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  • welding gloves

    I usually don't wear welding gloves. If it is cold outside, or its a particular heavy weld i need to make (lots of radiant heat) i wear gloves, but in the summer time i usually dont even think about it. With arms or neck it only takes about 25minutes before i realize my mistake because i start to feel a slight sunburn coming on. Not so with my hands...

    So i was sitting in auto servicing the other day when one of my students pointed out something interesting -

    his hands are smooth and wrinkle free while my hands are considerably more banged up and pretty wrinkly. They say ultraviolet radiation causes skin to "age" and i began to wonder whether this was a result of not wearing welding gloves. Could it be?? I assumed that it would take alot more than five years of part time welding (at least 30% of which time i wore gloves) to really make a difference.

    On the other hand, the girls all say it looks rugged and manly

  • #2
    In a word - yes. I have welded alot over about 30 years without a glove on the right hand but one on the left because that hand is usually my "rest" to keep steady. My right hand is visibly more damaged than the left AND the damage stops at my wrists because I usually wear long sleeve shirts. I live in Central Texas and spend a lot of time outside so my face is also damaged but most of me looks 48 - although my hands are pushing 65.

    I worked in a fab shop with a fellow who was in his late 50's and been a professional weldor his entire life. However, he wore at least two shirts, a cap and gloves every single day. His skin was in better shape than mine so I think any protection definitely makes a difference.


    • #3
      I'm 35 and have been welding for 17 of those years including many hours bare handed.My hands look basicaly the same as they did when I started,except for the palm sides,but that's not due to welding.I don't weld much anymore,just a few hours a week.

      Chemicals and blisters will age your hands faster than welding and some cleaners even mineral spirits can soak into your skin and cause problems including liver and heart damage.

      If you don't like regular welding glooves(I don't,they are too thick)you can get the type TIG welders use,they are thin leather and give some protection from heat,but you can still have good feel for control.
      I just need one more tool,just one!


      • #4
        Yep. All ya gotta do is spend your life in Texas or on a farm. It won't be long before you start looking like an old indian.

        I still remember when a wrinkled red neck was a badge of honor.

        Ditto on the thin welding gloves. I use the pig skin or TIG gloves. I always wear gloves because I'm mostly doing weldments. I grab them and head for the wire wheel, grinder or vise. Try that bear handed. Besides, I'm sissy when it comes to hot sparks.
        Last edited by CCWKen; 12-20-2006, 12:15 AM.


        • #5
          Welding gives off a huge amount of UV rays. Your hands are four to 12 inch away from the arc. UV rays do cause skin cancer. Play it safe, ware leather glove of some sort to protect yourself. Make sure your arms are covered too.


          • #6

            You're right about the UV from arc welding - on our platform, all turbines have UV fire detectors. Anytime anyone's welding on the platform, we override them - even reflected arc light trips he damned things, resulting in the whole field shutting down. Ask me how I know this...

            All of the gear, no idea...


            • #7
              You always see people welding without skin protection, not only there hands but arms and necks to, but they wouldn't go out in the sun without protection because there afraid of the UV a&b rays. Arc welding produces UV c rays which are 100 times more intense (not an exaggeration) than the a or b rays. Mig and Tig are the worst but they will all kill you. Skin cancer isn't nice so cover up!
              The shortest distance between two points is a circle of infinite diameter.

              Bluewater Model Engineering Society at

              Southwestern Ontario. Canada


              • #8
                I used to burn rod at 300 amps or more welding barges. You cover every square inch of skin if you don't want it blistered. The spectrum from a welding arc is totally unlike what we receive from the sun filtered by the atmosphere. The atmosphere filters virtually all of the extreme ultraviolet which is the truly damaging radiation. A welding arc produces UV radiation to as short as 200 nm or even shorter. This is highly ionizing radiation and destroys skin cells quickly. This spectrum is encroaching on the soft x-ray spectrum which begins around 130 nm.

                Exposing your hands to arc light is much like suntanning in space.
                Free software for calculating bolt circles and similar: Click Here


                • #9
                  well i'm not one to worry about being out in the sun with out protection - i always figured that skin cancer, all though caused by sun, has got to be partially determined by genetics. I think about all of the guys who work all day in the sun and don't wear any protection - sure they look wind beaten and wrinkled but no skin cancer. I knew a guy like that who lived to be 101 !!

                  I do like the TIG gloves- i've got several pairs. I keep a pair of tig gloves and a pair of normal gloved by my welder all the time. I just don't often put them on...

                  Ditto on what Evan said - the first welder i used in a work type setting (instead of just messing around in my brother-in-laws shop) was a pto driven welder capable of 600 amps dc. We had it cranked up to about 400 amps with rods that had to be at least 3/16. I wore gloves for that one because there was so much radiant heat from the bead and in the electrode holder that it'd burn otherwise. I was in short sleeves for this first 10 minutes though - ouch! Second worse sun burn of my life. It didn't take me long to figure out that being a little sweaty in leather welding sleeves was better than having blistery painful forarms...