random #27: New Rule: Face shield mandatory (when turning barked pieces)

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Blog entry by Gary Fixler posted 09-04-2009 10:40 PM 3439 reads 0 times favorited 19 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 26: Burl Wood... "Nutz" :( Part 27 of random series Part 28: Archival footage: Wood turning in Germany, 1926 »

Just a quick note. I found some logs (again!) and quickly sliced up a half log for the turning. It had some loose bark I tore off, but also some seemingly strongly-affixed pieces that I decided to leave on. Too hard to remove. I was only at around 1000RPM (2nd out of about 6 speed settings on my Jet 12×20), when wHaCk!

A piece of heavy, hard bark about 3”x5”, and around 3/16” thick smacked me really hard in the face. I was wearing a polycarbonate full-face shield from Home Depot, though, and was saved. I’d say it was moving over 50MPH, based on the force – basically the speed of a decent overhand pitch. It could have been bad. It was dead center, right over my nose and eyes, but it’s hard to say where it would have hit without the face shield. Maybe I’d lose a tooth, or get an eye all cut up or punctured, or maybe just a bloody nose, but it would’ve hurt pretty badly. As it was, it did knock my head back a few inches, and sent me tripping back a few feet. I was also dazed for a few seconds, completely unsure of what had happened. There had been no warning. Just suddenly a loud crack, and a glimpse of something black and rectangular occluding my view before I went windmilling backwards.

This comes on the heels of a similar event days prior that sent a piece of bark flying up the surface of the turning tool and into my thumb. Felt like I hit my thumb with a hammer. This turning can be dangerous stuff. The face shield worked, though. I was entirely unharmed, and after shaking it off, I went back in and finished up the work.


-- Gary, Los Angeles, video game animator

19 comments so far

View Scott Bryan's profile

Scott Bryan

27249 posts in 5157 days

#1 posted 09-04-2009 11:06 PM

I am glad to hear you were not seriously hurt, Gary. At a 1000 rpm anything coming off the lathe has the potential to be a dangerous projectile. But I am glad to hear you finished the turning.

Be safe but have fun!

-- Challenges are what make life interesting; overcoming them is what makes life meaningful- Joshua Marine

View WoodyWoodWrecker's profile


171 posts in 4587 days

#2 posted 09-04-2009 11:15 PM

Glad you’re OK. With your progress, you’re making me want to get a Lathe. I almost bought one at a pawn shop with an extension the other day but figured I had better stop buying tools until I get my shop built.

-- You always have tomorrow to stop procrastinating.

View lew's profile


13488 posts in 5091 days

#3 posted 09-04-2009 11:25 PM

Thank Goodness for the safety shield. As you said, Safety First.


-- Lew- Time traveler. Purveyor of the Universe's finest custom rolling pins.

View reggiek's profile


2240 posts in 4606 days

#4 posted 09-04-2009 11:30 PM

Very Glad to hear that you were not hurt!! and also glad to hear you had a facemask on.

I have always advocated and use a full shield when turning….I also use/recommend a heavy apron or smock ( preferable leather for the apron – (I am looking for a nice one to replace my old tattered apron….so for now I use a heavy poplin smock)....a pair of gloves (I use a pair of good welders gloves (they give me all the dexterity with excellent protection right up to my smock sleeve)...and a dust mask. Some folks say that to use these are uncomfortable and ruin the “experience” of turning…...hmmm sounds like what they say about phophylactics…lol….but when you hear about the types and speed of material that can be ejected by the lathe (just like in your case)...I think a little discomfort is much better then whatever damage they would inflict. Needless to say, for all the time I have been turning (since high school) – I have not suffered any injury or serious mishap on the lathe (knock on wood here) me this is a great example that by taking a little time to be safe (and maybe a small amount of discomfort) makes all the difference in the world.

-- Woodworking.....My small slice of heaven!

View whitedog's profile


652 posts in 4793 days

#5 posted 09-04-2009 11:39 PM

gary … i can’t believe how much i am learning about turning from your posts, i always enjoy them. one of the big things is for me not to buy one of those things, it’s one of those tools that requires so many other tools. please keep up the good reporting

-- Paul , Calfornia

View Hix's profile


161 posts in 4614 days

#6 posted 09-05-2009 12:38 AM

Gary, glad you were not hurt. I always wear my face shield, it has saved at the least, my regular glasses several times. At least this was an easy education for you. Catches happen, chips fly, that face mask is cheap insurance.
I enjoy your posts, keep them coming.

-- ---call me---- Mark

View Dusty56's profile


11868 posts in 5024 days

#7 posted 09-05-2009 01:20 AM

Glad you’re alright , Gary …Thanks for the warning : )

-- I'm absolutely positive that I couldn't be more uncertain!

View Karson's profile


35295 posts in 5736 days

#8 posted 09-05-2009 01:24 AM

Gary Glad that all safety precautions were in place. And thanks for the warning.

