View Full Version : OT: First shop rule

09-16-2012, 09:01 PM
The florida shop thread got me to thinking. When my uncle Tucker started my lathe machine learning his very first rule was "YOU WILL NOT LEAVE THE CHUCK KEY KEY IN THE LATHE>NEVER<EVER>"
Only problem was every time i went to the shop there it was chuck key in chuck.
Some time later I get a call "Can you bring a ladder over to shop and give me a hand?"
So ladder in hand off I go and to the shop.
Get to shop I ask "What do I need the ladder for?" He just grins,points up at hole in ceiling and says "TOLD you never leave key in chuck"
That key went throught 5/8 drywall and 1/2 plywood with shingles to only be stoped buy a roof rafter.
Leson learned.Do as I say and not as I do.
Lesson two was better than that.
**********just saying******************GG********************

Dr Stan
09-16-2012, 10:08 PM
When my uncle Tucker started my lathe machine learning his very first rule was "YOU WILL NOT LEAVE THE CHUCK KEY KEY IN THE LATHE>NEVER<EVER>"

When I went to the Navy's Machinery Repairman (machinist) school they had a chuck key from a Lodge & Shippley gap bed lathe with 4 to 5 feet of chain welded to it to form a "necklace". If you took your hand off the chuck key while it was in the lathe chuck even for a millisecond, you got to wear the "necklace". Sure helped reduce the frequency of keys flying out of chucks.

BTW, they also had some glossy B&W photos of a couple of accidents. 1) the lathe operator left the key in and turned on the lathe in reverse. The key hit the back splash traveled though the chip pan and removed his lower jaw. 2) another student was using a drill press and leaned over and got his hair caught by the teeth on the drill chuck and this was even with a military hair cut! Pulled out a good chunk of scalp.

Mike Burch
09-16-2012, 11:33 PM
On my first day of training I was shown a colour film of a guy having a piece of stainless removed from his eye. "Non-magnetic, you see, lads - can't get it out with a magnet..."
I threw up all over the floor, and have religiously worn eye protection ever since. These days it's a full face shield hanging off my ear-muffs.
My Sieg C3 lathe came with a curved plastic shield over the chuck, on a pivot with a micro-switch which prevented the motor from being started unless the guard was closed. You couldn't close the guard if the chuck key was in the chuck. It was a damned nuisance, though, as it fouled the jaws if they were holding anything sizeable. Eventually it broke off, so these days I have to think before operating, which is no bad thing.

Forrest Addy
09-17-2012, 04:56 AM
OK. Time to dust of an oldie I wrote some time ago when I was set carpenter for the local opera company and worked out of my shop. I often had "helpers" connected with the cast in some way "doing their part." I usualy found something for them to do.


Bitch all you want but these are the rules. It's my shop and I run it.

1 No smoking indoors, no exceptions. If you must smoke, do so out-doors at the end of the driveway. Pick up your butts. Cigarette litter is cause for stinging rebuke.

2 No alcohol during working hours. Though people deny it, I've observed a marked decline in safety awareness of experienced craftsmen after only one beer. Feel free to crack one after the work is done.

3 Leave the F word at home. I love colorful language and I use the F word myself but the F word used excessively gets tedious in seconds and it’s like fingernails on a blackboard to me.

4 I like music but I prefer to work without music or radio. It’s a distraction for my one-track mind. If you have to have music to work I may allow it but when I feel it’s time for silence, remember it’s my shop and I make the rules.

5 If you're new to my shop, keep your hands in your pockets unless invited to handle whatever you're inspecting.

6 If you're going to help, help. I have ways of doing things that make sense to me. I don't have time to bicker over alternatives when the work's in the cut.

7 It's always good manners to grab a broom, catch boards, and keep your eyes open to be of assistance.

8 Bring only friends you'd trust to house-sit for you. I have many expensive tools and no time to monitor light-fingered visitors. I don't even bring clients in my shop until I’m sure they can be trusted.

9 I don't divide my attention well. Don't distract me when my fingers are in range of cutting edges. When I hold my finger up for silence, I'm not being rude. I just don't want to be distracted for a moment. Just remember your place and start where you left off when it's safe for me to listen.

10 Make full use of the rocking chair and the whittling wood. Soft drinks, if any, are in the refrigerator. I love a good story. If you want coffee, you better fetch it. I don't drink it and any coffee fixin’s I have may be ten years old.

11 The cat thinks he owns the place. He does. You don't.

12 Park efficiently. I have room for 3 cars in my driveway unless it’s being used for construction. Otherwise, park up on 26th street where there is plenty of room. It's only 200 feet to walk and if the weather's nice, the neighbor girls may be sunbathing - by the way don't say anything to them you wouldn't want a stranger to say to your wife or daughter.

13 Come set construction hell week - the week or two before move-in - hours are long. Tempers may flare and energy flag. Bring extra patience and forbearance. Food and drinks (non.alcoholic) are on me.

