Safety training for use of old machines
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    Default Safety training for use of old machines

    I have a growing list of folks who would like to be introduced to the use of old machines. While this is great, I must take precautions that they finish the introduction without major drama. Are there safety programs already prepared which I could utilize to address not only the usual risks of machining, but also the unique risks of exposed belts and gears?

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    The first thing is to take full responsibility for your actions around the old machinery. There are few, if any, safety devices or guards. It is up to you to 'know where you begin and end' (my words), i.e.- know where all of your body parts including fingers are at all times.

    The obvious is to tuck in all loose clothing, remove all jewelry such as watches, rings, or anything else that might catch on moving machinery or hold a hot chip against your skin. If you wear your hair long, tuck it up or around back or wear a cap. Wear eye protection. Wear good stout shoes- wearing light footwear and having a chuck or vise, or a piece of stock or machine part drop on your foot is not fun.

    Before starting a machine tool such as a lathe, check the job setup and rotating parts over thoroughly. Make sure the work is properly secured to the machine tool, and make sure the rotating parts of the machine tool will clear any fixed parts. On lathes, it is a good idea to move the carriage with the toolholder and tool bit in place as close up to the headstock/chuck or headstock/lathe dog as will be needed when machining the actual work. Pull the spindle over by hand through a full revolution to be sure the work and work holding device(s) (chuck jaws, lathe dogs, clamping hardware on a faceplate) all clear the compound and other parts of the lathe.

    On milling machine, shapers, and drills, make sure your setup is sufficiently solid to hold the work without it moving or rotating on the table of the machine tool from cutter force.

    Never reach around or poke your fingers near any rotating machine parts or cutters. If you want to check a job or take measurements on it, STOP the machine tool. Wait until the machine tool spindle and other moving parts coast down and stop moving completely. The stored energy in rotating or moving parts of machinery can still pull you in and maim you.

    Never handle chips or 'turnings' (long curled or spiraled chips) barehanded, and especially not while they are still connected to the work and coming off it during a cut. Chips or turnings (or swarf) often have razor sharp edges and can cut quickly and deeply, sometimes severing tendons on fingers. Use a hook made from steel rod, and wear leather work gloves when handling chips or similar.

    If you find need of shifting a moving belt or 'walking it' up or down step cone pulleys while the belt is under power, use a smooth piece of hardwood or the handle of a large wrench (oval shaped handles on the older wrenches were ideal for this). Keep well clear of moving belts as the 'lacings' (hooks) can snag loose clothing or long hair and there have been people literally scalped by moving belts.

    Never get too familiar with your machine tools and the drive systems. While you may lavish care upon them and may well have saved them from reincarnation in the scrapyard and steel mills or foundries, the machine tools will not return the favor to you. If you put a finger in the wrong spot, or fail to properly secure a job to the machine tool, the machine tool you 'gave a new lease on life' will not hesitate to wind you in or cut or maim you.

    There are few, if any safety devices on the old machine tools. Emergency stop switches and emergency braking are unknown on the old machine tools. The safe operation of these old machine tools rests with the person setting them up and using them. It comes down to using the God-given gifts we all were equipped with- our minds and our senses. Think things through before doing them. Make sketches of the jobs, figure the work sequences, and figure your setups (clamping hardware, or other 'work holding' devices), figure your tooling. On lathes, if you are working on a setup of the work, it is a good idea to remove the toolbit and tailstock center (or move them far enough away to give a safe working distance). Plenty of people wind up with assorted cuts from tool bits or tailstock centers while setting up heavier jobs.

