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Tips, Techniques, and Questions -- Technical questions or tips

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  #1  
Old 2012-02-16, 5:24pm
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Default How many of you wear a mask?

I would really be interested in knowing how many of you wear masks when applying enamels to your beads? Do you grab the respirator when you're about to dip, or do you hold your breath

Now, I know what the health issues are so you don't have to tell me about that, I would just like to know if y'all religiously wear one. I'll tell you what I do first so you don't feel like you have to say the right thing. I don't wear mine. I know it's wrong but I don't. It's always an afterthought and I don't put it on mid bead.
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  #2  
Old 2012-02-16, 5:26pm
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I wear a respirator when I'm alone in my studio no matter what I'm doing.

If a friend is with me, I don't so we can converse... But I don't use enamels then either.

ETA: I have to use the mask, it's so unbearably sexy with the didys. Rawr.
Or I've had bronchitis twice from poorly ventilated studios, and I was a preemie so my lungs are susceptible anyway. My studio has sweet ventilation (Mr Booger: It could suck your arm off!) but I'm not taking any chances anymore.
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Last edited by NLC Beads; 2012-02-16 at 6:03pm.
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  #3  
Old 2012-02-16, 5:35pm
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i have to admit that i dont even though i have one on standby - i'm just really careful to not fling the stuff around
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  #4  
Old 2012-02-16, 6:03pm
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Good question. I was wondering the same thing since I just recently started finally using my enamels to make murrini from Astrids tutorial.

The first time I made them and used the enamels I didn't use a mask. I then went and bought a mask from Home Depot, but it is not the right one. I figured it would do till I could get the right one. I figured better that one than none.

I'm not sure what to think on this whole issue. But it does concern me and make me a bit paranoid. I try to be very careful with them when pouring it out of the little bag. I pour it into a metal scoop type thing that I can roll my glass around in and then I can just dump it right back into the bag when done. I keep wet paper towels handy too. I wipe up my counters when done. ... It seems like just even the outside of all the little baggies of enamel that were in the box feel slightly gritty and powdery, just slightly. They felt like that when I got them new. So I feel like just picking up and handling the baggies that it gets on my counter without even opening one up! I keep them confined to one counter and wipe up when done.
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Last edited by JoyceMI; 2012-02-16 at 6:06pm.
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  #5  
Old 2012-02-16, 6:15pm
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I don't wear one. I have them but can't stand them on my face. My glasses don't fit well over the mask & I end up fogging up my glasses.
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  #6  
Old 2012-02-16, 6:15pm
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I wear one whenever I use powder. Put it on and have the ventilation on before I open the jars. I put the selected powders in the sifters and set up the dish with the wet paper towels (to catch the powder when I sift) and then walk away for 15-20 minutes.

I come back after the dust has settled and make the base bead (or murrini - have been using powder in murrinis long before the latest craze with Astrid's tutorial), the N100 respirator is dangling on my neck. When the base is done, I strap the respirator on and then sift. I don't take it off again until I am done and walk away.

Sometimes I use powders on my blown hollows, I learn to take a deep breath, unstrap the top of the respirator to blow the hollow, then strap it back on to take the next breath. It's a PITA but I am getting better at it! lol!

I use a half mask respirator with replaceable cartridges. I find that's a lot more comfortable than the disposable ones.

ETA: I also use a respirator whenever I use metal - foil, leaf, mesh, etc.
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Last edited by Hayley; 2012-02-16 at 6:21pm.
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  #7  
Old 2012-02-16, 6:47pm
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I wear a half mask respirator or a full face respirator no matter what I do, every time I torch.
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  #8  
Old 2012-02-16, 7:25pm
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For those of you who wear masks every time you torch wow, that is really great but I could not do it. I torch for hours sometimes and that mask on my face makes me feel like I can't breath. I couldn't wear it for that many hours.

Nikki, I feel my sexiest with my two pairs of glasses on and half a sandwich in my mouth while sitting at the torch! Irresistible I am LOL!
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  #9  
Old 2012-02-16, 7:28pm
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I wear it religiously with any frit or powder, including enamels. I once dropped a jar of glass powder and was really glad I had the respirator on because it was a mushroom cloud of glass dust. It was really cool to see my ventilation at work though.
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  #10  
Old 2012-02-16, 7:30pm
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Not always.

