Essential Safety Equipment: Gloves
When working with glass in a kiln, there are two main
situations that call for the use of gloves: protecting the hands
from heat and protecting the hands from caustic chemicals.
Because the warm glass field sometimes involves the use of
chemicals that may damage the skin, it's a good idea to keep on hand
a supply of thin latex gloves and thicker plastic gloves. These are
relatively inexpensive and should be used anytime you are dealing
with potentially dangerous chemicals.
Several types of gloves are available for protecting the hands
from the heat. The least expensive are welder's gloves, which are
made of leather. Available at most hardware stores for less than ten
dollars (US), they will protect the hands for temperatures up to
about 500 degrees F (260 C).
Since leather has a tendency to hold heat (rather than dispel
it), they will quickly become very hot if you hold on to an item for
too long. Despite this shortcoming, they may be used for quick tasks
such as grasping a hot handle to open the kiln or removing a mold
that's been heated and is ready for kiln wash application.
You can get better protection from the heat by spending a bit
more for a set of gloves that contain Kevlar. Originally developed
by DuPont, Kevlar is a form of fiberglass. These gloves will not
hold the heat the way that leather does, so they can be used for
longer without getting too warm.
If you plan to work in higher temperatures, consider "Zetex"
gloves. Zetex is a form of Kevlar that is especially formulated for
higher temperatures. In general, gloves that are lined with wool or
cotton are preferable to ones that are not.
Copyright 2006 Brad Walker.
All rights reserved.