Strange and potentially dangerous distractions in the workshop..... - Woodworking Talk - Woodworkers Forum
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post #1 of 20 Old 10-19-2016, 06:14 PM Thread Starter
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Strange and potentially dangerous distractions in the workshop.....

I consider myself a very safe woodworker however over the years I have had some strange and potentially dangerous distractions/interruptions while working in the shop such as.....

neighbors little grandson turned on my saw while we were standing right next to it chatting (he was actually holding the little guys other hand to keep him from wandering around the shop)
people have yelled at me from behind while I was working on a machine
people have banged on things to get my attention
I've been tapped on the shoulder while working on a machine
several birds have flown in and hit the window
I saw a box on the floor move suddenly for no apparent reason which turned out to be an opossum stuck inside
had a raccoon jump on the roof causing a loud thud and tons of dust to drop from the rafters
had spiders drop down on my head from the rafters
had several bees try to sting me (luckily was never stung)
out of the corner of my eye I saw something moving on the other side of my bench which turned out to be the wagging tail of a huge Husky and his pal (luckily they were friendly)

Today I had a new one which was a spider jumped or was blown out of the insert hole in my router table right after I turned it on causing me to flinch and let go of the work piece which nearly slid into a spinning bit that I'm sure would have chucked the piece back at me if it had hit!

Luckily none of these ever caused an injury however all had the potential to do so.

I made a little gate to keep the big critters out when the door is open for some fresh air and I now have everyone step outside to chat when little ones are present but many things I can't control.

What kind of strange potentially dangerous distractions have you had while woodworking and how do you control the ones you can control?

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post #2 of 20 Old 10-19-2016, 07:08 PM
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Old shapers had one, two or three wing cutters held by two flat collars screwed down tight with a nut. Some experienced woodworkers cut and shaped their own cutter blades to match a specific design.
In the early '70's, I was in a shop when a worker turned the shaper on after changing the blades and one of the cutters flew out and hit him in the shoulder doing considerable damage.
I would never use these type cutter heads after that accident. I wanted cutters with a center hole only and I was always more careful around a shaper after I saw the accident.

For my little shop, the worse thing is someone walking right up to me when I don't see or hear and making me jump. No accidents, just a surprise. Surprise is not good around moving blades.

Pet peeve: Someone walking in with a cold drink and setting it on one of my machine tables. Ahhh!!!

If you don't have time to do it right the first time, when will you have time to do it over?
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post #3 of 20 Old 10-19-2016, 07:40 PM
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Just yesterday I was walking out of one building to another carrying some shelving and almost stepped on a copperhead crossing my path. I know what you mean about distractions, I live in the country and everybody lets their dogs run loose. One time I was running a saw and turned to go to another one and found a dog growling and showing his teeth at me. I'm used to raccoons though, at one time I had 15 hanging around my shop.

Funny just a little while ago I was thinking about distractions in the shop and wondered if anyone typed text messages while running a saw like the do driving their car.
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post #4 of 20 Old 10-19-2016, 10:47 PM
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Years back, almost in a different life time I was working a restaurant remodel/build on a popular and very busy public outdoor stairway in downtown Seattle. The stairway led from the waterfront to the public market. The restaurant we were building had floor to ceiling windows facing the stairway. On a particularly warm, sunny day there were a ton of tourists using the stairway. I mentioned to the guy running the project we needed to cover the windows before someone got hurt. He laughed because he knew why I was suggesting this. There were considerable distractions walking past the windows. After the second minor injury he sent a laborer to the craft store to get a couple rolls of brown paper which was taped over the windows. No more distractions, no more injuries.

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post #5 of 20 Old 10-20-2016, 04:13 AM
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Weirdly i dont have very many distractions in the shop, despite the fact that its a mess. The only time ive ever hurt myself on a tool was when, ironically enough, i was using my table saw and focusing too much on the workpiece. I kinda forgot to pay attention to the blade and put a lovely gash in the tip of my pinky.

Never had any issues with people interrupting me while im running a tool. Everybody i know well enough to let in my shop knows to wait until i have all tools shut off before trying to get my attention, on pain of a very grisly death

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post #6 of 20 Old 10-20-2016, 09:26 AM
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I've never been one to "multi-task", and I believe the science that the Human Mind is a "one track" thinking machine. A person can only concentrate on one thing at a time. Regardless of how quickly one can shift from one train of thought (texting or conversing) to another (driving), you aren't actually doing both at the same time.
I am a bit simple minded, I admit it. I've always had a difficult time transitioning ... my concentration is very focused. It's a plus when I am working on a project. It's a problem if something interrupts that project. I have to put it aside and refocus on the interruption. In other words, I don't have quick reactions to outside stimuli ... unless that is what I am focused on. I can hold my own in the dojo ... but tap me on the shoulder while I am focused on a job, and you'll think I didn't feel it by the time I turn to respond. It's almost impossible to "make me jump" with surprise.

So, distractions could be a problem for me ... if say, I was attacked while using the drill press. If the distraction was necessary and I didn't react to it in time. But they don't put me in danger with what ever tool I am using.
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post #7 of 20 Old 10-20-2016, 09:34 AM
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Funny you should bring this up. I was in the shop yesterday working on a project that I had been putting off for days. I had just finished sanding a round piece on the drill press; used a drum sander on the DP. My wife came up and tapped me on the shoulder. I told her in no uncertain terms never do that again! She said she knew I wouldn't hear her. I replied to wait until I was done and could see her standing in the doorway of the shop. I think I'll take advantage of the door bolt.

