Path To Craftsmanship: Safety, Cleanliness, And Documentation As Habits

When I started boxing classes I was told, at my level, I could do just as much good for my form by doing core exercises such as crunches, running, push-ups, and pull-ups for a month as I could by doing the class. I consder habits like safety, cleanliness, and documentation to be habits that influence the quality of hacks much the same way. They’re not really related, and the work can get done without them, but their implementation alone improves the quality of everything you do at the workbench.

The best mechanic I’ve ever met had a well-organized shop. All of his employees wore nitrile gloves when they worked on engines to protect their hands from the chemicals inside. They used ear protection and safety glasses. His rates were low, and the car was always repaired fast. I never had to go back for the same repair twice. He knew exactly what repairs were done, and even kept the parts removed from my vehicle to show me if I desired. I got some of the most fantastic explanations of why parts failed from him. Two blocks down the street was a shop which was unorganized and had double rates. The employees were always sitting on the waiting chairs in the lounge. It took one trip there to never return.

The best factory I’ve ever worked in is the FastCap factory in Bellingham. It’s breathtakingly clean and organized. The people do good work and don’t waste time. Safety glasses and ear protection were ready and waiting. Everyone looks for things to improve around the factory and spends time in the morning to share their results with the other employees. It’s amazing how much effect good corporate habits have on the end product.

I’m not the first to notice this pattern. There’s a story about the turnaround of Alcoa, made famous in the book, “The Power of Habit,” by Charles Duhigg, that follows along the same line.  The company was losing money. To combat this they hired a new CEO who shocked the board by saying he didn’t care about profits at all. The company had a terrible safety record and it needed to be fixed. In the end a clean and safe shop filled with employees who were engaged with their environment ended up turning the company around. Not only did the CEO leave a company making five times the profit, the product quality also went up.

My father's actual tool box. I don't know how he does it.
My father’s actual tool box. One day I will get to this level. As far as I know he is not OCD, just disciplined.

I’m not a psychologist, (Dammit Jim, I’m an engineer!) so I hesitate to make any sweeping proclamations about the human condition. However, it’s been interesting to see where applying peripheral habits in my own work has encouraged more regular success whereas previously it was hard won.

For example, cleaning. Growing up, I used to internally scoff when my father insisted that tools go back to the place where they came from. What’s the difference between a screwdriver on a desk and a screw driver in its place on a shelf mere feet from each other? Of course it was an internal struggle, he was very clear on the subject. The tools went back to their place!

However, when I began to work more seriously on projects, I quickly realized that following his example doubled not only the amount and quality of the work that was done, but also the pleasure I received from it. No longer would I have to pause in the middle of my work to search for a tool for fifteen minutes. I know where it is. I’ve now taken it to the point where no matter how deep I am into my project, I’ll clean every desk and put away every tool before bed. After all, I only know what needs to be done today, tomorrow is a mystery. Having to move one project out of the way to start another is difficult when you’re in the moment.

Safety has now become one of my core virtues. The vast majority of our readers are vehement supporters of the concept, if our comment section is any indication. However, I notice a few commenters scoff at safety. They usually fall in two categories. Either the premise is that it negatively affects their manliness. They learned in a shop run by Johnny-two-fingers and those were all the fingers he ever needed. He only lost three fingers once, and after that he paid attention around the machines! I don’t really understand, I’d wear an OSHA standard pink spandex tutu, sequined vest, and steel toed boots if I thought It would increase my chances of making it to the grave with all my fingers. These people cannot be helped.

I'm not kidding. I measured the steam want to be louder than the OSHA noise level floor. I worked in heavy industry, no way a coffee machine is going to take away my ability to hear high pitched noises.
I’m not kidding. I measured the steam wand to be louder than the OSHA noise level floor. So now a pair of  certified ear muff live beside the machine. I worked in heavy industry, no way a coffee machine is going to take away my ability to hear high pitched noises.

