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How NOT to Use a Blowtorch – and a Giveaway!49


Over the years I’ve become thoroughly convinced that it is in the DNA of many humans (me included) to do stupid things with dangerous objects.  I have not, however, done anything stupid with a blowtorch—yet.

I’ve never even considered what this first guy does.  Why?  Because the results are gonna be just what you’d think:

I may try what this next guy does.  At least there’s no fire:

The problem is that a tiny chance for fire exists.  And the proximity of that large, pressurized tank is a bit too close for comfort.

I can say beyond a doubt that I’d try EVERYTHING in this next video:

I think I’ve found my dream girl.  I do prefer my meat a little more on the medium side, however.  I wonder if she does house calls, like that Danny Boome  guy?

So, what’s the stupidist thing you’ve done with a blowtorch – or other dangerous tool? 

Tell us your stupid story in the comments below.  Then we’ll take a vote at the office, and send a $25 Home Depot gift card to the person we think is most likely to die in a tool accident!

Fun, right? 

But don’t go out and try something stupid just on our account. . . .

We’ll pick the winner on Monday, January 10.  

by John Barker

photo credit:

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Comments / Discussion

  1. Tiffany @ No Ordinary Homestead
    My husband almost set the house on fire with a blowtorch last year, working on our outdoor water system. Failed to notice that he was working right against the a wooden box that was attached to the wall. And he burned the heck out of himself a few times during that process. Worst part is that he has to do it all over again because he never finished it last year and we've moved the pipes around so many times now that some of them have to be re-welded. Nice.
    January 6, 2011 at 8:33 am | Permalink
  2. editor
    Yikes! Hopefully, this time he'll do better. Let us know!
    January 6, 2011 at 2:06 pm | Permalink
  3. andy
    fixing the attic up and went through the ceiling
    January 7, 2011 at 7:12 pm | Permalink
  4. Joanna
    So, I was 20 . . . in college and renting a house with five other girls. One day, I hear,"Ouch!" coming from the kitchen. I go in to find her holding her hand and cursing at a hornet that continued to fly around the kitchen. It had hidden underneath the Sunday paper, laying in wait, for an unsuspecting college girl to come close. We briefly discussed whether we would civilly escort the black and yellow predator out of the house or use our combat/self-defense and smash the daylights out of him. We decided on the second. The next day, I noticed that there was a dead bug creating an unsightly shadow on the large, flat, plastic florescent light cover in the ceiling of our bathroom. It was "bugging" me . . . literally, so I got on old, teetery chair balanced on it with one foot, pushed up slightly on the cover, and "BAM!" That damn cover crashed down and broke. "Great, one more way for landlord to suck up our security deposit." As I am villianizing the landlord, I hear some faint buzzing. I look up at the open light . . . . YIKES! It was the hornet's buddies . . .slipping out through a hole in the fixture . . . mad, as all get out about their buddy that we murdered. It would be two long days and a few more stings before our evil landlord would unveil the weird, "Natural" pest control technician, who would release some strange bug into our attic that ate all of those hornets. What that was, I will never know. This doesn't have to do with a blowtorch . . . . what kind of scary thought is it, anyway, for six young ladies to deal with a blowtorch, when they can't even be careful taking off a light bulb cover? Aye, aye, aye.
    January 7, 2011 at 7:48 pm | Permalink
    It looks like the prime rib could use a little touch of the grill, instead of the blow torch.
    January 7, 2011 at 8:41 pm | Permalink
  6. Pat
    Routinely use a blowtorch to caramelize the tops of creme brulee. Works great and the dessert tastes delicious.
    January 7, 2011 at 9:21 pm | Permalink
  7. ky2here
    Well let's just say we carmelized sugar atop creme brulee exactly once. Who knew the little Barbie blowtorch could ignite the kitchen towels?
    January 7, 2011 at 9:32 pm | Permalink
  8. Denise
