Lethal "fractal burning" woodworking hack has killed dozens

It’s less relevant for situations with intact and bare or nonconductively covered skin; but the unnerving thing about decent size lead/acid batteries(especially vehicle batteries, where it’s pretty much the job description) is how much current they can, at least briefly, put out. Energy density is garbage; but even pretty mediocre examples can pump out enough amps to cause alarming thermal effects for a few seconds.

I’ve avoided harm at their hands; but the few occasions where I’ve observed a mere lead/acid gelcell, a solid step or two below a basic car battery, just disappear an inadequately rated wire in a flash and a puff of smoke have convinced me regarding the advice to never, ever, wear conductive jewelry while interacting with car batteries unless you want to find out what having it branded into you would be like.

1 Like

re: glowing pickles; Big Clive’s done those, along with a lot of ‘cooking with mains voltage’ videos. (I especially liked the one where a viewer (I think) sent him a small kitchen appliance from the 60’s that was a hot dog cooker that essentially put the hot dog between the hot and neutral/return line of a standard AC outlet; and one wonders why they don’t sell those anymore…)

I’m extra cautious when playing with DC electricity- AC makes you shudder and shake*, DC just clamps down hard and doesn’t let go. I’ve seen what high amperage DC can do to 1/4" thick copper plates, and flesh? well… it’ll vaporize even faster at high amperages. (batteries large enough to jump start a car, or power an AC inverter get ALL the respect and caution, because you are always working on them live…)

I’ve been zapped by 110 AC enough to give it a LOT of respect. I don’t work on 220 unless the breaker’s off (and locked out) unless there’s a damned good reason (like replacing 50 year old worn out emergency exit signs that I was unable to find the damned breaker on- I did those slowly and methodically, and managed to not zap myself or create any sparks for fires) and if it involved the main panel, I either shut the main panel down or called an electrician.


I swapped out my tired, old 70 amp breaker live in order to save some bucks. I used similar safety materials. Theoretically safe. Practically? Nope. Won’t do it again.

BTW, there was something about her delivery that was compelling. I feel cared for.

1 Like

So casual. I’m guessing the person doing that (who later died) didn’t realize that he needed to treat the 2000 volt electricity differently than the 12 volt electricity the cables and clamps were made for, hence the casual use of the clamps the way one might in hooking up jumper cables to a car. :frowning:

1 Like

I kid you not: a friend of mine made a seventh grade science class exhibit in which he cooked hot dogs skewered on to bent nails in a board. Said nails were connected by lamp wire and plug to the wall outlet.
This kind of thing was apparently perfectly acceptable in 1976. The teacher let the student cook several hot dogs this way in class.

1 Like

As long as there’s a remote switch, I’m kind of ok with that. Just want to avoid jabbing a hot dog onto live terminals at mains voltage…


Sorted food did an episode where they tested this gadget and others of its ilk: A Chef Reviews VINTAGE Kitchen Gadgets from History Vol.2 | SORTEDfood - YouTube


She used the 34 deaths hook as viral bait to make her larger point: YouTube doesn’t give a shit about its creators and it doesn’t give a shit about its viewers.
I actually found the first half really interesting and I’d lose my shit if I had a channel that pulled about 10k viewers on YouTube but 1.5m viewers on YouTube’s Facebook page … regularly pulling 1.5m viewers on YouTube = making a living from it, regularly pulling 10k viewers = spending more time and money than is economically viable.

1 Like

That’s the thing. Power tool woodworking involves tools that, as a rule, are designed to move sharp metal at high velocity with good torque. Add on that the most dangerous tools typically aren’t what you’d expect (a table saw is scary, but the danger zone doesn’t move). But still, even the tools that I consider too dangerous to use in any context (such as those angle grinder attachments that look like a chainsaw blade) are unlikely to kill you, and extremely unlikely to kill you fast. Sure, freak accidents can happen, but most of the time the immediate worst case is a serious, even life-changing injury, but a survivable one. The thing that’ll kill you is blood loss, and you can do something about that.

I have plenty of tools that will take a hand or a finger if I’m not careful, and a lot more that’ll take an eye if I don’t wear PPE, but there’s nothing I own that will kill me flat out if I gently bump into it.


In the early 1980s a friend picked up a neon transformer that was labeled 20kV or 60kv (I don’t remember the exact voltage, only that it was ridiculously high). Not having any neon tubes, of course we decided to make a Jacob’s Ladder out of it. We optimistically bent a couple of sanded bare coat hanger wires to make a path for the arc to start and climb.

But because I was scared shitless of the prospect of unlimited amounts of 20kV, I insisted we drive the primary with no more than a 1.5V D cell. To get the current to pulse, we inlined the battery with an 1.5V electromechanical buzzer. This had the advantage of always warning us that the fool thing was alive.

We had to adjust the coat hangers several times, but eventually we got it to work. And it was indeed cool. I also always suspected his neighbors were angry at their TV sets that night.


But I’m hungry now… /S

That is much smarter than I was. I roasted marshmallows on mine.

1 Like

I think she also did a deep dive once into who exactly was behind 5 minute crafts. She did some seriously thorough research. I think she is a great example of how good YouTube could be if it rewarded channels like hers instead of ones like 5 minute crafts.


Yes, that episode was excellent! It was a great explanation of content farming in general and was very enlightening. Her channel is fantastic.


This topic was automatically closed after 5 days. New replies are no longer allowed.