This crafts initial allure is the promise of creative expression wrought in precious metal works of art that you can do in your home with little or no metal working experience. The beauty of the media and craft is that it makes good on this promise in a fairly “green” manner. There is however common sense approaches to the craft that should be practiced. As you add tools and techniques you also need to consider the safety issues that come with each.
If it spins:
Put your hair up.
Remove jewelry from hands.
Wear safety glasses.
Dust mask when appropriate
Doesn’t even matter if it is a tumbler. You would be really surprised how quickly a tumbler can wrap your hair in it’s axle. This especially goes for rotary tools. Bracelets and rings can also get caught it ways you would least expect. Anytime something spins there is a risk of something getting flung at you which is why you should wear safety glasses. And dust masks where little particles are airborne such as during sanding and polishing.
If it is hot:
Tinted goggles for kiln and torch work.
If it is hot enough to burn you then gloves should be used. The temperatures reached in this craft are immense. Also this heat generates light waves that’s are not good for your eyes. So whether it’s looking in to kiln or carefully torch firing you should always use tinted goggles. I must admit I have look at open kilns and flames many times with the naked eye and still have my vision but it remains sound advice
If it’s not comfortable:
Don’t do it. A large part of this craft is learning how to use your tools and workspace. Quite often you will find yourself in need of another hand or way to manipulate your work piece. In essence it’s about control of your project and tools. To give a personal example, I was cutting off sprues with a jeweler’s handsaw. I was in a rush and rather then clean the area where my bench pin was I hunched uncomfortably over my bench top and sawed away. Long story short the blade snapped and I was in hospital having the blade removed from my finger. The point is had I used the bench pin it probably would have never happened. I would have had control and leverage over the item and tool.
If it smells
If you can smell it then you are ingesting it. While not every thing that smells is harmful you should always beware of what is your smelling and its safety precaution. Clay in its self is considered safe as far as fumes and toxicity. There are many things that we use besides it that aren’t as friendly. Oxidizing agents, embellishing material, finishes, and resins to name a few. If the product has a MSDS (material safety data sheet) then there are considerations to be made. On our site if the product has a MSDS you will see link for it on product page. Quite often artists fire organics (leaves and such) with their projects. Always maintain good ventilation during these times.
If it’s not dry.
Moisture turns to steam. Quite often this happens when working with organic material. Always make sure what you fire it completely dry. While it generally results in nothing more then a ruined piece it stills poses risk when torch firing and peering into kiln before its finished.
And always wash you hands after doing studio work.
This is by no means a complete tip list. I would love to see you add your safety tips in comments as well.