    I am not allowed near the blowtorch. For me, even a screwdriver is a dangerous tool. I used one to remove the screws from inside the dryer, the drum part, thinking I could clean out the lint that I could see a bit of behind the drum. My screwdriver hit the heating element and sparks flew and there was a terrible popping noise. And some smoke. We had to buy a new dryer.
    January 7, 2011 at 10:07 pm | Permalink
  9. Jennifer Short
    As a child, I thought my dad could fix anything. Volunteer fireman, EMT, and 911 dispatcher, this man could do it all. In awe, I watched him as he opened the hood of our car. Tinkering around a few minutes, he stepped back and brushed off his hands saying he had the problem fixed. I stared as he got into the driver's seat of the car, turned the ignition and flames shot out from under the hood of our car. Yes, my dad, the volunteer fireman, caught the car on fire when fixing it.
    January 7, 2011 at 11:57 pm | Permalink
  10. sheila k.
    Well, family. Ya gotta love 'em, and ya gotta hate 'em. When they all converge to work on a handyman project, it's an automatic recipe for disaster. One of our favorite family stories is about when my youngest sister had her first baby, and my mother, who is a natural born slave driver, demanded that my brother-in-law's father -- the biggest skin flint in the world next to my ex-husband -- come over to my sister's place to attach the hook up to the gas dryer. Now bear in mind that Henry, the father-in-law, had rigged up a number of cheapo and illegal fixes for three decades in this house before the day of the "gas" incident. You could smell gas fumes in the basement before Henry even set out for the quick fix -- a blow torch in one hand and a wrench in the other. My sister became aggitated as she anticipated an explosion any second, so she grabbed the baby and her keys and started screaming to her husband, "David, I'm taking the baby and I'm leaving." My poor brother-in-law thought she meant she was leaving forever and he broke into tears and started shouting to his father, "Henry, just get the hell, just get the hell, just get the hell out of here."
    January 8, 2011 at 5:33 am | Permalink
  11. Holly
    My husband didn't want to help with a project when I was ready to do it. The water line to the fridge had come loose and we were getting water on the floor. I moved the fridge out to try and fix it, The automatic ice is now working, but I ruined the floor pulling the fridge out by myself. So we are now looking at replacing the kitchen flooring. OOPS
    January 8, 2011 at 9:07 am | Permalink
  12. Liz
    We almost electrocuted ourselves trying to change out some outlets from 2- to 3-prong... eek. Pretty pathetic, but we learned our lesson! egenevieve at hotmail dot com
    January 8, 2011 at 9:18 am | Permalink
  13. Happi Shopr
    While using a hand saw on a branch, I looked away briefly at the dogs...Saw slipped across my knuckles. Had to bandage every single one. Hubby was working on the AC at that time talking to a buddy on the phone - manages to touch a live wire and got quite a jolt.
    January 8, 2011 at 12:12 pm | Permalink
  14. Melodic Mom
    Four years ago, my husband and I (who were in our 20s and knew nothing about tools/fixing up houses, etc) had a huge tree cut down that was smack in the middle of our back deck. Since we didn't pay to get the stump removed, we attempted to cut the stump down low enough ourselves- using a chainsaw. My husband couldn't control the thing and there were jagged shards everywhere. Needless to say, we winded up hiring someone to grind down the stump, but only after I convinced him NOT to use gasoline and a match to try to burn the stump down!
    January 8, 2011 at 12:48 pm | Permalink
  15. Leslie S.
    I only allowed my husband to use a blowtorch once.He had the bright idea to try to give an old toy chest an aged look.I warned him that he had to sand it first but oh no,he knew what he was doing.There was still a thin coat of polyurethane in some spots.Well all was going ok till he hit one of this spots.The thing caught on fire and needless to say I had to get a new toy chest for the kids and take the torch away forever from him.Thanks! lstanziani(at)yahoo(dot)com
    January 9, 2011 at 4:36 am | Permalink
  16. kai
    I wish this wasnt a true story.. my dad was working with a blow torch and my sis ran up to him and scared him by tapping on his shoulder my dad whipped around and in the process no only hit her with the hot torch but also set her shirt on fire as well. Luckily they put it out quickly and she was only burned minorly, my sis learned not to scare my dad thats for sure.