The other premise is that it’s unnecessary, and gets in the way of work. This is a stance with which I agreed in some regards for quite a while, but I’ve found, as I work on more projects, that a safety oriented mind is a more organized one. It’s weird, but my personal experience is that thinking about how to do something safely, tricks my brain into higher orders of thinking about how to do the task.

For example, when cutting a large piece of plywood on the table saw. It’s quite easy to get it done unsafely. Simply rip that sucker through the spinning blade. While quick, this method does not produce the best results. A side is cantilevered over the edge causing a slightly out of square edge. Dust is blowing in your eyes and distracting you. You’re also having to use your strength against the gravity of the part, reducing your control of the cut. So, while yes, it was possible to just throw the work on the table saw and get it done, the best result wasn’t achieved and more work may lay in the future to correct any errors this produced.

However, a safety minded person, without even considering the additional benefits to the quality of the work will get a roller stand to support the work so they don’t have to. Will make sure that the operation is set-up so that a push-stick will suffice to provide all the necessary force to push the piece through the blade. The guard is in place and safety glasses are on, negating the chance of dust distracting from the focus. More attention can be focused on the task since the fear of knockback is diminished with the guard in place. The floor is clean providing a good footing for controlled movements.

In the end, the things used to accomplish the task safely overlapped with the things needed to perform the job well. A supported work piece cuts straight. A controlled cut has less burn marks and tearout. Even the wear on the bearings and blade is lessened in this approach. However, the reasons for doing those things had nothing to do with the quality of the work. Same with sharp blades being safer; they also cut better.

My all time worst instructional book purchase after Practical Electronics For Inventors. It cannot, and will not teach C++ in 24 hours.
My all time worst instructional book purchase followed only by Practical Electronics For Inventors. It cannot, and will not teach C++ in 24 hours.

The last example habit I want to discuss is documentation. I’m still lax about this, but I’m working hard to implement it as a habit and finding that I’m better off even with these early efforts.

For example, while working on my 3d printer I took pictures along the way as well as making sure to copy useful information and notes into Evernote. When I wanted to write my Fail of the Week article, I had all my information there as well as pictures of the build process to help me get along. Even better, if I have to drop the project for a month, I can simply read my notes and get right back to it. And years from now, when working on an unrelated project with a related problem I can return to my own documentation to figure out how I previously solved the issue.

I’ve spent a lot of time in life looking for ways to get directly better at something quickly. I would order books that promised to teach the subject in a few hours. I would spend hours just doing the work. I produced a lot of sloppy work. When I began to focus on my work habits (instead of just my knowledge and raw ability) I started to see the craftsmanship I wanted in my work developing. I still have a long way to go, but I’m curious to know if any of you have had similar experiences?

49 thoughts on “Path To Craftsmanship: Safety, Cleanliness, And Documentation As Habits

  1. If you’ve ever wondered why the military is efficient at certain things? /\ This. /\

    Manuals and instructions break everything down Army-style (meaning very simple and precise). Safety and efficiency take precedent. ESPECIALLY true when dealing with aircraft or weapon systems. It really does make everything faster and higher quality, even if the initial training to do it is slow at first.

    1. But hacks and one-off projects are always the initial time. So basically everything costs more, takes longer, and benefits simply never accrue. Just like everything else, there are trade offs. I face this battle in R&D work too. The preference for safe, documented, and organized and vs quick & dirty isn’t always apparent when subject to real world constraints of time and money.

      1. I’ve discovered this too, as my garage and desks are best described as organized chaos, where as when I was in the AF there was a place for each tool and each tool had it’s place. I still always reorganized and clean after each major task or project is done, though.

        1. “I still always reorganized and clean after each major task or project is done, though.”

          Me too. Only substitute “in a horrible rush just to get enough working surface, misplacing things along the way, before each major task” for “after”.

          1. One trick is to use the lids of large under-bed storage boxes as a work surface, attach a board to them if required to get a flat surface. The trick is to then place the inverted box over the lid and clip it shut when you need to clear your work space, then you can just stack up these boxes with labels on them for each project. It helps if you are organised enough to split your bench into 2 or 3 boxes so that general tools are all in one area/box.