    I will say that old machinery can be safely operated. I was fortunate in being a student at Brooklyn Technical HS from 1964-68. In those years, we kids took wood patternmaking with 1920's woodworking machinery, foundry, and I had 3 years of machine shop courses. Many of the machine shops and machine tools in them were ca 1920's-1940's.Some were still lineshaft driven. We ran 14"-16" engine lathes, shapers, radial drills, camelback drills, horizontal mills, grinders, bench lathes with open flat belt drives, and similar. We had 6000 boys attending Brooklyn Tech at any one time. I do not recall any serious injuries in the shops. We were required to know the safety rules and follow them. Our shop teachers had come out of industry and did not treat us as school kids. Rules were strict, and there was a dress code at Brooklyn Tech in those years. Show up for shop class improperly dressed (sneakers as we called canvas/rubber soled athletic shoes back then) were forbidden as regular footwear and could only be worn in gym. Show in shop with sneakers and you were sidelined and given a zero for the day's work, aside from losing shop time on your required work.
    .
    Plainly, safety begins with you and starts in your head. Develop a mind-set to look each job or situation over and to think through your moves. Make sure you know where your body begins and ends, even to your fingertips. Never think you can blink or turn your head fast enough to avoid a chip or grinding particulates or similar. I consider my sight my most valuable sense and know my eyes are quite vulnerable. I never work without safety glasses if around machine tools or similar, or even for bench work where I might be using a hammer and cold chisel or striking tools such as punches. Another safety rule or two for bench work:
    -grind the tops of all your punches and chisels to a chamfer to remove any 'mushrooming' (peened over jagged steel). Mushroomed tops on tools such as punches or chisels can cause nasty nicks or cuts, and can also break off and launch shrapnel.
    -make sure all hammer heads are tight on their handles. Never use a hammer with a loose head.
    -never use a file without a handle
    -never strike two hardened surfaces together, this can cause a chip to spall off and be launched as shrapnel.

    Grinders present a whole other set of rules:
    -never use a grinding wheel without confirming it is rated for the rpm of the grinder spindle
    -'sound' and inspect all grinding wheels to be sure they are not cracked or damaged before mounting them
    -mount grinding wheels on grinder arbors or spindles using blotting paper washers between the flanges on the arbor or spindle. Do not overtighten.
    -stand out of line with grinding wheels when starting them up.
    -never use a grinder without proper guards on the wheels. Retrofit old grinders with shop made guards. On pedestal or bench grinders, there should be a 'tongue strip'
    at the top of the guard. This keeps chunks of the wheel- should it break apart- from being propelled at the person using the grinder. Tongue strips should be adjusted
    to about 1/8" clearance with the outer circumference of the grinding wheels, as should tool rests.
    -use grinding wheels for the purpose they were made for. Grinding aluminum on a wheel made for grinding steel loads up the wheel and makes for problems. Dress grinding
    wheels and re-adjust tool rest and tongue strip if you find a wheel loaded up with aluminum from the last guy to use it.

    I've been around this work since I was a kid. Older and wiser, a maimed finger from when I was 16 (I am 70 now), and countless small scars, visits to the ER for chips in my eyes and sutures of bad cuts all taught me lessons along the way. Use your head and take your time. You are not in a working shop where you have some fire-breathing immigrant foreman swearing at you in two languages if you stand still or do not move fast enough. Again: open your eyes, study the machine tools and the job at hand, and USE YOUR HEAD. It is the most important safety device and is entirely at your disposal.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Dr. Hillbilly View Post
    I have a growing list of folks who would like to be introduced to the use of old machines. While this is great, I must take precautions that they finish the introduction without major drama. Are there safety programs already prepared which I could utilize to address not only the usual risks of machining, but also the unique risks of exposed belts and gears?
    Not to rain on your parade but IMO any such program ought to start with adding some kind of shields to such hazards to reduce liability. Perhaps the guards could be made of clear Lexan and mounted using magnets to avoid permanent changes to the machines.

    Even in the heyday of such vintage machines experienced operators sometimes got too close to the works with tragic results. My feeling is that most modern people are so used to being protected that sooner of later even the best trained may goof.

    In the world of high-voltage electronics we often have guards made of 1/16" Lexan at access points with suitable caution labeling. Even with highly trained personnel these are considered necessary.

