Search Me!

Think about it...

Thursday, April 9, 2009

HOM: Laird II

An old lathe operation, and a modern infeed:
"Coe" made the lathes we used. Our basic lathes looked like this. This one doesn't have a charging system.
A typical infeed, though ours was of wood & not steel.
Laird was the only guy I worked with that got badly hurt on deck. #1 lathe had plugged and he was down under it trying to wrestle the core out when he slipped and his foot went into the conveyor chain. It ran his foot up into the sprocket and broke some bones. Luckily his heavy boot made the belt stall out or he may have lost a leg. The Day Shift Foreman was running us that night, and he told Laird to just go home and not worry about it -- it wasn't a serious injury. McIlhargey told the DSF to go have intercourse with himself and hauled Laird to the ER. They kept him in the hospital -- broken bones and torn ligaments. I had forgotten, but it was just a few hours later that the DSF saw Kurt with the gun and went home "sick". I guess he really did have a reason for a guilty conscience that night! Anyway, Laird was off work and in a cast for quite a while while his foot & ankle healed. I didn't feel too sorry for him, though. It was hunting season, and he took his busted foot and spent his days driving around up in the woods. Successfully, too: he got a cow elk. Shortly after this the motor on that conveyor burned out and the millwright replaced it with one that was both much bigger and lower geared. That belt was badly overpowered afterward. Actually, "belt" is the wrong word. It was more like a moving metal ladder a bit over a foot wide with thick rungs a foot or so apart. After the motor replacement the lathe operator dropped in a couple of spin-outs and one of them landed with its butt in the chain and the other end on top of the other core. The end of the conveyor on deck came up through a heavy metal shroud and the wall of the lathe operator's shack straddled it. This log caught the back edge of the shroud and proceeded to rip it off and tear out the wall of the shack before we got it stopped. I treated the conveyor with a LOT more respect after that. If that motor had been in place earlier, Laird would have died. Messily. Just to end this on a lighter note, when Laird was working as a millwright he had to go back under the #1 infeed. Someone else went first, Laird was second and DJ was last. It was such a tight fit that they had to crawl around and between the supports. Laird was claustrophobic so he was pretty nervous. He turned to DJ and said he didn't know what would happen if he got stuck under there. DJ just grinned and told him not to worry - he'd eventually shed enough weight that he could crawl out again. Laird wasn't comforted. TBC (Me) (Blacktail Books)