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Tim Skellett @Gurdur
, 19 tweets, 4 min read Read on Twitter
1/ OK. Let's stop talking about the embarrassing time I blew myself up and lost half a head of hair, because embarrassing. Let's talk instead about a colleague of mine on another job, who blew himself up dramatically, and I mean drama
2/ You think I'm silly? This other poor bugger, lemme tell you, he blew himself up, was stark bollocks naked as a result, and only just missed being lethally impaled by a jackhammer into the roof of the tunnel, like some weird kind of Industrial Mineworking Pinned Butterfly.
3/ Shotfirer = the bloke (or woman) who sets off the explosive charges in a quarry, mine or demolition site. The "shot" is the actual explosive charge or set of them.
4/ One day another shotfirer and me are at the top of the mining tunnels, just getting things ready. A third one of us is working down at the mine-face, right at the end of one of the tunnels. Then there's a BANG. Odd, we think; no warning klaxon??! We wander down the tunnel
5/ There's an art to shotfiring a pit-face, the end of the tunnel. You drill 6 holes or so, in a rough hexagon, to a certain depth; you fill each hole with an explosive charge, fuse or wire (and fill-in material if you want to be really exact). You have to know rock types well.
6/ Depending on the type of rock, and how much rock (and in what size of chunks) you want to blow out from the face in one go, each hole of the six or so is roughly a foot and a half deep, or more. You drill the holes using a jackhammer, because rock, dammit. Tough stuff, rock.
7/ So me and other bloke amble down the tunnel, expecting some gore. Downaways, first thing we find is the Third Bloke. He's actually alive, and unhurt, sitting against the side of the tunnel. Surprising. But he is also stark-bollocks naked. We try not to laugh. We fail.
8/ We amble onwards, after making sure Third Bloke is unhurt. 100 yards away is the pit-face, the end of the tunnel. Turns out he had been blown 100 yards through the tunnel, from the tunnel-face, like a pea in a peashooter, only his clothes went on a fair way further without him
9/ WE get to the pit-face. There is the jackhammer. It has melded itself into the roof of the tunnel, from whence it hangs at a 30° angle, like some Damocles' Jackhammer artistic statement on Industrial Disease. Short pause for accompaniment music:
10/ Turns out, Third Bloke had been Very Very Stupid. So, beforehand, he had drilled six holes, laid 6 charges, blew them all according to protocal and etiquette. Only, one of the six charges had not gone off, detonator or fuse failure, it happens sometimes.
11/ Protocol & etiquette in such a case often demands something like going back up-tunnel to get a pressured-water-hose, come back, wash out the unexploded charge. I.e. a bit of a bugger of extra work. Third Bloke thought he would save himself some time, because Lazy & Stupid.
12/ So wee bugger Third Bloke decided to simply do the next stage, do another 5 holes, and simply drill the 6th, unexploded hole twice as deep and do twice the charge size. So he gets the jackhammer, and hammers. With steel bit.
13/ OK, this next bit needs SCIENCE, so we call in Killer-Asteroid @neiltyson to explain to y'all about what happens when you jackhammer, down a hole, on top of an explosive charge (eh, safe-ish w/ most modern explosives), together w/ a detonating cap (uh oh, yes, uh oh, oh uh).
14/ To cut a long story and explanation short,
Science says.....
15/ OK, so you're standing in front of a pitface in a tunnel, jackhammering on top of a detonating-cap and explosive charge in a hole, Science will tell ya you probably gonna be a gory shish-kebab mounted on the jackhammer and bit.
16/ But explosions, along w/ things that shape pressure-waves, are really weird things. BIG jackhammer goes UP at 30° angle, meets roof, half-becomes one with the roof. Bloke, he gets shot down tunnel like a ruddy pea in a peashooter. Unhurt, only shot free of his clothes too.
17/ OK, I have one other shotfiring true, funny story I can tell y'all. Actually I have two, but one of them is best. Should I tell y'all this other story now, or another day?
I must disappear a couple of hours, but will be back, & if y'all have so decided, I'll tell the other shotfiring story. It is even more embarrassing & funnier than the other two stories I just told. Involves pinning to the ground a ute (flat-bed, truck) with a tree. Vertically.
and so it begins
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