14 I like kids. Your kids are welcome so long as they don't constitute a hazard to themselves or others. I love to teach responsive kids what I know. I can keep them busy sorting screws, driving nails in scrap lumber, showing them how to make stuff on the scroll saw so long as I have time. If I'm working to a deadline and your kids have never been in a workshop, maybe another time is better. If your kid is hyper and won't listen, well... don't feel bad I if order your kid out of my shop in the interests of general safety.

15 Dogs are not welcome. I don't like dogs. Leave them at home or in your car. The birds, the squirrels, and other critters in my neighborhood live here in peace and I won't have them stirred up by a rampaging dog that "wouldn't hurt a fly". I may make exceptions for dogs I know to be placid who prefer to find a spot and curl up for a snooze.

16 I have a simple policy for loaning tools. No. Don't even ask. Any exception I make for someone else does not constitute a precedent applicable to you.

If there are any more rules, I’ll let you know.

09-17-2012, 06:36 AM
whatever happened to safety chuck keys, we had them in school years ago, a sprung collar covered the square and you had to push to engage, not real hard but release of pressure popped the key out?
seemed sensible at the time even if annoying with a 4 jaw setting exercise.

Black Forest
09-17-2012, 06:39 AM
These are my shop rules:

Shop Rules

1. I always makes the rules.
2. The rules are subject to change at any time without prior notification.
3. No visitor can possibly know all the rules.
4. If I suspect the visitor knows all the rules, I may immediately change all or some of the rules.
5. I am never wrong.
6. If I am wrong, it is because of a flagrant misunderstanding which was a direct result of something the visitor did or said wrong.
7. If Rule 6 applies, the visitor must apologize immediately for causing the misunderstanding.
8. I can change my mind at any given time.
9. The visitor must never change their mind without written consent from me.
10. I have every right to be angry or upset at any time.
11. The visitor must remain calm at all times, unless I want them to be angry or upset.
12. I will not under any circumstances let the visitor know whether or not I want them to be angry or upset.
13. Any attempt to deviate from these rules by the visitor could result in severe bodily harm.
14. Don't touch anything.
15. I will not explain my reasons for my rules. I am the owner I don't have to explain.
16. This is not a democracy. I am a Dictator. I try to be a Benevolent Dictator. I can be brutal.
17. I am never wrong!

If you change the I to "the female" and the visitor to "the male" it is my prenup!

09-17-2012, 07:21 AM
I like your rules better, Black Forest.

Here's mine:

1. Come with a smile, and leave with it.
2. Have fun.
3. Don't do stupid crap such as running machines without safety glasses (as I sometimes do) or leave chuck keys in lathe chucks.
4. Lovely to look at, lovely to hold, if you break it I mark it sold.
5. If you learn something from me, I expect to learn more from you.
6. Come back again sometime!

Grind Hard
09-17-2012, 08:19 AM
0) Do as I say not as I do. I have decades of doing, and I have many bad habits. However I teach BY THE BOOK when it comes to safety. DO NOT argue safety with me you will lose.
1) Do not ask to use the jaw-chuck in the lathe. If you can't do it with collets, I'll do it for you. (no chuck key this way!)
2) Earplugs are required when the Turret Punch is running. Even when I am punching plastic or pasteboard. No exceptions.
3) Earplugs are required when the big cutlery grinder is in operation. No exceptions.
4) I don't care how "cool" it is to watch a CNC operate, I installed those heavy guards for a reason and they will remain closed.
5) Gloves are to be worn at all times when handling coolant. Cut resistant gloves to be worn at blade deburring at all times.
6) The molding machine is not for noobs to operate. My brother handles that aspect of the business.
7) Don't even think about operating the forklift until I train you.
8) Keep the shop floor swept at all times, even if you have to miss a couple cycles on the machine.
9) No drinking, smoking, drug usage on company time. Do not come to work "wrecked."
10) This list is not all inclusive. My shop is not a democracy, while I am open to discussion once I set policy it will be followed.

john hobdeclipe
09-17-2012, 10:17 AM
Cripes, you guys make everything so complicated. Here's my list of shop rules:


09-17-2012, 12:32 PM
For myself -- whether it's in the shop, or out with the chain saw, or at the office hacking on computers --
the number one rule that applies to all situations is

When I start to feel tired/fatigued, the day is over

I have all the other usual rules for myself ... but that one seems to be The Big One.
Too many times I've tried to get One More Thing Done at 2am and ended up blowing it
completely. Too many times have I found myself working without eye protection or
whatever when I'm tired. Or overlooking something simple. Or whatever.


Dr Stan
09-17-2012, 01:02 PM
For myself -- whether it's in the shop, or out with the chain saw, or at the office hacking on computers --
the number one rule that applies to all situations is

When I start to feel tired/fatigued, the day is over

That is an excellent rule.