    January 9, 2011 at 4:40 am | Permalink
  17. Deb K
    I am going to tell you guys this, but hopefully my husband will never know that I told on him. He would be mighty embarassed. We bought our home new in 2009, and had a bright idea that some crown molding would look nice in the den. We've never attempted anything like this, but thought, hey, we're smart people, we can figure this out. So we bought the molding and borrowed a miter saw from his brother. Everything was going great until we plugged the miter saw in. Did I mention that my husband looked great in his protective glasses and apron? He did. So he begins to make the first cuts in the molding, and notices that the saw is acting weird. Its like doing some kind of strange vibrating action. He tells me to hold onto the sawhorse so the molding doesn't slip, while he takes a closer look at the miter saw to see what the heck was going on with it. As he bends down to get a closer look, he hits the sawhorse with his knee. The miter saw somehow goes flying in the air along with the molding. In a way, it traveled almost delicately in the air, before it hit, and collided with my curtains. Which immediately, were torn in shreds, because my husband neglected to turn off or unplug the miter saw. We never did figure out what the strange vibrating was, but we did eventually get the crown molding up, and oh yeah, I also got new curtains.
    January 9, 2011 at 7:23 am | Permalink
  18. Carrie K
    A couple years ago, my husband and I, with the help of friends, built a deck on the back of our house. My husband was drilling large bolts through the outside of the house, and they came out on the inside of the basement, up near the joists. All of the sudden, we heard the smoke detector in the basement going off. My husband ran down there and discovered a fire where the bolts had been drilled through! Some nearby cardboard boxes were in flames! Luckily there was a fire extinguisher down there, so he was able to put it out before it got out of control. Turns out, the bolts had hit wiring in the basement, which started the fire. And the funny part is - my husband is a volunteer firefighter! It would have been quite embarrassing to have to dispatch his fire department to put out his deck-building fire! carrieknapp17 AT gmail DOT com
    January 9, 2011 at 11:05 am | Permalink
  19. Ellie W
    4 years ago my husband fought a table saw, and the table saw won. He was cutting a piece of wood to replace a piece that was beginning to rot around one of our bay windows. Like a macho ( meaning dumba$$ ) man he didn't think he needed the guard on just to cut one piece of wood. He hit a knot in the wood and the rest was a blur, according to him. I heard him calling me from the garage and saw his hand wrapped in a towel and dripping blood. I assumed we needed to go to the ER for stitches, so I loaded him into the car and drove to the nearest hospital. I knew it must be more serious when my son called my cell and said he found half of dad's thumb on the garage floor. And when we got to the triage office at the ER and they unwrapped the hand and three of his fingers practically fell out, I was sure that he was in trouble. Luckily after 11 hours of microsurgery, they reattached his fingers, although he just has a stub where the thumb used to be. His hand isn't a pretty sight now, but he does have almost full use of the remaining digits. Needless to say, the table saw was boxed back up and it remains there, taunting him every time he passes it in the garage.
    January 9, 2011 at 1:51 pm | Permalink
  20. Izzie
    I used a hammer in a stupid way. I had a coconut to open, so I placed it on a plate on the counter, then smashed it with a hammer. The plate broke, of course.
    January 9, 2011 at 2:03 pm | Permalink
  21. Ashley T
    Does a kitchen tool count? A couple years ago I made a huge mess in my kitchen and almost lost a finger or two! I was talking to my roomate while putting our blender together and after pulling it away from the wall, I plugged it in. And it was on. And my hand went in the blades, especially one finger which Im lucky I didnt lose. It hurt very, very badly, I had a LOT of stitches and wore a popsicle stick wrapped around my finger with medical tape for about 7 months after because my skin was pulled so tight that my finger wanted to curl and not be straight. So I dont mess with any tools. atayner0183 at yahoo dot com