            Like this, but inverted,


  2. Work habits are hard to acquire. With that said if your methodical and try to apply the scientific method to the task it produces superior work. I am working very hard to get organised in the limited space I have as a workshop. I already outgrew it and packing things away in boxes is not conducive to work. With that said, I do like to go out of the way to clean and organize my work space more and more often. It helps so much and the tasks are done in a faster fashion. So the time spent organizing pays back when doing the work. For me its a wash, but the frustration level is so much lower.

  3. I’ve been very inspired by two things:
    – Casey Neistat’s videos on his workspace
    – Holding an open studio every Friday evening.

    Having an open studio forced me to clean up EVERY Friday evening before people showed up.

    Also, not that I (only) have a 100 square foot space in The Artisan’s Asylum forced me to get rid of junk I’ll never use.
    That in itself helped me enormously.

  4. There’s a hidden cause in much of this.

    By thinking about safety, you’re thinking through the procedure before you actually do it (not just throwing a sheet of ply on the table saw, for instance, but setting up roller stands and sweeping the floor).

    There’s a saying in boatbuilding: “The most important tool you have is the boatyard chair”. In that chair, you sit and think about the next step and how it all fits together and save yourself endless wasted effort and frustration.

    Even if there is no measurable change in some safety metric, the precision and efficiency must go way up since there’s been careful thought about the next move.

    Safety is, however, an excellent focus point, since everyone has (or should have) a deep interest in their own safety rather than something more abstract and removed like production quotas or profits, and will take the time and make the effort to think the process through.

  5. If all of us were overly worried with safety, man would still be living in caves and eating fallen fruit.
    We would still be worrying about the risks of fire and finger cuts from flint.

    More seriously, there is a need for personal safety and I do my bit at a level I’m happy with. In the corporate environment it’s gone too far because it’s driven by a “I’ll sue/fine you” culture, common sense is not a thing you can afford to accept.
    eg: I’m required by HSE & HR to hold the hand rail on my office stairs.
    Working on our own, it’s a different matter. eg: I learnt to climb stairs 30yrs ago – “look ma, no hands!”

    Making custom inserts for a toolbox verses using the different ones that tools come with isn’t organisation, it’s OCD because you want it to all look the same.
    I use the boxes or packaging the tools come with and I don’t suffer from it. I save time wasted on making it look pretty.
    Function > form.

    That toolbox is a mixture of both.
    Go read if you want to see some really OCD people.

    1. Have you ever toured aerospace or aircraft assembly lines? Still think those are “unnecessarily OCD”? There’s damn good reason why every tool and part is accounted for. Especially when more than one person is working on the line.

      1. Similarly surgical suites and chip fabrication, but I’ll agree that there’s a whole class of nimrods who worry so much about symmetry and getting it looking right (or pointing out everyone else’s faults) that they lose sight of the original purpose.

        1. Surgical suites dont have place holders for the implements because it would be a problem for sterilisation and would mean an infinite combination of holders. They have a tray and they count the implements on and off. Still accidents happen and people end up with them sewn up inside of them.

          As for aerospace, note the difference between having tool holders and having “bling” custom cut out of foam/wood/ally/unobtanium holders in your toolbox.

          My tools all have a specific place. It’s just that place might be the original plastic packaging inserted into a draw and stuck down with instant gasket/silicone/what I have to hand. Its’ functional and doing the same job, just not as pretty.
          I know if one goes missing from it’s location, I know where to find them when I need them, or which ones or missing when putting them back.
          My tools spend more time being used than being on display.