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    If you are open to all comers, you may want to have them sign a liability waiver, sad to say. I have been aware of too many cases where someone operating a 4th-hand piece of junk machine worn within an inch of its life gets hurt, and a plaintiff attorney gets ahold of a product liability claim and sues anyone with a pocket. They will allege that the machine was "defective," that the original manufacturer did not put orange warning stickers all over the machine, or mail out orange stickers to replace the ones that might have worn off over time, or the owner did not proactively install laser beam proximity sensors to retrofit the machine. All this despite the operator standing where they shouldn't and poking a rod in the input to unjam the running machine while wearing no safety gear. I have seen some rather crazy liability theories papering over some rather crazy operator behavior.

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    I believe sound advice would be to forget it. People are such pansies these days that no matter what you do and no matter how stupid their actions, if you have two nickels to rub together they will sue when hurt. Don't think otherwise, that's Reality®.

    This is why we can't have fun things.

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    Joe,
    Thank you for all of the wisdom!

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    There is also a class of person nowdays who look for opportunities to sustain injuries that can be faked up to look impressive in a lawsuit.......Having worked ten years for a business that employed a lot of lowlifes and deviants,I can tell you these guys seem to enjoy hurting themselves to get "compo" and "a settlement".....How about $80,000 all in for a fake injury caused by "vibration of a faulty air orbital sander".....Insurance schemes never fight these guys unless the claim is millions ....for a few tens of Ks they just pay up every time.

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    Quote Originally Posted by EmanuelGoldstein View Post
    I believe sound advice would be to forget it. People are such pansies these days that no matter what you do and no matter how stupid their actions, if you have two nickels to rub together they will sue when hurt. Don't think otherwise, that's Reality®.

    This is why we can't have fun things.
    Nope, my life will not be managed by the pansies. I am a reasonable good judge of character and do not hang out with those who believe that litigation is a hobby.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Dr. Hillbilly View Post
    Nope, my life will not be managed by the pansies.
    Can appreciate that sentiment but ...

    I am a reasonable good judge of character and do not hang out with those who believe that litigation is a hobby.
    Almost every guy who gets married thinks that, too. And then the divorce comes ...

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    Quote Originally Posted by EmanuelGoldstein View Post
    Can appreciate that sentiment but ...


    Almost every guy who gets married thinks that, too. And then the divorce comes ...
    Yes, but my selection of friends is not influenced by the desire for procreation, making it a more logical process!

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    Some of us guys are influenced by recreation rather than procreation, sadly with much the same results.

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    Dr. Hillbilly:

    I misread your original post, so launched into a discourse on basic machine shop safety rules. I responded as an oldtime engineer and machinist, without giving thought to the litigious society (read: ambulance chasing shysters and their shameless advertising for getting large awards for their clients). I take a similar approach to you. Namely, I know who I am letting into my shop. If they did not know what a machine shop (or welding and blacksmithing) is about, they would not be asking to have me help them out or teach them.

    As I re-think your original post and the posts of our brethren, I was struck by an easy way to determine who is serious about wanting to learn/work in your machine shop. Namely, do what was done when I started in the trade: hand filing to dimensions with surfaces flat, parallel, or square as required. I think that if a person is really wanting to learn machine shop work, seeing if they have what it takes in terms of manual skill, good eye, patience and temperment can be ascertained with some time spent on hand filing. This feeds into layout work (or marking-out), and thence to such work as drilling, tapping, and reaming of holes.

    As some of us did way back when, a test for apprentices and people coming up in the machinist or toolmaker's trade was to file a cube out of a chunk of rough stock. In my case, it was a piece of round cast iron bar stock that I had to turn into a cube 2" x 2" x 2". Knowing I had a lot of stock to remove to get remotely close to where I would not die of old age while filing, I chipped the stock using a hammer and cape chisel and cold chisel. Poor man's shaper, and a nearly forgotten skill.
    I roughed the chunk of iron into something resembling a cube and went at it with the coarsest bastard cut file I could find before moving to second and smooth cut files. It took days. The foreman paid me for my time while I filed that cube, and kept popping up alongside me to check on me and demand to know why I was not done yet. I had a combination square and vernier (a 'real' vernier caliper, not a dial caliper, and digital calipers had not even been thought of back then). The foreman checked my cube using a solid-head square with a knife edge, a micrometer- taking lots of readings and writing them down, and finally bluing the cube in against a surface plate. I was within a few thousandths, and that was what it took for the foreman to let me handle work on an engine lathe. Another thing he did when I first started in his shop was to hand me a box of something like 5,000 small bushings, along with a 3 corner scraper. Deburr the holes in each bushing. The foreman checked for chatter marks and wanted a neat chamfer. I was 15 years old, it was summer, and I was wanting to work in a machine shop. The foreman made scornful remarks about kids from Brooklyn Technical HS thinking they could 'run a lathe' because they set jobs up in a chuck, rather than having to deal with rough castings or forgings and do real setups. The foreman was an old German immigrant, and things like sensitivity and gentleness were off the table with him.

