DigitalMechanic

Real Blacksmiths Don't Wear Gloves?

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You'll have to forgive rest of us, Nick. Our Latin study's are a bit old and out dative, and may have declensione....declined.  We just go with what we think is right, and try to take a firm pre-position. 

 

Or maybe we've just gone Frosty's been Alaska so long as to go nomi-native. :P

 

My shop, we take the Michael Jackson approach. One glove, hold the rhinestones.

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But that's REAL Latin Nick not the ancient blacksmith saying I made up. I do have to admit I like the idea of the accusative receiving the action of a verb. Accuse ME will you! (to the sound of a jaw catching a sock) <grin>

 

My Latin and Greek vocabulary is still developing via context reading paeolontology, archeology, anthropology, paeoloarcheology, etc. texts.

 

I like the Michael Jackson approach but I'll go with the Zapa variation and use Rhinestone encrusted tongs.

 

Cold weather sure brings up a whole different set of clothes and gear. I typically go out an hour or so beforehand, light a fire in the barrel stove, lay a piece of 1 1/2" steel plate on it, plug in the magnetic engine heaters and stick them to the anvil. An hour later when I come out I lay the heated plate on the anvil, light the forge and move the engine heaters to the propane tank. By time the forge's hot and I'm ready to start forging the chill is off the anvil.

 

No matter, it's still cold as the devil's heart and wearing serious cold weather gear at the anvil is out. An insulated flannel shirt hampers all a boy needs but the insulated gloves are annoying enough a person hardly notices the thick shirt, sock hat and bunny boots.

 

At least it doesn't cause smelly water so seep out of my hide! Ugh!

 

Frosty The Lucky.

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Keep a container of flour in the shop.  If you get burned stick the burned area down in the flour.  This was suggested in the ALA.org newsletter a while back.  I keep mine in the refrigerator in my shop.  I grabbed the wrong end a few days ago and immediately went for the flour.  It was cooling and felt good.  When I went into the house for lunch I couldn't even tell that I had gotten burned or where.  It is ok if it is self rising flour.

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Wearing gloves to keep the hands warm is something unimaginable here. Worn solely for protection, they become uncomfortably hot in tropical Australia even now, in mid winter. The anvil does get cool this time of year overnight though, and draws the heat out of small stock quickly. I guess you guys working in places like Michigan and (perish the thought) Alaska, would have to contend with freezing cold anvils. (And is it true a frozen anvil has more chance of chipping/breaking??)
So yes, left hand kevlar glove only for me, with the occasional removal and dip in the quench tub to cool and remove sweat.

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Having worked at the blacksmith shop in Colonial Williamsburg I don't generally wear gloves,  they were not worn in the 18th century in blacksmith shops.

 

I personally don't like the lack of feeling between my hand and the hammer with a glove on, just doesn't feel right.

 

The other thing I don't like about gloves is that if a piece of hot scale gets down your glove, it stays there.  Without the glove it just falls off.

 

I do occasionlly wear gloves if I'm forging something really big under the power hammer, just for a bit of extra grip.

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When I started, many years ago, at the sheet metal shop, I put on a pair of gloves and began to work. Foreman immediately gave me a lecture on how unsafe it was. Maybe a year later one of the older service men was in the shop using the drill press, with gloves on. Not long after he started the foreman was taking him to the er. He got his glove caught in in the bit and wrapped his index finger, backwards, around the bit. I have since not worn any gloves while working around machinery. I do wear them while punching drifting etc.  I also don't hide it when I get burnt. Its a good time for a lesson for any watching.  I had a gentleman ask me recently the same question, why I did not wear gloves. I also use a gas forge and have little hair on my left hand.

 

Fred

One of the speakers at the last Athens forge meeting had a glove for show and tell. That week he needed to adjust something in a milling or other spinning bit/hand eating device and had to play tug of war for his hand.