      1. It is, when it compels you to do things that are of a very marginal benefit and would otherwise be unnecessary. Trust me, I know how much time I waste just to keep it satisfied. And I very much agree with @dave – sure, safety is important and one should not simply scoff at it, but it’s at least equally important to know how not to overdo it; there’s NO SUCH THING as absolute safety, and those that always insist on more and more “absolutely crucial” safety equipment and procedures just to inch a tiny bit closer to an unattainable ideal are flat out idiots and doing nobody a service. There is such a thing as “reasonably safe enough”, and yes, it means it retains a non-zero chance of something going wrong. Deal with it, or go hide in a cave. The point is not to irrationally fear every tool and machine, and keep piling safety stuff between it and you: the point is to respect its power to hurt you, and try not giving it the chance to do so. Operating a lathe wearing a tie and long hair is irresponsible – insisting on wearing a bomb squad blast suit to do the same is just being a… well, there’s a term for it, but I don’t want to Godwin the thread.

  6. A career in aviation taught me these things very early and indeed it was part of the culture there for a very long time, but these attitudes need to be nurtured or they will slip away. Many industries, and aviation is one of them, seems to be moving away from a long service, high skilled work force, for a more flexible one working by rote. This ‘three-ring binder’ processing of tasks, along with employees that are not particularly invested in the firm they are working does not encourage the development of these habits.

  7. When I was old enough to have tools, my father set me up with them. After that point there was no using his tools. If I needed one of his, he would supervise and if he thought I’d need it again he would get me one.

    Love the Harbor Freight small parts box, I always have a few empty ones in the back of the vehicle, That way when I get to someone’s shop I can give them one to try to corral their “parts piles”.

    1. That is a great plan, if I have kids I’m going to copy it ;->

      My general tool philosophy is to buy a wide range of cheap tools, then if I break one, wear it out or hurl it at a wall screaming abuse at it I get a good one of them because its clear I’m using it and its worth spending the money on getting the best of something.

      1. I used to follow that line of thinking, but it is usually not the tool that is expensive, it is the job… say taking a bolt out. A cheap spanner might slip and round off the bolt. Then what? The 30 second job has suddenly become a major undertaking. If the bolt is hard to get to (in a recess), it may not be possible to cut it off, extract it, or even drill it.
        I have learnt to buy the best tools I can afford, and if I come across a situation where ‘damaged job will mean disaster’, I seriously consider buying the *exact* right tool even for one-off use (eg: a metric deep-reach socket), or a high quality almost-right but useable anywhere tool that will have the best chance of working (eg: imperial, size almost right, but made of hardened steel with a flank drive with minimal chance of slipping).
        By the way, I am not a mechanic, but deal with electronics. I finally bought a proper solder sucker (many years ago) and it has paid for itself many times over. The number of times I severely damaged an irreplaceable PCB by using a cheap sucker! Copper lifting… hole plating being ripped out…

        1. Really cheap tools have their place though Fred. I’ve got a old ammunition chest that I toss nasty stuff into when people give me them free or you find in a boot of a car you just bought or similar, then if anyone comes asking to borrow something “for just one job”, I dig one out of that and hand it them.
          Do get some dirty looks while theyre eying the real toolbox with the good stuff in it, but hey, if they want good stuff they can buy their own.

          1. All hail the free screwdriver set from Harbor Freight. Need to borrow a screwdriver? Here ya go. If I don’t get it back, there are another 3 dozen in the bucket.

            I do look at a project and if I’m going to have a problem (ie need a deep socket ) then I’ll go buy it. Unlikely that I’ll go, well I should buy both SAE and metric in 1/4 and 1/2 sets. Maybe when I go to buy the 3rd one I opt for the full set.

            If I’m worried about head round over, I’ll take 30 seconds to spray down some thread release to clear out some of the corrosion.

            And I also do mostly electronics. When I teach a how to solder class everyone gets a solder sucker. We put a few resistors on the board, solder them in, admire the work, take them off using the sucker, go “hey, no big deal if I mess up”, put the resistors back and do the rest of the board. Nothing like learning how to do it right and how to fix it in one session.

            No go put that stuff away in the right box.

        2. I agree with both of you.
          Define cheap. For one persons it’s X and for another its’ Y.
          I have a set of Teng screwdrivers and some have been replaced because they broken on simple jobs.
          I have a 16pcs set of $20 metric impact sockets which I abuse the hell out of (read pummel with a sledge hammer, or use as well sized drifts in a press) and they have lasted forever.