    Another way to weed out who does not belong in your shop is to do what I did with a HS senior who was my 'apprentice'. Namely, I told him: forget about using a computer or calculator. You are going to learn to do shop math, and I expect you to learn the more common decimal equivalents and handle fractions and decimals in calculations. You are also going to do some trigonometry and we will use a calculator for that. My 'apprentice' ran away with the shop math, he was handling fractions and decimals in his head just as I do, and handled geometry and trig without problems.

    In short: if a person wants to learn in your shop, give them filing work at the bench and some shop math problems (such as determining angles or other dimensions from a drawing or by hard measurement of existing parts). If they stick around and handle it, introduce them to the machine tools slowly.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Joe Michaels View Post
    As I re-think your original post and the posts of our brethren, I was struck by an easy way to determine who is serious about wanting to learn/work in your machine shop.
    Me, too ! First thing they walk in, smack them in the hand with a deadblow hammer. If they wrap it in a shop rag and head over to the Bridgeport cursing under their breath, keeper. If they run home crying, so sad, too bad

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    Quote Originally Posted by Joe Michaels View Post
    Dr. Hillbilly:

    I misread your original post, so launched into a discourse on basic machine shop safety rules. I responded as an oldtime engineer and machinist, without giving thought to the litigious society (read: ambulance chasing shysters and their shameless advertising for getting large awards for their clients). I take a similar approach to you. Namely, I know who I am letting into my shop. If they did not know what a machine shop (or welding and blacksmithing) is about, they would not be asking to have me help them out or teach them.

    As I re-think your original post and the posts of our brethren, I was struck by an easy way to determine who is serious about wanting to learn/work in your machine shop. Namely, do what was done when I started in the trade: hand filing to dimensions with surfaces flat, parallel, or square as required. I think that if a person is really wanting to learn machine shop work, seeing if they have what it takes in terms of manual skill, good eye, patience and temperment can be ascertained with some time spent on hand filing. This feeds into layout work (or marking-out), and thence to such work as drilling, tapping, and reaming of holes.

    As some of us did way back when, a test for apprentices and people coming up in the machinist or toolmaker's trade was to file a cube out of a chunk of rough stock. In my case, it was a piece of round cast iron bar stock that I had to turn into a cube 2" x 2" x 2". Knowing I had a lot of stock to remove to get remotely close to where I would not die of old age while filing, I chipped the stock using a hammer and cape chisel and cold chisel. Poor man's shaper, and a nearly forgotten skill.
    I roughed the chunk of iron into something resembling a cube and went at it with the coarsest bastard cut file I could find before moving to second and smooth cut files. It took days. The foreman paid me for my time while I filed that cube, and kept popping up alongside me to check on me and demand to know why I was not done yet. I had a combination square and vernier (a 'real' vernier caliper, not a dial caliper, and digital calipers had not even been thought of back then). The foreman checked my cube using a solid-head square with a knife edge, a micrometer- taking lots of readings and writing them down, and finally bluing the cube in against a surface plate. I was within a few thousandths, and that was what it took for the foreman to let me handle work on an engine lathe. Another thing he did when I first started in his shop was to hand me a box of something like 5,000 small bushings, along with a 3 corner scraper. Deburr the holes in each bushing. The foreman checked for chatter marks and wanted a neat chamfer. I was 15 years old, it was summer, and I was wanting to work in a machine shop. The foreman made scornful remarks about kids from Brooklyn Technical HS thinking they could 'run a lathe' because they set jobs up in a chuck, rather than having to deal with rough castings or forgings and do real setups. The foreman was an old German immigrant, and things like sensitivity and gentleness were off the table with him.

