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Which Safety Glasses Should I Use For Glass Working?

APR 14

Which Safety Glasses Should I Use For Glass Working?

By rxsafety

Safety Glasses For Glassblowing is a popular subject for us here at Safety Protection Glasses but many people do not know which type they should be using.

Lampworking or glassblowing has seen an increase in interest over the past few years. With the rise of Instagram and Facebook, glassworkers now have a new medium to display their finished products which are often intricate and beautiful. Glass pieces can often take a lot of work and many man hours are spent in studios learning new techniques and perfecting existing ones.
The glassworking community is a tight knit one, each person has their own style which is often recognisable from the pieces that they produce, and they are often free with their guidance and sharing of ideas for newcomers.

This was entirely evident during our visit to the Highland Flames Festival in September 2019. Some of the world’s best glassworkers gathered for a two-day festival to create new pieces and share ideas, with those pieces ranked at the end by a series of judges.

The sharing of knowledge underpinned the ethos of this festival, not least for us as we got a chance to see how our glasses are used by glass workers and what they wanted, hated and loved in a pair of safety glasses for glassworking. The sponsor table was visited by both old hand and newbie alike telling us what they wanted and needed from their Safety Glasses For Glassblowing while they worked and the artists got a chance to try on different styles and lenses, giving us vital feedback on the range.

One thing that became clear was that newcomers to this medium are often unclear as to which glasses they should be using and when. With the variety of lenses on the market today it is often left to the purchaser to decide which ones they need. However we have found the information on what the lenses protect from and which to choose for which glass types are often lacking. In this article we will look at which lenses to use for which glass type to best protect your eyes and which Safety Glasses For Glassblowing you really need.

Why Do I Need Glassblowing Glasses?

There are many dangers to consider when working with hot glass – cracking glass is an obvious one and we saw this many times over the course of the weekend at the Highland Flames Festival with hours of care and work gone in a split second but there is also Ultra Violet and Infrared dangers to consider, not to mention Sodium Flare.

All of these dangers should be considered before you purchase a pair of safety glasses for working with glass.

Unfortunately, many take up glass working without considering these dangers and believe that a pair of clear safety goggles or glasses can protect the eyes or worse still a pair of sunglasses! Neither of these options should be used when working with glass – clear glasses do not protect you from IR or UV light and sunglasses allow the pupil to open wider which can actually let in more IR light and cause more lasting damage.

Safety Glasses For Glassblowing can be expensive but it is important to get right as without your eyes, how will you create your works of art?

Which glassblowing glasses do I need?

The first thing to consider is which type of glass you are working with. Those artists who use soft glass such as lead glass or soda lime glass will require different Safety Glasses For Glassblowing than those working with borosilicate, which is also known as “hard glass”.

Soft glass melts at lower temperatures and can resist temperature changes more easily than borosilicate glass. Boro glass is more expensive that lead glass or soda lime glass but also provide a challenge for those working with it as it is likely to crack if not treated with care.

Many artists choose to work with only one type of glass; however, some may work with all types during the course of their work which can mean owning multiple pairs of eyewear which can be expensive. One way to get around this is to own multiple pairs of clip on’s which can be attached to your normal glassworking eyewear making owning many pairs affordable.

Didymium Safety Glasses, Phillips 202, ACE Lenses for Soft Glass Work

Those working with soft glass can find protection in the Phillips 202 lenses – which are often known as didymium or rose glass. This lens type block UV and sodium flare and is made from glass.

There is also a polycarbonate version available which is more affordable and provides a lightweight option while still providing the same level of protection. The polycarbonate lenses will not last as long as the Phillips 202’s however they can be an affordable alternative if you are just starting out and not sure if you will keep it up.

If you want to find out more about Didymium Safety Glasses you can read another of our articles What Are Didymium Safety Glasses?

BoroView, BoroTruView or Green ACE IR Lenses for Borosilicate Work

If you are also working with borosilicate glass or if you are solely working with this glass type you will also need protection from infrared as well as the ultraviolet and sodium flare. Safety Glasses For Glassblowing with glass of this type can be confusing so contact us if you have any questions.

Your choice of glasses should include the BoroTruView filters which are suitable for working with coloured borosilicate glass. If you are working with smaller pieces (such as bead or marbles) you will require the BoroTruView 3.0’s however if you are working with larger pieces then the BoroTruView 5.0’s will be the best choice for you. This filter has excellent colour recognition and is the most popular amongst our glassblowing customers.

The BoroView filters are suitable for those working with clear borosilicate glass. For those producing small pieces like beads and marbles the BoroView 3.0 will suit well. If you are doing larger pieces or working with coloured glass, you should be looking at the BoroView 5.0’s. These lenses are also suitable for working with thick rods of glass.

What Style Of Glassworking Glasses Can I Have?

The lenses all come in a variety of frame types to suit all face shapes and head sizes. We also carry a range of goggles should you wish to be extra careful.

Our Safety Glasses For Glassblowing are fitted with side shield protection and some are of a wraparound style ensuring you get maximum protection while you work.

Some of our filters also come in a range of prescriptions so you don’t have to keep changing your glasses or wear fitovers.

The range is also available in a selection of clip on glassworking glasses which can mean that you can also avoid wearing fit overs, something which can be heavy and unsafe when glass working due to slippage.

If you feel you would like more information on how to choose the right glasses for the type of glass you are working with please feel free to get in touch with us at info@safetyprotectionglasses.com

  1. liz says:

    Correction needed-
    Boro is COE33 and is more resistant to thermal shock the Soft, .. Boro will not shatter, might crack if you go back to a cold spot with the flame but Soft will EXPLODE/Shatter. Boro melts at a higher temperature and goes cold quicker but does not need extra care.

    Soft needed extra care to heat. but will hold its temperature longer for longer working time.

    • rxsafety says:

      Elizabeth

      Many thanks for your comment and your information. Its always nice to get feedback and additional info to include.


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