          Quality/longevity is the key more than cost IMHO. Price does not equal quality in the modern age of ODM/OEM.
          Buying a tool for a one off I try to avoid if possible. There is a lot more learning to be had from making your own tools. eg disassembling Bosch VE pumps you can buy the weird sockets, or you can make your own with a die grinder or dremel and some standard “cheap” sockets.
          Want an uber long deep reach socket ? Chop it in half and weld in a pipe.

          re the PCB’s. I used to be extremely good at fixing that type of thing, usually coming from people attempting to chip their car ECU and making a mess of it. I used to use a pump sucker for removing DIP’s and doing it pin by pin. Then someone showed me how to do it in one go with the same tools, bridging the pins.
          Some times you need to look at things in a different way and I welcome being schooled by anyone that I can learn from.

  8. I actually just purchased “Practical Electronics for Inventors”. It was recommended to me by a local professor in electronics. It is dense so far, but it is also detailed, and just what I want to learn. Can you recommend another book that covers this that is (in your opinion) better?

    1. My personal thought on it is that it’s just as dense as The Art Of Electronics with very few good practical examples. On top of that the errata is comically long. There’s an official eratta and then a community eratta that’s even longer. I kept trying to work the examples and getting the right answer opposite of the books answer.

      I think you’re better served by working the math and doing the experiments from the first few chapters of the art of electronics. (Which will be really difficult). Then getting a project and doing it yourself, consulting the book when you need it.

      However, practical electronics is highly rated for a reason, and not that bad. There’s no reason to suspect that you can’t learn electronics from it. Just double check your work, and check their work too.

    2. I have been working through this book as well! Very disappointed to read that it is not the best book. But, I am mostly interested in the background chapters to cement my knowledge, and so long as there exists errata and a community errata, I can always check my work. Any other input here would be appreciated.

  9. When I toured the Computer History Museum I got a kick out of the Jim Williams workbench – a bigger mess than I have ever been able to make. I have heard “Empty desk, empty mind.” I worked at a place that made everything neat and tidy by getting rid of all our spare materials that looked like clutter. Then, when something broke down, we would order what we had just thrown away and wait one to three days for it to arrive. The down machine was worth $1500 per hour. This topic is a little more complicated than order = good. But maybe that came from a cluttered mind.

      1. I suppose, but my hearing protection is installed by the coffee maker via a conclusion backed by reason, measurement, and science, while your criticism is based on a vague feeling you have about things along with a vaguely related anecdote from a stranger. It’s not taking it too far, it’s putting my actions where my philosophies are and actually moving forward with the state-of-the-art information that’s out there. Plus, last I checked we can’t repair ears to factory condition.

        Likewise we can measure the vast difference in waste, cost, and happiness between companies that follow good lean practices backed by clear measurements. A company that can’t realize that it’s costing itself money by throwing away parts which should not be thrown away is not adequately prepared or trained to handle information in a core way. They need to think more about why they do things and build a culture where, when [Alan] says, ‘hey idiots this is costing us money” , they go, “good catch! let’s not do that anymore”.

  10. HA, best timing ever HackADay :D
    I’m just building my senior thesis project and I’m so annoyed about my workbench-order-habbit of cluttering all tools in around the table and searching every minute for the tool i just had in my hand…

    1. No problem:) I recommend not cleaning it all at once. Take a few five or three minute breaks and say, “I am going to tidy for this time and then stop”. That way you get in the habit of cleaning your desk, but you never fall into the mental trap of feeling you have a “clean” desk and no further maintenance is required.

