• Announcements

    • Alan Longmire

      IMPORTANT Registration rules   02/12/2017

      Use your real name or you will NOT get in.  No aliases or nicknames, no numerals in your name. Do not use the words knives, blades, swords, forge, smith (unless that is your name of course) etc. We are all bladesmiths and knifemakers here.  If you feel you need an exception or are having difficulty registering, send a personal email to the forum registrar here.  
Alan Longmire

Things you might not know can kill you

6 posts in this topic

Recently a forum member found a block of beryllium copper.  Luckily he was smart enough to ask about it before using it, and in the course of the ensuing thread other hazardous things that look innocent enough were mentioned.  Another member suggested making a sticky thread about such things, so here it is.  Feel free to add your own, after all this may save someone's health if not their life!

Beryllium copper, aka beryllium bronze, is sometimes found in junk shops.  It is usually marked BeCu, and is most commonly used (at least the way most of us would find it) to make non-sparking tools.  Handy and strong, with interesting properties, it is great for many things.  It will also kill you (slowly or relatively quickly, and painfully whichever speed) if you grind or machine it without the proper safeguards, which are generally not available in a home shop.  Here's the thread: 

Galvanized steel.  We all know, or should know, to avoid forging or welding  on plated steel.  Galvanized steel produces zinc fumes when heated, and breathing these fumes will make you sick.  If you have compromised lungs to begin with a big dose can kill you.  This happened to my friend Jim Wilson. http://www.anvilfire.com/iForge/tutor.php?lesson=safety3/demo

Cadmium plating is less common (it's the gold-ish peacock color on older brake fluid reservoirs), and it will kill you quickly if heated enough to vaporize the cadmium.

This is just a start.  Please fee free to add your own, just make sure it's true first.  Most of the stuff we do is hazardous in some way.  The more we know about hazards most people may not be aware of, the more safely we can work.

1 person likes this

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Jon Cook's idea and Charles DuPreeze's suggestion.  Once we have more stuff I'll put a locked link in the Beginner's Place as well.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
14 minutes ago, Wesley Alberson said:

Does regular brass give off zinc fumes when melted?

Yes. Zinc boils at 907C, so once you hit that temperature, zinc starts boiling off releasing zinc fumes.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

To further this list, @Austin_Lyles has mentioned in another thread not to quench in used motor oil. There are various reasons for this but from a safety perspective we are concerned about possible contaminants from the engine. Used oil may contain heavy metals and other contaminants that can vaporise during the quench causing lung damage. If you cannot afford to buy quench oils such as Parks 50, you can use canola, peanut oil, etc.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!


Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.


Sign In Now