-- I've been blessed with a father who liked to tinker in wood, and a wife who lets me tinker in wood. Appomattox Virginia [email protected]

View Broda's profile


313 posts in 4854 days

#9 posted 09-05-2009 02:29 AM

this happened to me not long ago
I never turn anything without my facemask

-- BRODY. NSW AUSTRALIA -arguments with turnings are rarely productive-

View Jim's profile


120 posts in 5334 days

#10 posted 09-05-2009 02:41 AM

I got hit by a 2×2x4 in the nose just going to do a “quick” turning. I wear my shield all the time now when turning.

-- Jim in Cushing Oklahoma

View scrappy's profile


3507 posts in 4766 days

#11 posted 09-05-2009 04:00 AM

Glad you didn’t get hurt badly. I agree….SAFTEY FIRST

Always were my faceshield. Have seen too many things hapen to spinning objects for me to risk getting hit.

Keep it safe. Thanks for the reminder.


-- Scrap Wood's the best...the projects are smaller, and so is the mess!

View John Gray's profile

John Gray

2370 posts in 5221 days

#12 posted 09-05-2009 04:49 AM

OLD RULE: Always wear a faceshield when using most power tools.

-- Only the Shadow knows....................

View Mark Shymanski's profile

Mark Shymanski

5623 posts in 5048 days

#13 posted 09-05-2009 06:42 AM

Is the face shield still reliable after being whacked so hard? I thought they were like helmets and kid carseats, once they’ve being in an impact they should be replaced.

Glad to hear it wasn’t more serious. I’d be getting myself a new face shield after an impact like that.

-- "Checking for square? What madness is this! The cabinet is square because I will it to be so!" Jeremy Greiner LJ Topic#20953 2011 Feb 2

View TopamaxSurvivor's profile (online now)


23298 posts in 5011 days

#14 posted 09-05-2009 09:35 AM

Good to know you were wearing a face shield. Glad you ‘re OK! Now we know you can take a punch:-))

Reminds me of a Milwauke Hole Hog on a 1 1/4” wood auger that hung up one day. The torque pulled it out of my hand and my finger off the trigger, but the residule torque took it around another couple revolutions. It wacked my chin pretty good, but didn’t knock me off the ladder I was on. They run at 550 rpm I think.

Speaking of safety, I have never worn a wedding band being a working sort of guy. I see a lot of them in the “how to” videos. Good way to lose a finger or at least dislocate a joint.

-- Bob in WW ~ "some old things are lovely, warm still with life ... of the forgotten men who made them." - D.H. Lawrence

View Gary Fixler's profile

Gary Fixler

1001 posts in 4717 days

#15 posted 09-05-2009 03:48 PM

Thanks for all the well-wishes, folks!

Woody – definitely! It’s addictive. I’ve not done anything else in my shop since I got it, and it’s a veritable swimming pool of wood chips and dust now. I have a lot to clean up and work on away from the lathe this long weekend!

reggie – You really suit up! You’re like a knight in armor :) I do want to get something like a long-sleeved apron to keep all the woodchips out of my collar, and off my arms. I’m a total mess by the end. I’ve not done well with breathing devices, because I’m big, and my breath is killer hot. I’m ready to pass out after a few minutes with a dust mask on. It’s always been a problem, though, even when I was very thin. I just run hotter. My mom’s even worse. She actually prefers snowy, cold weather, just because she finally feels good in it. When she visits me, she makes me point the portable A/C right on her, and sleeps with it blowing on her face all night, and isn’t bothered. It’s amazing. That unit blows freezing cold air. The gloves I also worry about, as I’m afraid to get the material caught. I’ve known of some people who’ve had gloves get caught up in machinery, and it seems so likely to me, I can’t bring myself to wear them around any power tools. I would like to figure out something for the heat of the chips, though. I couldn’t even make a single pass across the inside of a semi-dry Jacaranda bowl, because the chips coming off were red hot. My left pink was practically on fire. My tools heat up really fast, too, when I ride the bevels. About 2” becomes too hot to touch!

Broda – scary stuff! Glad you’re alright, and it reinforces my beliefs.

Jim – you too! These lathes are dangerous business.

John – I’ve actually switched from goggles like these to the face shield for most other operations around the garage. The goggles always fogged up, and on warmer days, or if I’m doing something particularly tense, they fog up in seconds, and I can’t see anything in about 30 seconds. I started putting something between my forehead and the top ridge to let them air out. Even removing all of the so-called vent plugs didn’t help. The face shield lets in a lot of air around the sides, so I can finally see. It’s rough having an internal fireplace, except when it’s cold. Then it comes in handy.

Mark – I hadn’t even though of that. It seems to be fine, though. There’s no cosmetic damage or hairline cracks. It has the same sound to it. I’ll keep my eye on it. Thanks for the heads up.

Topamax – I’ve got my own video of some auger troubles. I learned a little that day, and thankfully didn’t hurt any fingers! And yeah – I have no jewelry, and wouldn’t wear it in the garage if I did. Good thinking.

-- Gary, Los Angeles, video game animator

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