  11. I used to not be hugely habitual about tools and how I approached storing them and our shed at home as youngsters was a mess, but theres a point when you have to be, things have to group together logically at a certain point so you remember how to find them. Logical layout trumps remembering every time when you get to a certain tipping point of quantity of tools.
    I’m also guilty of making custom inserts in my toolbox and throwing away the boxes stuff comes in, I do this because I can easily and quickly see when something isn’t where it should be. I know the 13mm hex ended combo wrench is missing from my spanner drawer because I saw the hole earlier and I’ll go search it out tomorrow where I hope I left it in the barn and missed it tired putting tools away late last night, or if not I’ll replace it before I’m stuck needing it. If I just tossed all the spanners in a tray jumbled up, It woudn’t be so obvious and I might find out I am missing my spanner when I absolutely need it late at night on a weekend to complete something, and it will completely derail a project for days or weeks even. nI store other things so I can see inventory levels easily, so I’m not stuck needing a 8mm endmill when one breaks half way through a job and its my last one.

    Finally, I don’t work with physical tools for a living, I do it for the satisfaction and achievement. Working cleanly, and in a organized manner and not rushing to meet a deadline, I’m not at all religious or spiritual but I can only describe it as that feels just more… zen. I spend more quality time getting that feeling because I’m not slogging round looking for a tool for half the session getting frustrated. Shed time is limited enough by life and family events as it is so I have to make the most of what I get.

    Theres a whole chunk in zen and the art of motorcycling describing the difference between two types of mechanic, the instinctive one who likes clutter and can just lay their hands on anything in the middle of that clutter, but move one thing and they are lost. And the have to have everything organized type, applying structured thought to the process. Interesting read, as Pirsig says, its not about zen and not very factual about motorcyclng either, more kicking off a self study into organizing your brain for me. Every few years I re-read it if I think I’m being tardy in my habits and sort my thoughts out after thinking about them a bit deeper, and get more organized in myself. I’d say we’re all working on a giant project that we’ll never really finish, and it has lots of sub projects along the way. That project is ourselves.

  12. This is amazing. Especially the idea with the movable/standing up desks and movable work environments. I immediately wanted to try it.
    Guess IKEA can expect a visit in the near future.

  13. As far as writing code is concerned if you are impressed with the following documentation and the fact that it is also source code then you should learn more about Literate Programming.

    More examples here:

    But unless you are doing work for yourself good luck finding the time required to be so disciplined, because it is rare for non-technical people to appreciate anything to do with the timing of software development. In a way literate programming is a way to defeat that problem as the documentation is not a follow up task once you have working code. Usually once the code is live clients will not give you time to document it and they will be pushing you to do the next project, or dropping your contract to save money. Mind you I have had the smug satisfaction of seeing that attitude come back to hurt companies when I have been able to tell them I am no longer available to contract to them to update the software I wrote for them when they refused to pay for the time required to also document it. You can warn them and they will still ignore you, then try to blame you when they learn the hard way that they were wrong. My warning to them was one thing I did take my time to document. :-)

    Some times you will actually see resistance to having things documented for reasons other than the time/effort/money to do so, I had one manager in a defence related industry actually complain that I was using email to document discussions too much! It looked like he was trying to avoid the accountability that comes with documenting decisions etc., in cases like that I would recommend that you run away as fast as you can because people like that are very dangerous.

  14. I have always found when I make those fancy cutouts for my tools that I later loose one and the replacement is a slightly different shape or I need one more than what fit in the space and have to redo the whole thing.

    1. Place tools in draw, place lumps of plasticine next to tools for finger holes, cover with lightweight plastic bag, release expanding foam into bag allowing for 2.5 x expansion, cover with heavy cardboard cover and allow for an overflow port into second bag. Wait for foam to harden, then remove waste bag and card, flip over draw then replace tools and foam back into it.

    2. Just buy the same brand and model replacement again, if it was good enough to work until it went walkabouts it makes sense rather than rolling the dice and trying another brand.
      This is probably why the likes of snap-on etc are so popular. You know if you order by code you get the same size and shape tool.
      I’ve found engraving the stuff when I get it with a distinctive mark assists with walkabout prevention. It wont stop the hardened theives walking off with your entire toolbox and selling it for crack, but you might have one or two aquaintences with slightly sticky fingers, and if your round their shop and notice tools in there with your graved mark, there’s no ambiguity, back home with you it goes, aquaintence not invited round again.

