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

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  #1  
Old 2011-06-24, 12:51am
margepoc margepoc is offline
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It has been awhile since I've been in to visit, and I haven't seen the on/off button to my oxygen generator in a long time... Precisely since October of last year. I had just received a huge order of glass and was so excited at all the possibilities. I started adding and adding and ended up with a huge bead, or so I thought that's how the story would end....

The bead dropped on the floor and shattered (cold concrete), so when I couldn't find all of it, I wasn't alarmed. I thought it looked like a lot of glass was missing, but just shrugged my shoulders and turned off everything, tidied up and went inside frustrated.

When I got in the house, my husband said, "burned your shirt I see" but I hadn't noticed anything at the time. The next day when I went to take a shower, I had a HUGE - golf ball sized - burn in my belly button area. The burn was so bad that the skin looked like it had been turned into leather. The burn had burned so many layers of skin that it was 1/4" deep. I've been going to the doctor since October and it has finally filled in and covered over, but it isn't quite healed yet. There is still a lot of scabbing and scarring.

I have an anxiety attack every time I think about starting up my torches, but I know I want to get back to working with glass. I did find information where someone recommended using a leather apron and I took a piece of leather and dropped molten glass on it to see what would happen. The leather just rolled off the leather. It did scar the leather, but better the leather than me.

I just thought that I should post this so that anyone out there who doesn't know about the leather apron or anyone who thinks it cannot happen to them, well..... It can and will sometime or another. I have had other little burns from glass popping, etc., and just blew them off as experience.

Just an interesting side point, the burn didn't hurt at all until after the leathery surface had been removed and it started to heal. I asked the plastic surgeon about it, and he said it was because as the glass melted into my skin, it burned the nerve endings causing me to not even know it was there until I took a shower the next day.

I know I will think twice about safety recommendations -- no matter how silly or unnecessary they may sound. I used to watch all kinds of videos about lampworking, etc., and I don't remember more than a few using an apron. I know we all have to take responsibility for ourselves, but know that a lot of the newbies cannot attend classes and you're the only teachers they have.

Please for your sake, protect yourself no matter what else you do!
Marge
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  #2  
Old 2011-06-24, 9:38am
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ooooh my god I have the willies reading that.

marge, I'm glad you are healing and thanks for sharing that.

yikes
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Old 2011-06-24, 9:44am
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You are one tough cookie Marge. I cannot imagine getting a burn that large and deep without feeling it. I have a leather lap cover, but I'm thinking of getting an actual bibbed apron.
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Old 2011-06-24, 10:25am
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That sounds terrible! What material was your shirt made out of? I only wear cotton at the torch as it doesn't melt the way non-natural materials do. I also have a cotton "throw" doubled and laid over my lap as a precaution - I remember reading about someone that caught a large melt of glass on their lap and I want to avoid that. May have to upgrade to leather though. Holy cow.
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Old 2011-06-24, 6:44pm
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My shirt was a cotton woven plaid like the kind my husband wears to hunt camp. I had that on over top of a pair of bib overalls and a turtleneck under the bib overalls. The oversized plaid shirt had singed edges of where the glass burned through. I too have heard that cotton is better than polyester as polyester just melts, but honestly neither fabric would have protected me at that time.

Neither my husband nor I could believe that I could have gotten that serious of a burn without knowing it. The plastic surgeon said that I didn't feel the burn or the pain that you would have expected because it immediately singed the nerve endings. But no kidding, when it started to heal, I felt it!!! At the time of the burn, I had had more pain from the small burns you get when the glass pops.

I too have heard that cotton is better than polyester as polyester just melts, but honestly neither fabric would have protected me at that time. I was astonished when I saw how the molten glass just rolled off the leather like a bead of water would off an oiled surface. There are many sources for leather. I had purchased a full cow sized leather piece for the purpose of making some purses. I purchased it from craigslist, but there are many other sources of leather. If you know someone who hunts, a farmer, a taxidermist, a butcher, classified ads, etc., where you can inquire about purchasing leather and/or a hide. If you cannot find any, let me know as I might be able to help find leather enough for an apron. I know some lampworking supply sources sell leather aprons. A lot of professions use them such as carpenters, cobblers, etc.

