Safety in the Glass Studio Part 1: Protect Yourself from Glass
If you're a glass fuser, you know that a glass studio is not a place for the faint of heart.
First, there's the glass itself: It cuts, bites, slices, pokes, gashes and pricks effortlessly. Even a tiny shard can stab you; even a sliver can embed itself magically into your skin. Sometimes it doesn't even hurt--until you see the droplets of blood!
So how do you keep glass from injuring you while you work? Some people wear special protective gloves when cutting glass, which is fine if that's all you're doing. But I often do detail work such as pattern-cutting, and gloves get too clunky for that. So I've developed some self-defense measures that I'd like to share, and I'd welcome any additions you might have:
1. Beware the edge. You know that the scored, broken edge of a sheet of glass can cut. So place that edge down or away from where you might most likely grab it. If you're going to handle it a lot in preparation of a piece, you might want to consider quickly running that edge along a grinder--It only will take a few seconds and it will make the glass safer to handle.
2. Remove the jagged chips; pulverize the points. For me, it's the little jagged pieces that stick out, and the pointy edges of sheet and scraps, that do the most damage, especially those pieces where the point is so thin that it's barely visible. Once I bent down to pick up something off the floor and my arm gently brushed against a jagged corner of a sheet of glass in my storage bin. I didn't even notice what had happened until I felt blood running down from a huge gash in my arm. So now, as I'm cutting, I force myself to use my grozing pliers to literally twist, bite, or "chew" off those little triangles and points that show up. I find that my life has been much less bloody as a result.
3. You probably are well aware of this, but it bears repeating: Keep little kids and curious pets out of your studio. If you're giving a tour, prep the adults to keep ahold of their children. Glass is beautiful, but a lot of people, including kids, aren't aware that one must beware of glass!
Do you have any tips on how to protect yourself from getting cut by your precious glass? Please share!
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