Safety Tips

(Safety Tips is an archive of advice and ideas contributed by site visitors.)
 


Note: "Safety tips" is intended to provide pointers on often overlooked safety concerns and helpful safety hints. It is not to be considered a complete and comprehensive guide to glassworking safety.

6/01 Beware of shrapnel!

12/99 Auto Shutoff for Your Workbench

8/99 Do You Know What's in Your Patina?

4/99 Good Gear for Grinding

10/98 Mosaic Cutter Safety

7/98 Safe Disposal of Glass Scraps

4/98 Make Sure It's Off with Outlet Strips

12/97 Protect your feet and your floors

9/97 Watch for Falling Solder!

8/97 Hazards with Blades

7/97 Never Walk Away

6/97 Don't Do Stupid Stuff! (or...Take your time and pay attention to what you're doing.)

5/97 Breaking Glass

4/97 Be Careful About Glass Storage

3/97 Plan Ahead for safety

2/97 Breaking Score Lines Using the Table Edge

1/97 Quick Tips III

12/96 Handling Large Sheets of Glass

11/96 Avoid Cuts While Grinding

10/96 More Quick Tips

9/96 Quick Tips

8/96 Chemical Hazards

7/96 Dressing for Stained Glass

6/96 Eye Protection Basics

5/96 "Steel Wooling " solder lines

4/96 "Glass Cutting 101" (for Apartment Dwellers)

3/96 Lead Exposure During Soldering

2/96 Exposure to Glass Dust From Grinders

1/96 Skin Protection during Soldering

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6/01 Beware of shrapnel!
Our thanks to Ann Curl  for our June 01' tip!

I just started working in stained glass two months ago and appreciate all these great safety tips. 

Last weekend I was repeatedly hit with very sharp metal fragments as a fellow classmate operated a saw to cut pieces of solder and zinc channel.  I would suggest that a guard  - even a simple three sided cardboard shield - be set up around the area where a saw is being used to prevent people in the surrounding area from being hit by shrapnel!

Ann Curl


12/99 Auto Shutoff for Your Workbench
Our thanks to Jerry Gortmaker for our December 99' tip!

To prevent the possibility of fires or soldering iron damage I installed a sauna timer on the line feeding my workbench.
It can be set to stay on from just 5 min to an hour at which point it turns itself off. By having my radio on the same circuit I know when it goes off or is still on.
Since installing this low priced device I haven't had a worry about setting the shop on fire or a week old tip being destroyed.
The switch is available at most home centers.

P.S. There are other timers designed for ceiling fans and such that will provide the same function and could be cheaper alternatives.
Editors' note: Be sure the device you select has a wattage rating that will accommodate the total wattage of all the devices you plan to control.

Jerry Gortmaker

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8/99 Do You Know What's in Your Patina?
Our thanks to Jane Marshall for our August 99' tip!

Last year I went to a local safety equipment supply company to purchase a face mask for protection against lead fumes. I explained to the woman what I was looking for and that it was for use in making stained glass. She asked me all about the procedures involved in stained glass and asked me to call her back with the ingredients in all the chemicals that I use--including etching cream, flux and patinas, etc.
I read her the ingredients on the various bottles of chemicals I use, and when I mentioned the nitric acid in black patina, she said that nitric acid was the most dangerous of all the other chemicals I had named. A hepa mask offers no protection against nitric acid fumes, since they are completely odorless and go right through a hepa filter. These fumes can cause lung damage. She said to NEVER work indoors unless you have an unusually strong fan pulling the fumes out a window, and NEVER stand directly over your project when you are applying the patina. The safest way to apply patina is to take it outside on a windy day with the wind blowing away from you, and apply the patina at arm's length.

Jane Marshall

Editors' note:

It seems that everyone is aware of the dangers from lead and lead bearing solder. Most of us are also wary of flux and many of us are cautious to control glass dust, as we should be. Patinas on the other hand are an often overlooked safety hazard.

As a retail shop we are required by law to keep on file a document called an MSDS (manufacturers safety data sheet) on each of the chemicals that we sell, but having dealt with these chemicals for many years before this information was widely available and having assumed them to be fairly innocuous, it takes a bit of a push to change your view of them.

After receiving this tip I went around the shop and read labels. Right there in my patinas I found them, acids, lots of them. There were hydrochloric, nitric, selenious, something called "mineral acid" and one product that declined to identify the specific acid on the label, choosing to say "in an acid solution".

The bottom line is read the labels. Treat patinas with respect, many are potent chemicals. If you require more information ask your retailer to see the MSDS on the products you use. If he doesn't have it on hand ask him to get one for you.

 


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4/99 Good Gear for Grinding

When I use the grinder, I slip into an old nylon jacket backwards and my goggles. This keeps grinder debris off my skin and clothing.
I also wear old shoes in the glass shop. These measures keep glass fragments out of other parts of the house.

Billie Craig

 


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10/98 Mosaic Cutter Safety

Our thanks to Ken Weupper for our October 98' tip!

When using the mosaic cutter, chips and fragments tend to fly about. The use of safety glasses with SIDE PROTECTION is mandatory. To further reduce the possibility of flying glass...

