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John Page

Footwear

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Before today, I never really considered footwear in the shop beyond the obvious covering of the feet. I usually wear medium grade leather shoes, and have never had a problem. Until now. While doing some welding, an errant drop of flux or piece of slag or something else happened upon my foot. It burned clean through the shoelaces, then leather of the shoe, then sock, and onto my foot. MAN did that make me dance! Fortunately, the burn was not too severe, but it was still a wakeup call.

 

So-- a question. What do you all prefer to wear around the shop, especially doing hot work? A good pair of work boots? Steel toe or not? They say wisdom comes of experience... and I will not be wearing these shoes to the shop again.

I put a flashlight inside the shoe so you can see the hole (the blue/white spot).

 

 

John

burns.png

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well while i do usually wear leather steel toed boots. i HAVE forged barefoot.....not the smartest idea i know, but live and learn or get burned.

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I forge barefoot for most forging and have never burned my feet (badly). I usually am able to keep the steel on the anvil, but even when I do drop it, it rarely hits my feet. Even if it does, I don't let the metal stay on my feet long :rolleyes:. Like you said, the dance, then the slack tub, and I'm fine :P.

 

That said, if I'm doing heavy forging with alot of scale, or welding, I wear thick leather boots :) .

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I'm an auto tech in real life and work boots are something I've got some expirence with. I almost lost a toe because of steel toed boots. When torching or welding you're going to get bits of hot metal stuck in places that aren't good. The worst one I had happen was a hot piece of steel that I had just cut loose from something had found its way into my boot. Being laced up tight, by the time I got my boot off, my ankle had pretty much quenched the steel.

When I started getting into casting, I had read of folks keeping their boots laced loosely so the can get a boot off in case the worst happened, it made sence. I've since started wearing slip on work boots like these http://www.redbackshoes.com/ they're great boots, if a bit expensive, but they hold up really well and I can kick one off in a tenth of a second.

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I go barefoot in the summer, or flipflops if there's snow on the ground. I actually prefer it to wearing big shoes (I go barefoot almost all the time, hate having stuff on my feet), mostly because I can immediately feel if I'm burning and start frantically dancing to kick the burning object off my foot before it does any significant damage. Worst I've got is a first degree burn, or a lot of small burns from sparks. That said, I don't really weld.

 

-Dan

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I'm amazed by how many of you forge barefoot! I generally do not like to wear shoes, but something about being around tools and machinery and the dust/filings/burrs/chips they produce make me weary. Zeb, those look like the way to go. I have heard some of the stories around steel toes :unsure: Leather seems to be fine though, as long as it is heavier than what I was wearing I suppose.

Barefoot! I still can't get over that ;)

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I'm a welder for a day job and have burnt my feet more then I like too <_< now I make sure the tounges are leather with no little spots sparks can get into! Done that dance too many time...

 

But if this really worries you wear your boots loose, you can always kick them off if you have too :P

 

that being said I too have forged in sandles... ^_^

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I have been a welder for a long time and have worked in many different environments. When I worked a bridge fabrication plant we were required to wear steel toed boots with met-guards (shields for the top of your feet) this was a very heavy fab shop with some sections weighing in at 20 tons. I switched gears and joined the Ironworkers where we installed the beams and girders I used to make. The jobsite is quite a bit more dangerous, only a handful of jobsites I worked on required steel toed boots. The argument was made that if a beam landed on your foot you had better odds of sliding out from under it without steel toes as well as having not having your toes cut off by the steel cap. I have had slag burn through my jeans and the tounge of my boots when air-arc-gouging and it was not fun in any way, the metal is usually body temp by the time you get your boot off. I allways wear my leather boots when welding or forging, burns are just too uncomfortable during the healing process to take the chance.

 

Wellingtons like these are great because they are slip-ons, and don't have laces to catch and hold slag or splatters.

00866redwing_wellington.jpg

Edited by Anthony C

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One important point is to be aware how much synthetic fiber is used in footwear (and other clothing) these days. Pay special attention to socks, they are containing more and more nylon and polyester of late. Synthetics are bad because, they catch fire, become molten, and continue burning while sticking to your flesh. Wool is, in my opinion, the best fiber to wear around the forge. It will not catch fire and burn plus, if something hot gets on it the smell will let you know almost immediately! Cotton is alright but, will still smoulder if something hot gets on it however, it will not stick to you while doing so. Thick, heavy, leather is good for footwear.

 

I have an old pair of, lace up, leather, work boots. The only time something hot got on my foot was when a small something or other fell on the tongue and slid sideways into the shoe. Wellingtons are great because that cannot happen with them and, as was mentioned, you can get them off quickly if something hot does get in there.

 

~Bruce~

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I wear the Wellies for all the reasons mentioned above, but mostly so I don't fill up laces with filings and scale.

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Wile I have forged barefoot in the past (and most likely will again) I normally wear slip on boots, I find I burn my feet alot more with the 2x72 then the forge (welding being the exception).

