Sunday, January 22, 2012

then sometimes you get burned

Things go good, things work out, things come together, and then sometimes you get burned.

Saturday morning I was working on a custom hat rack and doing some final adjusting on a pair of tongs I had forged on Friday night. My mind was on the hat rack; the time, and processes involved in completing it.
The tongs were a side note. I just needed two heats to do a tiny bend in the handles.

Shortly after I started work, I pulled the tongs from the fire. Both handles had been in the fire but only one was red hot. The other had been in the flame, and while not red hot, it was still between 800-1000 degrees.

I tried to hammer the red hot handle to create the desired bend, but the other handle was in the way. With my mind concentrated on the hat rack, I put the hammer down, and grabbed the other tong handle with my hammer hand, intending to move it out of the way. It was like grabbing butter. Really, really, REALLY, REALLY, HOT butter. Whenever you grab something hot, for the milliseconds that your hand is in contact with the hot material, it feels just as slippery as butter.

I imediately put the tongs back in the fire, quenched my hand in the ice-cold quench water, applied some natural burn help stuff that I keep in the studio, and then finished the immediate work on the hat rack and tongs. My hand was in terrible pain so I went up to the house and washed up, applied vitamin E oil and aloe-vera gel. Then mom gave me some of the left over pain medicine from when dad broke his leg.

Broken-bone pain killer for a burn.......maybe a bit of an overkill, yes.......but after a bit I didn't feel ANYTHING! I was dizzy and groggy as all get out, but that's better than wearing enamel off your teeth.
It put me out of work for the day as I couldn't hold my hammer, but I'm ready to go again tomorrow.

The burn on my second finger is the worst. 

The burn on my ring finger was nearly as bad.

It also burned my thumb just a bit but not too bad.
All part of the job!


Blacksmith Chase said...

I got one word for that...... OUCH!!!!!!!!!!!

techningeer said...

Thats right Chase. I was reading this and I go to myself, "he should've been wearing gloves". Then what do I do, I go out to my shop to work on a brass spindle, and burn myself on just under red-hot metal! Oh well, we will suffer together, just hope it is feeling good enough for bales in a few days.

Master Dave said...

Gloves.....leather gloves can be quite dangerous for blacksmithing. They take the heat for a minute and then by the time you feel the heat, its too late to get them off and its too hard to get them off. I have Kevlar heat resistant gloves that are easy to fling off, and take considerable heat. However, gloves decrease efficiency and would not have helped with the extreme heat I was dealing with.
If you were working with brass, that stuff and copper, conducts heat very rapidly as opposed to A36mild steel. A small amount of heat in one area in the softer metals will spread very quickly, so you have to be careful!