Tag Archives: Safety

A Safer Way To Make DIY Fractal Wood Burner

I guess you’ve seen this or heard about it by now. In April 2022 a Wisconsin couple was electrocuted attempting a popular but dangerous wood-burning technique ‘fractal burning art’.

Fractal burning DIY videos can be found in abundance online but few of them pay much attention to safety.

Some fractal burning art is crafted by professionals with experience as electricians and access to proper equipment. But a lot of people who attempt the technique take apart microwave ovens for the transformer or car batteries to use as power sources.

The “fractal burning” technique creates lightning-like etchings by using jumper cables and disassembled microwave oven parts to run high-voltage electricity through a piece of wood soaked in a chemical solution, usually saltwater. It yields patterns known as Lichtenberg figures, named after the physicist Georg Lichtenberg, who discovered them in 1777 as he was experimenting with static electricity.

The technique is gaining popularity through viral videos on Instagram, TikTok and YouTube, but woodworking experts caution that it is extremely dangerous and can be deadly.

Tanya Rodriguez, 44, and James Carolfi, 52, were found dead in a house fire on April 6. Their bodies were in the garage of their home in Marathon County, Wisconsin.

The couple had died before the fire started, and the Marathon County Sheriff’s Office initially described the cause of their deaths and the fire as “suspicious.” The mysterious circumstances prompted weeks of arson and homicide investigation, Wisconsin Public Radio reported.

The sheriff’s office, fire marshals and the Wisconsin State Crime Laboratory found that Rodriguez and Carolfi died by accidental electrocution when they attempted the dangerous wood-burning technique. The couple used a disassembled microwave oven for a power supply. Authorities believe the equipment that caused the electrocutions also caused the fire, which started in the garage before it spread, the sheriff’s office said in a statement last week.

“Foul play has been ruled out, and the deaths are found to be accidental in nature and believed to be caused by electrocution from fractal wood burning,” Chief Deputy Chad Billeb said at a news conference Thursday.

At least 33 people have died from fractal burning attempts since 2016, according to the American Association of Woodturners, including an experienced electrician.

If you are considering trying the technique make sure to prepare. Here is a video where Robert Murray-Smith from The World of Thinking and Tinkering (TNT) shows how some simple add-ons can make this art technique a lot safer.

If you know anyone who is curious about this art technique please share this information with them. It could help save lives.







The World of Thinking and Tinkering – https://www.youtube.com/c/RobertMurray

Backpack Safety For Kids

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In the US, more than 40 million students carry backpacks. About 20 million carry in those packs more than the recommended weight. This backpack “overload” sent over 3,000 children, ages 5-14, to hospital emergency rooms in 2007 for injuries related to backpacks.

These numbers are expected to rise year after year. Children and teens continue to rely on backpacks to carry books, binders, notepads, homework and personal belongings.

Children and Back Pain
Each year I see more and more children complaining of headaches, neck, back and shoulder pain. Studies have shown a direct connection between these complaints and overloaded and ill-fitted backpacks. The body has to compensate for the change in its center of gravity caused by the backpack’s added weight. The spine in particular is affected as it twists and bends to reposition.

Even thought there is debate over the causes of Scoliosis, one common agreement is that it can be caused from consistently overloading a spine, especially if it is overloaded in an uneven pattern, which commonly happens with children wearing backpacks. Once Scoliosis occurs in a child it can be very difficult to deal with and correct.

The smartest way to handle Scoliosis is to prevent it. Do no carry too much weight for long periods of time or any uneven weight and have regular spinal checkups by your family Chiropractor to ensure proper spinal function. This is especially important for developing children because as the spine grows it can be easily manipulated in the wrong directions, backpacks, poor posture and certain lifestyle habits can distort the spine.

Rucksack Palsy
Another problem associated with backpack overload is a condition called “Rucksack Palsy.” A heavy backpack causes the shoulder straps to compress delicate nerves, arteries and veins that pass underneath. This can lead to numbness and tingling in the arms.

Help Is on the Way
The American Chiropractic Association has developed a Backpack Safety Program for children in an effort to raise the awareness to the health dangers overloaded backpacks can present to children.

Protecting your child’s spine is extremely important, especially during adolescence. I feel strongly about backpack safety and volunteer to go into schools and individually teach the students and teachers about the health effects of over weighted and ill-fitted backpacks.

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