Okay, be honest

I just saw another person on TV welding MIG with plain short gloves and a T shirt. I have to confess that I have done this when it was only a short
weld I needed. But I see guys out there hanging in baskets welding on big signs with just small gloves and a T shirt. Even stick welding.
After a lot of going to the dermatologist and having all kinds of things frozen, burned and cut from my skin, now I mostly put on the Wrangler khaki shirt, gloves, hat, and hood for even the short stuff.
What's your policy on your skin?
Steve
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If I expect to burn only one rod, I do not put a shirt on, otherwise I do.
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wrote:

I grew up in the South and almost always wear blue jeans and a long sleeve shirt. About the only exception is when swimming. The reason is that a long sleeve shirt shields from the heat of the sun and holds the sweat so the evaporation helps cool you instead of just dripping off. The blue jeans help with bugs, sticker bushes, poison ivy, direct heat from the sun, etc. And if you are working hard, they also hold the sweat.
So the only sun burns from welding has been when when I forgot to button the shirt up high enough.
Dan
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SteveB wrote:

Since my hobby welding is mostly TIG and therefore relatively slow and with a very intense arc with plenty of exposure, I always put on a jacket gloves and of course hood. If I'm welding on a big project I'll also put some SPF80 sunscreen on my neck since I seem to get a little leakage there. For plasma cutting since it's very fast and have minimal arc/plasma exposure I just put on regular O/A goggles and don't work about the rest for the 45 seconds I'm cutting.
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I worked doing some SS and Al on a bench one time. Worked there for about a year. Got a whale of a burn on my neck. Made a snood out of leather and fastened it to the bottom of my helmet, and that protected my neck. One that had snaps on it would be more useful, and quite easy to make.
Steve
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I always wear a long sleeve shirt with collar, Tillman tig gloves, and my hood has a strip of leather 4" wide taped to the bottom of it for tig. In the yard, we also have fire-retardant coveralls and leathers that we are required to wear for most (but not all) of the work we do (stick, mig, dual-shield, carbon-arcing, oxyfuel cutting,...)
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On Sat, 18 Oct 2008 16:24:05 -0800, SteveB wrote:

Hi Steve;
I usually wear either a light Tillman jacket or cape (usually with the bib removed) for manual welding. The little cape is more comfortable and cooler than sleeves to me and lasts longer.
If I'm gouging (arc or plasma) I'll cover with a heavier jacket or if there's a lot of grinding I'll put on the "stinky old leathers" (they kind of stand up on their own in the corner).
For automated bore or overlay welding I use a very high Co2 content (more than 80 percent) and am far enough from the arc that a T shirt will do.
*Some Notes* Open arc welding over 275amps can "cook you" through your clothing, this is true for all argon or helium rich wire welding, stick larger than 1/4" and air-arc with larger than 1/4" carbons.
The IR from "Gas casting" with a large enough torch can make you feel dried out and wimpy too.
As for my skin it's held up pretty well, worst burn happened in 88, aluminum tire mold 8'dia. (weld a bead ring on the OD for re-machine). I'm management, evening shift welder won't be in till 6PM, I make the set up (too big for roundabout auto weld) so we're semi-auto wire 1/16". It's summer, I'm in short sleeves, got my jackson tig hood on and welding for about an hour at 375amps or so and I got toasted. Forearms blistered, eyes smoked, I stuck to chair arms (weeping blisters for more than a week). The halos around lights lasted 10 or so days and the shirt faded and fell apart after a few more washes....
I'm still here! FWIW after being badly burned (more than once) I can almost intantly tell if I'm gonna get cooked and either cover up or leave the area.
Matt
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Hey Matt. You touched on something I've long thought about but never remembered to ask. Since I'm a hobbyist welder I rarely go over about 130 amps. However, I have a Syncrowave 500 TIG/stick machine that is capable of a whopping 625 amps. In fact, it is 100% duty cycle at 400 amps. So, what DO you do to protect yourself when welding at high amperages. Just wear heavy clothes and heavy leather?? I ask this because I may need to do some repair welding of some heavy plate on a big forklift. Thanks, V
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On Wed, 22 Oct 2008 14:02:41 -0700, Vernon wrote:
Hi vernon,
I've never seen a SW500? Is it 3 phase?
Any way with open arc processes guys will vasoline the face/neck (for reflections) wrap wet towels around the neck and under the jacket (for IR and heat).
On to the fork truck, the only forks I've seen fabbed were for a Taylor 200,000# lift truck (about 18" thick 24" wide). They were stick welded (not sure but I think 1/4" which runs nice at 275A). The ends were ground flush but the stringer beads were peened and cleaned for one to admire their beauty. I can't tell you the electrode used but I'll bet your rod supplier can.
I was just typing along and realized that you're repairing heavy plate... I won't go into over/under match material theory here but use the largest electrode that is comfortable (you can handle 5/16" easily at a 60% duty cycle but anything over 3/16 is a bear out of horizontal or inclined positions).
Matt
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SteveB wrote:

Almost all of my welding is TIG. I use an old mil surplus long sleeve shirt for light to medium work and Tillman leathers with the bib for heavy work or when it is cold. For gloves, I use the Tilman TIG gloves. For long jobs, sometimes I wrap a bandana around my neck, but usually I just live with a little flash burn on my neck.
For plasma or O/A cutting, I have a pair of the Nomex lined elkhide gloves and use burning goggles. Years ago, I drug a cutting torch across my index finger and the gloves protected my hand long enough to realize I had screwed up and get my hand away and the glove off before I got any burn to speak of. They are excellent investments in my book!
BobH
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Thanks, guys, for some very interesting answers.
Steve
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SteveB wrote:

Back when I was limited to stick, I was fairly cavalier, but occasionally got a bit of a sunburn-like effect on some part, usually someplace that didn't get a lot of (real) sun.
The first time I tried TIG, I got a HELLACIOUS burn UNDER a dark shirt. I got some burn on areas that were often exposed to sun, like lower arms. But, my upper arms and chest were scarlet for over a WEEK! So, I got a welding jacket, and it is hot as HELL, but I wear it religiously, even for one little bzzt! I have given up stick due to the fumes, but do TIG indoors all the time, and love it just for that reason, if no other.
I guess if somebody did stick every day, it would be just like a protective suntan. They wouldn't burn anymore. But, over the years, they're gonna be SORRYYY! Half an hour a day of INTENSE UV is going to do some real damage.
But, my one experience with insufficient protection for TIG tells me probably not too many people do TIG without professional, purpose-made protective gear. Can't say about MIG, but I'd guess GMAW wouldn't be all that different from TIG. In FCAW the smoke from the flux might offer some protection. I know when I did stick, I couldn't see DIDDLY of what was going on due to all that smoke. Maybe it is my auto-dark hood, but I can sure see what is happening in the weld a lot better without the smoke.
Jon
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Since I started doing more stuff lately I put on a pair of welding sleeves and slide the elastic over the sleeves of my short sleeve shirt. I once knew a welding shop owner who would make quick repairs by lining up his gun, turning his head away and making the burn while he was looking at you instead of at the weld. I never saw one of his welds fail. I had a ladder rack on one of my old trucks that he added 8 angle braces to that way. I used it for almost ten years without a failure, usually with 6 fiberglass ladders on top. The guy could literally weld behind his back.
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After building hundreds of feet of fence and dozens of gates, I can agree with that. If you only need a short run, you can hear what's going on, and with just a steady travel motion, one can lay down a substantial bead. You can even rest the cup and cheat. No sweat, once you do it a thousand times or so. But I still like to have a shirt on even when I do tack or small welds like that.
Steve
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I've had 4 basal cell skin cancers removed and that was before I started welding. The first one was removed when I was still in my 20's. And I've spent my life working indoors. I've got enough crap to deal with already with my light skin. I wear a long sleeve leather welding jacket for all arc welding I do and I button it around the neck. I also wear blue jeans and work boots - never shorts. Even in the hot summer when the jacket gets totally soaked from my sweat I still wear it.
I have at times done a quick MIG spot weld here or there with no gloves or jacket, but that's a very rare exception for me.
If I had to work 8 hours+ a day doing welding in a very hot spot, I'd probably look for something lighter which wasn't so hot, but with my skin, I wouldn't risk welding without being totally covered by something.
Anybody that does a lot of arc welding without being covered can pretty much grantee they will get skin cancer if something else doesn't kill them first.
The UV level from arc welding is much higher than normal sun exposure, but I wonder just how high it is? How much sun exposure on a beach, or high altitude to you need to get to make up for one minute of arc exposure at say 100 amps I wonder???
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You and I have a lot in common. But as to your exposure question, I think it's really a sliding scale. Everyone reacts differently, even to the same amount of light exposure.
Steve
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Dear SteveB:

Chinese pipeline welders weld pipe on the ground, with only a T-shirt, shorts and a mask. Nice "brown" legs.

I got my brand new stick welder and repaired a chair bottom, wearing a mask, no shirt, shorts, and a heldheld visor. My sunburn was a lesson learned. Arm, chest. Virgins.
The arc formed is on the order of a temperature close to that of the surface of the Sun. We have miles of air to absorb the UV-C, and miles of ozone to absorb the UV-B... both of which will cause skin cancer. If you do not wear opaque clothing, it is a serious mistake, and you may not pay with your life, but you certainly will with your health.
To say nothing of welding on galvanized (or otherwise plated) metal, or in unventillated spaces...
David A. Smith
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The arc formed is on the order of a temperature close to that of the surface of the Sun. We have miles of air to absorb the UV-C, and miles of ozone to absorb the UV-B... both of which will cause skin cancer. If you do not wear opaque clothing, it is a serious mistake, and you may not pay with your life, but you certainly will with your health.
To say nothing of welding on galvanized (or otherwise plated) metal, or in unventillated spaces...
David A. Smith
I guess it's a man thing to repeatedly do things that kill normal things.
Steve
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wrote

Make that "normal humans".
Or "mere mortals".
Yeah, that sounds better.
Steve ;-)
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Dear SteveB:

I used to think like that too. I manually lifted the back end of a (small) car so that it could be moved to the side and let a handicapped man take his car home. And even more superhuman feats. Now the ACL in both knees is gone, the cups are torn, and I walk like an old man. I can't even jog off the pounds...
Do what you do for the old man you want to become. Either a self- sustaining model for others to strive to be like, some old coot trapped in a wheelchair, or someone dead at a young age of skin or lung cancer. Your job will not thank you for taking short cuts with your health.
Grunt and strike your chest for the guys, but don't f*ck with the old man. He will catch up with you.
David A. Smith
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