Tack spittin' question

Dave Wermuth

Who hid my paddle?
Was wondering, is ther any risk of toxic metal (lead) ingestion when I am spitting tacks? I hold them in my mouth and spit them out one at a time when I am planking and got to wondering. (I don't swallow them, so far)
and he's like a gattling gun at it. spits them halfway in every time.
me on the (cough,cough gag,zzzn ack ack)other (cough)hand.:eek:
Vague Reply From a Nurse

Doesn't seem likely to me that you'd actually ingest any metal from holding a tack in your mouth--- when people and animals get lead poisoning from paint chips, they are actually ingesting something.

Those of us with old "silver" fillings possibly have mercury in our systems from that source. Metal has to leach out of whatever it is we have in our mouths... doesn't seem like you'd have a tack in your mouth long enough for that to happen, even if you sucked on it all day.

The "rinse with alcohol" reply sounds reasonable, for tack-spitting.
Brass tacks

Not copper. But, it occurred to me that maybe the brass has other elements mixed in like lead. Don't know. When I was very young i worked in an upholstery shop. the tacks were iron and the tack hammers had one end magnetic. The tack would naturally attach to the magnetic end and I could tap it easy. Actually I don't know what brass is made of. I think I may wikipedia. I guess I'll have to find another excuse.

btw -waterfall canoe came off the form yesterday.
Both Brass and Bronze are general terms, and can be formulated with a lot of other metals, so different alloys that are called by these terms could have some lead. But as Kathy indicated, unless you're eating them, it won't be an issue.

I would postulate, however, that rinsing with good quality lager might also provide some lubrication, and thus make the tack-spittin process easier. :D
It is not exactly a scientific survey but the people that I knew at Old Town Canoe who spit tacks all lived to a ripe old age. Some of them did occasionally swallow one but they would just eat a lot of bread and it would pass through their system without much of an issue.

Passin tacks

Benson Gray said:
Some of them did occasionally swallow one but they would just eat a lot of bread and it would pass through their system without much of an issue.Benson

Rollin, care to offer up a guess on how many tacks you have "passed"? :eek: Suddenly the PM lubrication ritual makes sense.
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I had read about accidental ingestion in '1st hundren years' and am glad to hear the workers lived a long life. Actually, many canoe builders lived long lives, the ones I know of. Look how old Bob Goeckel is.
the big 6oh coming up next week!!!!:eek:
actually 10 years since the heart surgery so i'm happy to be here.
30 years married:eek:
25 years in practice:cool:
lots of aniversaries this year!
All my years in the shop and of all the people that have passed thru the ship, no one has sallowed one yet. The brass does contain a bit of lead but I would think that it would be difficult to get it absorbed into the body with the short amount of time its in your mouth. I think there could be a problem in the dust that collects on the tacks in the shop and also the stuff from the machine oil from the tack manufacture. None of that could be good for you and would be right on the surface of the tack.
My 7th grade shop teacher in Rochester Minnesota threatened our "fannys" regularly with his "10 1/2 wingtip". One such offense that would bring forth the shoe leather was nails in the mouth. His admonition was so persuasive, I have never even thought of putting a nail, or tack, in my mouth since (and that's been 40 years). Funny how some things 'stick' with you.

That shop teacher's name is on the tip of my tongue (no pun intended) ...ah yes, Mr. Richter - or Herr Richter as we thought of him. Think Prussian.

Seems to me a length of double-sided tape stuck along the front of the shirt could hold a great many tacks by the head. Besides, the risk to maligning the taste of your barley therapy (which naturally follows tacking) is too great. ( a risk Herr Richter failed to mention)
tack spitting

after a long study by the Eastern Maine Medical Research center along with The University of Maine it was found that prolonged tack spitting caused ones personality to change and one to become noisy or ostentatious hence they become very brassy
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OK - my reply is completely lacking in sense of humor, but I've done a tiny bit of clinical research on lead, so you asked...! The problem is similar (but not actually as bad) as people who work in letterpress printing, where the actual type is made of lead and there is a much greater potential for lead exposure.

A) The big issue w/ lead is in kids, with developmental delay and long term effects of lead exposure. Usually that has to do with ingestion (by mouth). Usually paint chips. Technically, if there is lead dust, that can also go through skin or even lungs, but that's really not the issue here. Very high levels of lead can lead to a multitude of other problems, including nervous system problems in adults, bone marrow suppression... As with anything, wash your hands before eating or preparing food. I've heard old letterpress people mention "white lead" or a whitish deposit on old type as being more dangerous, but I don't know if that's necessarily true.

B) It obviously depends on what your tacks are made of. And unfortunately, you'll probable never know EXACTLY what your tacks are made of. But experience from everyone else around here suggests that it's probably not lead, or at least not a lot of lead. I've heard that some old canvas fillers had lead - if you're really concerned about lead exposure, perhaps gloves in dealing with canvas removal would be a good idea. Maybe most of that lead has dissolved away in local waterways... Curious what others have to say about fillers.

C) My hunch is that there's probably a much greater risk from accidental tack ingestion than lead absorption from the tack. Don't know if there's any issue with teeth and metal. At some point, I'd be curious if there's any literature out there dealing with electricians and lead - with such high exposures to solders, wiring, my hunch is that they are at a MUCH higher risk, but I don't know that for certain.

D) I must admit, I'm a bit fascinated by the risks associated with hobbies. I know, strange, but it's the doctor in me. Risks associated with canoeing / kayking (on the water) are obvious, but I'm a bit surprised by the number of organic solvents, epoxies (with sensitization allergies), inhalational exposures to dusts and particulates, plus the risks associated with power tools, fire, cuts, etc. It's a tough hobby to pursue in a limited space, and I really admire the discipline involved in maintaining a clean environment. I wish I had a shop, but rather work on limited tasks indoors and any sanding / finishing outdoors.

OK - I'm no fun! ;)