Reckon I'd be down to probably 3 fingers, one thumb, one leg and no teeth after about half an hour doing this job.


Most old school roughnecks are either missing fingers or dealing with hand injuries after an accident involving chains. Luckily they don't really use them much anymore and its all hydraulic tongs.


How do you even get into a job like this? I mean, its not like you can get an education for it and it seems way to dangerous to let anyone do without some considerable experience. How does anyone get to the level of these guys?


Just like nearly all forms of manual labor, you'd just start in an entry level position and work your way up. Being surrounded by people who have been doing it for years and listening/watching helps to understand the safety procedures and just the overall process as well. After a few months of swapping out grease buckets and cleaning up messes, you kind of have an understanding of what's going on around you and can start to transition into a more active role in the process. These days, most companies doing stuff like this have some kind of standardized training as well that helps newer people to understand things a bit more thoroughly before just throwing them in and saying, "get to work." Despite what the majority of my former college professors might tell you, experience teaches far better than any book. This level of proficiency is reached through years of hard work.


So they let you start simple and allow for upward movement within a company/industry? Wild, I'm a nurse (Palliative, Sweden) and there is not a chance I can get anything else, anything better, if I don't get more education. Something the company won't pay for. No upward movement possible.


Not even a management role or something more administrative overseeing your current role? That is usually what advancement without education looks like in more regulated jobs. The thing about manual labor is that once you know what you are doing you don't have to take a test, with a few exceptions. I used to be a mason tender and if I was there another year or 2 I would have gone from hauling block to laying it just based on how hard I worked and how much I payed attention. In fields like medicine that hard work and learning is a lot harder to do on the job.


I would probably like my doctor to have a medical degree rather than just having a good attitude and got to work on time as a janitor then getting promoted into that position.


No. Its intern, resident, etc. They have steps too.


"I keep the medical equipment working, more or less"


Oh, for sure. When I was younger, I was doing construction (framing), and it was the same way - clean up the job site, help carry boards, etc., and after a while, you progress into more active roles. If you want to go into management, however, it's often a different story. They tend to want you have some kind of further education in management to take over those roles, though it really depends on who you're working for and what you're doing. I transitioned into the IT sector a few years back, so I definitely understand what you're describing. Luckily, my employer is focused on the quality of our work rather than what certifications we hold, though having a degree and certs can definitely help to initially open that door. Many other employers within the field, however, seem to think that a piece of paper with some fancy writing on it (or rather the process it took to get it) means you'll turn around better work, and that's simply not the case. Within the medical field, I somewhat understand the need for further education, but I honestly think it's blown a fair bit out of proportion there as well. The degree/initial training gives you that baseline of knowledge that you can build on, and I believe the rest can be learned semi-informally. Because it's not my field, nor is it one I've ever worked around for an extended period, however, my opinion on this should probably be taken with a grain of salt. I do believe on-the-job experience is invaluable, and I'll stand by that until the day I die. Sorry for the novel! Lol


My dad is a semi-retired geologist who made his living in oil exploration. He would sit on well sites for weeks at a time logging samples. When I was a boy, like 25-30 years ago, I remember my dad coming home from a well and telling me about an accident on site in which one of the roughnecks lost their entire hand. Just completely gone in a flash. I never forgot that story. You couldn’t pay me a enough to do this job.


I read a story once about how an obese worker ended up cutting his gut open while working on pipe and his intestines just spilled out across the floor in front of him. A gross mental image that has stayed with me.


Was that in the book “don’t tell mum I work on the rigs, she thinks I am piano player in a whore house”


I've also read that book a number of times. The things Paul Carter did and saw during his time on rigs are both amazing and utterly insane.


The craziest part of that story is how they had to sit him up in the chopper in the body bag because he couldn't fit lying down.


I would do it it looks like fun


The duality of man


mantra and yantra creates tantra


>Reckon I'd be down to probably 3 fingers, one thumb, one leg and no teeth after about half an hour doing this job. ... Congrats! - You're now qualified to drive a tractor trailer inter-state!


That's no joke. I was 20 when I was a roughneck and I met many disabled roughnecks in their 40's and 50's who drove oil field service trucks and some were barely able to do that.


