockenbery AAW Advisor Staff Member

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    what you say is mostly true.
    But when a small billet gets whipped around at an angle and strike the tool rest it can hit you.

    I witnessed a pretty good turner get hit by a 3x3x4. Lots of blood. Emergency room- 12 stitches and teeth wired in.
    The small billet came free from the tailstock and that end move of center enough to hit the tool rest and bounce into the turners face.

    I encourage people not to get complacent around small pieces.
    A,face shield would have made this incident just scary but no emergency room level injury.
     
    Last edited: Jan 1, 2021
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  15. John Torchick

    John Torchick

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    No face shield? 20200213_142758 (1).jpg
     
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  16. hockenbery

    hockenbery AAW Advisor Staff Member

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    no face shield. It would have been scary with a face shield but no emergency room visit.

    while a big block can push a face shield into your nose or cheek bone a small block would need a really high velocity to do that.
     
  17. John Torchick

    John Torchick

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    Refer to my post #14. My wife is adamant about this. My grandson who has done some turning is a fanatic about safety as is his father.
    Edit- watched a video of a noted woodturner for a few seconds. Had safety glasses but no face shield. Turned it off as it turned me off.
     
  18. Kevin Jenness

    Kevin Jenness

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    That depends on the rotational speed. A 3" diameter piece spinning at 3000 rpm has the same rim speed as a 10" one at 900 rpm.
     
  19. John Torchick

    John Torchick

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    Either one will hurt.
     
  20. Mike Johnson

    Mike Johnson

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    Somewhat entertaining that you can watch a Russian, Chinese or Indian woodturner turn a sizable chunk of wood in a jamb chuck without the support of a tail stock and make piece after piece without a problem on cobbled together electric motor and hand forged tools. While in the western world with state of the art lathe turning equipment, tools, training and safety P.P.E., we still manage to wrench a billet from an expensive engineered adjustable chuck and tailstock supporting the other end of the billet to have it ricochet off of walls, ceilings and floors and everything in between.
     
  21. Kevin Jenness

    Kevin Jenness

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    Yes, it is fortunate that they never have accidental launches.
     
  22. Owen Lowe

    Owen Lowe

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    While that is true, a small piece most likely won't have the same sized chunk flying off as a large piece. A section of bark several inches long/wide is quite common on a large bowl rough-out but the smaller turning wouldn't have that.

    Another reason to stand aside is that the water spray on my face shield and glasses gets pretty difficult to see through -- to say nothing of the chill when my clothing gets soaked.
     
  23. R Henrickson

    R Henrickson

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    Speed alone is not the danger, nor a linear dimension -- it is the combination of speed AND MASS.
     
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  24. Roger Wiegand

    Roger Wiegand

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    P= MV (Momentum equals mass times velocity), is, I believe, the relevant concern.
     
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  25. John Torchick

    John Torchick

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    Mass X high speed = Mess.
     
  26. Larry Steinmetz

    Larry Steinmetz

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    I have been active duty Coast Guard (and now a civilian working for the Coast Guard) all of my adult life (>40 years). A big part of Coast Guard work is heavily involved in the safety culture. I have seen mariners and yard workers that we regulate (vessel inspections, facilities, search and rescue missions, etc.) and there are many people that can go through life with barely a scratch while exhibiting the absolute worst safety protocols you can imagine. I am afraid though that the statistics and my real world experience does not give safety violators a decided advantage over those that practice at least the basics of safety. I guess my point is for every video you see of someone doing crazy things with no PPE, how many others have their heads rolling across the shop floor due to stupidity and/or ignorance/non-enforcement of safety standards.
     
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  27. Lawrence Duckworth

    Lawrence Duckworth

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    Larry, I'm sure you've heard the phrase "you cant fix stupid".
    I retired from my steel fab and const. co.
    I think maybe i've seen stupid like no other :D.....unbelievable stupid sh_t

    I know this isn't a competition but good grief did you ever sparked some memories :eek:
     
  28. Glenn Lefley

    Glenn Lefley

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    So true. My dad never broke a bone in his body. Woke up
    in the middle of the night, went to bathroom, tripped on bath mat and broke hip! Didn’t turn on light!
     
