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5 Signs to Know When It’s Time To Get New FR Clothing

FR clothing

It’s important to know when your FR clothing or arc-rated and flame-resistant (AR / FR) gear need to be replaced. Don’t wait until you see obvious damage before you do because this leaves you prone to more accidents while at work and is a risk for your safety. But how can you tell when your welding FR clothing has to be replaced? Here are 5 signs to know for sure.

5 Signs to Know when it’s time to get new FR Clothing

There are usually two (2) reasons why you should get rid of old FR clothing. It’s either the garment can no longer be repaired or it is too soiled with flammable contaminants that are impossible to remove by laundering. 

 

Remember that If an AR/FR clothing is five years old and does not have any unrepaired damage or show any of the wear signs listed below, it is just as protective as a comparable brand-new product. With that said, here are the 5 signs to know when it’s time to get new FR clothing. 

 

1 Multiple holes

If your FR clothing has too many holes to count, it’s high time for you to buy a new one. Small holes can lead to bigger holes and these can be entry points for sparks which is not what you want. Sure, you can sew them up and it can give you a few more weeks of usability but wearing a garment that has a lot of patches isn’t really safe and is uncomfortable to use. Plus, it isn’t appealing to see while at work. 

 

2 Too stained 

While you could call this a minor thing, aesthetics and cleanliness play a very big role in representing the company you work for and you as a welder as well. Everyone has their own definition of clean or dirty in the welding business. So this really is up to the wearer when it needs to be replaced. Just remember and make sure that the stains on the FR clothing aren’t flammable contaminants. If there are, change it right now!

 

FR clothing

3 Frayed Cuffs or collars 

Frayed Cuffs can collect sparks and that is very dangerous. Damaged cuffs and collars are difficult to repair so if you see this, save up for a new garment immediately. Never risk wearing FR clothing with frayed cuffs. 

 

4 Obvious “high-wear” points

High-wear points are areas that take the bulk of wear and tear. These are usually seen in the knee and elbow areas. If you see there’s discoloration or fading, it means it’s a “thread bare” and can no longer hold a thread or patch. 

 

5 It has a tear or rip that can no longer be repaired. 

An obvious tear or rip that is irreparable is the biggest sign for you to know you need your FR clothing changed. It doesn’t matter if it isn’t stained or not. A rip can expose you to sparks and other hazards while at work and these types of damage cannot be accepted and do not meet the safety standards required.

 

All these are signs telling you that you need to replace the FR clothing you have. If you wait another day, it just may be the reason why you get into accidents. Never think twice when it comes to safety. 

What’s the best Leather for Welding?

best leather for welding

Leather is a natural material that has been used for centuries to make clothes, shoes, and other items. It is made from animal skin and fat and can be made from many different animals including cows, elks, pigs, goats, deer, and sheep. All these types of leather have their own unique properties which can be used to determine the best type to use in certain situations. Here we talk about the best leather for welding for the best welding protection

 

Types of Leather, what’s the best leather for welding?

Before we decide on anything, it’s best to get to know the types of leather and what makes them different from each other. 

 

Goatskin

Goatskin is suitable for jobs requiring high tensile strength and flexibility. This type of leather is thin, soft, and pliable but it provides excellent protection against cuts and abrasion. The higher lanolin levels in the skin provide a moisture barrier, and the thin nature of the material allows for excellent fingertip control. 

 

Because of this, Goatskin leather is ideal for MIG welding. When combined with dexterity, it makes an excellent choice for TIG welding. Kidskin, very soft and lightweight leather from young goats also provides the required durability and abrasion resistance and is the highest quality leather for fingertip sensitivity.

 

Cowhide

The most common type of leather used for welding clothing is cowhide leather. This is because it is durable and flexible. It can withstand the heat generated by the welding process and will not melt like other types of leather would.

 

Its tough structure resists abrasion, sparks, and spatter, making it an excellent choice for tough jobs involving metal inert gas and stick welding. Cowhide is naturally water- and dirt-resistant, making it simple to care for. Although slightly more durable than elkskin, it is not as soft. 

 

Cowhide, on the other hand, is preferred over other non-leather materials for comfort, allowing it to be worn for longer periods of time. Cowhide leather is an excellent choice due to its abundant supply and durability.

 

welder at work

Deerskin

Deerskin gets its toughness from the fact that deer spend so much of their time in thorny, rough environments. Despite its toughness, deerskin leather is lightweight and pliable, making it one of the softest and warmest leathers readily accessible. It’s also one of the few types of leather that, when wet, returns to its original shape and softness. Thicker cuts of deerskin leather are ideal for MIG welding, while thinner cuts are ideal for TIG welding.

