Welding, not to be confused with soldering or brazing, is job for some, and hobby for others. What makes it an interesting hobby is the fact it can be both fun and serve for DIY projects, so you can actually create something of your own, either useful for your home or beautiful to look at, fusing metals together.
Now, as any professional welder would tell you, there’s no welding unless you’ve taken safety seriously, even as a hobby there’s no exception, so other than getting to know the basic types of welding and welding machines, you have to know and get the adequate PPE (Personal Protective Equipment).
Head protection is an absolute must for any of the welding processes, which makes the welding headgear the basic having in mind there is radiation as well as sparks so you have to avoid skin and eye damages.
There are various options you can rely on, from the full welding helmets with auto-darkening properties preferably so you don’t have to take them off and put them back on between the welds, to the hand-held shields with quick adjustment and goggles.
The thing with goggles is they make the ideal protection even when you’re wearing a helmet, so choose ones you find comfortable and wear them underneath. If it’s a lens you need for any common welding helmet, make sure you choose from Clear Australian Standards Approved welding lenses.
However, in case you’re working in close quarters when a helmet isn’t exactly the suitable option, and you’re up for more protection than the shield, then you might want to give the weld-hood design a try, as it protects the neck too.
Same as radiation and sparks, welding emits fumes, and you’d be on the safe side wearing a respirator that’s designed for the welding projects you’d be doing. Along with the fumes, you’d be able to keep the tiny particles away from the lungs.
When it comes to body protection, what you should be after is flame-resistant cloths. This refers to overalls and jackets as much as it does to gloves, shirts, and aprons. While leather jackets might do, usually chosen because of their durability, they aren’t the best alternative due to the heat, as opposed to specialised welding apparel designed to keep you safe and comfortable.
Of course, footwear is equally important, so don’t forget to put on welding-specific boots; other than protecting you from sparks, they can prevent injuries from falling objects. Stay safe and have fun!