How dangerous are lathes?

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IOW you may want leather around your mid-section too

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Toller wrote:

r
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Probably just experienced. What he doesn't realize that others may not follow what he's teaching and the safety that's automatic to him. That can mean trouble.
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No, he's nuts -- and *not* experienced, either, if he really thinks that "no one ever got hurt on a lathe".

The OP said "the instructor is very casual about safety" -- that doesn't sound like safety is "automatic" to him; quite the opposite, I'd say, and that *does* mean trouble.
I don't mean to suggest that lathes are vicious, murderous tools, lurking in the corner of the shop waiting to leap upon some unsuspecting rookie turner and strangle him, but, like *any* power tool, they do have the potential to cause serious injury. To suggest, as the OP's instructor apparently did, that one need not worry about safety precautions at the lathe because the tool is inherently harmless, is dangerous and irresponsible.
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Doug Miller (alphageek at milmac dot com)
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Is this where we start talking about the new LatheStop on the market and the 200 pounds of shielding around the piece of wood being turned to prevent it from flying off the spindle and impaling someone in the forehead? Of course, maybe it might be more prudent to invest in the BodyStop personal armour. :)
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I think the IdiotStop that somebody suggested in the SawStop thread might be more appropriate here... starting with Toller's instructor. "Nobody ever got hurt on a lathe". Sheesh. What an ignoramus.
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Doug Miller (alphageek at milmac dot com)
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wrote:

You know, that makes me wonder about something I had forgotten about-
In a high school woodshop I saw during a voc. school class a couple of years ago, all of the lathes had lexan hoods over them that could be flipped back if needed. Why isn't that standard equipment? Granted, many of them would probably be removed and go in the corner next to the table saw guard, but it seems like a good thing to have on when roughing wood with bark still on it or with uncertain chucking.
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It sounds like its negative of reduced access won't impede lathe use much and could potentially save you from injury once or twice. It's not like some of those safety guards they put on things (bench grinder) that do nothing but get in the way.
Puckdropper
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Lots of lathes used to come with. Ours had Delta's hybrid of wire cage and plastic windows. Didn't need the cage behind if it was placed up to the wall, and the arm that mounted it actually got in the way of doing that. The plastic windows were a static-plagued joke, and would have become worse had anyone been allowed to finish on the lathe. They were abandoned when they were so bad they had to be replaced.
Mechanicals dreamed up to attempt to escape liability for poor human practice, and probably in full knowledge of their ineffectiveness.
One thing I give them is they would protect the passers-by from the lathe operation. The person using the lathe, of course, had no reason whatsoever to be in the fragment zone, nor any cause to turn the equipment on until firm grip was assured on the main piece.
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*snip*
I think (but don't quote me on this) that a chuck set sufficiently high to allow materials to turn on the lathe while still slipping if the average human resisted could be employed to prevent loose clothing/wrapping type injuries.
Puckropper
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Possible that the new guy doesn't know enough to recognize what's being practiced.
You, for instance know nothing about it, but are willing to condemn rather than entertain for a moment the chance that your opinion might be in error.
Oh well, it's merely speculation anyway, but there are no old, bold pilots, as they say.
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The OP in this case may be new to turning, but he's definitely not new to woodworking.

While I wasn't there, and don't have first-hand knowledge, it's certainly not true that I "know nothing about it" -- I read the OP's post, and know what he reported. If his report is accurate, and we have no reason to suppose otherwise, then the instructor is an ass, and a dangerous one at that.
You, OTOH, know no more about it than I do (and quite possibly less, since your comments leave considerable doubt as to whether you actually read the original post), yet you are willing to condemn the OP's statements, and assume that he is unable to recognize safe practices when he sees them -- rather than entertain for a moment the chance that your opinion might be in error.
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Doug Miller (alphageek at milmac dot com)
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Well obviously that statement is a bit ambitious. All you have to do is loop a piece of sandpaper around an object you've just turned and hold the sandpaper with the index and thumb of one hand. Often your hand will be pulled into the wood piece and pinch your fingers pretty badly. I have finally learned not to loop the sand paper around but instead hold it across the wood with both hands, one in front, one in back, then the paper doesn't pinch shut and drag you into it! That is only one of several occurrences that can yield pain. While the lathe is a relatively safe tool say compared to a table saw, to say "No one ever gets hurt on a lathe" might not be a real good statement! But it makes for good small talk !
Don Dando

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On Wed, 29 Nov 2006 22:40:13 +0000, Don Dando wrote:

FWIW, I managed to draw blood with a router today. Not the way you expect--I wasn't watching where my fingers were when I released the lock on the plunge base and it pinched me between the base and the stop. Then for good measure I banged my head on the lumber rack and got a cut there too. On the other hand getting a 280 pound bandsaw down a 7 foot vertical drop didn't do me any damage at all (I haven't opened the box yet so won't say for sure that the _saw_ survived).

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--John
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I read somewhere that most woodworking power tools can maim you. The lathe, however, can kill you.
Seems a reasonable statement if an unbalanced chunk of something starts heading toward your noggin.
When you hit that power switch, *don't* be standing in the line of fire.
jc
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Of course, that starts with "don't be casual about the mount," which many are, in my opinion. Spur centers in face grain, what do they expect? Some won't even taper back the ends of the log section before they mount it, assuring the lathe will be doing the dance of death if they have the speed too high.
It was a "D" for the day if I caught a kid starting the lathe while in the throw zone. An "E" if I caught them starting it with someone else in the throw zone.
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Also, the absence of accidents does not indicate the presence of safety.
Your instructor needs to have someone tatoo that to his forehead.
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Toller wrote:

I had to get six stitches in my lower lip after a piece broke off at lathe, bounced off the ways and hit me under the face shield.
When I was in grade school a friend of mine was killed by a piece of stock that broke off a face plate and impaled him in the forehead.
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Jack Novak
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Nova wrote:

Let's take a hunk of material, spin it at great speed, and poke a metal stabber at it. What could possibly go wrong?
I think Nova posted the answer.
I am willing to go out on a limb and venture a guess that stupid people are more likely to get hurt than those who use their brains. I could be wrong. Lathes are dangerous. Period. (Commercial ones are usually behind metal cages.)
r
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I, like most of the other posters, find it amazing that an instructor would make such a stupid remark. He should be fired.
The dust mask is a good idea. Face protection is essential because lathes do have a habit of throwing things. A good hard catch could even throw the handle or blade end of a tool up toward your head. The flexible, full face shields are pretty good. I have only had one mishap when a pretty large piece of stock came out of my machine while turning between centers. It happened so quickly I never actually saw it happen. I felt a pretty good blow on the top of the shield at about forehead height. I looked down and the workstock was cradled between my arm and side. The chunk weighed well over a pound so the face shield did its work.
RonB
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