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post #8 of 20 Old 10-20-2016, 12:15 PM
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Like Mikechell, my concentration is such that one must hit me upside the head with a tuba four to get my attention. However, the rules are standard - no surprise moves or noises in my shop. I do have the added advantage of a closed-door Grouch Cave. Everything is positioned (just happened that way) such that no one can enter without being seen (by anyone without my tunnel vision), so surprises are almost eliminated.
I also am just a hobbyist, & live so far off the beaten path that I have no visitors that aren't expected.
And last, I'm a helicopter grandparent when any grandchild is in my cave. No other children allowed. Unplugged tools or breakers thrown are a given at such times.
Yet we can't eliminate all opportunity for injury, just minimize it.


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post #9 of 20 Old 10-20-2016, 07:02 PM
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I can focus...am usually very shop safety oriented. My only real 'distraction' is my mind wandering. For some reason, it happens at the bandsaw more than anywhere else.
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post #10 of 20 Old 10-26-2016, 02:03 PM Thread Starter
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Almost forgot about the power going out in the middle of a cut once during the evening and everything went pitch black. I just stood still and held on to the work piece securely without moving my hands until I heard the saw come to a complete stop.

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post #11 of 20 Old 10-26-2016, 03:01 PM
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Originally Posted by Marv View Post
Almost forgot about the power going out in the middle of a cut once during the evening and everything went pitch black. I just stood still and held on to the work piece securely without moving my hands until I heard the saw come to a complete stop.
Good point about power outages, always a good idea to have lights on separate circuit in case breaker is tripped by a tool, and if black outs are common in your area there are emergency lights available for a very reasonable price.

Wise men speak because they have something to say; fools because they have to say something -Plato

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post #12 of 20 Old 10-26-2016, 03:10 PM Thread Starter
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Good point about power outages, always a good idea to have lights on separate circuit in case breaker is tripped by a tool, and if black outs are common in your area there are emergency lights available for a very reasonable price.
Good point about the separate circuit on the lights. I'm in a part of the city that is still connected to an old grid in the valley east of me which is prone to outages so sometimes my neighborhood loses power but the rest of the city doesn't. I have several battery operated lights around the shop but they have to be turned on manually so I'm going to get the type that comes on automatically as soon as power is lost.

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post #13 of 20 Old 10-26-2016, 05:04 PM
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I recently watched my workmate using a tablesaw. All of a sudden his wife came storming in the workshop and make a beeline towards him. It was a real cringe moment as I watched her go straight up behind him and make him jump as he turned around. I wonder to this day what could have been so important ! Perhaps I should have shouted at her, perhaps that may have made my workmate jump. No one injured that's the main thing.
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post #14 of 20 Old 10-27-2016, 02:31 AM
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I recently watched my workmate using a tablesaw. All of a sudden his wife came storming in the workshop and make a beeline towards him. It was a real cringe moment as I watched her go straight up behind him and make him jump as he turned around. I wonder to this day what could have been so important ! Perhaps I should have shouted at her, perhaps that may have made my workmate jump. No one injured that's the main thing.
Yeesh, stories like this are the reason I have a standing death threat. Make me jump while I'm using a tool and I hit you in the face with a wrench, assuming my hands are still attached

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post #15 of 20 Old 10-27-2016, 09:38 AM
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I don't think I've ever asked my wife not disturb me while running equipment. She will come into the shop and if I'm running something she will just stand there at the door until I happen to see her.
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post #16 of 20 Old 10-27-2016, 12:36 PM
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I don't think I've ever asked my wife not disturb me while running equipment. She will come into the shop and if I'm running something she will just stand there at the door until I happen to see her.
LOL Mine's a little more irritating. She'll stand by the door and say my name, (or just "hello") over and over, getting a little louder each time. It's a game now. Usually, I hear her after the first or second time ... the longer I ignore her, the louder ... until we both crack up laughing.
Obviously, she doesn't need me very often, and I don't play the game every time, so, marital bliss is maintained.

When I get my shop built, one of the things I am going to install is a deaf person's door bell. Bright flashing light for the deaf, a bell for everyone else, all at the push of a button. That way, anyone can get my attention, whether I can hear them or not.
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post #17 of 20 Old 10-27-2016, 01:25 PM Thread Starter
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Torrential rain and possible power outages predicted for today so I'm taking precautionary measures to avoid any surprises when my power most likely goes out....Im taking the day off!
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post #18 of 20 Old 10-27-2016, 03:18 PM
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LOL Mine's a little more irritating. She'll stand by the door and say my name, (or just "hello") over and over, getting a little louder each time. It's a game now. Usually, I hear her after the first or second time ... the longer I ignore her, the louder ... until we both crack up laughing.
Obviously, she doesn't need me very often, and I don't play the game every time, so, marital bliss is maintained.

When I get my shop built, one of the things I am going to install is a deaf person's door bell. Bright flashing light for the deaf, a bell for everyone else, all at the push of a button. That way, anyone can get my attention, whether I can hear them or not.
Your story brings this to mind. :smile3:
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post #19 of 20 Old 10-27-2016, 05:49 PM
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Big Bang Theory

It took me the whole first season to warm up to it. Wife loved it right from the first, which is the only reason I got through episode 3.
Now, I DVR it so I don't miss any episodes, even when I am travelling.
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post #20 of 20 Old 10-27-2016, 09:21 PM
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Big Bang Theory

It took me the whole first season to warm up to it. Wife loved it right from the first, which is the only reason I got through episode 3.
Now, I DVR it so I don't miss any episodes, even when I am travelling.
You would think that "Penny Penny Penny" would get old by now but they are still doing it.
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