I wish (??? maybe) that I had taken pictures so you could see that I'm not just exaggerating the amount of damage that happened in just a split second. But then again, I would have to post a warning so no one got sick looking at them.

I only posted this to remind us all how important it is to protect every part of our bodies at all times. God bless you all.

Marge
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  #6  
Old 2011-06-24, 6:52pm
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Harbor Freight sells leather aprons very cheaply.

http://www.harborfreight.com/split-l...ron-45193.html

I know several people here on LE have mentioned using them.
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Old 2011-06-24, 7:58pm
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I use a leather apron when I torch. I used to get burned from glass popping because I didn't introduce it to the flame slow enough. Since I got the apron I have alot less burns and feel much safer. I also have alot less holey shirts! My apron goes past my knees, so I can now wear shorts when I'm at the torch and I'm still safe so its not quite so hot. I think I paid about $30.00 for my apron from a welding supply place. I've also had glass pop into my hair, which is no fun at all having a bald spot, so now I also wear a bandana or a one of those little hats the welders wear under their helmets.

Get an apron, you won't regret it!

I hope your burn continues to heal, I'm so sorry that happened to you!
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Old 2011-06-24, 8:13pm
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I'm totally getting one of these! I wear an apron,but it's cotton,so has lots of holes in it. But at least it burns through the apron before my clothes.
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Old 2011-06-24, 9:53pm
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OUCH! I'm so glad you are healing! I know wound care for something like that can be a really long painful process.

As a total newbie, i've shattered quite my share of glass and since I don't care for the "burnt hair" smell I finally picked up a cheap welders cap to protect my head in addition to my apron (I love to play with fire, but I is afeared of it LOL so I tend to be super safety girl) I wear it backwards to the brim isn't over my face, but it's definately fixed the singed hair issues.
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Old 2011-06-25, 7:20am
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Wow, that sounds like a horrendous burn. My sweet dh bought me a leather apron at a welding shop as soon as I told him I was going to start lampworking. Through the years, it has saved me from many bad burns. I never torch without it. I'm glad you shared your story to remind people to torch safely.
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Old 2011-06-25, 8:30am
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Quote:
Originally Posted by squid View Post
Harbor Freight sells leather aprons very cheaply.

http://www.harborfreight.com/split-l...ron-45193.html

I know several people here on LE have mentioned using them.
DH bought one of these for me at Harbor Freight a few years ago. It is great! I've had pieces of rod snap off and land in my lap, and the apron protected me. I could calmly stand up and let the hot glass drop to the floor.

Just wear it so that the pockets face you and not to the outside.
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Old 2011-06-25, 9:21am
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Quote:
Originally Posted by squid View Post
Harbor Freight sells leather aprons very cheaply.

http://www.harborfreight.com/split-l...ron-45193.html

I know several people here on LE have mentioned using them.
thank you Squid....HF will be a destination over the next few day.

namaste
Rowyn
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Old 2011-06-25, 9:57am
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I had one of these burns. Mine was between my belly and leg. A dog toy got caught under my wheel on my office chair. I couldn't get up.
Anyway my DH had a full cow hide and he cut it in half and made me a huge apron.
It is really thick.
I love that ugly thing.
I'm so glad you are Ok.
The Doc said I was going to have to have a skin graft. Lucky me I tended it with silavdene(sp)
and after a few months it finally healed.
Great advise on leather apron
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Old 2011-06-25, 12:28pm
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Oh Marge, that sounds awful. Glad you are okay!
We probably should all be using leather aprons, but it's so easy to get comfortable and not bother. I really need to get one myself.
I had a really large, bad torch burn to my hand several years ago, and another nice safely item that go me back on the torch was the kevlar sleeve. I couldn't tolerate the heat at first putting my hand near the torch at all and was really afraid. I got fingerless kevlar sleeves that I used on my injured hand for awhile, was not very expensive and blocked some of the heat (and alot of the fear!). they are very lightweight and comfortable and keep my arms from getting burned by popping glass. I haven't worn it much lately unless I'm making really big stuff but at least I know I can if I want to.
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Old 2011-06-25, 2:25pm
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After I dropped a marble into my lab one day, I ALWAYS wear my leather apron, even if I am using mandrels. It has saved me much pain since!

