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Shop Safety - Proper dress


#1

Was: “Don’t want to light myself on fire”

I have resisted comment until now…

When it comes to the merits of torches I will leave that to others
more skilled than I in the use of the various small torches out
there.

However, While the title was somewhat tongue in cheek (I think), one
subject that needs to be mentioned IMO to the complete new person in
any trade using open flame or very hot metal and that is proper
dress.

While heavy denim or heavy cotton clothing or other flame resistant
clothing that a welder would use is a bit heavy for bench work, on
the other end of the spectrum is some synthetics used in shirts and
pants that are literally flame bombs when touched to a open flame
(Rayon comes to mind).

A rule of thumb is that natural fabrics tend to not be has flammable
as synthetic. There are some exceptions and there have been reports
of even cotton being turned into a very flammable material by the
excessive use of finishing / anti-static agents.

If in doubt cut a small strip off the piece of clothing from an
inside seam and expose it to flame and see how it reacts…

I have seen (and in a former carrier as a paramedic) treated people
whose shirts have caught fire and it’s not pretty.

There is no need to fear fire, but one must respect it at all times,
or one day you will be taught a lesson that will stay with you for
the rest of your life.

Just my 2 cents worth
Kay


#2

Kay

Good point, and it is one of the things that most of us have
forgotten when working this type of environment, I know I have. When
seen, it is something that makes you feel uncomfortable, but you
don’t remember why.

Personal example is going to the ranch wearing Tennis shoes, or any
other non leather product. I can never seem to visit my folks without
getting into some type of repair. I was cutting and grinding on the
bale wagon and had been at it for a while when mom called lunch, we
headed for the house and my foot felt funny. When I looked down the
only thing left of my right shoe were the laces and seams, everything
else was gone to the rubber. Cotton socks and laces were the only
things to have survived.

Terry


#3

Yes and even when you think y ou have it all covered be prepared. I
am almost recovered from 2cd degree burns on my right hand.

The safety welding gloves I bought caught on fire!

I saw the gloves from stuller and rio 35 40 bucks as opposed to 3
pair leather welding gloves for 10 from Harbor freight grey with
brown lining and made in china.

As I removed my tiny 2.5 inch flask with tongs from my little kiln
the glove burst into flames on the inside

I was wearing my low temp heat resist gloves as liners to help me
grasp the tongs easier. The ER doctor thought it was funny when I
said no my safety gloves caught fire I was removing the flask flames
shot out so I placed the flask on a safe place put the tongs down and
flung the glove off then removed the smoldering liner glove and
doesed my hand in my bucket of water for quenching the flasks.

I have always been taught to have back ups the bucket of water and
emergency area to put flasks saved me from worse burns.I am still not
to happy about the ‘welding’ gloves but they are all in the trash and
I must wait a month til I can buy a pair form a jewelry supplier
before I cast again.

Starting this from scratch is hard. Equipment is vital. Learned my
lesson the hard way. Save and invest in the real deal. Got it end of
statement.

Teri
Silver & Cameo Heritage Jewelry
www.corneliusspick.com


#4

A salesperson with a freshly drycleaned suit picked up my torch
(about 15 years ago) and turned it slightly towards himself. He
literally went up in flames!! He was okay, but his suit was
destroyed, and we all got to see his “World’s largest source of
natural gas” boxers! Obviously there was something VERY flammable
used to clean that suit of his! I’ve never worn dry-cleaned clothes
at the bench since!

Pam


#5
A rule of thumb is that natural fabrics tend to not be has
flammable as synthetic. There are some exceptions and there have
been reports of even cotton being turned into a very flammable
material by the excessive use of finishing / anti-static agents. 

Also, you could wear a leather apron or a fire resistant apron. Jay
Whaley sells such an apron. I hope I’ve got that name right.

Elaine
http://www.CreativeTextureTools.com


#6

Does anyone have a good source for aprons that won’t melt or burst
into flames when molten metals are accidently dropped or spattered
on them?