    Another way to weed out who does not belong in your shop is to do what I did with a HS senior who was my 'apprentice'. Namely, I told him: forget about using a computer or calculator. You are going to learn to do shop math, and I expect you to learn the more common decimal equivalents and handle fractions and decimals in calculations. You are also going to do some trigonometry and we will use a calculator for that. My 'apprentice' ran away with the shop math, he was handling fractions and decimals in his head just as I do, and handled geometry and trig without problems.

    In short: if a person wants to learn in your shop, give them filing work at the bench and some shop math problems (such as determining angles or other dimensions from a drawing or by hard measurement of existing parts). If they stick around and handle it, introduce them to the machine tools slowly.
    Joe,
    I agree on all points.
    I just want to enable those who have the tenacity to learn the techniques if they are properly motivated!
    Greg

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    Quote Originally Posted by Joe Michaels View Post
    when I first started in his shop was to hand me a box of something like 5,000 small bushings, along with a 3 corner scraper. Deburr the holes in each bushing. The foreman checked for chatter marks and wanted a neat chamfer.
    Wax on, wax off...

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    In response to some of the posts that this thread has evoked, I am reminded of some work I had been doing at a local machine shop. This was last November (2020), and even with Covid-19 precautions, the shop management was trying hard to bring young people into the shop. In particular, they were trying to make places for young people with disabilities. I do some welding inspection and set up weld procedures for this shop, as well as some engineering and mentoring/teaching.

    One of the young people whom the shop management had brought in was a young man who was rapidly losing his eyesight. He was legally blind but wanted to learn the machinist trade in spite of it. He had studied quite a lot and had quite a bit of 'book knowledge'. When he had his sight, he had taken every possible shop course in HS and a BOCES program. Aside from that, to get into the shop's program, he had taken aptitude and academic tests and scored quite high on his math test. He was motivated. The shop management was willing to take a chance on making a shop hand out of a blind young man.

    Unlike persons who have been blind for some time, this young man had not developed his tactile sense and feeling for depth/size perception to compensate for his loss of sight. We decided to start the young man off at the bench, and work with such things as simple filing and deburring of parts. It was an interesting assignment as I was working to develop his tactile sense and non-visual perception as much as his knowledge. We set him up a workbench and I taught him to recognize different cuts of files by feel, how to 'heft' a part in his hands to determine if it was steel or aluminum or polymer, and anything else I could think of. We told the young man and the people who provided disability services for him that he could expect a few nicked fingers along the way. He was still game to go for it.

    I worked with this young man for some weeks until a case of Covid in his own household sidelined him. Then, my own health issues arose.

    Interestingly, I was born with fine and gross motor skill delays. Back then, when I was a kid, this went unaddressed. I was thought to be clumsy or odd (since I could not pitch nor catch a ball, I had no interest in sports and with an active interest in machinery, I did not relate to my peers. I could visualize and had a good idea of things, but my hands lagged in being able to do the work neatly or properly. I began to draw, forcing myself to draw and finding I could draw in perspective. Of course, while my peers in school drew pictures of Yankee Stadium or baseball diamonds, I was drawing steam locomotives and machine tools. I came into machine shop work at Brooklyn Technical HS and then in part time/summer jobs in machine shops. This also brought in my fine motor skills to some extent. The shops worked on regular jobs, and I was OK with that. Then, in the summer of 1971, I was hired on as a machinist in the instrument machine shop at Sloan Kettering Cancer Research Hospital. I did OK for a few weeks until I was assigned to make some surgical snares. This was the 'maker or breaker' for anyone working in that shop.