I am taking an enamel on metal class at the top art school in the city. My teacher is shockingly cavalier about sifting enamels without any sort of ventilation or mask, pouring them back into jars, etc.

I rarely use enamel, mica dust or powder frit in my beads mostly because it's not worth the bother or worry.

If I do start working with enamels on metal at home on a regular basis, I do plan to wear a mask.
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  #11  
Old 2012-02-16, 7:42pm
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I do have to say this. I wear a mask when poring enamels into containers that I store them in. If I relocate them into another container or anything like that, I do wear a mask, but if I'm putting it on a bead, I don't.

That is kind of shocking Elizabeth. First, if I was teaching a class I would definitely wear one and insist that everyone else did too. Also, if I was sifting with no ventilation, or poring them into jars, no mask is not cool under those circumstances for sure.
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  #12  
Old 2012-02-16, 7:55pm
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Do people also use a mask when doing enamels in a barley box type construction? Thats what I have its almost like a fume hood at a lab, but not as fancy lol.
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Old 2012-02-16, 8:00pm
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I've got some masks from HD, the one that says it filters more, any thoughts on those? I use them when spraying glazes for my pottery.
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Old 2012-02-16, 8:01pm
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I always use one when working with powders or pouring frit
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Old 2012-02-16, 8:02pm
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I do, I have a killer Box system and I still wear the respirator all of the time. You get used to it after awhile, well I did.

I worked as an inspector for Seagate in a clean room for several years and got used to it then. Getting the right size and fit helps a lot in the comfort dept.
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  #16  
Old 2012-02-16, 8:18pm
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Quote:
Originally Posted by glassactcc View Post

Nikki, I feel my sexiest with my two pairs of glasses on and half a sandwich in my mouth while sitting at the torch! Irresistible I am LOL!
I'm with you! Bandana, braid or ponytail, prescription didys, respirator... singing (muffled, but singing) "Don't you wish your girlfriend worked hot like me..."

I sent a friend a picture and I think it scared her. And that was without the singing.
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Old 2012-02-16, 8:22pm
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Quote:
Originally Posted by glassactcc View Post
I torch for hours sometimes and that mask on my face makes me feel like I can't breath. I couldn't wear it for that many hours.
Have you tried one with the replaceable cartridges, Cyn? Those fit better (actually come in different sizes) than the disposable ones and are much more comfortable.
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Old 2012-02-16, 8:34pm
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We had an enamel kiln in my high school art classes. We used the enamels all the time. No one ever died from it. Respirators? lol No.

I have wondered about why we lampworkers need sooo much more ventilation for the tiny things we make when you watch glass blowers on tv working on huge pieces of molten glass that they are standing over. They have to be getting a whole lot more fumes off that than we are with a 20 mm bead.
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Old 2012-02-16, 8:40pm
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Yes Haley, that's the one that I have. It's icky LOL! When I put it on I feel like I can't breath right. It's just something that I have to get use to. I don't like anything on my face, especially over my mouth. Freaks me out.

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Have you tried one with the replaceable cartridges, Cyn? Those fit better (actually come in different sizes) than the disposable ones and are much more comfortable.
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Old 2012-02-16, 8:45pm
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Haven't used enamels yes - but probably won't wear a mask. I was a studio potter for over 10 years and worked with all kinds of hazardous powders when making glazes for porcelain and stoneware, even radio-active materials without any protection, and that started over 40 years ago. And am still breathing. (Even chain smoked for over 40 years- have now quit) - So either very hearty peasant stock, or the tar from smoking created a protective layer in my lungs. - M
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  #21  
Old 2012-02-16, 9:28pm
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I have different ones, I almost never wear one.
S
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Old 2012-02-16, 9:58pm
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I always wear a mask when pouring or sifting enamels. Holding your breath is not enough as the fines in the enamel are very light and will float around for a while. What my mentors taught me with enameling is that it is not what happens now that is problem, it is that the particles get into your lungs and can lodge forming a node for inflammation that can cause problems after many years. Michael, I am so glad to hear that so far you have had no problems. For me I would rather not take a chance with my health.

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  #23  
Old 2012-02-16, 10:17pm
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I wear my mask whenever I'm disturbing glass powders or enamels. I don't ever sift them or sprinkle them unless I'm grinding them smaller or changing containers, etc. 99 percent of the time I'm just rolling a bead across the surface of a container filled with powder.

