I’ve been on the bench for the last twenty years and before that at CCS
college in Detroit we use to do any number of stupid things. Such as clean
our fingers in the sonic (keep your fingers out of the sonic.) Reach into
pickle to extrack raising after annealing rather than use the wooden tongs
provided. Use progresively stronger soups to clean our hands of
oxides,polishing compounds, and dirt. Cut stone with mineral oil and not
use rubber gloves. Mix investment with our hands and not use gloves or a
spoon which works better any. Then go to pottery class and do even worse
things to our hands.
All this is cumulative and after I’d been working for about ten years my
hand started breaking out in water blister. These really hurt. My next
mistake was to start wear golfing gloves to protect my hands while working.
Not relizing that this made it worse than ever. I finally went to see a
dirmatoligiste and he prescibed creams for me. After two week I went back
to my family doctor and asked for another specialist since I hadn’t been
instantly cured (silly me.) He sent me back to the same dirmatalogist whole
asked me if I wanted to change profession. This was unthinkable. I was
then asked how long it took to get this bad. 14years at that time. I was
informed that to get back I could work without water blisters would take
three months and that I had dirmtitise which is inhereted (sentive skin.)
Two that this was a way of life and not just a one time fit it. Three that
I even had to watch corsive when I wasn’t in the shop such as shampoo,
dishwashing soap, paint remover,windex, etc, etc… To use moisterizing
product after every major hand event re; taking a shower, changing the oil
in the care, every day at work in the shop. Using the mildest soup when
washing my hand but using a scotchbrit to most of the cleaning because
your worried about the soap not the brush.
So take a warning new jewellers/metalsmiths and limit what you do to your
hands right now. Besides most of us are supposed to have pretty good
tweezer dexterity so use your copper tonges or basketts or gloves and keep
your hand is good shape. Because as we all know a jeweller is only a good
pair of hand and eyes.