#7
literally went up in flames!! He was okay, but his suit was
destroyed, and we all got to see his "World's largest source of
natural gas" boxers! Obviously there was something VERY flammable 

Okay, Orchid has got me cracking up this morning. We’ve got this one,
Kim’s Underwear Gnome. I haven’t laughed this much since the 18 karat
balls.

Speaking of balls, I just read the book Mommy Millionaire, who got
rich selling the Wuvit, and she mentions in passing that someone
gave her a pair of brass balls as a gift.

And I thought, my, why does one buy such a product?

Elaine
http://www.CreativeTextureTools.com


#8

Teri

Welding gloves are not for the temperature range you are using, a
little late huh?

Research gloves, I have lost the link or I would send it, I had the
same problem, and it was not due to cheap gloves, I was using them
outside the temperature range they were designed for. Look at gloves
used by the glass blowers and foundry workers, they deal with these
temp ranges. The HF gloves are good for welding, but not for high
temp kiln work, or a cupola, or any other form of smelting furnace.

Terry


#9

Teri,

I saw the gloves from stuller and rio 35 40 bucks as opposed to 3
pair leather welding gloves for 10 from Harbor freight grey with
brown lining and made in china. 

Sorry to hear of your burns, I hope you heal soon and without
lasting damage.

Folks if you have not figured it out yet, don’t buy cheap Chinese
anything if your life or safety depends on it. From welding gloves
that burn to pet food that kills to medicine and toothpaste made with
propylene glycol instead of glycerine it is obvious that there is no
consumer safety inspections in China and anything that allows one to
make a greater profit is ok as long as you don’t get caught. And even
then the Chinese government will cover for you up to a point.

We work with things that can cause severe injury in an instant, pay
attention, get knowledgeable on safety and don’t cut corners on
safety products or practices.

Jim

James Binnion
@James_Binnion
James Binnion Metal Arts


360-756-6550


#10
Does anyone have a good source for aprons that won't melt or burst
into flames when molten metals are accidently dropped or spattered
on them? 

I like the fire retardant ones sold by Stuller. Item 47-3065. Plenty
big enough for my large frame. I don’t do casting so I can’t speak
to molten metals spatter, but haven’t had a problem with the
occasional blob of hot solder or silver falling in my lap. YMMV (Your
Mileage May vary)

Peace, love, and Hammering metal!

Rick Copeland
Silversmith and Lapidary Artisan
Colorado Springs, Colorado
http://home.covad.net/~rcopeland


#11

I have a thick (2mm) leather one, it has paid for itself in jeans
over the years. Think bench skin, try a saddler, who could make you
one if necessary.

regards Tim.


#12
Does anyone have a good source for aprons that won't melt or burst
into flames when molten metals are accidently dropped or spattered
on them? 

Any welding supply has them. I bought mine v e r y cheap on eBay.

Noel


#13
Also, you could wear a leather apron or a fire resistant apron. 

I have such an apron, which I bought (and used) for welding, until I
decided to get the full leather jacket (after a fellow-student set
her flannel shirt on fire, seriously injuring herself). But that was
for welding, not jewelry.

I’ve never seen or heard of anyone, even a beginning student,
actually setting themselves on fire in the jewelry studio-- at
least, until that story about the dry-cleaned suit. I’m not saying
it can’t happen-- of course it can. And there’s no harm in wearing a
leather apron. But let’s keep this in perspective. It is only
sensible to wear natural fabrics in the studio, keep hair tied back,
wear eye protection when using power tools, etc. A leather apron is
not really called for.

By the way, the woman who was burned in the welding shop caught fire
when she leaned across the piece of steel she had just welded,
allowing the loose ends of her shirt to trail across the piece (or
at least that’s what I heard-- I wasn’t there). Any kind of apron
would probably have prevented this unfortunate accident.

Noel


#14

I wanted protective clothing in my lapidary shop as I was getting
the cutters cross on my shirts what with the vertical spray from my
wheels and the horizontal spray from my laps.

A lab coat is useless and the medical jackets I looked at were thin
polyester which I didn’t think would be any better than the
dedicated work shirt that I wore backwards (quite dorky looking). I
finally got a chef’s jacket which is very effective. The double
front affords up to the neck spray protection and it has trick
sleeve cuffs that can’t get caught on things. As it is made for
professional kitchen staff it is of course fireproof. You can get
them in many colours, mine is blue with black piping and I got “The
Gem Doctor” embroidered on the front so that people don’t call me
"Chef".

