Welcome to our first round of Toolmonger’s “Doh!” of the Week where we’ll gather up reader mail (and our personal experiences) to bring you some tales of folly in the shop.
First of all, thanks to all those users who’ve stepped up to share their pain with everyone both to entertain and to help us all avoid stepping in the same cold, slush-filled pothole. And special thanks to readers Rick and Tyrone who really threw down the gauntlet in comments to get the ball rolling.
This week’s theme: kids in the shop.
One reader sent in the following:
The earliest stupid thing was around the sixth grade. We were in the shop of a piano refinisher/repairman. He and my dad were engaged in a long conversation while cutting something on a belt-driven bandsaw. I was bored and found myself drawn to the belt and pulley, letting my finger bounce on the belt. Eventually I let my finger slide on the underside of the belt and before I realized it, my index finger was pulled into the pulley and thumped out the other side. Tears filled my eyes and a quick glance showed there was still a finger and no blood was spurting. My dad didn’t see it happen but knew something was up. “What are you doing?” he asked. “Nothing” I replied, nursing a sore, and eventually black and blue finger behind my back.
In the same email, he also mentioned the following incident(s):
Second stupid thing was the summer of the stripper wars. Not what you think. My brother and I spent summer vacation stripping God know how many chairs for a restaurant refinishing job. Teenage boys will be boys and before long we were clandestinely flicking the caustic orange stripper gel onto each other’s sensitive areas (crotch). A few seconds to soak through the bluejeans and there was a break in the boredom as one of us writhed in pain. The only thing that would cool it off was a squirt of lacquer thinner but that too had a burning effect. Luckily I was able to have children and they appear to be normal.
Reader Eli said:
Don’t ever leave a can of paint open if you have children, learned that one the hard way too. (must use water based paint if your kids are in the same state as you)
There seem to be a few lessons to learn from these experiences: First, remember that children don’t always see the shop the same way you do. What seems like a tool-to-be-wary-of to you — and a spinning death machine to others — might indeed look like a toy to an interested child. While it’s possible to share the shop with your kids, they require close supervision.
Our fathers always took a relatively direct approach, explaining the tool, its purpose, and its primary safety considerations. What approach do you take with your kids in the shop?