--Joy
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Old 2011-06-25, 4:20pm
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Leather apron.....PRICELESS!!!!!!!
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Old 2011-06-25, 8:13pm
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Thank you, Marge.
I will be going to HF tomorrow.
I am sorry you had to endure such pain.
Joan
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Old 2011-06-27, 7:57am
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I'm so glad that those of you with aprons will wear them more, and those of you who don't have one of them seem to be getting one. I was unsure if I should post this at first because I didn't want people to think I was looking for pity. The reason I posted was because if I could remind one person about the leather apron and that one person didn't get burned, that's all I wanted. There are a lot of things we do daily to think about safety (hoses, pressure gauges, etc) but it's easy to forget something that can literally save your life. The doctor said if he thought for a second that it would take this long to heal he would have done a skin graft. Who knows if that would have been the better road to travel.

So please..... please practice safety with everything you do. I too am guilty of thinking that I wouldn't need this or that, or thinking that that won't happen to me. Rods will pop, glass will fall, but if you have safety precautions in place, you will be able to continue with a craft we all love.
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Old 2011-06-27, 8:03am
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Quote:
Originally Posted by squid View Post
That sounds terrible! What material was your shirt made out of? I only wear cotton at the torch as it doesn't melt the way non-natural materials do. I also have a cotton "throw" doubled and laid over my lap as a precaution - I remember reading about someone that caught a large melt of glass on their lap and I want to avoid that. May have to upgrade to leather though. Holy cow.
Yet again, that would be MEEEEEE! Caught the off mandrel pendant reflexively between my thighs (clapped them together to catch it!!!). Now have matching half-dollar sized scars which look very odd. I brought the pendant with me to the ER, since I figured that explaining would be difficult without it!

Hope OP's wound is looking and feeling good!--Gail
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Old 2011-06-27, 8:25am
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Quote:
Originally Posted by margepoc View Post
I'm so glad that those of you with aprons will wear them more, and those of you who don't have one of them seem to be getting one. I was unsure if I should post this at first because I didn't want people to think I was looking for pity. The reason I posted was because if I could remind one person about the leather apron and that one person didn't get burned, that's all I wanted. There are a lot of things we do daily to think about safety (hoses, pressure gauges, etc) but it's easy to forget something that can literally save your life. The doctor said if he thought for a second that it would take this long to heal he would have done a skin graft. Who knows if that would have been the better road to travel.

So please..... please practice safety with everything you do. I too am guilty of thinking that I wouldn't need this or that, or thinking that that won't happen to me. Rods will pop, glass will fall, but if you have safety precautions in place, you will be able to continue with a craft we all love.
Margepoc, what I didn't mention in my previous post was that lately I had gotten sloppy and had not been wearing my apron. Thank you for the smack upside the head.
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Old 2011-06-27, 9:04pm
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Marge, so glad to hear you are healing! It is scary how quickly something like that can happen! I burned my hand last year, not as bad as you, only 3rd degree. Very painful!!
I highly recommend silicone sheets from scar away, you cannot even tell where the burn was after wearing daily for 2 months!!!!!!!!!! Fran
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Old 2011-06-27, 10:52pm
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I got second degree burns on my chest when a piece come off the punty and fell on a sweater I was wearing. The sweater melted on to my chest. Had a burn 3 inches long. I bought and oversized denim jacket from the thrift shop as recomended by a welder friend. It has saved me many times since.
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Old 2011-06-28, 6:35am
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Gail, I wish I had thought to bring the glass with me because it took longer to explain what caused the burn than it did for the whole rest of the visit. It's so easy to do. Our brains are programmed to catch something that is falling.

OMG Evelyn, I thought I missed *LOL*

Fran, As soon as it's healed better, I planned on trying some of those. I'm grateful for the tip. Which brand did you use?

