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View Full Version : Lost my first carboy yesterday.



icedmetal
01-31-2011, 01:21 PM
Just finished bottling a batch of our cider, and was cleaning away in the kitchen sink. Put in some PBW, about a gallon of hot water, pick that sucker up, shake shake shake... slip! SHATTER! The sound of a carboy breaking is terrible in so many ways. This piece of glass was older than me; I know for a fact it was being used for home wine making in the late 70's. :(

And, of course, it couldn't go quietly, without a fight. Bit my finger real good! Four stitches internal to the wound, 14 external to sew it all up.

PBW is slick stuff, both at cleaning, and (literally) during handling. Let my trashed pinky be a cautionary tale for you all... be careful when handling your glassware, especially when cleaning.

Doc says I didn't hit any nerves or tendons, so there's that :)

Tannin Boy
01-31-2011, 02:34 PM
Just finished bottling a batch of our cider, and was cleaning away in the kitchen sink. Put in some PBW, about a gallon of hot water, pick that sucker up, shake shake shake... slip! SHATTER! The sound of a carboy breaking is terrible in so many ways. This piece of glass was older than me; I know for a fact it was being used for home wine making in the late 70's. :(

And, of course, it couldn't go quietly, without a fight. Bit my finger real good! Four stitches internal to the wound, 14 external to sew it all up.


Doc says I didn't hit any nerves or tendons, so there's that :)

Ouch!

I will keep that one in mind...:eek:
Thank God it was empty or it would have really Pi$$ed you off....

TB

mmclean
01-31-2011, 03:21 PM
For 5+ gallons, I'll only use these (http://morewinemaking.com/view_product/6529/103206/Plastic_Carboy_-_5_Gallon_).

Medsen Fey
01-31-2011, 03:26 PM
I'm sorry to hear about the accident and your injury, and I glad to hear nothing vital got severed. Your experience is a stark reminder that safety should always be a major concern for each of us. I hope you heal quickly.

Glass is a cruel mistress.
I loves me some stainless steel!

wayneb
01-31-2011, 04:12 PM
Now along with MEAs (Mead Eruption Accidents), we have GCS (Glass Carboy Shattering) events. Sorry to hear that one of your oldest suffered the same fate as my "ole greenie." But at least greenie didn't bite back - although I did lose a full 5 gallons of mead in my GCS. :(

Tannin Boy
01-31-2011, 04:14 PM
Glass is a cruel mistress.
I loves me some stainless steel!

I will be Sloooooowly changing over to full Stainless Steel.
I also like those Flextanks too..

TB

Braxton
01-31-2011, 04:41 PM
Sorry to hear about your accident! Hope that everything heals quickly.
If it helps, I've heard about people putting strips of strong tape down the sides of their glass carboys, so that if it breaks it is relatively held together and no big chunks go flying towards you.

kudapucat
01-31-2011, 04:51 PM
I know what it's like to sever or almost sever a digit (5 times now :mad:) so I literally feel your pain! Damaging nerves and tendons is a PITA, so you're lucky there.
Take photos, I really regretted not having photos later.
Rest up, take it easy, put the thing in a splint if you can, it makes it HEAPS easier to get around.
And finally: good luck mate.

AToE
01-31-2011, 04:55 PM
Yeah, as ugly as it would be this does make that idea seem like a good one, even the most careful of us can make mistakes.

I think putting duct tape both vertically and horizontally over the whole carboy would work best, with maybe 2" gaps between each strip so there'd still be plenty of "windows" to check clarity and such through.

icedmetal
01-31-2011, 05:52 PM
But at least greenie didn't bite back - although I did lose a full 5 gallons of mead in my GCS. :(

5 gallons of mead vs 18 stitches. Am I sick to actually need to mull that over some? I find myself wanting to side with the stitches! Losing 5 gallons of aged product would probably bring a tear to my eye.

And, yes, I got some pictures. I thought most were too graphic for FB but my wife was telling me to put them up anyway...