Or work at a Waffle House


You’re not kidding. There are a thousand ways to die in this short video. Id find every one of them immediately.


I talked to a tool pusher once who had been in two explosions. The second one forced fire down his throat and messed up his vocal cords. His voice was like a loud whisper.


Yeah, holy shit that looked complicated.


Sounds like you know u/goob3r11 up there in the comments


I see myself slipping and hitting my head on something in the first 5 minutes


My dad is one of those people that lost a finger doing this.


That's what I think too. I was going to say - does OSHA not apply to this job? The way that chain wrapped around, yeah, I'd be limbless.


Thats why they are called 'rough necks'. I did this job for half a year after high school. Back in the day when I thought I was a 'real man'. These guys are the nicest,meanest,hardworking guys I have ever had the pleasure of working with. I still keep in contact with my old boss. He's sill kickass on site. Mike ( big guy)is 72.


hahahaha no shit eh my whole left hand would be gone


Not sure if anyone else has mentioned it but the guy in this video posts videos like this on tiktok, and recently posted about having his leg either broken or crushed (can’t quite remember) by a chain mishap. He’s in recovery now and will be ok.


Exactly what I was thinking. One miniscule mistake and you lose something important.


They don't call them roughnecks for nothing, this is hard labor with high risk if you make a mistake.


This is exactly how my buddy "armless Joe" lost his left eye.


What happened to his leg?


Shut up, he does NOT like to talk about the gator attack.


I’ve been on the bitey end of a gator once or twice, luckily i’m named after a man of the swamp.


Amus Moses is that you !?!


He’s jus knock em in the head with a stump


Careful. They say his old man made him as mean as a snake.


Always love a good snowman reference


Pink eye


What kind of parents would name their kid "armless Joe"?


Parents with bad parenting skills or poor knife skills.


What do you have against the name Joe?


Boy this made me 😂


Every time I see this reposted I feel compelled to mention my junior high math teacher who slung chain before becoming a teacher. He had a unique ability to teach fractions just by counting on his fingers.


“Slung chain” what a fuckin job description.


I know those guys


Was a mudlogger on site when one of the roughnecks lost 3 fingers from their right hand. Shit is super dangerous.


Yeah looks like a well choreographed dance that if you make a mistake you get mutilated.


It's like a ballet, except there's no music or tutus, it's really dirty, and the dancers get mangled. This version of Swan Lake sucks, tbh


Yeah. Most injuries that happened while I was out there was to greenhorns. Most of the injuries were relatively minor (most frequent was concussions for getting hit in the hardhat with the pipe) and only a few major ones (degloved fingers, loss of fingers, broken arm).


Was the pay worth it?


At first, yes. I was in a relationship and trying to save up for the wedding/honeymoon and a home so working 27 days a month at 12 hours a day made up for missing out on being home. My wife worked overnight as well so we still got to talk a bunch as well. I worked there for 2 years and after about a year and a half of that schedule I got burned out and starting looking for a job that allowed me to at least be home every night. If I were single and fresh out of college, it's a dream job. Travel, shed loads of cash due to working so much, and most that I knew still "lived at home" (paid parents some cash as rent instead of renting an apartment since they were never there). One guy worked the job for 3 years and bought a house outright and fixed it up as well as a new car with just the money he made working in the first 2 years. Saved all the money he made in the last year so he could take a few months off while finding something close to his house.


When I got out of high school I went straight into welding on the pipeline. 70+ hour weeks at $25 starting (I was certified and had gone through a two year vocational program in high school so your mileage may vary on that as starting pay) and lasted for two years. Everything after 40 hours was time and a half and Sunday’s were double pay. That job let me buy a house, gave me a solid stock portfolio, a truck, welding gear for my own shop at home, and paid for my wedding. Burnt out after another 6 months and got a job running and programming welding robots for $45 an hour and 40 hours a week. Trades are damn good money but it’s a young man’s game with a toll on your body and social life if you work an odd shift. When you work that much you get hurt, and when you don’t take care of yourself you can get lasting injuries. Plus if you don’t change your diet after you stop being that active you’ll get fat. There’s a reason all those football players, boxers, loggers, pipeline welders, roughnecks, and other tradespeople are using walkers and look like they’re seventy when they celebrate their 40th or they blow up like a tick. Skilled trades are a great way to make money and a solid career choice but either save like mad for retirement or have a backup skill that isn’t physical.