 

I always heard the argument that you were more likely to loose your toes if you wore steel toe boots. One day when I was shoeing a Clydesdale, he stomped my left foot, I happend to be wearing a pare of steel toe rubber boots (they were the cheapest I could find) I didn't even feel it. I would have felt it (understatement) if I was wearing my regular boot. I realized that if what ever hit my foot was capable of crushing the 1200 lb test steel toe into my foot it is heavy enough to take my toes clean off any way. Now, a cheap steel is probably worst than none, but a good steel toe can save your feet many more times than it will hurt you (as pointed out above there are certain situations where this is not the case. A good steel toe will not have the sharp edge on the back.

 

to each their own.

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One more thing it is almost impossible to burn through a steel toe (I have burned through the leather on top of one before).

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In my experience casting and welding, it is good to keep in mind "shedding". As said above, laces are bad as they catch things and give a route into the shoe/boot. Imagine water flow and choose a boot, like the wellies above or engineer boots, that will shed molten metal away from your foot and are also easy to kick off.

 

Keep in mind what is above these too. Make sure your pants are natural fiber and are consistently over your boots so that anything that hits them does not get caught or get directed into your boots.

 

Barefoot can be safer than most people might imagine, but it's not my bag at all around dangerous stuff. It's safe because you feel things and are aware, but it's dangerous if you drop something heavy or sharp.

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see mithbusters on the whole losing your toes to steel toes thing

 

 

 

i still hate them tho :angry: work requers them and ill be glade when i can work some were else so the foot rot can go away

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Shoes .... Hah, thats not the only thing that catches fire ;)

 

 

yesterday... grinding out a bowie... Sparks flying everywhere... Whoooooooooooshhh... is what i heard ????

 

 

apparently my ear hair caught fire

 

 

I never had that problem when i was younger ^_^

 

 

 

myself, i'll wear sock n deck shoes in the forge... ( i prefer to have something that comes off fast :o ... also something light, for those moments that require some fancy foot work B)

 

 

G

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I wear cat shoes or steel toes in the forge. Not only for burning hazard but also for the thick soles. A steel shard even cold can go through so easely. Flip flops have virtually no sole and if you step on hot steel or coals it melts immediately.

No good :unsure:

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I wear blundstones. They're leather; very comfortable; have no laces; and they come in a steel toe. I wore my last pair for five years all year 'round. fantastic boots.

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Well I'll Be... We have similar things in the Navy, LOX Boots we call them. They were prized like gold, literally, anything you want could be bought with a pair of LOX boots, it was like a friggin Prison on the Carrier >.<

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Here are the ones I ride and work in they fit me best and are awesome for my back .

 

http://www.sheplers.com/Chippewa-motorcycle-boots/320.pro?&relationType=topSell&cross-sell=true

 

Sam

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Sam, I LOVE those boots, I need to get a pair. Here I was so fixated on Redwings, I didnt even bother looking at chippewa!

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they are good Quality and leather the instep is guarded and the added tarsal guard protects your foot from hot work . the side straps I keep loose in the shop so when I go to the house I just sit on the bench and slide them off . when riding they offer the extra protection from flying road rocks and such .

 

Sam

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Jeans and engineer boots all the way, and I like my boots with lug soles.

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I work full time at my shop mostly making blades, machinery and tools and some fabrication...

thus lots of work with welding and heavy stuff.

 

I can get out of my shoes quickly if I have to ;)... burned feet are pain in the... been there - done that and didn't get the t-shirt.

 

but I do have reinforced caps (not steel though... ) it's some high tech plastic I guess... it was designed in a way, that when the dropped load is so heavy that the steel would "cut" the toes off it will just "break" or "deform" but can't cut the toes...

probably not as sturdy as steel caps... but I've been happy to have them more than once... especially once I dropped a 40kg (80pounds) piece of steel ... managed to pull the feet back in time - almost ... without the cap, my toes would be a tad flat.

 

when I do lots of fabrication / welding jobs I wear long work pants reaching OVER the shoes and often boots... better than having slag & stuff in there...

also all my work-shoes / boots have steel-soles (it's a thin thing - but resists puncture and burn-throughs - trust me, once you stepped on a small piece of red glowing steel, and it melted through your rubber soles you know why you'd want that feature on the next shoes you buy).

 

^

but barefoot? HELL NO WAY.... (tried it, and got burned).

also I don't know how fucked up my feet would look with all the stuff I dropped on them over the years at the shop when I would not have been wearing shoes.

... besides milling / turning without shoes would be a pain for all the splinters.

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I forge barefoot for most forging and have never burned my feet (badly). I usually am able to keep the steel on the anvil, but even when I do drop it, it rarely hits my feet. Even if it does, I don't let the metal stay on my feet long rolleyes.gif. Like you said, the dance, then the slack tub, and I'm fine tongue.gif%5D..

 

That said, if I'm doing heavy forging with alot of scale, or welding, I wear thick leather boots smile.gif .

Luke except that rail road nail head that you stepped on And that sword you dropped on your foot.

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