Friday, October 24, 2014

Ponta Delgada Azores, Portugal

 For the coming week I am out of my shop and out of my country. Eva and I are in Ponta Delgada Portugal. We are taking one week's vacation on this tiny island in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean, in the middle of the Gulf Stream. If you think that the gulf stream isn't important to plants, let me show you some pictures from around town.




  This is a  photo of a myrtle tree.  I have no idea how old this tree is, but the growing season here is 12 months of the year. We certainly don't see trees like this at home.


These roots belong to a Mission Fig from Australia, transplanted to Ponta Delgada Azores. Eva is that tiny colourful item on the left side of the photo. Those roots are 2-3 feet above the ground.
Cool eh?






Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Shop Safety - Band Saw Safety.


with a happy ending.


   Clara is proudly showing off her new shirt but this is really a photo of a bandage. On the pinky of her right hand is a work shop related injury, her first and I hope (but don't really believe) her last.

  All you Opas and Pappas that are working to encourage your grandchildren should take note of that bandage.  

  Clara is three years old and so doesn't know what is sharp or dangerous and...she is small enough that her fingers fit into places we would never, ever try to put our fingers. Clara believes that if she is close to her big people that life is good and safe, and that is what she should think and what we should be working to provide.  On Saturday I had the worse feeling in my shop that I have ever had, including the three times I've cut my fingers working on the table saw. 

  Clara was being a very good helper and was sweeping up saw dust with a hand brush and putting it the garbage.  She worked away in the shop for close to an hour, sweeping and scolding me for making such a big mess. Kieran was working on a boat and Clara was helping clean, and Opa was feeling about as good a anyone in the world could feel.

  Underneath the table of the band saw there is a significant gap, as you know. Though I have dust collection on my band saw a goodly portion of saw dust collects on the bottom wheel and trunnions below the table.  In amongst the saw dust is the blade. There is really very little blade exposed, and certainly an adult would not ever come in contact with that little bit of blade by accident, and have little purpose to encounter it intentionally. An adult would know that the blade was sharp, that it was there and if an adult was going to clean in there they would use a shop vacuum.

  My darling little Clara is not an adult, she has no idea there is a blade and wasn't using a shop vacuum.  She reached up under the table and used her tiny fingers to clean out the saw dust and touched the blade.  (the saw was off) She got a tiny boo boo on her finger and Opa felt terrible, probably much worse than she did. At that instant I decided that I need to seriously review all the possible dangers in my shop and work on teaching the little people more about safety.

  I am not going to over react and not let them in, and I don't expect them to escape forever without the occasional cut or scrape but I need to be extra vigilant so that wood working is fun and safe. 

  If shop time is enjoyable and safe I may be able to entice a generation away from their computers and the virtual world and into the real world. 

cheers, Ian W

My Favourite Little Clara Bear.