Dearest Gentle Galoots,
I have been
considering some of the recent posts regarding the danger
inherent in old tools and would like to address this issue from
personal experience. My "war" wounds are many and well-deserved!
Over the years I
have found that a lack of "mindfulness" is a really major issue
when it comes to being injured.
I am most apt to plane my
finger, let a sharp knife slide across my hand or get stabbed by
an awl being pushed through leather when my mind is otherwise
engaged. I imagine this is a key issue that many of us overlook
when we are working with hand tools.
When we flick on
a tailed apprentice the noise sends us warning signals.
That router or
table saw or grinder gets our attention, particularly if we are
only occasional users. The sound alone fairly screams danger and
I am watching where my fingers are at all times.
But our good old
tools seem like old friends to us. This is when we are apt to
get careless or try to let our mind multi-task. Focusing on the
task at hand to the exclusion of other tasks minimizes the risk.
I think this is
particularly true when using really potentially dangerous tools
such as axes and adze. I was trained to use the adze in the
"under the foot" technique. It works well most of the time, but
I never let my mind wander when that blade is headed for my
foot. I don't like axes much because they are for me the most
dangerous of tools.
Swinging a 3 or
4 pound hammer, while splitting firewood, tends to scatter my
thoughts over the course of hours. I find the task boring after
awhile and my mind wanders until the axe hits a knot and the
blade goes careening out of control. Then it is back to
"mindfulness" until I again forget to remember.
Let's be careful
out there, our non-electrified big boy toys can bite back if we
don't respect them.
Paul in Normal, Illinois