Ever play 52 Card Pickup? Well one day I did that on a super-sized scale.
In the business there is a bindery device called a Padding Wagon. it is a little cart that we use to make notepads. You know, the glued edge things. It tilts back so that you can place all the sheets to be padded on it and jog them against the back wall, which is actually a door. Once you have everything stacked, you put a clamp on top and crank it down to compress the pages. When that is done you make the padder level again and then open the doors revealing the edge that you want to pad on, which should be all nice and smooth. The process works nice. That is unless you have very small pads to process.
One day shortly after I started my career in printing, I had these really small pads to make. They were 3″ x 3″, 50 sheets per pad and there were 100 pads of these. So there were 5000 individual sheets of paper that were being padded in groups of 50. Piece of cake! So I run the job, cut them to size and place them all on the padder. I had a stack that was about 4 feet high, almost the maximum height of the padder. I clamp it down, tighten it up then raise the table back to level. I go around to the other side and open the doors to reveal the edge to be padded. I pull up a chair and sit down in front of it, reach down for the padding glue when all of a sudden I get hit in the face with 5000 sheets of paper.
I guess the combination of the short size of my stack and the height of the stuff I clamped down led to instability in the stack which caused it to blow outward, all over me. Apparently you are supposed to stack larger pieces, or leave smaller ones together and trim AFTER padding. Also if you can’t do that, you are supposed to place blank reams behind the small stacks to prevent them from bowing out and spraying all over your room like a confetti gun. The things we learn as we begin our jobs. Oh, I also learned that it would have been faster for me to rerun the job than to try and pick up 5000 tiny sheets of paper, recount them into groups of 50 and pad again.