    Making the snares required drilling a small hole down the center of a 1/8" diameter brass rod. To drill the hole, the rods were held in a collet in a Hardinge bench lathe. The wire-sized drill (under 1 1/16th diameter) was held in a pin chuck with a knurled handle. The pin chuck was supported in the fingers of one hand, and the thumbnail on the other hand was used to steady the drill itself. The drill would 'pull in' to center if you had the right feel for things, and you then gently fed it in and drilled a hole maybe 3/8" deep axially down the rod. Every toolmaker in the shop tried to teach me to drill those holes. Days passed, and I ran drills out the sides of the rods or broke drill bits. The word was that if I did make acceptable surgical snares by that Friday, I was to be fired. This was tantamount to dishonor with me, and I tried too hard and things seemed to go from bad to worse. Then, on that Friday morning, all of a sudden, I started drilling holes down the centers of the brass rods, neat and true. I moved on to cutting fine music wire, making loops of it, and sticking the ends of the music wire into the drillings in the rods. Lastly, I carefully flowed a little solder into each of the holes to hold the music wire. I had gotten the hang of it. The men in the shop were happy for me as no one wanted to fire me. They took me to a bar for some Urquell Pilsner beer and we all celebrated.

    What had happened was my fine motor skills had come a long way in a short time. The overall quality of my work as well as my drawings and lettering on them took a real upturn as well.

    In two interesting twists to this story: I was over 50 years of age before I could properly catch or pitch a ball. I had never had the desire to try, given the scorn and insults I had endured as a kid. When my wife and son were out on the lawn one evening tossing a softball around and having a grand time, I decided to come out and asked to be taught. My son taught me, and I was happily leaping into the air to catch high balls, connecting with them, and pitching them back to him.

    The other twist concerns Sloan Kettering Cancer Research Hospital. I had worked there, as I wrote, in 1971. In 2021, as I posted on this 'board, I was diagnosed with a cancer on the exterior wall of my stomach. The local oncologist wasted no time in calling Sloan Kettering. I was admitted to Sloan Kettering, and underwent surgery there. I view it as a kind of 'homecoming'. I was unable to visit the machine shop, which, I was told is still down in the 'third sub-basement' of one building. I did learn the shop, which back in my time there, had manual machine tools, is doing a lot of CNC work. It was quite an experience to come back to streets I had walked as a kid, seeing old familiar buildings I had walked past (I took the subways to and from work, living in Brooklyn at my parents' house). Instead of European bars and similar, the old buildings now house trendy coffee shops and the like. I enjoyed telling some of the staff that I had worked at Sloan Kettering 50 years earlier, before many were born, or were small children. The research fellows (board certified surgeons doing research working under the surgeon who operated on me) spent a lot of time with me and asked quite a bit about my time as a machinist . We all agreed that it was a very good thing I was being treated for my cancer in 2021 vs 1971, as diagnosis and surgery and much else had come a few light years. Sloan Kettering had brought in my fine motor skills with fine machine work requiring hand/eye coordination and feel, and 50 years later, took the best care of me.

    The lesson here is that if a person wants to learn shop work, they will do what it takes. If they sustain a few cuts and bruises, they will shrug it off and keep on going. If they have the head to learn shop work, they will have the good sense to keep clear of parts of the machine tools that could bite them or pull them in.
    Giving people a chance to learn shop work and 'bring them along' is a wonderful thing, particularly in these times when a knowledge of the existence of machine shop work is not all that commonplace. I was given that chance when I was a kid, even when I was legally too young to work in shop (I started at 15, when the legal minimum age was 18).

    Now, recovering from the cancer surgery and side-effects of the 'targeted immune cell therapy drug" (a horse-choker pill I take each morning), I am back into my shopwork. It feels so good and 'homey' to take the tools in hand again and get some grunge under my fingernails again. Friends are bringing in shop jobs, and it is therapeutic for me at several levels.

