When it comes to deciding what to wear to blacksmith class at Brown County Forge or any other blacksmith shop or school, there are a few good rules of thumb:
- No synthetics – Synthetic materials like lycra, spandex, nylon, and polyester don’t stand up to high temperatures and sparks. In fact, they melt almost immediately when the come into contact with fire and hot surfaces. To avoid injury, I always encourage attendees of my classes to avoid synthetics if at all possible.
- Boots or sneakers – Ideally, we would all be wearing leather boots in the shop, but I understand that not everyone owns boots. Sneakers are also fine, but be aware that the rule about synthetics also applies to footwear. I’ve seen some really nice shoes get damaged when a piece of hot scale or a spark landed on them.
- Cotton, canvas, denim – This goes along with the synthetics rule, but if you’re ever wondering exactly what goes and what doesn’t in the shop, stick to Cotton t-shirts and canvas pants (think Carhartts) or denim jeans. These natural materials, as long as they aren’t blended with lycra or elastane, will resist sparks. They’re not fireproof but they help.
- Hair tied back – Long hair in the shop is no problem as long as it stays out of the way and away from the fire.
And that’s it! I provide all other safety equipment in class including hearing protection, eye protection, and gloves.
Thanks for reading and I hope to see you in class soon!