Totally agree. I had a ligament injury on my right heel, got it at work doing a task I had to do multiple times a day every day. It never had a chance to heal because doing that work kept putting strain onto that same spot. I eventually moved to a different position in the same facility and after about a month it finally got better, I still babied it for six months afterwards though. I was still young, if I were in my 40s or even my 30s and had that happen I would probably still be feeling it to this day. Guys push their bodies too hard, and it's really easy to do so because you don't feel like you're pushing hard. You could be a guy that sweeps floors all day and give yourself wrist and back problems just by having poor posture or holding the thing incorrectly, it's just a result of working like that day after day without chances to recover.


No. I worked as a diesel generator mechanic, so just kinda off to the sides of these heavy industry types. I made their same money with half the labor and it still wasn't worth it. Just the toxic culture, incredibly over the top work hours and demanding schedule, as well as exposure to literal toxic chemicals and having to live in the worst shitholes in America make it absolutely soul crushing. No amount of money could possibly be worth it unless you have an absolute iron will, infallible determination and rock solid mental health. And then maybe, for a very short time, it could be tolerable. In theory.




It's one thing to do this work NOT in -25 and howling snow. I've seen northern rig sites. Hard pass




Those kind of injuries, while they still happen, are exceedingly rare nowadays. Likewise, I don’t know of any unionized drilling rig jobs or companies in CONUS- although I don’t have very much experience drilling in the northeast- I’m 100% this is the case in Texas, la, nm, ok, co, Utah, and the Dakotas.


Looks like a job that can be automated.


That’s a rather/very old rig. The vast majority of rigs operating in the USA are much more modern, more automated, and much safer now. No major drilling contractor uses the throwing chains those guys are using. Likewise, few use tongs, or kelleys anymore.


Is there still a “roughneck” job?


Absolutely. Even though we’re down to ~400 rigs, every land rig runs 4-6 roughnecks (including the driller) on each shift (called a “tour,” but pronounced/rhymes with “sour”), 24/7, for a total of 16-25 guys per rig. And almost every drilling rig company in the USA is short handed right now.


> short handed right now. I'm sure there's a joke here somewhere. Something about 25 men with a total of 42 hands maybe? It's late.


What would those guys be pulling down a year doing that? $120,000USD? That’s my guess, I have no clue. I wouldn’t be surprised if you said double that, or half.


Most drillers are grossing about ~$100k right now. Roughnecks $70-90k. Some companies 20% less. A very few, 20% more. It used to be, before 2015, that offshore made about double that, but now the differential is much less. Well site supervisors, called company men or drilling consultants make about $22k a month- down from about $34k 6 years ago, but they are rare, and have a LOT of experience…decades, normally.


Holy shit, operating engineers in Seattle make $70-90k after like 5 years on the job, and the worst you ever have to deal with is coming in late for a flood occasionally. Can’t believe the pay is so low for such a bad job.


Most of them are. Many (all on offshore work, I really don’t know inland work) new rigs have what are called iron roughnecks which control all of this via hydraulics. This rig is severely out of date and who ever is running it is cheap


The…strange?…irony is that while iron roughnecks have been responsible for eliminating at TON of injuries, at the same time they have become one of the top 5 ways guys die in the modern oilfield (being crushed between the stump or a legs and iron roughneck).


Worked with a guy who later was crushed by one on a rig in Australia. Everything will kill you!


This is one type of iron roughneck in operation: https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=tMeaKQuMaaQ


That rig is highly automated


i'm truly amazed and i would love if someone could give me some detail as to what's going on here


Drilling op. They are adding another extension to the drill, takes allot of torque to break the shaft segment loose from the drill thus the chains and shaft locks.


So the chains are helping to turn the shaft? What’s pulling on them? I’m assuming you REALLY don’t want to get anything stuck between them and the shaft but it looks like he’s getting pretty close there. Takes a lot of skill to move like that


That's called spinning chain, for spinning up the pipe threads. Tongs are what tighten it the last bit for a high pressure water tight seal.


