Safety Tips for Working with Metal

Avoid injury by observing these safety tips when working with metal.
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Safety Tips for Working with Metal

In addition to observing the basic safety rules discussed in Rules for Safe Crafting, there are a few special considerations you should keep in mind when working with metal. Yes, metal is sharp, but that needn't stop you from pursuing this craft with your child. You'll probably get a few minor cuts in the beginning, but nothing a Band-Aid can't handle. Here are a few simple metal-specific rules to observe to make your metalcrafting experiences safe and sound:

  • Don't grasp metal pieces tightly. A light grip will prevent cuts and slices.

  • Never run your fingers along the raw edge.

  • When using a tin snip or other cutting tool, keep the cutter deep in the cut as you move along. Avoid making short cuts and creating small burrs along the cut line.

  • Beginners might want to wear gloves for protection, but you can get a better feel for metalcraft without them, so as soon as you're familiar with the tools and materials you'll probably want to work bare-handed. Start your child out with gloves and when she appears to be ready, let her try working without them.

  • Whenever possible, use a well-mounted vice to grip your piece while you're working on it. This may not always be practical, but consider it whenever you can. Use a rag or piece of scrap leather to cushion the metal and keep from marring it.

  • Don't brush scraps of metal into the trash with your hands. Always use a brush or even a piece of stiff cardboard to push them along.

  • Don't rush yourself. Take your time and you'll be less likely to injure yourself or your child.

  • Work with adequate light. If possible, use both natural and artificial light. Metal shines, which makes it difficult to see clearly under certain lighting conditions.

  • Invest in good tools. A pair of good tin snips is worth the investment. Expert metalworkers recommend aviation snips, even though they may cost a bit more, and stress the need for quality tools for beginners as well.

Now that you've got your metal working tool kit assembled and have familiarized yourselves with the more unusual tools, you're ready to begin your first project.