Queenofswords, One of the doctor's theories was that since my (whisper) panties were synthetic, that they could have contributed to the leather-like surface to the burn. I had an incident similar earlier on which is why I started wearing those shirts to begin with. First let me say that I've been blessed (?) in the breast department. I was wearing a v-neck tee shirt while torching one night, and a piece of glass shocked and went right down my shirt. I was doing all kinds of dance moves trying to get it out. I got a blister and just ruined a good bra all in one foul swoop.

Honestly, I wish I could buy an unlimited supply of leather aprons for everyone. If I ever win the lottery that will be the first thing I do! But don't you have to buy something to win? LOL. Have a great day!
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Old 2011-06-28, 7:17pm
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I got mine on Amazon, they had the best price. Good luck!!!!






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Old 2011-06-28, 11:42pm
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I bought my leather apron BEFORE I even bought my torch...that's what a scardy cat I am about burns (and toothaches/earaches). AND I NEVER torch without it. Got mine at Harbor Freight, came as a set with leather gloves too. Use the leather gloves to pick up marbles that jump off the punty and land on the floor!

Glad everyone is healing.
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Old 2011-06-29, 5:05am
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Wow, I'm stumped as to why the OP didn't feel it burn?! I have an extremely high pain tolerance (determined by my neurologist) and I know for a fact I would have felt that!

I burned off a piece of my thumb by touching a graphite paddle that had just came out of the flame. I felt it alright, but I still kept making that 30mm honkin' boro bead. I wasn't going to stop, I already had 15 minutes into it. lol
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Old 2011-06-29, 11:23pm
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I know what you mean. Suffer the pain, just finish the piece first. My hands look like a war zone some times. Depending on what type of glass I am doing. Burns for my Lampwork and cuts from my flat glass. It's all a labour of love. A CSI would have a field day trying figure out my occupation.
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Old 2011-06-30, 9:09am
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If you are a harbor freight inside track member - I just got my paper yesterday and the leather apron glove combo is on sale right now for $14.99 until July 31st! I have a coupon that I'm not going to use, maybe someone here could use it?
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Old 2011-06-30, 10:19am
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I know what you mean. Suffer the pain, just finish the piece first. My hands look like a war zone some times. Depending on what type of glass I am doing. Burns for my Lampwork and cuts from my flat glass. It's all a labour of love. A CSI would have a field day trying figure out my occupation.
Yup. All part of it. When I started furnace working, I had heat rash on my arms the day after a rental slot for the whole first year. Burns are just one of the things that you have to get used to. Not that I dont take precautions but I believe that balance is important as well. Kinda like sending the kids out to ride their bikes in full hockey pads. Balance...Not that I am a medical doctor but I suspect there is something underlying that caused the OP to not feel the initial burn. I have had a few truly horrendous burns from molten glass over the years and I have felt every bit of each.
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Old 2011-07-12, 6:36pm
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Quote:
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Wow, I'm stumped as to why the OP didn't feel it burn?! I have an extremely high pain tolerance (determined by my neurologist) and I know for a fact I would have felt that!

I burned off a piece of my thumb by touching a graphite paddle that had just came out of the flame. I felt it alright, but I still kept making that 30mm honkin' boro bead. I wasn't going to stop, I already had 15 minutes into it. lol
-----------------------------------------------------------------
As for why I didn't feel it at the time, I can only say that the doctor said the molten glass had such a high temperature that it basically seared the nerve endings and capillaries as it crept down through the layers of skin (and fat). I have had surgery that they made a small incision in my bellybutton, but I don't think that had anything to do with it. I know my husband pointed out the burn on my over shirt that I was wearing that day, and I thanked God that I didn't get burnt.... at least I thought not ... until I took a shower and saw what litterally looked like leather or suede.

My husband shakes his head and says "only you..." a lot. I just wanted to post what happened so that maybe I could prevent one person from having to go through 9 months of pain (which happened as it started to heal), doctors appointments and associated payments, piles of money spent at the pharmacy for bandages, etc. It's still not entirely healed up, but its probably about 85 - 90%. It's a HUGE improvement.

Thanks for your caring posts.
Marge
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