AToE
01-31-2011, 05:55 PM
Do it! Not that I love gore, but some people could use the extra motivation to play it safe - I think a lot of people don't really understand just how badly you can be injured by breaking glass (especially if you try to catch it).

mccann51
01-31-2011, 06:01 PM
5 gallons of mead vs 18 stitches. Am I sick to actually need to mull that over some? I find myself wanting to side with the stitches! Losing 5 gallons of aged product would probably bring a tear to my eye.


I would definitely prefer the stitches; at least you end up with a nice scar and some mead to dull the pain.

I just last week dropped a gallon jug while cleaning it; I can't imagine how frustrating it must be to break a carboy, though, especially one with so much history. Sorry to hear it, man.

icedmetal
01-31-2011, 06:26 PM
Do it! Not that I love gore, but some people could use the extra motivation to play it safe - I think a lot of people don't really understand just how badly you can be injured by breaking glass (especially if you try to catch it).

Ok, I'll put up the picture... note, there was no chance to even try to catch it in my case; I was shaking it over the sink, with perhaps 6" of clearance. If I had tried to catch it, well, let's just say I'm really REALLY glad I didn't.

CAUTION: freshly stitched finger shot below, it's a little messy. you've been warned.







































http://hmnuza.bay.livefilestore.com/y1pije_dN417Yz3j9OtxQDr8KQHebRjudX0688GnFvdqwKJ-JxesBnkcbF0VUwnBNBbtRjEY1pHGq7x-x5LIBCmoz6bJD4H__SN/finger.jpg
And no, my finger isn't normally shaped like that! :p

icedmetal
01-31-2011, 06:31 PM
And here's me when I found out there'd be no permanent damage:

http://hmnuza.bay.livefilestore.com/y1pptCfKruK9wDfQMP3_TQc9AAbaQZ0CKTNQ2xR8rXmMSIHrYa Ck9ezsz73qeA3SPZzGWWuGrT7x9Ri3QgovDsuhj30uzgJzfuc/finger2.jpg

I'm still workin' on my beard. <sigh>

Tannin Boy
01-31-2011, 06:39 PM
And here's me when I found out there'd be no permanent damage:

I'm still workin' on my beard. <sigh>


Ah come on, show us the real deal...Take them bandages off!
Just kidding.:eek:

Me thinks these should be in your future old boy?

http://www.flextankusa.com/

TB

kudapucat
01-31-2011, 06:43 PM
Wow, you did give that a good go didn't you?
Well done, and here's to a quick recovery!

Now you get to realise just how important the pinky is to grip... ;-) Have fun.

Nativepassion
01-31-2011, 08:51 PM
So do you plan on switching away from glass? I am at the point where I am on the fence on how to best expand capacity.

Nativepassion
01-31-2011, 08:53 PM
Oh, and it took three months for my husband to make friends with his beard, yours is looking good.:)

icedmetal
01-31-2011, 09:06 PM
I'm definitely not switching away from glass; I've got 20+ carboys still ;) What I think I will do is experiment a bit, and try to find gloves that can grip a carboy slicked with PBW. Hopefully I can find a combination of better grip and a bit of hand protection to stave off any repeats.

PitBull
01-31-2011, 09:12 PM
This piece of glass was older than me; I know for a fact it was being used for home wine making in the late 70's. :(
I have a carboy that is just as old, but it's not older then me. You "youngsters" will heal quickly!


And here's me when I found out there'd be no permanent damage:
And we are extremely glad to hear this! Best of luck getting better and getting back to the addiction!

oldwhiskers
01-31-2011, 09:14 PM
Wish you a speedy recovery. I have been sitting on the fence trying to decide between glass or plastic when I expand larger than the 1-gallon carbon. I have read a lot of postings like this while reading the MLD list and the threads on this site. I may start leaning towards plastic.