Ah so they’re like a guide so it doesn’t get cross threaded?


Think they just make it easy to spin it until they need the torque to tighten it. Kinda like spinning a bolt by hand.


Gotcha thanks for the info!


There’s no real guide, but they are thick threads. You can also see him smearing lubricant (I think we called it pipe dope, but it’s been a while) on the threads that makes it go on smoother.


The last time this was reposted someone linked a video of a guy somehow getting caught in the chain I think and no one managed to stop them from spinning it. I didn’t see the video before it got taken down but the comment chain from people who saw it was gruesome. From what I understood he got whipped around the pipes so hard and fast his body parts flew off like a kid losing all his winter gear after a wipeout on the mountain.


And that's enough Reddit for one day. Thank you.


I have seen this cursed video and can confirm.


Is it worse than the all mighty lathe?




Ah, hello forgotten memory.


A banned practice called throwing chain or spinning chain. It's done because it's fast but banned because it causes a lot of injuries like severed hands/fingers.


Not sure which country you are speaking about, but in the US spinning chain hasn't been outlawed or banned. Pretty much every company outside of small mom and pop type operations have moved away from it though because it's not as efficient as modern hydraulic rigs and it does present a significant safety liability to the operator.


Oil rigger here! Finally a question I can answer. So basically what he’s doing is putting the big Ol drill in the thingamajigger (it’s what we call it on the field) and then eventually oil will start spraying everywhere and then we have a crew come in with water jugs to collect the oil. PM me if you have any extra questions I can go into a lot more detail if you’d like.


How many jugs per hour?


Last job I did we got about 4 good jugs of oil.


Why are they working so fast? Looks like they are racing against a clock.


Hey! Thanks for asking! The crew collecting the oil only get paid per ounce of oil they collect in the jugs they bring with them. We try to be considerate and work as quick as we can so they can go home and get paid.


These guys are drilling for oil and a very old school chain-gang style rig. These rigs have become antiquated and aren't used very much anymore outside of the smallest mom & pop type companies. Basically there is a drill bit at the very bottom of the pipe in the ground. The rig turns the pipe & drill bit while the weight of the pipe weighs down on the drill bit, which makes it drill further into the ground. These pipe segments are usually 50ft in length. So every time the new segment reaches the floor of the rig, they have to add an additional segment. That is what you see happening in this video. The rig hands add an extra segment using tongs or chain to torque the pieces together. Once the new segment is added on, the rig drills it a little bit deeper until a new segment needs to be added. This process continues repeatedly until the rig finally drills down to the desired depth, and then it is all pulled back out segment by segment to remove the drill bit and replace it with casing pipe.


Impressive, unbelievably fit and skilled. In 100 years these will be viewed like the steel workers on skyscrapers from the early 1900’s


Really seems like there should be a safer and more high tech way to accomplish this.


There is. Slinging chain is very outdated practise in most oilfields now.


Slinging chain sounds very erotic.


I mean, I sure felt something watching him sling his chain 😏


I didn’t think I had to scroll this far down for this comment! I got the vapors over here


Right? Something in my estrogen packed hormone fueled lady brain went: strong sweaty muscles working so hard!! And then my eyes glazed over.


Idk what he's doing, but I like the way he's doing it






Time is money, friend.


Incentive pay. I’m in a manual labor job that pays based off what you get done. You see people Running and jumping to sling boxes like crazy. But you can easily make double the average house hold wage for the area and all you gotta be is in shape and ready to be constantly moving. Controlled chaos.




I mean…. We were drilling for oil back then too.


Roughnecks have been doing this job for a really long time.


Such a dangerous job too.


Cancer too i'm sure, if you make it that long.


most people burn out by like 24. Then either buy a house or travel and do cocaine haha


Don't forget the Ford raptors.


Shit bud, I'll go buy a fuckin raptor right after I find this fuckin v door key and get the company man this AIR sample. /s


Damn that’s accurate. I left drilling rigs at 26 with a cocaine addiction and knee surgery haha.


