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U.V. rays


#1

Can anyone tell me what the correct eye protection from ultra violet
rays one should use when melting, soldering gold or watching a Mokume
Gane billet as it fuses. My local optician suggests tinted glasses as
used by people who work long hours in front of a computer
screen…???

Colin


#2
Can anyone tell me what the correct eye protection from ultra
violet rays one should use when melting, soldering gold or watching
a Mokume Gane billet as it fuses. My local optician suggests tinted
glasses as used by people who work long hours in front of a
computer screen...??? 

Your optician is correct, if you even feel you need a darker tint,
so long as the heat source involved is an oven, or a natural gas or
propane and oxygen flame, or cooler. These heat sources produce
little or no UV. But they do produce infrared, (heat), which it would
be wise to protect your eyes from if it’s strong enough to be
noticable. Some data suggests that long term chronic exposure to
elevated IR can contribute to cataracts. But for most jewelers,
we’re using small torch flames, and not all the time. This is very
much less risk than, say, the glass blowers who’re staring into a
glory hole all the time. Much more heat, for much longer durations,
than we normally experience. For normal use, though, almost any
eyeglass will protect to a decent degree from the low levels of IR
we normally see. If you’re doing a LOT with such heat sources, you
may wish a more engineered glass that specifically blocks IR.

Now, if you’re in the habit of using any electric arc, such as arc
welding, plasma torches, or the like, or hydrogen/oxygen torches, or
even oxyacetylene in larger tip sizes and using a sharper hotter
flame, then you do need to be more careful with UV as well as IR. But
as your optician suggests, most dark glasses (In fact, almost any
glasses at all) are pretty good at blocking at least most UV such as
in sunlight, or low intensity sources that you’ll encounter other
than with electric arcs or high temp glassblowing, etc. For arc
welding, you’ll need glasses specifically made for that, as that
produces much brighter light, as well as much higher UV levels than
any oxy/fuel torch flame will.

Personally, my favorite general use eye filter is based on the type
of dichroic glass filter more commonly used by the glass blowers who
do torch work. They’re working hotter than we usually do, and with
sodium containing glass, they’re trying to see through a bright
sodium flare. So didymium glasses are used to filter out the sodium
flare. The better ones also incorporate elements that filter most IR
and UV as well. The result is a fairly light colored lens that totally
eliminates that bright yellow color in torch flames and subdues the
glare from a hot environment. It makes soldering a LOT easier see in
some situations. www.auralens.net is one supplier of such lenses. I
have their AUR-92 lenses. They can supply these also in prescription
versions to match your normal eyewear. Note that for platinum work,
or similar high temp work, these lenses are not at all dark enough.
For that, I use standard gas welding lenses or goggles.

Peter


#3

I will second Peter’s post. I have some AUR-92 glasses and love
them. Auralens has some great products and various info on their
site. Call them or e-mail with questions and they can help find the
right lenses for you. They make various lenses for people that work
with hot glass too. I first got my glasses years ago when I was
spending longer periods of time making chain with my torch.
Basically, if you are getting itchy eyes and you find yourself
rubbing your eyes, you are feeling some of that infrared effect.
Like a tiny sunburn on your eyes. And there can be other damage of
course that you don’t feel happening. Always good to protect your
peepers!

Hope this helps-
Carrie Nunes