Tannin Boy
01-31-2011, 09:38 PM
I'm definitely not switching away from glass; I've got 20+ carboys still ;) What I think I will do is experiment a bit, and try to find gloves that can grip a carboy slicked with PBW. Hopefully I can find a combination of better grip and a bit of hand protection to stave off any repeats.

Speaking from the glass industry that I have been associated with for the last 30 years. Wet glass and gloves do NOT work, period. This is a recipe you can not afford to try. If glass is dry they are a wonderful asset and will serve you well. If you wish for protective gear when handling glass I will be glad to point you in the right direction.

TB

mmclean
01-31-2011, 10:20 PM
Wish you a speedy recovery. I have been sitting on the fence trying to decide between glass or plastic when I expand larger than the 1-gallon carbon. I have read a lot of postings like this while reading the MLD list and the threads on this site. I may start leaning towards plastic.

I really like my plastic (http://morewinemaking.com/view_product/6529/103206/Plastic_Carboy_-_5_Gallon_) carboy. :)

icedmetal
01-31-2011, 11:02 PM
Speaking from the glass industry that I have been associated with for the last 30 years. Wet glass and gloves do NOT work, period. This is a recipe you can not afford to try. If glass is dry they are a wonderful asset and will serve you well. If you wish for protective gear when handling glass I will be glad to point you in the right direction.

TB

Please do point me in the right direction :)

I always thought that if/when I had a problem handling a carboy, it would be full. So to some extent, I may have been less cautious than I should have been. Other than being very cautious (and I can assure you, I will be now!) what can you recommend safety-wise while handling a wet carboy?

Chevette Girl
01-31-2011, 11:05 PM
5 gallons of mead vs 18 stitches. Am I sick to actually need to mull that over some? I find myself wanting to side with the stitches! Losing 5 gallons of aged product would probably bring a tear to my eye.

My first thought was, "Oh, at least he had finished bottling and didn't lose a batch!" then, "Oh, wait, stitches? ... 18 STITCHES?! HOLY CRAP."

Nice slice, hope it gets better soon... As my dad always said, if you're gonna do something, do a good job of it, don't go halfway... my only experience with hand injury so far <knocks on head to touch wood> has been bruised and split knuckles from sparring (direct hits with unpadded wooden sword), and that's quite bad enough...

I generally do not wash the outside of my carboys at the same time I wash the inside, after one very close call with a 3-gal glass carboy when I had pink cleanser on my hands (although who knows, it mighta bounced off the linoleum)... So since "Chevette Girl is a total klutz" is a given, I work around that... I make up my solution, pour it into the carboy and get in there with the brush, or hold it securely and shake, shake, shake... I also now try to keep my hands out of the cleaning solution... then dump the solution, and for rinsing, upstairs I have an auxiliary sprayer on the kitchen faucet and downstairs I have my bottle blaster (works pretty well for 3-gal, we'll see how it works on 5 gal once everything's down there, and if it doesn't, I have a hose end that attaches to the laundry tub faucet too)... Then I wipe down the outside with a cloth once the inside's done and it's set down somewhere stable... I also always handle my carboys with one hand around the neck, the only ones that don't have a useful lip to prevent slippage are the plastic ones which I only use temporarily because they're not see-through.

skunkboy
02-01-2011, 12:14 AM
Ouch! That sucks... the more time I spend in this hobby(?) the more people I've met who've had such incidents...

tycoon
02-01-2011, 09:56 AM
Sorry to hear about your accident! I had a similar accident last month with a 15 liter glass carboy. In my case, however, I had just added french oak chips to this carboy containing a 6 month old traditional mead. So, it was full to the brim. I was carrying it into our storage area, when it shattered, sending mead and glass pieces everywhere. Miraculously, I didn't get cut. The friend with whom I make mead started screaming like crazy (I can't really repeat what he was repeating over and over again, like a mantra) and I froze for more than a minute in the same position I was in when the carboy decided to self-destruct.