    Another reward I've had in this life is bringing my nephew, Sam, into shop work. Sam was a kid when he visited us. He was bored, so I took him into my shop and showed him the machine tools. We made a small toy boat, with him cutting the hull out on the bandsaw, and using the Bridgeport to rout a recess for the cockpit. He cut some sheet stainless on the bandsaw, finished it on the belt sander, and with files, and I showed him silver brazing to make a keel and rudder. Apparently, this time in the shop was something more than a cure for a boy's boredom. Sam went to Israel and studied to become a jewelry designer. This included time in a well equipped machine shop (Deckels and a Schaublin geared head lathe). Same returned stateside and came to live with us. I introduced him to the folks at the machine shop in Kingston. Sam took to the work like a duck takes to the water. He started in shipping and receiving and straightened out a mess there. Then it was 'parts prep"- deburring, filing, finishing. He moved on to the CNC waterjet, along with a Moore jig grinder, Blanchard and Hardinge HLV lathe amongst other things. He worked carefully, and had almost no rejected work, and was soon doing his own setups and programming on the CNC waterjet. The result was he was asked if he would enter a formalized apprenticeship to become a CNC machinist or toolmaker. Sam jumped on it.

    I gave Sam a machinist chest and basic tools in it. He is on the shop floor, early to start work, working any overtime they have, and eating up the work. I get good reports about my nephew, and I took Sam's father (up from Florida) to the shop for a visit. Perhaps the highest praise a parent could hear was: "Do you have any more Sam's at home ? We could sure use them here."

    I look forward to mentoring more young people, and I am old-fashioned enough not to look at it as a potential source of lawsuits or similar. Dr. Hillbilly has the right idea, and is to be commended and encouraged. If we do not take the time to bring interested people along in shopwork, a lot of what we love will die with us when that time comes. We may not have children interested in our work, so being able to pass our knowledge and skills along to other people outside our households is a good legacy and quite rewarding. I liken it to 'pollen on the wind' as our knowledge and skills (along with such niceties as expressions we use, humor, philosophies) is passed along far beyond our immediate households or families.

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    Joe, thanks so much for all you share here. That's a great story about your nephew. How rewarding, to share an interest like that and have it so well received.

    As for the OP, this is a good discussion to have. I occasionally have students in my own shop, of all ages including my 4 yo son. I try to make safety always be the first consideration for any task being performed or machine being used, and the younger or more inexperienced the student, the more reminders they get. I watch like a hawk. Many 20 year olds are little better than my four year old, in terms of an instinctive grasp of what potential things to watch for that could be hazardous.

    I think that the mental game, and focus in particular, are the crux of a majority of safety issues around old machines. A person can be aware of all the moving parts and what to stay away from, but if the mind wanders accidents can still easily occur. Being intent on the task at hand, and continuously aware of where all the parts of your body and moving parts of the machine are, is extremely important, and I repeatedly express this to any student.

    When running a lathe, welding, running a vertical bandsaw, or the like, I think ideally a person should be engrossed in the job enough that they will startle if spoken to unexpectedly. As a matter of fact, my wife knows to flick the one shop light (not all of them) on and off a couple times to alert me, rather than to just come around the corner if I'm grinding a blade or something... I often startle if she doesn't.

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    That is a touching story Joe. I had leukemia in my youth and did not grow an inch from age 5 to 8, when I should have been spurting. I ended up a few inches shorter than most of the men in my family, but at least they were tall so I ended up normal, and I was the worst athlete in my class for a few years, so I can relate.

    My employer has a fantastic safety program for modern machines. Every employee must pass it with a 100% score (they can take it as many times as required to score 100%).

    Of course it does not address the unique risks of vintage iron, and thus my question.
    I will incorporate your guidance and any other suggestions I receive in my vintage version of the safety quiz, and my students will not power up a machine until they have scored 100%!

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    Good to see folks here teaching their skills. All the machinists I knew here were crotchety introverts who could repair/make most anything but were content to take their knowledge with them into the dirt. Born and raised on a farm has taught me great respect for machinery so vintage machine tools are quite familiar. Learning to make them do what you want is a whole 'nother story,,,

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    Quote Originally Posted by Dr. Hillbilly View Post
    Of course it does not address the unique risks of vintage iron,...
    One point not raised yet here: vintage machine tools have no unique risks, beyond the risks always present with any machine tools, of any vintage. The safety quiz for the vintage tools is the same quiz for any machine tool.

    There are rotating spindles, sharp cutters in motion, hazards galore.


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