Speaking of Doing It Rong

I stumbled across this on the internets, forwarded it around to a few of my knife-making buddies, and everyone had a good laugh and a snark and then got quiet. The only way to deal with it is to assume it’s a set-up.

I judged the winner in the snark-fest to be Mike, who said “He’s just finished welding, with his TIG machine balanced on the post, and is grinding down the welds. Nothing to see here.” And then there was my original comment which is “See what he’s doing wrong? He has the angle grinder upside down!”

A great deal of my time is spent with an angle grinder in my hands and I’ve had a few opportunities to think over what’s going on. First off: do not, ever, use one of those “chainsaw blade wheels” for wood removal. Sure, they are really fast but they’re also a good way to see what the interior of your hand looked like. Secondly: angle grinders kick in the direction they are held. If you hold the grinder vertical, it’ll kick vertical. If you hold it horizontal, it’ll kick horizontal. That means: never hold an angle grinder vertical, like this guy is doing. If you hold it horizontal, then it can gouge the hell out of the people on either side of you, but it won’t come back at you.

Back in 2019 I was cutting some steel with a diamond wheel on the angle grinder, and suddenly my index finger on my right hand got hot. I looked down and there was a neat slice through the glove, my fingernail, and my finger. Fortunately, it wasn’t too deep but it took just a fraction of a second – it was a brand new diamond wheel (as if that matters!) and I had knocked the guard out of alignment when I replaced it, so my hand slid up the grip until my finger came into contact with the wheel. Ow. The problem with abrasion injuries, as opposed to slices, is that there’s nothing there after the injury, so you have to wait for the wound to fill in – you can’t just tape it back together and hope it heals like I did with my katana mistakes. My fingers are a mesh-work of scars, but I still have all of them. As Ray Wylie Hubbard once said, “I want to slide, smoking and bleeding toward my grave and its eternal rest, while the umpire yells, ‘SAFE!'”


  1. johnson catman says

    Well, obviously, the guy cares nothing about his eyes because he isn’t wearing safety glasses. ;-P

  2. sonofrojblake says

    @johnson catman: I’m impressed you managed to formulate a coherent response to that picture. My mind got stuck in a kind of loop going “but he’s… and the… but it’s… and there’s…”

  3. says

    Alec Steele did a safety video about dealing with angle grinder injuries, including stage makeup and blood. It gave me nightmares. Those big angle grinders are really nasty.

    I’ve had a few people tell me I should stop using the “little” ones but, are you kidding? Those are bad enough. Still not as bad as a table saw, though.

  4. Tethys says

    The safety films we had in school were extremely graphic in showing the injuries that resulted from exploding casting rings, or objects being flung at your face by any number of the various grinding and polishing lathes.

    I can’t see without my glasses, so I’ve always gotten them with prescription safety lenses. I’ve never had a close call at the bench, but there have been multiple incidents where my glasses prevented me from being stabbed in the eye with a pruning blade or surprise branch.

    I’m glad to hear they worked to prevent injury via table saw shrapnel. I still shudder at the memory of the guy who got mangled by an exploding band saw blade in those safety videos. It was nearly as gruesome as the results of various oral cancers we were shown as students.

  5. Ice Swimmer says

    Now, in this case I wouldn’t complain how noisy a chainsaw-motor powered angle grinder is. (They’ve been using them nearby for approximately six months while building a light rail connection, luckily, not every day).

    Charly @ 3

    This may be a stereotype, but that light blue reflected structure also screams Russia.

    In Finnish, one of the colloquial terms for screwing up something is “ryssiä”. This cannot be translated accurately, but “to Russian” would be a partial translation, which conveys the literal meaning, but not the emotional baggage. It comes from the ethnic slur Finns use about Russians, “ryssä”, which may look innocuous, but the word is extremely insulting. AFAIK, English doesn’t have an ethnic slur for Russians that would be on par with the hate level.

  6. says

    I still shudder at the memory of the guy who got mangled by an exploding band saw blade in those safety videos

    Uh, I thought bandsaws were relatively safe…

  7. rrutis1 says

    In regards to safety films, we deal with some medium voltage electric in our work and the training videos are horrifying! First the discussion about electric potential energy for a transformer or switchgear with Xthousand volts should give pause…then they show actual pictures of bodies or body parts, charred and burned. Truly gruesome and memorable enough that I can picture them even when I flip a breaker in the house!

  8. Tethys says


    Uh, I thought bandsaws were relatively safe…

    As safe as any piece of high powered machinery with a steel blade rotating at high speeds. This school also had an Orthotics and Prosthetics program, which had the huge lathes and woodworking machinery. The dental technology program did not have that particular hazard, but everyone was required to take the same safety training.

    I believe the poor dude in the safety film was a deliberately traumatizing example of what can happen if you don’t stay behind the yellow safety line while the machine is in operation. He did not lose his eye, but he was scarred badly.

    I have never gotten near a deep fryer, period.

    Uh, don’t you own a forge? Hot oil seems pretty tame compared to red hot iron.

  9. says

    Hot oil seems pretty tame compared to red hot iron.

    Yellow hot. :) But, joking aside – hot oil splashes and clings whereas iron, you just gotta dance away from. Granted, if you’re wearing nylon shoes and it melts into your shoe, then you lose a foot – but leather boots are fine.

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