Keep a first aid kit to hand when doing stained glass
A basic first aid kit is a good idea, containing:
antiseptic, band aid, gauze pads, a couple of larger butterfly-style bandages. A pair of tweezers for removing the occasional splinter. Eye wash.
Wear safety glasses for stained glass
What about gloves?
Some people advise wearing gloves for cutting, but they can make you less sensitive and responsive to the glass. I prefer not to wear gloves for cutting and grozing.
If it makes you feel more confident, find a pair that fit snugly and are rubberised (see photo) to prevent the glass slipping.
Wearing gloves for cutting is optional. Always wear latex gloves for patina.
Dust can be a problem if you’re grinding or making the edges safe with a carborundum stone. Use water to dampen the stone and prevent the particles from becoming airborne.
Small cuts are the most common problem. Clean and cover cuts and scrapes immediately with adhesive bandage.
Use water to prevent dust from becoming airbourne. Wear a mask
Shards and specks of glass are more likely to cause problems than the bigger pieces you can see more easily. Never wipe shards up with your bare hands! Keep your work surface clear of shards by brushing regularly with a dustpan and bench brush.
Keep a pair of tweezers handy, to remove small splinters (very rare!)
Clean your work area with a damp cloth after each session to prevent glass dust from becoming airborne. This is more effective than brushing or vacuuming.
Wash your hands, arms and face thoroughly after each session.
Pick large sheets up vertically and never leave them overhanging your work table
Try to handle glass with ’soft’ hands. Imagine picking up a small baby hedgehog. If you move slowly and handle it gently, you’re unlikely to hurt it, or it you.
When holding sheets, hold them in a vertical position, one hand below, the other on the side. Use protective gloves if you start carrying larger sheets.
Vertical is best for storing glass, too. It's always vulnerable when horizontal.
Don't hold glass above your head, place it on on window sill to look at instead.
Put glass on ledge to look at safely. Don't hold sheets above your head
If you drop any glass, tempting as it is, never try and catch it! Just move out of the way quickly.
Concentrate when soldering. Always keep your iron in a stand, never on the work bench
When the flux is burning off it is best to avoid breathing the fumes in.
These fumes can be largely avoided by making sure you have adequate ventilation:
Read and adhere to manufacturers' labels on flux and solder products for additional safety information.
Much as you love them, don't allow pets into your work area
Animals and children should never be allowed in your workspace unsupervised
Don't let children into your work space alone. They must have adult supervision at all times when working with stained glass materials and tools
Sadly, you can’t eat, drink or smoke in your workspace when handling solder and glass. You can listen to music, though.
No eating, drinking or smoking in your studio!!! N.B. No wine, chocolate or smoke was ingested in the making of this photo
Make sure you keep your hands away from your mouth and eyes when working with solder and glass.
Keep it neat! Tidy workers don’t get burnt. Besides, it’s soothing to work in a pleasant environment.
Be alert! Don't work when you're tired, hungry or otherwise distracted.
Keep calm, concentrate and don't rush when making stained glass
Keep calm! Rushing will prevent you working safely. It’s part of the craft of stained glass to take your time and enjoy each step.
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