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I Forge Iron

equipment for a 10 year old smith in the making.


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Hi

My 10 year old daughter has taken a big interest in starting blacksmithing, and not because she wants to make knifes or swords, ( Imagine That )

she seems more interested in ornamental and artistic iron work. 

but we are coming up short when it comes to the most important part of any smiths arsenal ..     Safety wear..., although she has gloves, apron, eye protection, boots( not safety) they are all men's sizes apart from boots . the gloves are not men's but they are not what I regard as great for heat resistance,

Does anyone know of anywhere in the UK or else where that is able to ship to the UK, that sells junior blacksmiths equipment , seems a real shame that we all want the younger generation t take an interest in trades and hobby's like smiting but its so hard to find the right equipment i.e., safety clothing,

 Thank You in advance if you can help or have any links.

 

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Welcome aboard Chris, glad to have you. If you put your general location in the header it'll be much easier to hook up with members within visiting distance. Just saying it once in a message won't stick in anybody's memory once we open another post. And HECK the UK is almost as un-local as it gets. 

The use of gloves is largely dependent on what type forge you're using. it's not so necessary to protect your hands from heat using solid fuel: charcoal, coal or coke forges. Propane forges, except maybe a chip bed gasser, tend to heat everything that gets close to the doorways.  I recommend folks NOT wear a glove on their hammer hand, it reduces sensitivity making it harder to judge the condition of the steel/iron. Same is true for the holding hand but as it's often close to the fire or holding stock that may be getting hot it's not a bad idea, especially for the beginner.

Look for Kevlar oven gloves in her size but be aware touching HOT steel can melt them and stick to bare skin like any synthetic, just not as readily. NO synthetics at the anvil is another IMPORTANT part of the safety briefing, natural fabrics and materials only. Be very careful of leather gloves! They WILL shrink and trap your hand if you aren't aware of this nasty characteristic of leather gloves. This is one of the only reasons I like to have a bucket of water on hand if folk are wearing leather gloves. A fast plunge will cool them and soften the leather so you can get them off. 

You can cut a too large leather apron down to fit easily enough. 

If you can't find leather boots you can make leather covers to keep hot bits from lighting the laces up and long pants will keep them from falling IN HER BOOTS!:o Another good reason to keep a bucket of water on hand. You can NOT get out of boots fast enough, even then.

Frosty The Lucky.

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Thanks for the locality tip , makes sense.

its a propane forge i/ we use, so there is a lot of heat kicking out of the front of the forge , i forged her some nice long light tongs today and she helped with parts of that, 

 i didn't know that about leather gloves, i was actually looking at some leather gloves in her size .. i'll give that a miss now. ( thanks for that info)

i do keep a bucket of water on hand to cool down parts of steel that need it with using propane,

LoL I've hade the hot coal down my boot before i swapped to propane

 ( not fun, ) and looks silly to others when your dancing past the window doing the hop haha,

love the tip with cutting down the apron to put over the top of the boot to stop hot bits ( scale ect falling down the boot, good one.

i love blacksmithing my only regret is i didn't start younger , so i really don't want anything to hurt my girl , obviously because she's my little girl but also as i  think that may scare her off smithing and take away her confidence.

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It can be fairly easy to make leather spats to cover ankles and boot tops  allowing for more choice in foot wear.   Long light tongs can be a good idea; perhaps paired with light short ones---use the long ones to position the workpiece where it is fast and easy to grap with the short ones.  My favorite set of tongs are quite short, about 36cm, as most of my work is more precision work where being close helps.

Getting new people started I have a lot of projects that can be done with around 6 mm mild sq stock.  Faster and less frustrating for someone new; not a lot of hammering required to change cross sections.  I have even gone down to 3-4 mm stock for very young smiths---think hair holders.   Note that solid copper can be hot forged very easily; BUT it is much more temperature sensitive---easy to melt it in the forge and there is NO place on a copper piece being forged that is not HOT!!!!! So I generally start with steel and go to copper when they learn to watch it carefully.

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Take a trip to a welding shop and see what they have to offer in gloves that might fit her.  That said, I do not recommend gloves when forging.  If it gets too hot to hold, then turn it loose.

At the forge, figure out how things (not in the fire) get hot. Build a heat deflection shield to deflect or redirect the heat. 