 

Pigskin

Pigskin is a dense leather, so it is less flexible than other leathers on the market. But because of the small pores in the skin, it allows the wearer’s skin to breathe which is great for welding gloves. Pigskin leather has a supple feel and retains its softness after being wet. Pigskin leather, though, is not recommended for use in areas where moisture levels are typically high. This type of leather is ideal for MIG and stick welders who require a high level of durability.

 

Elkskin

Elkskin leather is one of the softest and thickest leathers available. It’s the most heat-, flame-, and abrasion-resistant leather, and it won’t harden as quickly as other options. It remains soft even in hot and humid conditions and conforms to your hand, allowing you to move freely and comfortably. Elkskin’s heat resistance makes it ideal for stick welding.

 

Sheepskin

Unlike other leathers, sheepskin is tanned with the wool intact. Wool acts as an insulator and is resistant to flames and static electricity. Sheepskin is thin and elastic, allowing for flexibility and sensitivity, making it ideal for TIG welding. Its natural lanolin content helps heal sensitive and inflamed skin, and the fibers absorb perspiration.

How To Clean Leather Welding PPE

welder in a leather welding apron

Welders take care of their welding gear and equipment. But when it comes to taking care of their welding personal protective equipment, not a lot can say they make it a priority. Some just wait for their welding jackets or welding gloves to wear out. When that happens, their solution is just to buy a new one. What if we tell you there’s a way you can extend the life span of your leather welding PPE? Here’s how. 

 

How to Clean Leather Welding PPE 

Leather is a common material used when it comes to safety gear for welding. Some are made out of cowhide leather and some deer hide. Taking care of these leather welding PPE can be tricky. If you aren’t familiar with how to do it, you could damage the material, leading to its deterioration. Here are some of the most common questions that we can answer when it comes to taking care of your leather welding PPE. 

 

Can I wash Leather welding PPE?

In cleaning leather welding clothing, water should be avoided in general. Ideally, you just need a little bit of lukewarm water. Do not wash directly with water. The biggest factor you need to consider here is the product you are going to use with it. 

 

You need to know that a normal detergent or fabric cleaning ruins the quality and durability of leather. So, if you have been doing this, stop. To begin cleaning, be sure you have the necessary materials: moisturizing bath soap or a mild detergent, leather conditioner, and cleaning rags. 

 

leather welding sleeves

 

The next thing you need to know is that leather should not be washed regularly. Instead, you should only do it once in a while or semi-regularly like twice or thrice a month. 

 

This technique or way of cleaning works for all leather welding PPE like leather welding jackets, leather welding sleeves, and leather welding aprons. 

Can I Wash a Leather welding jacket in a washing machine?

Like we said earlier, you can use a bit of water with some moisturizing soap. But can you throw it in the washing machine? No. Definitely, not. Leather welding jackets are usually made of heavier leather as compared to normal leather jackets. 

 

welding jacket

 

For a step-by-step process, you can read our blog on “How to Clean Leather Welding Jackets.”

 

How to clean leather welding gloves?

There are two ways to do this. First, if your leather welding gloves are not that dirty, you can simply just dust them off using a rag cloth. But, if your gloves already have some burn marks or stain, then using water would be advisable. This doesn’t exactly mean washing them but just using a damp cloth and scrubbing them gently. Same with leather welding jackets, you could also use moisturizing soap or saddle soap. 

 

welding gloves

 

One thing to note is that if ever you find your gloves damp, never ever squeeze them to remove the water. This will deform your gloves and ruin them altogether. Also, never use a hairdryer. Instead, just wipe them with a dry cloth or leave them out to dry. 

 

These are just a few tips on how you can clean your leather welding PPE. If you want them to last longer and if you want to save money as well, start the habit of giving some TLC to those leather welding jackets, leather welding gloves, leather welding aprons, and other leather welding PPE you may have. 

Welding Apron vs Welding Jacket: What’s the Difference?

welding jacket, welding apron

Welding aprons and welding jackets are clothing items of personal protective equipment (PPE) made specifically for welders. This equipment is made of fire-resistant and thermally insulating materials that protect welders from metal splatter, high heat, and radiation that cause painful and unpleasant burns. But, which one is best to use? What are the differences between the two? Which one offers better protection for welding? Read on to find out.

Welding Apron vs Welding Jacket

Overall Things to Know about Welding Aprons and Welding Jackets

Generally, welding aprons are better to use for warmer climates since they tend to be more comfortable when it’s warm because the open-cut doesn’t result in heat build-up. In contrast, jackets are preferred for colder climates. They keep you warm and safe, making it more comfortable. But if the fabric used is too stiff or thick, then this naturally reduces comfort. 