09-17-2012, 07:42 PM
Myfault what I ment was the first rules{lessons}from the person who taught you this trade.
Athough I realy like the general public rules that were posted and will roll them into "General shop policy" starting now.
Since this was not my trade { Third generation carpenter} I was woundering how everybody else learned the "Dont do this rules"
Sorry about any confusion.
All mistakes in spelling and such are all the fault of this one fat finger typist.Lets just call it operator error.
Please share your first lessons. You never know it might make some of us better.
*************Thanks***********************GG****** ***********************

09-18-2012, 11:59 AM
1. I'm always right

2. If I'm wrong, see rule #1

09-18-2012, 01:05 PM
Cripes, you guys make everything so complicated. Here's my list of shop rules:


That's funny John! :D
I like that one.

I see that Forrest Addy and I are of almost identical minds. ...nearly. I would reverse the cat and dog rules.

Speaking of which... last night (a dark and gloomy, rainy night in Georgia ...and Alabama too) out of the corner of my eye I saw movement on the floor a few feet to my right. At first thought it was a squirrel, which are common visitors, but then realized it was much larger. Was an Opossum that just strolled in.

He proceeded to meander back in amongst all the junk and clutter along one wall (would make Sir John of Nottingham aghast!)
I tried to prod him to leave, but with no success. He seemed to think he lived there, and maybe he had for some time. Ended up having to dispatch him with a pellet gun.

Hated to do that. But I hated even more to let him become a permanent resident.

Paul Alciatore
09-18-2012, 01:54 PM
fjk said, "Too many times I've tried to get One More Thing Done at 2am and ended up blowing it
completely. "

Jeeees! Some days I am just getting started at 2AM.

What's a fellow to do?

09-18-2012, 09:48 PM
fjk said, "Too many times I've tried to get One More Thing Done at 2am and ended up blowing it
completely. "

Jeeees! Some days I am just getting started at 2AM.

What's a fellow to do?

C/at 2am/after being up for 18 hours/


michigan doug
09-18-2012, 10:56 PM
"I tried to prod him to leave, but with no success."

Opossums don't have a lot of lines of code to work with, if you know what I mean. Stupid, but slow. Determined, gotta give them that.

They are not malicious like 'coons though.

Finest regards,


09-19-2012, 01:54 PM
Not malicious, but I've learned any wild animal with teeth and/or claws are not to be trifled with lightly.

My wife, who was present and holding the light for me, was concerned that he might be playing "possum" after I shot him.
...but I figured it was hard for him to fake the blood and brain matter.

09-19-2012, 05:19 PM
Since this was not my trade { Third generation carpenter} I was woundering how everybody else learned the "Dont do this rules"

I learn like anybody else - the hard way. Another few ways I learned...

1. If it hurts like hell and there's nobody around the see what I did - keep it that way and nurse the pain by any appropriate means. Try not to repeat the mistake.

2. If it hurts like hell and somebody saw it - walk/hobble/crawl away and then proceed to #1's answer

3. If it was dangerous and my father or siblings saw it - DUCK! In the woodshop there was probably lumber flying at me. In the non-wood shop, there was likely a wrench, small piece of stock, or largish nut/bolt/piece of hardware.

4. If I was in the sawmill or otherwise on my grandfather's old place - better 'fess up right away and hope to be simply tossed into the brook.

IOW, I was both taught and self taught, but always corrected by either myself, pain, or other imminent reprisal.

uncle pete
09-19-2012, 06:01 PM
I learned (still learning) by doing a hell of a lot of reading and trial and error. At a certain point, you finally gather up enough information that the unknown don'ts start to become a bit more obvious. I made some mistakes earlier on and managed to not get caught by some larger mistakes that could have been really painful.

Shop rule no. 1
No one gets to even know I have a shop unless I've known them for awhile.

No. 2
Don't touch unless your invited to, or you know more about the tool or process than I do. But you still have to prove that first.


09-20-2012, 12:40 AM
Nobody comes into my shop for a whole host of reasons not the least of which are that I have to watch them and they are an unwanted and unnecessary distraction.

If I am tired, irritable/up-set or have lost concentration I either don't go into the shop or if in the shop - leave it.

I have no phones, radios, TV's etc. in the shop as they are a distraction - not at all unlike using a hand-held phone in a car.

My default position with the shop is that its only for me and no-one else. It not even for me if for what - ever reason I am not sufficiently alert and "aware".

I don't make or repair stuff for anybody else as I am determined not to be the district "go to guy/sucker" as I've been bitten by "worthy causes" before and it ain't going to happen again as I don't like being handed around like the village harlot.

If I can meet this object I reckon I wil have done pretty well:


09-20-2012, 04:41 AM
Thank all.
I thought I was just throwing out a bone,but you all chewed on it real well.
Uncle Pete you sure bounce back quick.I know it's hard but try to do what they tell you.
Tiff I know what you mean best work in shop is when there is no distractions{SP}
Dr Stan as always you hit it dead nuts center.
To all the rest thanks for the input.
Who would have thunk it one old florida cracker get's a idea ,throws it out there and the next thing you it goes globle{SP} Dam.
I like this place.
**************Just Saying*************************GG***************** *****