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Matthew Parkinson

Buffers the most dangerous tool in the shop.. sadly proven..

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Earlier in the week I read about a tragedy, some of you might have read this on Facebook, a fellow knife maker has died in his shop, I didn't know Mr Dempsey, but there is a kinship with others that follow a similar path, and he was quite obviously a brother of the blade. The report is that a knife he was working on caught on a buffer and was thrown into his chest were it pierced his heart, he was found dead in his shop. Anyone that have taken classes with me know I say the buffer is the Most dangerous tool in the shop. I have known many who have been hurt using one, I have heard many stories of folks narrowly averting death after an accident with one.(IE suck in leg and missed femorial artery by 1/4" etc) this is the first confirmed case of a death I have seen. Many of the tools we use and the equipment in our shops can easily kill or maim it is not just buffers. This is a tragic and awful accident and my thoughts are with his Family but it is also reminder to take great care in what we do.. always .. listen to the little voice in your head, don't get complacent, keep the fear of the tool,, it is healthy,,, but don't let the fear rule you... be aware in the shop, know the safe use of any tool you use, and don't take stupid risks! just BE SAFE!

it was offerd that this month Oct. be Knifemakers safety month in honor of Mr Dempsey. I think every trip to the shop needs to have that same level of awearness not just Oct but if that will help us all pay more attention then I am all for it!

MP

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Some very impressive words, and very clever... I am not a bladesmith for a long time, but once or twice some blades were ejected from my hands, buffers and backstand...!

Each time, I was not proud of me and of course a bit feared... I bought a leather apron, (not a very good one) but I do not wear it everytime... thanks to you I will try to change my mind... one more time! Thank you Matthew

Deep and affectionate thoughts for G Dempsey and his family.

(sorry if my english is not the best)

Franck

Edited by Franck Meurou

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Welp, I know what I'm not gonna buy

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This is just one of the many reasons I like grinding sitting 90 degrees to the wheel- better the wall should get stuck than me.

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Not to speak ill of the dead but it sound like he may have been buffing off the top of the wheel. I just remember what Jim Hrisoulas said in one of his videos: hand tools injure; power tools maim.

 

Doug

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Doug you could right , and that is something that should never be done, but maybe not I have had things catch under the wheel and bounce off the bench or in one spectacular incident off the wall (then the celling) and come at me.. so it could have just been a moment of inattention. buffers suck, if you present an edge of a part the wrong way to one it will take it from you and there is no telling were it will go, up, down, back at you ...

MP

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Ouch. Man, buffers scare the hell out of me.

 

I'm like everyone else: I have several near miss stories.

 

For example: I once forged a double edged fantasy battle axe with kind of "hooked" ends to the edges. I was buffing the "bolster" on the bottom of the blade handle. The "hook" caught on the side of the buffing wheel. Even with both hands firmly on the handle that thing was yanked out of my grip and thrown into the edge of the workbench with enough force to require several hours of sanding and re-texturing to remove the impact marks.

 

Thoughts regarding alternative trajectories and the consequences of said flight paths were immediately in the front of my mind.

 

I find that I use the buffer less and less these days. I don't miss it.

 

Be careful guys.

 

Dave

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I use a buffer sparingly and I think anyone that has used one has had a moment of bad juju. The one I use is a cheap grinder with the guard removed and is slightly underpowered. I work from the backside. I work low on the wheel as I would much rather have the buffer throw something at my feet, rather than back at my eyes or chest. I have had a buffer snag something out of my hand and fling it clear across the shop only to embed it into the wall. That is when I started working from the rear of the machine!! I wear a heavy leather apron that covers all the way to the floor nearly but, when you think of a knife being slung with the force a buffer can generate, I don't hold to much confidence in anything short of maybe kevlar!

 

Accidents usually occur when we get complacent and a buffer is one piece of equipment you absolutely can't get complacent with because it will jump up and bite you before you can even think to react!

 

My prayers and thoughts go out to Mr Dempsey's family! It is such a terrible tragedy!

Edited by C Craft

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A terrible accident for sure. I had a bad buffing experience on my very first knife, but luckily, no injury. I've only rarely buffed a blade since then. But I do have a buffer - a 1hp Baldor that spins at 1800 rpm, vs the more usual 3450 rpm, and 8" diameter buffs. Though the lower rpm and moderate size wheels may be less efficient, they are much less likely to grab and throw a knife (the usual buffing precautions still apply!!)

 

Saludos

J

 

JDWARE KNIVES

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I haven't used a buffer on a blade before, but I'm a dentist and I have used them on dental appliances many times. And I'm embarrassed to say how many fragile and expensive appliances I have destroyed by having them jerked out of my hands and thrown across the room by a buffer. I tremble to think what I could do with a buffer and a blade.

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