USE A ONE GALLON ZIPLOCK BAG to contain the glass, cutter and fragments while cutting.

A coat hanger wire can be bent to hold the bag upright and the opening is adequate for even my big hands to enter the bag. Since the plastic is clear, you can easily see your hands, the glass and the cutter. When the bag has a lot of small chips in it, you can simply seal it and dispose of the sharp scrap safely.

Ken Wuepper
KEN's GLASS ART SAGINAW, MI

 


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7/98 Safe Disposal of Glass Scraps

I keep a large plastic, cleaned milk container, with lid on my work table.
When I have small pieces of glass that cannot be reused, I put them in the milk container so my sons who empty the trash to do get cut by small pieces of sharp glass.

Other small pieces of stained glass that I do not use, I give to the pottery department at the local high school. Some of the instructors like to melt the colored glass in the bottom of the kilned pieces for interest.

Thanks to: No Name Given


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4/98 Make Sure It's Off with Outlet Strips

Our thanks to Nelda for our April 98' tip!

My iron and grinder are plugged into a master switch bar. (Outlet strip). I added a small night light to the bar so I can tell at a glance if anything is still on.


Nelda

 


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12/97 Protect your feet

Our thanks to Shannonh for our November tip!

I've just started stained glass, and one of my biggest problems was solder run off. (Editors note: Solder running off the edge of the table as discussed in the 9/97 safety tip.)

It became painful to my feet and my carpet. Then I attached a ruler to the end of my work table. It's flat enough not to get in my way, (and I can remove the thumb tacks if I need a straight edge).

Shannonh

 


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9/97 Watch for Falling Solder!

Most of the the time your solder just stays where you put it, and this is not a problem. But there are some operations where it is likely that solder will be on the move, like it or not.
Typical projects that can cause solder to run through and drip are three dimensional projects such as lamps, boxes , kaleidoscopes and the like. The other main occurrence is during desoldering operations when making repairs.
When solder drips and runs it becomes a safety hazard. Large solder drips can even melt through some synthetic fabrics and burn your skin directly. Don't forget we're working in temperatures over 700 degrees, way hotter than the average home oven can achieve.
When you are setting up for one of these operations make sure you are properly prepared.


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8/97 Hazards with Blades

When you think about stained glass hazards, the obvious sharp glass shards and hot soldering irons pop into mind almost immediately, but if you work like we do you probably have a variety of knives in your shop as well. We cut our patterns up and trim our foil to perfection using little precision knives. We use came knives, and utility knives (often called pistol grip knives) for a variety of jobs, from opening cartons to making cardboard mockups.


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7/97 Never Walk Away

It happens to all of us. You put up a pot of water to boil in the kitchen and the phone rings. You walk away to answer the phone and before you know it half of the water is gone!

Every day we face distractions in everything we do. In a stained glass workshop things are always in a state of flux, (No pun intended.) and things that are normal when you're there working, suddenly become a hazard when you leave, especially if you have small children coming into your work area.

Be careful never to leave your work area without a quick safety check, even if you expect to come right back.


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6/97 Don't Do Stupid Stuff! (or... Take your time and pay attention to what you're doing.)

It's been a very busy time here at Dodge Studio and finding a good safety tip has always been a challenge at best. In order to meet that challenge I decided to abandon all common sense and see how many different stupid ways I could injure myself within a week's time. Alas my time is up and I have only two really good ones to show for my efforts.

But seriously, with over 25 years at this craft injuries (including minor cuts) are few and far between for me, but this week I put myself into mad rush mode with predictable results, two of the dumbest mistakes you could imagine!

I guess what I'm trying to say here is that some things you just can't rush without sacrificing safety. Allow yourself enough time to get your work done without rushing. If something unpredictable happens and sets you back don't try to make up lost time. Keep your pace and finish safely.


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5/97 Breaking Glass

When you apply breaking force to a scored piece of glass you are imparting energy into the glass. This energy first opens the score line separating the glass into two pieces. After the glass has broken, the excess energy results in movement. The glass in your left hand moves to the left and down and the glass in the right hand moves to the right and down. If the glass piece in either hand is at all sizeable, gravity will add its influence to the momentum of the pieces which often strike the work table and can break.

The solution to this problem is very simple. Just rest the rear edge of the glass on the table during your breaking operation!


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4/97 Be Careful About Glass Storage

Safe storage of glass requires thought and planning. We learned the hard way about fifteen years ago when a large glass rack in our basement collapsed! The rack was constructed of plywood and two by four lumber. We had two by fours running beneath the front and rear of each shelf for support. This seemed like a good idea at the time, but the shelves were too wide and all it took was a little too much weight on one of the shelves and one of the two by fours gave out bringing the whole unit down and spreading precious glass across the whole room. Fortunately we were upstairs at the time, but what a sound!

When planning a glass storage unit remember that glass is very heavy.


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3/97 Plan Ahead for Safety

Don't wait for an accident to occur before thinking about first aid!

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2/97 Breaking Score Lines Using the Table Edge

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1/97 Quick Tips III

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