I can't see any of these videos without picturing the one where the dude gets caught and liquidated


now you made me curious, if you don't mind sharing


Those chains swinging around and tightening gives me anxiety. I'm a capable human, but there is nothing like experience and anticipation. Well done!


Most modern rigs dont use the throwing chain. This is an older kelly rig. Top drive rigs and flex rigs dont have this crap. Some rigs even have an iron roughneck that makes the connection for you.


Iron roughneck taking our jobs!




Appreciate that knowledge


Can confirm. I did this back in the 80s. Lucky that I kept my thumbs and original bone structure intact.


What’s the wage for A job like this?


My buddy is over in the oil sands now making 160 a year


Those 💪💪💪 though


I want him to drill my pipe


I go to the gym constantly yet I do not have his muscles, even though he probably does not have any time for body building. Life bruh...


I think this and crab fishing in the Bearing Sea are the two I would never even attempt to go near.


I’m a cowboy...ON A STEEL HORSE I RIDE


That show hurt me more than I thought it was capable of. Miss you Captain.


Im with you on that. I dunno why Im doing a rewatch, but 15 year older-me is having a hard time with some of the more personal episodes.


It's not that bad. It's pretty repetitive. It's dangerous work, but any strong person can do it. I hated them. I spent my summers as a kid in Saskatchewan/Alberta living in campers on the edge of drilling rig sites. Worked on one for a while as a young man. It was rather quite dull. Great money though. I haven't seen chains spun in 22 years or more.


From what I understand, crab fishing was much more dangerous when Deadliest Catch first came out. The boats would all race to grab crabs before the limits were hit and the season ended. So they'd do it in bad weather and rough conditions because, if they didn't, the next boat would. It was so dangerous that the regulations were changed and now each boat gets its own limit. So they're not racing eachother anymore and they can avoid storms and stuff. They are able to slow down and work more safely now.


Or fishing at the poles. Those have very high waves.


Rico’s Roughnecks!


Would you like to know more?


I'm doing my part!!


Been there done that. Gotta respect the iron cause it don’t give a damn about you!


I did that job. My last day: Arriving for the Evening Tour, I realized a half mile from the rig that there was pipe in the fingers which meant that the next 8 hours was gonna be hellish in the southern Oklahoma heat. In one of the doghouses, my Driller handed out Black Beauties to the crew and told us to be alert. Around 2 hours later, at about 4pm, we had pulled about 2000 feet of pipe in triples with another 5000 feet to go to change the drill bit. A tad after 4 was when it happened. For some inexplicable reason, my Driller romped on the drawworks at the same exact moment that the 90 feet of pipe detached from the spinning rotary table, slippery drill mud gushed onto the rig floor, with me holding tightly to the tongs. Instantly I was pulled into the air 11 feet off the rig floor. Along with the upward speed, the drill pipe was wobbling back and forth causing me to crash into the windwalls on both sides of the rig. Each time I hit a wall the weight of the tongs and pipe would crush my chest. Upon hitting the 3rd windwall I had broken 4 ribs and lost consciousness. In the fall I incurred acute strains in both ankles. I awoke on a cot in the doghouse to smelling salts. The Toolpusher took me to the Ardmore, OK hospital where I was bandaged up and given more drugs. As much as I loved the Oil Patch along with some of the best money I've ever made, that was my last day. Arbuckle Drilling Rig 1, Healdton, OK, circa 1980.


It’s weird to think that in 50 years this will be considered an archaic idea. “Why did we do this?”


It’s what has made the US trillions


And the environment paid it




So your saying Afghanistan needs more freedom?




Looks like the environment will continue to pay for it until our demise too, so I doubt anyone in the future will even exist to contemplate this.


This method (spinning chain) is already antiquated, in fact most drilling contractors have discontinued their use and some jurisdictions have banned them.


Now they do all this with a joystick from a drillers cabin. Much safer, but not as cool.


Most land rigs still have roughnecks pushing pipe back and forth… that’s only rarely automated, so far. But they are working on it, of course.


How often would they have to do this?