We concluded that old carboys like the one we were using have imperfections and micro-fissures that make them very fragile when full and sometimes submitting them to torsion/pulling movements might cause them to shatter violently. So, we are now using a tipe of wicker basket to carry the glass carboys around, and we try to move them very little when they are full. Having said that, we use plastic carboys for fermenting and the first racking, moving the mead to the glass carboy for aging at the second racking. We are also thinking of getting/making some sort of small wheeled contraption to carry the carboys around, avoiding lifting them more than necessary.

We have also stopped using PBW to sanitise carboys, and use iodophor (povidone-iodine) instead. Not only it is cheaper, but it requires less swilling around of carboys. There's an article about using iodophor in brewing here (http://www.bayareamashers.org/content/maindocs/iodophor.htm)

I hope you heal promptly!

icedmetal
02-02-2011, 12:31 AM
More carnage! It's starting to heal now...
http://hmnuza.bay.livefilestore.com/y1puVvOBBfdv2z6u-JyH7an_TZsYisZm9BM57Py1QaTLKPEF6tC1mG1zwN-_Xu2wblOftl3NvJRTErUFkOISeb1pQU7EX3krAfr/finger3.jpg

AToE
02-02-2011, 12:32 AM
Wow, that must have been scary before it was put back together... like your finger was practically sliced in half the long way!

I'm impressed you didn't take out that tendon on the back of the finger, stroke of luck that was!

wayneb
02-02-2011, 12:32 AM
Hard earned battle scars!

icedmetal
02-02-2011, 03:33 AM
Wow, that must have been scary before it was put back together... like your finger was practically sliced in half the long way!

I'm impressed you didn't take out that tendon on the back of the finger, stroke of luck that was!

Yeah, it looked pretty crazy. The doctor said he could see the tendon casing, but it was undamaged.

Here's hoping they're my last battle scars for a long time.

...and kids, don't try this at home. :p

icedmetal
02-06-2011, 05:10 PM
The stuff that bit me:
http://hmnuza.bay.livefilestore.com/y1ps9e6MME5w0ciqkMN6Co4CCQ36xgML8y41QSyz6kJJhWAyUI nfr3QyoJrGUHx7CvDL-1cON4T3KFcvsF-_sqrJHkfmN9f8Zik/cider2010.jpg

;D

mmclean
02-06-2011, 06:54 PM
"Hair of the Dog?" :rolleyes:

Chevette Girl
02-06-2011, 07:08 PM
Nice... very well done... :)

beeboy
02-09-2011, 11:26 PM
I've never lost a carboy but did bounce a full one off a brick hearth in the living room. I've been using regular old plastic milk cartons to sit my carboys in since then. They protect the glass from getting bounced and have handles for picking them up with. That's a real nasty gash you picked up on your finger, glad you will be ok. Just remember chicks think scars are cool.

wildoates
02-10-2011, 08:01 PM
Hard earned battle scars!

Definitely--them's braggin' scars.

I am so careful when handling carboys because I'm terrified of this sort of accident--I can imagine the grief my doc would give me when I came in to get the stitches taken out.

Most of my carboys I got from a couple who hadn't used them in 20 years, and had been making wine in them for a long time before that. I hope they're not stressed from that long use!

My milk crates are sounding better and better, anyway.

Chevette Girl
02-10-2011, 08:21 PM
Hey Icedmetal, hope you're healing up nicely...

I lost a carboy today, my very first (I believe it may have been the very first carboy I ever bought)... The bad news is it's gone, the good news is nobody's hurt, and I haven't used it in years (translucent instead of clear plastic) so it's no longer collecting dust and spiders in the basement, and fortunately it was plastic, and full of water and not wine when it was dropped (long story involving snow, thirsty horses, Chevettes and tearing up a driveway to find a leaking well), AND it was dropped ouside and not on a floor or in the Chevette... if I can ever figure out how to post a pic, I'll add it in, blew one side of the bottom right out, I wish I'd seen it happen but it was my friend who dropped it while I was in the barn, she was very relieved when I told her it didn't matter...