    January 9, 2011 at 3:37 pm | Permalink
  22. Erin E
    For some reason I thought that you could put waxed paper in the oven...Ummm....momentary brain fart perhaps? It melted, stunk, and got all over the oven. Hubby came downstairs asking what the horrid smell was and I blamed it on the dog. Thank you for the lovely giveaway. sewmuchstuff at ymail dot com
    January 9, 2011 at 7:03 pm | Permalink
  23. brittany
    My mom is a cheap woman, so instead of hiring someone to come cut down our giant oak tree in the front yard she takes the DIY route. Needless to say her chainsaw got stuck in the tree about halfway and the tree started to lean toward our house. The only thing that kept the tree hovering over the roof ready and not falling down taking half of our house with it was my mom's chainsaw wedged into it, keeping it in place. Panicking, my mom decides to get her friend to tie a chain around the tree to a truck and pull it in the opposite direction so it wouldn't fall on the house. At this point I'm just laughing at my mom's sillyness. Eventually she caved and called a professional to take the tree down and get the chainsaw unstuck before it came crashing down. We made a spectacle of ourselves that day, and never again will I allow my mom use a chainsaw again. (For the record I would keep blow torches away from her as well).
    January 9, 2011 at 7:14 pm | Permalink
  24. amy d
    put a tire on and it fell off amy16323(at)gmail(dot)com
    January 9, 2011 at 7:44 pm | Permalink
  25. Lean S
    This story has nothing to do with any sort of attempt at constructive work but...when my brother and I were in high school, we tried to get rid of some mice in our basement. While chasing them around for hours figuring out how to get rid of them they snuck into this cavity in the concrete area near the door leading to the stairs for outside. The first things we thought to get our hands on were a can of spray paint and a blow torch. We thought to torch the suckers out and sprayed the paint in the hole and tried to set the vapors on fire inside the hole. ... no... no one should try that.. ever!
    January 9, 2011 at 8:00 pm | Permalink
  26. Gail Crawford
    I poured gasoline on some trash I had in the backyard, and bent over it to light the paper and when I did it exploded in my face, thank god my hand was the only thing that got a little burned, What a stupid thing to do.
    January 9, 2011 at 8:20 pm | Permalink
  27. momznite
    Does reversing a vacuum cleaner to shoot out air into a hot gas kiln count as dangerous or just as a phenomenally stupid idea? I thought the kiln wasn't reaching high enough temperatures to make the ceramic glazes look the way I wanted them to. More air makes a hotter fire - right? I blasted the kiln with air from a shop vac. Things didn't go as planned. Let's just say the smell of burning eyelashes and singed hair is unpleasant, but I am still here.
    January 9, 2011 at 8:44 pm | Permalink
  28. skary
    My wife is a great girl. She is a great cook. Treats me great. Is a great mother. However, she is not exactly the sharpest tool in the shed when it comes to using tools. Her car tire was low a few months ago and instead of doing it for her, I told her to get the compressor from the garage and just fill it up. Well, she aparently had no concept of how long it takes, because she hooked up the hose and went inside for some lunch. Lets just say that the sound of a tire exploding is pretty exciting on a nice lazy Sunday afternoon... guess who does tire maintenance from now on?
    January 9, 2011 at 8:45 pm | Permalink
  29. loni
    I seem to always hit my finger when using a would think I would learn eventually to move my finger! trippyjanet at hotmail dot com
    January 9, 2011 at 9:38 pm | Permalink
  30. Storm
    No one in their right mind would let me near a blowtorch, LOL!
    January 9, 2011 at 11:13 pm | Permalink
  31. amber gi