Anthony Lloyd-Rees.
www.OpalsInTheBag.com
www.TheGemDoctor.com
Vancouver, Beautiful British Columbia


#15

The comfortable worn well laundered cotton makes a good tinder for
catching sparks and starting fires!!! It is not fire safe but it is
or as quickly injurious as polyester which rapidly melts onto the
skin still burning. Wool is safer and doesn’t catch sparks that
propagate well. New materials may have a fire retardant added (borax)
that doesn’t survive many washings. No common clothing materials will
survive a big hot metal spill.

jesse


#16

James,

Lesson learned! Burns are healed Silvadene creme is outstanding. The
ER Doctor said I can give you a WHOLE jar now thi is how you use it
on small burns and this is when to come in to ER lol

It is in my first aid kit now the power of healing with silver ahhh
it just is appropriate some how

Teri
Silver & Cameo Heritage Jewelry
www.corneliusspick.com


#17
Folks if you have not figured it out yet, don't buy cheap Chinese
anything if your life or safety depends on it. 

I could not agree with James more.

As a rule, I don’t buy any tools made in the east if I can help it…

I have a box of junk pliers, motors, drawplates and files that were
just a waste of money and time. Rio Grande—are you listening?

The biggest lesson I have learnt from my junk box is this:

You buy cheap, you buy twice.

Hans Meevis


#18

Another consideration in the shop is footwear! Especially now that
summer is approaching, we sometimes see students and others come into
the shop on a really hot day wearing flip-flops or sandals. While
that bit of air flow might be nice, a hot piece of solder, splash of
hot acid pickle, or bit of hot wire dropping off the soldering table
will definitely NOT feel so nice.

Between the possibility of dropped hot stuff, dropped hammers, and
other hazards, a sturdy closed-toe shoe is always a good idea.

With regard to fabrics, I’ve become very cautious about what I wear
to cast since one time a couple of years ago. Went to the casting lab
from a dressy presentation at work, wearing a nice synthetic blouse.
Usually I bring a change of clothes, but had forgotten to that night
and really needed to get a couple of flasks done. Even though I was
wearing an apron, when I opened the burnout oven door, I clearly felt
the blouse “crisp”… the fabric moved on its own, tightened up, and
became stiff. I backed away VERY quickly because instinct told me
that the next step was “poof.” Had someone else cast those flasks for
me and have been very aware of clothing issues ever since.

Also, as a school with multiple forms of the arts in a single
building, many of the instructors warn students about what they may
have on themselves as “residue” from their previous class(es). For
example, a student going from woodworking to jewelry on the same day
may have sawdust in his hair/clothes; someone from printmaking may
have chemical fumes/residue in fabric; someone from drawing may just
have sprayed a flammable fixative on their piece and gotten it on
themselves… etc.

Just a few thoughts to help us all stay safe and sound.

Karen Goeller
No Limitations Designs
Hand-made, one-of-a-kind jewelry


#19

Just to add to the collective wisdom.

The common advise that beginner gets is start with the beginner’s
tools, and later, when on gains expertise, to upgrade to more
expensive tools.

In my opinion, the reverse is true. In the beginning one must have
the best tools one can afford. Later, with gaining skills, the
deficiencies in the tools can be overcome, but why would anybody
wants to.

Leonid Surpin


#20

Orchidians,

Several of you have mentioned welders aprons for welding/soldering.
This is what I use when casting, poring ingots etc. However, many
years ago I used to work for the California Dept. of Forestry, & our
clothing was made from Nomex. I “googled” nomex apron & came up with
a company called “buyaprons.com”. They have a 30"X34" bib apron w/
nomex & steam barrier. Flame retardant to 450 degrees. The price
listed was $39.99 plus S&H. Google had other suppliers of "nomex"
aprons. Nomex kept me safe on more than 1 occasion. Just an FYI. I
may pick one up for myself.

Walt Teats
American Goldworks
Great Falls, MT