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NO loose clothing or hair around machinery PERIOD. Just visualize a drill press scalping you the hard way or a soils auger wrapping your human remains between the auger flight and the turn table guides. FAR too little clearance to be survivable getting caught in a drill string. It's Fatalgram material, like getting a glove or sleeve caught in the winch cable and going for a drum ride.

 

Some mistakes are just NOT survivable.

 

Frosty The Lucky.

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So for you guys complaining about a lack of feeling. Have you tried fingerless gloves? That's all I've ever used, and I find them to be a good compromise.

As far as anything hot getting into the glove? Why bother taking the glove off? Everything into the slack tub. No hesitation.

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So for you guys complaining about a lack of feeling. Have you tried fingerless gloves? That's all I've ever used, and I find them to be a good compromise.

As far as anything hot getting into the glove? Why bother taking the glove off? Everything into the slack tub. No hesitation.

 

The lack of feeling isn't just in the finger tips, it's the palm of the hand as well.

 

I just don't personally see the need of gloves in general forging.  Have I burned my hands before?  Sure.  I also learned my lessons.

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In my humble opinion there is a time and a place for Glove Usage. No one statement covers everyone or every situation, but I always have a pair in my back pocket, for sorting my steel pile, moving equipment, picking though my scrap pile that most likely will have a snake or two in it. I keep a pair of former Firefighters gloves on the bench near the anvil for certain work or and certain days when old hand injuries are bothering because of the work or weather. I don't particularly care for using them but!

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I usually wear those big blue and leather railroad looking gloves, I like them because if they get hot a flick of the wrist shrugs them off, but I wish I'd kept them on yesterday. Was working at the forge and had to come inside to make a quick cut at the bandsaw. Slipped out of the gloves cause I won't wear them around power tools, and in making the cut my thumb slipped into the blade! If I'd had my glove on it would have sliced the leather, not my thumb. Nasty cut on the pad of my thumb. I think gloves are always like that, you get hurt and wish you had them on, they get snatched up or cause an injury, you wish you didn't have them on. Theres no right answer.

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Though lacking forge time, I'm no stranger to working around & handling hot metal. I love the challenge of trying to adapt and overcome. That being said, sometimes you can't get around needing "the right tool for the job".

The bakery provides "one size fits most" cotton gloves that have about 1/8" to 1/4" of material between one's hand, and the 400+F degree bread pans comming out of the oven. Many use these gloves on the other end of the plant when loading dollies of finished product onto semi trailers. I spent 2 months with no gloves loading trailers; took pride in the whole-hand callases that developed. I had to consider gloves after my gal complained about the roughness, and the winter season started to dry out the air. Work provided gloves were out: too blasted hot. Since I don't like the fit & form of all leather gloves, I searched for some that would well, fit like a glove, and keep retained body heat to a minimum. I now wear "Mechanix Fastfit" (found at any "bigbox" store) medium gloves during my shipping dutties. Their slogan of "the tool that fits like a glove" is quite appropriate.

My uselessly longwinded explnation above points to why I think the complaints of lost dexterity and loose fit (and possibly cuffed slag) could be solved with the proper (use and fit) glove. My Fastfit gloves wouldn't work for forging. The materials used on the back would melt the instant glosing metal touched them. The palm side is far too thin for protection from holding hot metal. Maybe a welder supply would have a good selection of well fitting gloves in varying thicknesses that I can look into for my PPE needs. Won't be giving up an arm and a leg for it, though.

Mechanical operations should be done without gloves, with the possible exception of cut resistant gloves where appropriate. Working with my hands, in the absence of dangerous machinery, gloves are strongly recommended. I'm unapologetically a bit abusive with my body. Hard work does a body good; but that doesn't mean I will ignore things that will cause me actual damage.

Rambling complete.

Sincerely,
Crawler.

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I tend to wear a glove on my none hammer hand when punching or slitting or when I am working in the propane forge. No gloves in a coal, or charcoal except when punching or slitting. I wear gloves when running the power hammer. I think it helps with vibration. Gloves always when welding.