    I have never used a blowtorch. But, about ten years ago, we were breaking up the old tile in our bathroom and rented this jack hammer thingy to break it up. I wanted to use it, but my hub said I would get hurt. When he was outside I turned it on and realized he was right. My left hand,elbow and shoulder are compromised cuz of my RA and I just didn't have the strength to keep it steady. I shattered the toilet, thought I was gonna be electrocuted cuz of the water, freaked out and started yelling. Hub rushed in, shut it down and held me until I was calm, then he asked if I was ok. I said yes, so he yelled at me about the mess and the cost of a new toilet, reminded me of how I shot a staple through my little toe the year before and said I could never, ever, ever play with tools that use electricity. I am ok with that.
    January 10, 2011 at 12:28 am | Permalink
  32. Jenni
    Wow! I don't have any personal funny stories from my hubby or myself but I personally love the taking a hammer to the coconut and the wife that blew up the tire! classic. :) Would love a chance to win though.
    January 10, 2011 at 1:23 am | Permalink
  33. Carol F
    My husband a self proclaimed do-it-yourselfer, decided to fix a small leak in the roof. He climbed up into the attic, the opening is in our bedroom closet and grabbed his tools and flashlight. Well, less then two minutes later I hear a scream and he literally comes flying out of the attic landing on a spare dresser that is in the closet. I mean landing on the dresser, he is stradling the dresser and looks like a cowboy riding the bucking bureau, and he is stuck between the wall and the dresser screaming. He has his arms up in the air waving like a bull rider. I couldn't stop laughing long enough to help him so my son jumped in to help him off the dresser. He still is screaming something but I can't stop laughing until I look up at the attic and see a very angry screeching squirrel right above our heads.He of course closed the door to the attic and called a professional to deal with the problem. carolkfoster at comcast dot net
    January 10, 2011 at 4:49 am | Permalink
  34. corey
    I taped the trigger down on my hedge trimmer because my arm would get sore as I reached far across my 14ft high and 8 ft across sized hedges. I was on old scafolding and as I reached across the top of the hedges to trim, the scafolding snapped underneath me and because I was leaning so far over, I fell down head first (well trimmer first) into the centre of the hedges. Then I was feet up, head right down in the hedges and the trimmer was still in my hand, still going because I had duct taped it to the "ON" position. I was pushing it down as far as a could as my face fell towards the blades. Luckily, as I was stuck and the blade was now cut threw my shirt and skimming my bare chest, my grandfather heard the noise (when the board snapped) and so did the next door neighbor(who loaned me the scafolding). They came to my rescue and pulled me up and out by my feet. Those huge hedges WILL be the death of me someday I'm sure.
    January 10, 2011 at 5:43 am | Permalink
  35. Suzanna60
    my roof caved in in my bedroom what a mess tried to put some board over it until could be fixed did not do well
    January 10, 2011 at 10:51 am | Permalink
  36. heather c
    My husband was trimming the hedges one day and, not thinking clearly, obviously, I thought it would be hil-arious if I got a stick and pretended to be some sort of animal on his leg. Right as I poked his leg, I started my thinking and figured that would be about the end of the joke. He turned and glared. I went inside. Tragedy averted!
    January 10, 2011 at 10:54 am | Permalink
  37. editor
    Did anyone get that on video? I'm sure it would be a big hit on YouTube!
    January 10, 2011 at 11:24 am | Permalink
  38. editor
    That's a great mental image, Carol - riding the bucking bureau!
    January 10, 2011 at 11:26 am | Permalink
  39. editor
    yikes! I hate when the "hub" is right . . . .
    January 10, 2011 at 11:27 am | Permalink
  40. editor
    OUCH - close call! But I do follow your logic about air and fire. . . .I don't think I would have had the guts to try it myself.
    January 10, 2011 at 11:30 am | Permalink
  41. editor
    I have a feeling most good blow torch stories have nothing to do with actual construction.
    January 10, 2011 at 11:32 am | Permalink
  42. editor
    hmmm, I guess if you could turn the blender into a dangeorus weapon, you had better stay away from the big stuff like torches and saws.
    January 10, 2011 at 11:34 am | Permalink
  43. editor
    Oh, man. That's a bad one. My stomach turns thinking about those fingers in the towel . . . .
    January 10, 2011 at 11:37 am | Permalink
  44. editor
