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Tag: tiger snake

Why I Don’t Sweep Up Swarf.

Yesterday I spent some time spreading metal swarf around my workshop floor.


The weather is warming up as we enter spring in Australia.

My workshop is on a farm, and we have tiger snakes.  The authorities have warned us to expect more snakes than usual, due to the particular weather conditions this year.  I saw 2 snakes on the road leading to the farm.  And my neighbour visited me to inform me that he had spotted a 2 meter long, fat tiger disappearing into the freestone wall at the front of my property.   That is a very big tiger, even allowing for a bit of exaggeration!  Even baby tigers can kill.

And in recent years I have encountered tigers twice – IN my workshop.  Both times were after I had swept the floor.

So now, I spread the sharpest, nastiest swarf that I can find, all over the workshop floor.  To make the snakes feel unwelcome.  So far, so good this season.

Workshop Tidy

I sometimes feel a bit ashamed when I have visitors at my workshop.

The reason is that when I am in the middle of a project, I really concentrate my energy on the decisions, the machining, working out how to fix the mistakes…

…. and tidying up as I go, is near the end of the list of must do’s.

Consequently, tools tend to be put aside at the spot where I have been using them.  And off cuts of steel or brass or wood or whatever, lay where they fall.

And as mentioned in a previous post, I have a policy of leaving swarf on the floor, to discourage wildlife from slithering into my workspace.  (see the old post about the tiger snake between the lathe and the milling machine).   And if you are not Australian, look up tiger snakes.   They are just about the most dangerous reptile on the planet.

So my workshop is not the tidy, organised sort of workspace which you might expect from a retired gynaecological surgeon.

But occasionally, the mess becomes so extreme, that I cannot find tools, I trip over stuff on the floor, everything is really dirty, and it is dangerous and embarrassing when visitors call in.  And some of those visitors have workshops where you could eat off the floor.

So yesterday I spent a whole day tidying, sorting, putting away tools, throwing out rubbish, and sweeping the floors.

What about the tiger snakes I sense you asking.

Well, here in the antipodes, we are in the depths of winter, and it is bloody cold.  And all sensible cold blooded reptiles are asleep in their homes. So for a few months it should be safe to sweep up the swarf.   Here’s hoping anyway.