Admittedly, I don't always wear my mask. Ironically, it's because it makes me feel like I'm suffocating...which I surely will be suffocating if I end up with mesothelioma or some other manifestation of lung disease.

I can't imagine teaching any class involving powders and not insisting that all the students wear masks, including myself. I would probably stand there and tell them all how important it is to always wear it, and insist that they keep their masks on at all times when working with powders. Then I'd go home and not wear mine. Bad. It really is bad. It's like not wearing your seat belt because you think you're only driving a couple of blocks and you'll be fine...and then you get in a terrible accident a quarter of a mile from your house.

I'm already wondering what I'm going to do at SGI. Almost everything I make has powders on it. I can't bring all those powders with me and use them in a big room with everyone else. They aren't all going to want to wear a mask just because I have to put powder on everything. So...guess I'm going to have to make other stuff while I'm there. LOL

I do watch a lot of furnace glass videos and cringe when I see all those people sucking air while some guy sifts a couple pounds of glass powder onto a gather. You can see the cloud of it drifting and nobody seems to care. That makes me nervous.

I think it is easier for me to not wear my mask because when I roll a little olive sized gather of glass in a container of powder I don't actually see anything go airborne. False security.

~~Mary

ps--wear your mask
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  #24  
Old 2012-02-16, 11:08pm
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kevan View Post
We had an enamel kiln in my high school art classes. We used the enamels all the time. No one ever died from it. Respirators? lol No.

I have wondered about why we lampworkers need sooo much more ventilation for the tiny things we make when you watch glass blowers on tv working on huge pieces of molten glass that they are standing over. They have to be getting a whole lot more fumes off that than we are with a 20 mm bead.
Maybe they didn't die but maybe developed asthma, easily get colds, bronchitis, cancer etc.
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  #25  
Old 2012-02-17, 12:39am
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It depends what I'm doing and where. The mask tends to give me a headache, but I wear it (half face mask with replaceable P100 cartridges) if I'm sifting somewhere other than my own studio (I sometimes rent studio time at a local art school flameworking studio, because that's where my glass peeps hang out.) If I'm rolling beads in enamels, I don't usually bother, but I keep the frit trays of enamels well under the vent hood and away from myself. I use enamels a lot, so my home ventilation set up was put in with that in mind. I have an oversized funnel directly in front of me. I put a metal shelf right in front of it (just to the side of my flame) and my frit trays of enamels on the shelf. I sift over the frit trays (arms fully stretched out in front of me). I can see the loose powder being pulled straight into the funnel and the table in front of me stays clean.
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  #26  
Old 2012-02-17, 3:30am
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DH Amnon made a venting box out of an old microwave oven. It hooks into our ventilation system from the back. While it is on, we put the various enamels on the glass turnstile (first on our frit trays) and work the powders inside there, turning the plate with the desired color forward. The opening is big enough to maneuver easily.

I don't use a respirator because if I had to, I would never torch. The suffocating, confined feeling would outweigh the fun of creation for me. I'll put on the gas mask when Iran sends over its bio warfare. Everybody here has one on standby just in case (army issued).
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Old 2012-02-17, 5:38am
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Always with enamels. That is such a fine glass dust. Always with other powders like pixie or mica. I should with silver but I don't.
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Old 2012-02-17, 6:04am
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When using powders and enamels, yes. I smoke, and figure that's bad enough for me.
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  #29  
Old 2012-02-17, 7:51am
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I don't. I did when I put the enamels in metal containers so their easy to roll in, but when I'm making a bead I think "oh...I'll just do this real quick". But I always keep the wet paper towels underneath like Felicia taught us in our F&R class.
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Old 2012-02-17, 9:11am
LarryC LarryC is offline
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Join Date: Mar 07, 2011
Location: Northern California
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Moth View Post
I do watch a lot of furnace glass videos and cringe when I see all those people sucking air while some guy sifts a couple pounds of glass powder onto a gather. You can see the cloud of it drifting and nobody seems to care. That makes me nervous.
Me too. I rent time at a shop where a lot of the folks put powders out on the marver and sift. Makes me cringe since right next to the marver is a ventilated color box. Very rarely have I seen any safety info regarding these practices in classes.
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