General Question

Jeruba's avatar

What kinds of precautions do you take when you handle very delicate objects?

Asked by Jeruba (51639points) 1 week ago

For example, heirloom china, spun glass ornaments, or porcelain figurines.

If you don’t ever handle such things, please skip this question.

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18 Answers

zenvelo's avatar

I am mindful to not hold over a hard surface, like a tile floor or a hard table. And I use both hands if necessary.

I have a few delicate blown glass Christmas ornaments. The kids and I always pick them up by their hooks, and are gentle when putting them on or taking them off.

janbb's avatar

Does saying to yourself, “Don’t drop it, don’t drop it, please don’t drop it” count as precautions? Seriously, I am just very careful but I have no special techniques. Hand washing and drying of course.

One of my prized tea pot collection members is a 18th Century Delft tea pot that I bought for a lot of money. My Ex knocked it off the mantel, where I really shouldn’t have been keeping it. After 250 years of being intact, the lid had shattered and he very adroitly glued it back together. Of course, the value is lessened but it looks ok. And it now lives in a cupboard with glass doors.

Tropical_Willie's avatar

Never use only one hand.

Keep your eyes on the object.

Make sure you feet aren’t going to get you into trouble (dogs, kids and loose objects on the floor).

canidmajor's avatar

I used to freak out at the prospect of handling delicate, heirloom, antique, things until I broke a beautiful crystal (antique) wineglass that my mother had given me. I was being so careful when I washed it, but one slip and the sink was full of shards and blood.
When I told my mother she asked why was I washing it, I said it was dusty. She said, don’t be silly, use them. Enjoy them.
Really, I am getting to the answer to your question.

Lesson learned, treat these things like normal things. If nobody will be hurt or die if they are broken, then relax. The stress of the worry is more likely to result in accidental breakage.
I am not careless, but I no longer get tense and worried.

Hawaii_Jake's avatar

@canidmajor Thank you very much for that answer. It is helpful.

My precautions for handling delicate items is usually to look at them on the shelf where they sit without ever touching them. I like @Tropical_Willie‘s answer of using 2 hands, etc. But really, @canidmajor has the best answer so far. Delicate items are still meant to be used. Be careful, but enjoy them!

gorillapaws's avatar

I refuse to handle such things. Hell, I’m terrified to hold an infant until their neck is developed enough to the point I can be confident their head won’t fall off.

JLeslie's avatar

I make sure I’m focused on what I am doing, no distractions. Both hands. If the floor is a very hard surface I would consider putting a blanket or cushion down.

Also, trying not to walk far with it. I would try to place the item in a cushioned container if possible, immediately near where it is now, and then move the container.

I drop things lately. Maybe my grip is weaker or more shaky, I don’t know.

If it’s china, and you want to use it for a meal, then I would just go ahead. I usually don’t drop dishes, I wouldn’t feel afraid to use them. When washing them I would be sure other items aren’t in the sink where you might hit the dish against another item or hit the faucet.

KNOWITALL's avatar

I have to agree with @canidmajor on this one.

I do try to be careful and especially when cleaning them or storing them, but even then accidents happen. We’ve even been using very old linens from my great grandmother and my husbands family. They’ve been stored in plastic bags and not used for about 80 years so we’re using them!

Call_Me_Jay's avatar

Work with it over or on a table, not standing where it can drop a few feet.

mazingerz88's avatar

I had collectible statues made of polystone. Most of them being heavy, I think that sort of weight helped stabilize my body as I hold them close to mine while walking.

For similarly fragile but lighter collectibles like a Lladro figurine or Swarovski crystal, I check what’s on my path and try to have total presence of mind before I pick one up for transfer.

For moving several not too heavy or very light fragile collectibles all at once, I would probably place them in a carton box padded with cloth. And if suitable simply slide it on the floor.

LuckyGuy's avatar

I try my best to not touch delicate objects. If you offer to show me your great-grandmother’s tea cup, my hands will be safely ensconced in my back pockets.

If I must handle delicate electronics I make sure to touch a good ground first so I do not introduce a stray electrostatic discharge into the system and damage a circuit. I might even wear a grounding wrist strap.

jca2's avatar

If I’m carrying objects from one area to another, for example from a china cabinet to the sink, I will look at any obstacles that I may have to deal with, like a step up or down, so that I’m aware and ready for the walk. I may use a tray, like a cardboard tray or box so that the object is not in my hand but it’s in the box, to carry it.

If I’m washing objects in the sink, I may put a towel in the bottom of the sink so that if the item slips, it doesn’t land on the hard sink but it will land on the towel. If I’m washing the item, I won’t use the scrubby part of the sponge because it might scratch the item or take paint off. I’ll use the soft part of the sponge.

Jeruba's avatar

Thank you. Good ideas.

I’ve always been a bit clumsy, but now my hands are getting arthritic. I fumble things a lot. I broke a glass teapot lid just yesterday when it slipped at the edge of the sink. I keep a coated wire rack in the sink as a cushion, but of course the lid missed it. I’m afraid to take my Limoges porcelain and my mother’s 1930’s American Brilliant cut glass out of the case.

When I purchased the Limoges pieces, they came from a shop in Texas. The sellers wrapped them in layer upon layer of bubble wrap, taped to a fare-thee-well, and separated with padding in an overlarge box. I think they could have fallen out of an airplane and landed intact. The very idea of ever moving them makes me shudder.

With you there in spirit, @canidmajor. Now just to apply it. As my son reminds me, “The cup is already broken.”

JLeslie's avatar

You could consider a silicone mat for the kitchen sink. Here is an example

Jeruba's avatar

@JLeslie, thanks. My coated wire rack works just fine, as long as I don’t miss it when I drop something. I fumbled the lid on the tile at the rim of the sink, and it never got a chance to land on the soft spot.

gorillapaws's avatar

I’m always worried something like this (NSFW language warning) might happen.

kruger_d's avatar

Don’t pass it to someone. Set it down and then they pick it up.

raum's avatar

I’m painfully accident prone. If I’m moving something delicate, I like to put it in a cardboard box. Would break the fall a bit if I did drop it. And I’m less likely to drop an entire box.

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