  15. I definitely need to work on my organization, I do the old shit on bottom new shit on top method.

    My desk looks like a hurricane tore through it but I’m very careful when I put anything away. Today, my boss and a co-worker accused me of losing a file. I go to the file cabinet and there in the file location is a note in my handwriting dated over a month ago describing the file. I knew where the month layer on my desk was and I was adamant I didn’t have the file. My asshole boss and a co-worker tore through my desk looking for that file while I watched.

    The boss drags me (with the co-worker smirking) into his office, a far more organized affair with only two very small stacks of paper on the desk, and berates me for losing such an important file. After about five minutes, I notice a piece of paper poking out of one of his stacks. I walk over to his desk and extract the cluster of papers out. It was THE file he was searching for with an awkwardly missing spot where one note should have been. Hhmmmm…

    I simply said, “found this for you,” and walked out leaving the pair with open mouths. Spent the rest of the day putting my desk back the way it was and not doing any real work. Didn’t see him or the idiot co-worker the rest of the day and never got so much as an apology.

    Could it be argued that the worst worker in the most organized space get more quality work done in less time than the best worker with the messiest space? I suppose so, if I didn’t keep misplacing that damn screw driver I would get more work done.

    Is it a replacement for incompetence? No. Having a clean and organized workspace will not help you from losing a finger if you’re going to stick your hand in the damn blade.

    I’ll probably be cleaning my desk tomorrow anyways. No problem for me as their newly installed software barfs about $2000 a day and no one else has any idea how to fix it. :)

    1. Works really well until you leave and nobody else has a clue. But then, would you care if you left? You would if you were the pay clerk and had to take leave for a month because of sickness, and you didn’t get paid because nobody could find your bank account details within your “organisation stack”.

    1. Yeah man, I’m with you. OSHA standards are decibels over time.

      Still gotta be careful with percussive noises. I put my earmuffs on when I hammer in the basement though. It’s echoey and loud.

      But a coffee steamer? Maybe if you’re a barista and doing it for hours a day.

      1. Of course, a second or two of putting on and taking off muffs are possibly worth it for how nasty that sound is if there’s not a good foam layer on top of the milk. It gets /loud/ and the noise is /irritating/.

        I actually can see the harshest set of that hitting the 115dB OSHA limit for less than fifteen minute exposure.

        Of course, that’s also not how you’re supposed to do it (you want at least a /little/ air in the milk, which shuts down the scream pretty well), so perhaps that’s the issue.

  16. With an aging population and work force that universal stand up policy in time will bite them in the but. Even active people develop circulatory problems in their legs. Meaning at best they will have to alternate between seated and standing work positions. At worst they may require a seated position elevating their leg as high as practicle.. Did I hear that correctly, that every employee is expected to come up with a new idea daily that will make production more effective? What happens when employees fail to do the impossible?. Even a one person shop would be hard pressed to come up with something new everday, Tool organization isn’t OCD, and mosr common tool have the basic same shipe for a particular size, I feel the difficulty st mentioned in the comments is overstated.. I have yet to figure out if those who immediately & outright dismiss safety concerns are ignorant, stupid, or both. Insurance carriers more than any other group drives safety regulations and recommendations. In the event an employer tell you to use the stair hand rail, it’s probably a given their insurance carriers demands they be in place and company policy mandates their use. Because industry actuaries probably show show insurance sectors profits are being spent on stair accidents. As everything presented here we are free to implement whatever we would find helpful for us, or not implement anything at all.

  17. This thread reminds me of my business partner who cannot manage to put anything away – ever. I end up telling him where he left his stuff. It can be entertaining. Seriously, I buy the best tool I can find for the task (or my hands), so I seldom have mishaps or failures. But on those rare occasions when I do borrow I always return it sharpened, polished, cleaned, and oiled. It is fun to watch the recipients of that treatment beg to lend me something else…

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