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Bob Gerenser

As I see it

Sep 4, 2013

Bob Gerenser

Bob Gerenser

In As I see it, Bob talks about the perils that may happen to wood turners and says that we should not get paralyzed just because it could happen. Use of common sense and good safety practices can avert such incidents.

This article appeared in our 2013 September issue of Chips & Chatter.


There has been a lot of discussion about safety lately on one of the other club’s “group” mailings, mainly in response to Lynn Yamaguci’s accident. Lynn’s accident happened last year and she has undergone numerous procedures, including skin grafts since then. In a blog dated last December Lynn talks about her decision to purchase a ballistic helmet, the type worn by police in riot situations, to use when turning cracked wood. ( There is no doubt that wood turning is inherently dangerous. We harvest wood with growling chain saws, use meat saws to rough out blanks, pinch bark covered pieces of wood between centers and send it spinning, and then, promptly attack it with pointed pieces of steel. How can it not be dangerous?

All too often it takes something like Lynn’s accident to remind us of the perils we face in pursuing this hobby, profession or obsession. But, as I see it, we should not be paralyzed by what could, or might possibly, happen, just because it does happen occasionally. Common sense and good, basic safety practices, including protective equipment, are paramount to enjoying wood turning. I’ve heard some turners say they’d never turn an imperfect piece of wood, yet some of the most stunning pieces I have seen have come from tortured looking blanks. These pieces can be the most challenging to turn and they’re also the most prone to fracture. The risk is certainly there, but so is the reward. I guess the bottom line is; slow down and think about what you’re doing.

- Bob

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