Get an oversized apron and cut a split in the bottom to wrap around the legs and over the shoes.  This can then be altered to be a waist  to ankle apron. Another apron can be used for the upper body long enough to cover to mid thigh or so.  Use the cross straps in the back and not a strap around the neck. Much more comfortable.

If you find a pair of gloves to fit her, cuts the cuffs off where they join the hand.  This has nothing to do with the function of protecting the hand. The cuff can get caught on things, locking on to the hand, and you are in for a ride.  With no cuff, the hand slips out of the glove with little or no effort.

Encourage her to read the site.  She will learn many things of interest to HER and you will find YOU have to try to keep up.

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Mr. C.R.F.,

Present to her a copy of Madame Lorelai Sim's

Backyard Blacksmith.

It is a good primer to the craft, and will give some of the vocabulary we use,  and the basic functions of moving hot metal.

SLAG.

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Good Morning, Chris

A leather apron has an advantage when welding, sparks fly everywhere. I would start simple, cut a old pair of blue-jeans apart, make a denim apron from the backs of the legs. I actually bought mine as a Bar-B-Que apron, it is not heavy or cause you to trip on yourself.  Denim is easy to adjust length, a roll up and 2 safety pins.

Good Luck on the journey!

Neil

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My brother just handed me up some flame resistant jeans from his previous job hauling water to fracking rigs.  A bit expensive to buy new.

Regular cotton denim aprons can be made more fire retardant by a borax solution soak---has the added benefit as not causing issues when you throw them in the washer after they get dirty.

For a propane forge an air curtain to blow the exhaust away can keep hands and tools cooler.

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The EU does regulate borates differently than we do in the states. Even down to contact lens packaging solutions, which are often phosphate buffered saline (PBS) or borate buffered saline (BBS). Lenses packaged in BBS and sold in the EU will soon require additional labeling warning of toxicity to reproductive health. 

I'm not sure if this translates over to "how available is 20 Mule Team Borax in the UK", but working in the contact lens industry I can definitely attest to the EU's heavier regulation of borate based products.

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Note that No-Lead plumbing solder, (unfluxed type), can be a fun metal working resource for young kids to play around with COLD!

(I remember forging swords and chains for my sister's Barbie dolls from 60/40 solder 50+ years ago...)

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  I ran across a website that had all kinds of ppe for kids not long ago and I can no longer find it.  They had all kinds of gloves and safety glasses and leather aprons, etc.. I started the search with lab safety gear for kids for one of my grandchildren.   I will search further, it's out there.  You may not need it with all of the tips on here tho.  May not ship either.  I will look anyway...

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I recall seeing that or a site like it, maybe linked here somewhere in the dim past. I think I'll join the search. Tally whooo!

I'm finding images of kid sized PPE, most seems to be medical or construction. However: Seton, Grainger, Tillman and Tradies have x small sizes of welding PPE. 

It's a start, I'll look more. 

Frosty The Lucky.

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  • 4 weeks later...

Buy a hide, and make your own apron, and spats. One hide contains enough leather to make a couple of aprons, and several spats, with plenty left over for the lacing, and ties.    As to gloves, I use a left welding glove. (I'm right handed) that glove is used for many things. I've never had a problem with it failing to come off with a shake of my hand.  It is quite heat resistant, and I've been known to use it in tending the fire from time to time.  I keep a pair of them by the fireplace in the house as well.  I can put the hot burning logs right where I want them using my hands.  Oh sure they can , and will, get hot from time to time. But the idea is to use the "hot potato effect" to your advantage.  You know; grab a hot potato, you'll burn your hand.  Well, That depends on how long you hold the potato.  With the welding glove, you can hold the potato longer.   Not talking about the thin Kid TIG glove. But a good heavy welding glove.

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  • 3 months later...

Coming in late on this thread; I've noticed no mention of hearing protection (a high possibility I missed it.)

Anyways, with my three (now not so young) children I made the point that PPE was to be worn for work in the shop and with power equipment (including when mowing the lawn.) For hearing protection they had the choice to use what they found comfortable, all three chose ear muff style (vice in-ear foam plugs, or the band types.)

So give them the no exceptions rule on the PPE, but the choice of which type so long as it meets (your) requirements.

 

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  • 3 weeks later...

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