    Good lesson about smoke alarms and fire extinguishers. I caught a towel on fire in my kitchen this AM by placing it down on the stove too close the gas flame under the tea kettle. My daughter, eating her breakfast before school, suddenly yelled, "The towel's on fire." Luckily, I was still right there and could easily grab it and drop it in the sink. Good little bit of excitement on a MOnday morning.
    January 10, 2011 at 11:40 am | Permalink
  45. Jessica
    THe stupidest do it yourself my uncle did at our home was tried to run the wiring for surround speakers through our attic. One wrong step and he ended up on the kitchen stove. We had a huge hole in our roof. We paid to have it repaired professionally.
    January 10, 2011 at 11:50 am | Permalink
  46. Diane Baum
    One stupid story...We had just moved into our new house, when my 'fix it" husband did something to the toliet in the master bathroom. One of the pipes stated leaking like a waterfall! I forgot to mention it was a sunday night about 10:00 PM,, so my hubby calls me into the bathroom and tells me to keep the holes in the pipe covered till he finds a store-where he can buy a replacement pipe. So, i sit like an idiot for 3 hours while he drives holding onto a pipe that has water bursting out.... Finally my son comes into the bathroom and asked why we don't just turn the water off downstairs?????
    January 10, 2011 at 2:21 pm | Permalink
  47. carol
    Ok, this win would be for my SIL. For what happened he deserves a gift card. He helped us build our deck and fell on a beam right where a guy wouldn't want to fall, straddling it. He didn't yell, which my husband would do, but just stopped and probably quietly screamed!
    January 10, 2011 at 7:20 pm | Permalink
  48. Jacob LaFountaine
    I suppose lighting fireworks with one.
    January 10, 2011 at 10:09 pm | Permalink
  49. Sarah S
    Well, this is stupid and embarrassing but my DH who is active duty Army had just come home on R&R from Iraq and he doesn't have a handy bone at all in his body but decided to be romantic right after he had bought a blowtorch the day before. I had no idea what he bought it for but he also had a DIY book so he could create some projects which usually means destroy something in order to Well long story short I had just moved and electric wasn't due on for another day after his arrival. He didn't want to stay in the hotel more than a day which was understandable due to where he had been. Of course he wanted to be home. Well it was dead of winter (in Germany) and he convinced me how cozy it would be to just have a candle lit nite at home. I figured I would bathe in the dark while he figured the lighting situation out. It wasn't two minutes passed and I smelled and saw smoke. I called for him and there was a kid caught in trouble. So I got out went downstairs and he had the torch lighting the fireplace and that is why the house was so smoky. We do "Jack Ass" style stuff all the time so to sit and watch him get angry cause the fire wouldn't stay and then start using chemicals from the BBQ fire starter fluid to hairspray wasn't surprising. Finally there was a good size fire and soldierlike he said to me, "told you I never can fail" I laughed and he said he had bought some bratwurst to cook. That concerned me because we had no way to cook. I walked away and next thing I knew he was standing over the kitchen sink roasting brat one by one with the torch. That was crazy. But then he wasn't done he heated up beans by aiming the torch in the pan and scorching them. The torch situatio ended when he went to light a candle on the table for us to eat our torched dinner and when he walked away he turned around to see the candle had fallen near the curtain and the curtain was now on fire. That was a crazy nite but I guess the humor he found that night with that torch was the laughter he had needed months since being deployed so I didn't dare to get mad. He donated his torch to his dad and now only wants a nail gun for an actual project in the book he had bought. I need a ramp built due to being sick and he's making it. Don't worry he does things right when it comes to safety....that night he was just in a different zone I guess. His bday is coming up so I would love to win the gift card for him. That's the only way he is going to understand me sharing our embarrassing
    January 11, 2011 at 2:40 am | Permalink
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