  29. Larry Steinmetz

    Larry Steinmetz

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    Lawrence...I have seen stupid and I have done stupid! Fortunately, most of it was in my youth but I still catch myself taking a short cut when in a hurry or towards the end of the day. I know better and still I have lapses in judgment. But, yes...I have seen some unbelievable stupid sh_t as well that even on my worst day could not even dream up doing. I like discussions like this as I most always learn something new and in other cases, it reinforces what I already know and reminds me to do it!
     
  30. Lou Jacobs

    Lou Jacobs

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    This could become its own interesting thread. “What’s the stupidest thing you’ve done in your shop?”
     
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  31. Glenn C Roberts

    Glenn C Roberts

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    Walk in it when I'm tired, and my mind is somewhere else.
     
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  32. John Torchick

    John Torchick

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    I worked for a major manufacturer in Maspeth, NY. Guy dropped a nut down a hole in a brake press die...hardened tool steel. Tried to get it with his thumb. His thumb got stuck. Had to call the ambulance who brought a doctor. Amputated his thumb in the plant.
     
  33. Mike Peace

    Mike Peace

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    That is a wake up call for folks that think turning between centers is always secure and of little concern!
     
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  34. John Torchick

    John Torchick

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    Mike, you are 100% correct. Think I'll take up skydiving.
     
  35. Dean Center

    Dean Center

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    Note to self: "When travelling to New York, keep hands in pockets".
     
  36. Emiliano Achaval

    Emiliano Achaval Administrator Staff Member

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    I was out of the line of fire when the bowl somehow came off the lathe, started spinning up my arm, proceeded to cut me in several places, 9 stitches later I', still turning, LOL
     
  37. John Torchick

    John Torchick

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    They are now in another state.
     
  38. Dennis Weiner

    Dennis Weiner

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    I was motivated to start this post because recently I was standing in the line of fire and a bowl split and became airborne but traveled over my right shoulder. HaHa. I guess I was lucky. Just the opposite happened a few years ago when I was tutoring another turner on hook tool use. I was safely standing at the end of the oneway lathe behind the tailstock out of harm's way.
    He was standing on the other side of the tailstock when he presented the hook tool incorrectly. It broke in half and the hook shot out of the hollow form into my stomach. Lots of blood and a trip to urgent care. I escaped with a few butterfly stitches and they used super glue to close it up. LOL

    Standing in the line of fire I didn't get hurt while standing way out of the line of fire I got injured. Conclusion: you better explain to newbies precisely what you mean by Line of fire. Staying out of the line of fire does not gain you safety. (at least that's what i initially thought when I got started..dumb me)

    I think that most of the contributors of this thread have shown the risks very well and I thank you all for contributing.
     
  39. Kevin Jenness

    Kevin Jenness

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    Clearly you should have been standing behind your advisee, thereby putting him first in the line of fire. ;)

    That is a good reminder that centrifugal force can wind up in unexpected places. Glad you weren't seriously hurt. Have you looked into body armor?

    Can you explain how the hook tool was incorrectly presented?
     
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  40. hockenbery

    hockenbery AAW Advisor Staff Member

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    @Dennis Weiner appreciate hearing your experience.
    Standing out of the line of fire is a good safety measure that stacks the odds in your favor should something be thrown off the spinning wood.
    Few safety procedures are 100% effective.

    Another accident far away from the line of fire...
    A freind who was teaching a class got hit in the hand when he put it up to block a bowl from a students bowl that went airborne as he was rushing across the room together the lathe slowed down.

    In one class I was teaching a students parting tool bound and was pulled from the have and thrown across the room. Fortunately no one was in its line of fire although much of its trajectory would have been considered safe territory. When I asked the 16 year old if he had remembered to make a clearance cut his answer
    “I just wanted to see what would happen if I didn’t make one”
    My take away was avoid 16 year olds.
     
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