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Anvils in America - THE anvil book.

Blacksmithing and metalworking questions answered.

metal work, blacksmithing, steel, iron, forge

The "Got Away With It" Factor

Gotta-way with it, Lucked Out,

Waiting for the Darwin Award . . .

The world is full of those who get away with things that us mere mortals cannot. But eventually the laws of probability catch up with them.

The "gotta-way with it club includes thrill seekers, most teenagers, drunk and aggressive drivers, and those that cheat on their taxes. End results vary from broken tools, to failed bridges and the supreme Darwin award, an embarrassing death immortalized on YouTube right after saying those famous last words "Hey Vern, Watch this!".

The "gotta-way with it" club also includes those who weld high carbon steel ball bearings together as grapes, use gasoline to light forges and other things that should not be recommended to the general public. This applies to those that explain how they did something that conventional wisdom says is impossible or dangerous (and they got away with it). Yep, they were lucky and didn't blow them selves up, lose digits or ruin the item they were trying to make or repair. This is ESPECIALLY bad when grizzled "old fart" is telling some newbie who has no skills or resistance to BS how to do something. The "old fart" probably got away with his method due to a certain level of skill OR luck that the newbie doesn't have and may not live to have.

Nonstandard Processes often rely on a type of got-away-with-it factor based on art and fine skill manipulating the process. These are processes that even when you follow step-by-step what the other person did they do not work. The skill may require fractions of a second more or less application of heat or how a mixture was stirred OR how you hold your tongue and twist your jaw. . . Yes, you may replicate the process but it may take MANY attempts to become successful. There are good reasons that some things are not recommended practices.

SAFETY: The chuck key rule is probably one of the most dangerous broken rules in the shop. My rule is you never take your hand off it unless it is OUT/OFF the chuck. I don't care if it is for 2 seconds to check something or make an adjustment you JUST DON'T DO IT. Chuck keys small and large (lathe chuck keys are often more than a foot long) can fly like missiles, crash into ways, snag sleeves, or a combination of things.

It does not matter if you are "only" changing bits, putting in a cutter or piece of stock, tweaking a dial indicator. If you do it for ANY operation no matter how simple or arguably safe then you will forget and do it at other times and forget it. So I make it an absolute rule. NO exceptions, not for a moment.

We had a new worker who was trained on all the general machines but insisted he was a "mill hand" leave a 10" long T handled key in the chuck of a brand new lathe. He then hit the switch to bump it. . . the key hit the ways bending it, then flew out and hit the wall above another worker's head and land on the ways of the machine HE was operating. There were two others standing near by. . . First day at work. Second day the machine was in operation. . . It could have been the last for either OR the others near by. A two pound piece of steel that shape striking someone in the head at that velocity could easily be fatal.

So my rule is keys never leave your hand while in/on the chuck EVER. Then you don't slip into bad habits.

Don't let the "Gotaway withit" factor GET you.

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