Find all your DIY electronics in the MakerShed. 3D Printing, Kits, Arduino, Raspberry Pi, Books & more!

After mulling it over for several hours, crunching a bunch of numbers, and running an exhaustive cost-benefit analysis, I am forced to conclude that the amount of serious demolition, vehicle extraction, and/or fire-fighting work I perform under explosive-atmosphere conditions, in an average workday, does not justify the expense of this gorgeous utility bar, made of non-sparking beryllium copper alloy, by NGK Berylco of Sweetwater, Tennessee.

But, damn, I tried.

NGK produces an extensive line of beryllium copper safety tools, which are generally much more expensive and rather less durable than steel.  Also vastly, vastly more beautiful. Their PDF catalog makes for extremely satisfying window shopping. [via Boing Boing]

NGK Berylco | Berylco Axes

Sean Michael Ragan

I am descended from 5,000 generations of tool-using primates. Also, I went to college and stuff. I write for MAKE, serve as Technical Editor for MAKE magazine, and develop original DIY content for Make: Projects.


Related

Comments

  1. caitlinsdad says:

    So to call it solid copper would be inaccurate and based on it’s properties, a reason it would be dangerous to oneself to use in serious demolition, vehicle extraction, and/or fire-fighting work performed under explosive-atmosphere conditions,

    1. Sean Ragan says:

      “So to call it solid copper would be inaccurate”

      Except it’s not. The tool is copper through and through, not plated. It has to be, because it’s nonmagnetic and will not spark no matter how much it wears down. OK, yes, it’s technically a copper alloy. But BeCu alloys usually only include a couple percent beryllium by weight. “Solid gold,” for instance, is another phrase commonly used to refer to metal objects that are in fact solid gold *alloy*, and I’m entirely comfortable with that convention. Especially in a headline. The body text makes it clear that, yes, we are talking about a metal alloy.

      “it’s properties, a reason it would be dangerous to oneself to use in serious demolition, vehicle extraction, and/or fire-fighting work performed under explosive-atmosphere conditions,”

      You’re going to have to unpack that. Which properties are you referring to that make it “dangerous to oneself?” And please lose the sarcasm next time.

      1. caitlinsdad says:

        I will apologize for any offence in response to your analysis. I did read the comments in the boing-boing link for the original article and agree that as a conductive tool, there are situations where it might short something causing further hazards.

        1. Sean Ragan says:

          Thanks. I am usually too touchy about critical comments. We good.

          That its high conductivity might present a unique hazard had not occurred to me, FWIW. Although I would think any metal tool would share that hazard, and copper alloy at least has the advantage that it will not be attracted to magnets and will not spark if it strikes a hard surface.

          This post is mostly about how beautiful the tool is, and how much I want to buy one just because I think it’s beautiful, and how silly that impulse is considering I would actually go out of my way to avoid being in a situation that actually required using it.

    2. caitlinsdad says:

      We good too.

      I always wanted to get that giant crescent wrench at Harbor Freight because it looked cool. Anyways, from a maker standpoint, I guess there should be some non-conductive handle covering or hardwood/fiberglass/carbon fiber shaft. If you ever looked at the FUBAR demolition tool, another work of art, yet I would not use it because of the pointy handle end that you can slip and catch yourself on.

  2. cancerouspete says:

    not being a firefighter myself, but being in a similar safety situation, i would argue that if the tool has all the features you would find useable, in addition to being non-sparking, I would consider it worth the money….maybe its not a tool you use for every situation, but to have it in your bag and know its there when you need it, is almost priceless.

    after a quick search around, i found most non-sparking tools to be in a similar (although less) price range. the question becomes, if you aren’t buying this one, are you just getting a steel version of the same thing? if so, would it put your life at risk? again, if so, i would say its priceless.

    (was always taught, there are some things you just don’t skimp on, and your safety is most important).

    1. Sean Ragan says:

      Oh I quite agree. If I actually ever did such work, getting a completely safe non-sparking tool would be absolutely worth it. All my yapping about cost-benefit analyses was an elaborate joke about how I do absolutely zero work that requires such a fine tool, and almost certainly never will, and mostly just want to buy this tool because of its overengineered wow factor. If there’s ever rescuing or firefighting to be done in an explosive atmosphere, I am quite content to leave it to professionals. =]

  3. darr247 says:

    I didn’t follow the link[s] to find out how much it actually costs, but I know how much my non-sparking tools for working in explosive atmospheres cost, so I’ll just imagine.

    Still, that tool doesn’t “look” big enough to get the job done.
    So if it’s me or mine trapped in the vehicle, I would rather you just hit it with foam and use the 5 foot long steel pry bars (you can get them at Lowe’s or Home Depot for under $20) first, then sawzall and hydraulic jaws if a pry bar can’t pop the doors. Thanks in advance. :)

  4. [...] Solid Copper Rescue Tool [...]

  5. [...] Solid Copper Rescue Tool [...]

  6. C.L. Row says:

    Has anyone mentioned the hazard that BeCu poses if the metal is ground, as in the situation where one would like to put a sharper edge on the ax blade?
    I used many BeCu hand tools while servicing NMR equipment because of the non-magnetic properties and all of them carried a sticker that resharpening was extremely hazardous and should only be done by the manufacturer.

  7. What’s up, this weekend is nice for me, since this time i am reading this wonderful educational paragraph here
    at my house.

In the Maker Shed