Daily Wire Tip Aug. 17: Jewelry Safety- Soldering and Respirators

By on August 16, 2010
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Daily Wire Jewelry Making Tip
August 17, 2010


I noticed in your article A Few Words about Copper, you mentioned that when heating copper, one should use a respirator.

What specific type of respirator is adequate? I’ve seen many kinds at the home improvement store, but they don’t mention the soldering chemicals.

-Essie in Humble, Texas


Thanks so much for asking me to expand upon this subject.

Respirators are extremely important for all of us in many areas of jewelry making. A full-face respirator is not necessary; rather a partial respirator with replaceable filter cartridges will do just fine. You can purchase just the cartridges needed according to which chemicals and materials you are working with at the time. For detailed information regarding the choice and use of respirators, please find your area of interest in this Respirator Fact Sheet from NIOSH (National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health).

No, I cannot tell you which one to purchase, folks. Your choice will depend on what you are doing that requires its use, as found in the article linked above. After you have determined which type of respirator will fit your specific needs, it will be easier to do an Internet search for one to purchase. I know that wearing a respirator is not much of a fashion statement in some circles; however, your health should always come first.

Answer contributed by Dale “Cougar” Armstrong

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  1. avatar


    August 17, 2010 at 10:34 am

    Dale has expressed a valid concern for anyone working with caustic or harmful chemicals. My DH is a custom knifemaker and wears a respirator when working as needed as well as having a vacuum system to catch air particles, etc. Safety in your work area is important not just for you but for anyone guest you might have visit and “play” in your shop with you. And I will add, safety glasses or goggles are another item to have handy.

  2. avatar


    August 17, 2010 at 8:19 pm

    I had to purchase a respirator for anatomy lab because of my allergies and sever reaction to formaldehyde. You should know that when it really should not be purchased over the internet. It should be “smoke tested” meaning that they put it on you and expose you to “smoke.” If it fits properly, there is no seepage. Know to that the cartridges have a life span. For example, the ones that I used that included formaldehyde are good for four hours only. Then they must be replaced. You are not doing yourself or your body a favor to try to stretch that.

    Take the time to get a fit and cartridges specific to what you will be exposed to.

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