Depends on the depth. Top hole goes fast, bottom hole goes slow. Could be every hour, could be one a day. (I worked on gas drilling rigs in Wyoming) when you get down to 15k-18k it slows down quite a bit. Trip in / trip out for bit changes and casing... You can spend entire shifts tripping pipe when its time to change a down hole tool or put in a directional mud motor.


I have no fucking clue what you just said but thank you for the explanation


These pipes are just the shaft that a drill bit or tool goes on the end. When you drill a depth equal to the length of a section of pipe you need to add another section. Usually the deeper the hole the harder the earth means slower drilling. If they need to change the bit/tool they need to bring up and break apart the whole length on at a time.


You didn’t explain very well. But love the lingo.


Yeah good question. Are these guys doing this all day or just sometimes?


Depends on how fast they’re drilling. I started at 19 in 2002. Sometimes we’d only make one or two connections per shift. Nowadays drilling’s usually faster. Sucks to be doing this every few minutes. Or “tripping pipe” when you’re either running pipe in or out of the hole for hours on end.


Most rigs drilling in Texas, la, and nm make +-96’ connections somewhere between 6 and 15 times every 12 hours. Average ROP (rate of penetration) for the top 50% of rigs in those 3 states was 78’ per hour for the first half of this year. Average. Very often, they drill 150-250 feet per hour. Most major oil companies will stop drilling, pull out of the hole (POOH), pick up a new mud motor and bit of the rOP drops below ~50-75 feet per hour. (Not in most of eastern ok).


Sexy af


The more I watch it the sexier it is


And stupid crazy dangerous. Modern oil rigs have long done away with "Kelly's killer chains." They s have to move the pipe around but there are now more automated tighteners. These guys did get huge guns from doing this for 12hr shifts though.


Muscle. That is some beautiful muscle.


Right? My very thoughts too. All the right muscles doing all the right things... I could watch this all night~




How often are workers torn in half?


I often say, in our safety meetings, that we injure fewer guys now than we used to kill. While it still happens, deaths and life-altering injuries are so much rarer now than even 10-12 years ago.


My brain can’t make sense of how the first chain gets wrapped around the pipe.


Their backs must feel like hell, mine hurts just from standing at my job.


It will all be over soon.


This is the way.


Wow, why is this sexy? I can’t be the only one


I, for one, am never sad when this is reposted. The thirst is real you guys..




Girls after seeing this guy: 💦💦💦💦


Ah, you must mean they found oil


Definitely amazing work. This is an older style drilling rig that is slowly being phased out and take guys with special knowledge to run them. Nowadays, these connections are partially automated with a computer that is able to screw into the pipe to a predetermined torque value and eliminate the chain throwing entirely. Still amazing considering this technology was new in the 1940’s/1950’s.


That chain gives me some crazy anxiety. Does this really have to be done as fast as possible?


Gotta keep the bit turning so the world keeps spinning. (Old roughneck joke)


American drilling contractors are now drilling more wells, with more footage, average than they drilled in 2005-2008, with 1/3 the number of rigs and personnel.


I think I lost a finger just watching this.


He put his manhood too close to the hole


Wait till I upload a video of me getting carpal tunnel operating a mouse with bad ergonomics


Super dangerous but they make a lot of money


Like how much? Curious.


I pulled in ~130k my first year doing it in Wyoming. Only worked half the year with the way the schedule worked. 12hr 12hr off, 14day shift, then off for 14 days. Paid off all student loans from college first year i worked in the jonah. Got out when the boom died off.


Thanks for sharing. That is a lot of money, but from what it look like, it seems to be a ton of work and you have to know what you’re doing. Thanks again!


It’s good money but you work. You work long hard hours. Usually in shit hole areas. Your definitely earning your money lol


Ok this is sexy as hell


it's not nice to objectify strangers online, but this is so hot


Why do I feel there's gonna be a large asteroid heading towards earth pretty soon.


This is porn for woman


Dude's hot


I been on one of these rigs. Got to watch the guys work. First girl they ever let watch them so I felt honored. It is a very dangerous place. All it takes is one mess up and it can end disastrously. I commend these guys!


Seriously? Truly curious how you even learn to do that. I would be so intimidated trying to even learn how to whip that chain like that!