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Occasionally, I use a leather glove on my left hand while forging. But 9 out of 10 times, bare hands. Love the feel of the steel!!

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The main reason I don't wear gloves is that I wear 3x large size gloves..I have to order them, they are expensive and I just wear them out fast..I slide on a paid of welding gloves(they don't fit but I get them over my hand) when Im welding(electric welding) but that's about it..I was raised on a farm and started welding/metal working when I was about 15 so my hands are just mostly callus now anyway..

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My first 5 year I did not wear gloves. I started wearing gloves before purchasing a gas forge. I wear or try to remember to wear them all the time now. They have no effect on my hammer work . No loose clothing, always wear eye protection.
One of my draws at demos, watch me catch fire.

Marc

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It's in the book, so it must be true; Do Not Wear Gloves

 

"Blacksmithing Basics for the Homestead"

 

He states why; you loose tactical (??) feeling in your hand(s) and, at the same time, you would also be likely to become less careful a round hot objects. When you are least expecting it, you will reach for and grab a hot object and reralize too late that you had taken your gloves OFF!!!

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On Kauai we had gloves for those necessary occasions such as MIG or TIG welding; my teacher got hit once but several times by a big ol centipede that was hanging out in the glove. My job afterwards was to make sure there were no critters hanging out in his gloves.  I am sure that he appreciated it!

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Years ago I started a job in a shop that did lots of hot work and fabrication.  I brought a pair of gloves with me as I figured I would need them but the boss and the other guys there said go ahead but you'll be sorry.  Sure enough I was running the abrasive cut off saw and the piece didn't get quite cut through as the wheel was wearing down.  I took the bar and tapped it against the base of the saw and the short little cut off hunk flew off and up in the air and landed in the opening of my glove.  I couldn't get the glove off fast enough and I still have the scar today from 35 years ago.  I learned that everything in the shop was hot and always did a little tap tap sort of thing before I picked anything up.  Then we had a "guest" ( a friend of the bosses) worker and he called me over to help him move something.  He was holding one end of it in his bare hands and I grabbed the other end which was black hot but he did not warn me.  Weird feeling as the steam from the moisture in your body cooks the layer of skin in contact with the hot steel - it gets slippery.  I had a few choice words for him and he didn't even buy me a beer.

In my own shop, the only times I wear gloves now are when I am welding and sometimes grinding especially if I have lots to do.

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I can't believe this poor dead horse has been flogged for 4 pages already (this time ^_^ ) My stand on the glove question remains as it has always; unchanged B)

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I usually wear those big blue and leather railroad looking gloves, I like them because if they get hot a flick of the wrist shrugs them off, but I wish I'd kept them on yesterday. Was working at the forge and had to come inside to make a quick cut at the bandsaw. Slipped out of the gloves cause I won't wear them around power tools, and in making the cut my thumb slipped into the blade! If I'd had my glove on it would have sliced the leather, not my thumb. Nasty cut on the pad of my thumb. I think gloves are always like that, you get hurt and wish you had them on, they get snatched up or cause an injury, you wish you didn't have them on. Theres no right answer.

Yes, there is a right answer. Any part of your hand touching a bandsaw blade is not an accident, it is a mistake that should have been avoided. Frankly you lack the safety training needed for that tool. I highly suggest you learn the basics of saw safety including push sticks. I have 3 push sticks hanging by magnets from my bandsaw, all to suit different situations plus there are always sacrificial scraps of wood about. 

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It's in the book, so it must be true; Do Not Wear Gloves

 

"Blacksmithing Basics for the Homestead"

 

He states why; you loose tactical (??) feeling in your hand(s) and, at the same time, you would also be likely to become less careful a round hot objects. When you are least expecting it, you will reach for and grab a hot object and reralize too late that you had taken your gloves OFF!!!

 

Tactile; of or related to the sense of touch. 

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