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Safety Glasses


This is part two of a two part series on safety glasses for the kilnworker.  Click here to go to part one.


Shaded eyeglasses should be selected based on their ability to block infrared radiation.  Don't confuse blocking ultraviolet (UV) radiation with blocking infrared (IR) radiation.  You don't want to purchase ordinary sunglasses.  And don't make the common mistake of using lampworking glasses for kiln activities -- didymium glasses, for instance, do not block sufficient infrared radiation. 


Glasses that block infrared radiation are rated on a scale from zero (clear lens) to 14 or higher.  The higher the number, the darker the lens and the more radiation is blocked.


For kiln workers, glasses with a shade number from 1.7 to 2.5 are recommended.  These block from 85% (1.7) to 97% (2.5) of the infrared radiation.  Higher shade numbers (5.0 is common) block more radiation, but they are too dark to be used in the kiln environment. 


The right shade for you depends on how frequently you look into the kiln, how long you look, and how hot the temperature is.  It's safe to peek quickly (less than a minute), without glasses, but activities like combing, manipulating glass, or watching slumping for long periods of time are much safer if you're wearing shaded eyeglasses.


Safety glasses can be purchased from many glass retailers and wholesalers.  They're also available from some welding suppliers and from some medical supply stores. 


Click here for information on heat-reflective face shields, a related piece of safety equipment.


Copyright 2006 Brad Walker.  All rights reserved. 

Thanks to Greg Rawls for help with this tip.  Greg's website has some very good information about safety for the kilnworker.

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Copyright 2005-2006 by M. Bradley Walker.  All rights reserved.

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