 

Welding aprons are the best option if the main requirement for the welding project is mobility. It is easier to put on and take off. Welding aprons come in different models, from those with more coverage to half-aprons that protect only the legs. Since these adjustable, they can be used by multiple employees, saving on inventory cost. 

welding apron

 

Welding jackets are best when you’re doing some overhead or vertical work. Since it’s close to the body, you can’t get easily tangled in the equipment. In addition, jackets have good sealing and integration with other welding equipment like helmets, helmet bibs, and others. Jackets come in different sized so it is not easily transferable from one employee to another. 

welding jacket

Welding Aprons vs Welding Jackets: Main Differences

Perhaps the most significant difference between welding aprons and welding jackets is the coverage they provide. Since a welding apron is similar to a conventional kitchen apron, you get partial coverage at the chest area. There will be no protection for the arm, shoulder, or neck coverage making the apron only suitable for light-duty work. 

 

However, since your back is exposed when using the welding apron, your arms are open to allow uninhibited mobility and precision work. Also, aprons offer protection for the upper legs and knees. If you’re working with knee-height tasks, aprons are more suitable. 

 

Welding jackets or coats, on the other hand, provides coverage for the whole upper body.  You get full-on protection from the waist to the neck, this includes coverage for your arms, shoulders, chest, and neck. This, then, is the best option. 

 

Welding Apron vs Welding Jacket: Which is the Better Safety Option?

Remember, safety comes first. This means all other things like comfort and mobility come in secondary. As a general rule, when welding jackets and welding aprons are made of leather, the jacket is always preferred because it provides full coverage and better integration with other protective equipment. But then, for experienced welders who will only do light-duty work, a welding apron will be enough even if it does not provide full coverage. 

 

In conclusion, there is no single piece of equipment that is sufficient for all welding scenarios. You’ll need additional Welding PPE for optimal protection.

How to Choose the Best Welding Apron

welding apron

Since burns are one of the most common injuries among welders, welding aprons are a must for pros in the welding profession. A welding apron protects you and your clothing from slag and hot metal that turns up while welding, grinding, or when using a cutting torch. The quality of welding aprons depends on the material used in their construction. Here are important things to know about how to choose the best welding apron for any welding project.

 

welding apron

How to Choose the Best Welding Apron

The best welding aprons use thick genuine cowhide or pigskin leather

Thick genuine cowhide or pigskin leather is extremely durable and provides a high level of protection. The thicker the material is, the better protection you get. Welding aprons made of thick leather provide you with natural protection against splatters from melting electrodes and sparks from hot metal. Whether these be designed as half aprons or full aprons, what’s important is the material checks out. But since leather can be heavy, check that the leather apron you choose is lightweight. 

 

If for example, you are looking for more affordable choices compared to the leather-type welding aprons, try looking for high-quality aprons that are made out of flame-retardant cotton that protects you from open flames or very high heat. Just remember that you should never use anything besides cotton, leather, or heavy denim. Do not ever use polyester or plastic-type materials since these can melt into your skin.

 

welding apron

Make sure the welding apron you choose is comfortable

You won’t go wrong if the welding apron you choose combines comfort and safety. Be sure that the apron fits you well because, like any other piece of clothing, wearing something uncomfortable makes you vulnerable to injuries. Aside from that, check the straps. It is ideal to have straps you can adjust easily to your liking. These should be thick enough to hold the leather material firmly while distributing the weight evenly. Cross straps are the best type of straps for weight distribution.

 

As to style, there are welding aprons that clip, wrap, or tie at the waist. These provide protection from the waist down. Half-cut aprons offer more mobility and comfort but offer lower protection. If not, you may choose a full welding apron that is much like a chef’s apron for more protection and coverage. Since welders have their own size and build, various apron lengths are available. Just be sure to pick the right cut and style that fits perfectly.

 

welding apron

Add some protective gear to that welding apron

When it comes to welding, the welder’s tools produce intense heat leading to splatters landing on either work clothes or burning through the skin. This is why it is important to use welding gears along with your welding apron for added protection. Use welding gloves for your hands and welding sleeves for your arms to protect you from hazardous materials.

 

Waylander Welding Apron

Looking at the factors to consider in buying yourself the best welding apron, Waylander Welding prides itself with different kinds of welding aprons for specific welding jobs guaranteed made out of only the highest quality of cowhide leather.

 

 

What to know about a welding apron

welding apron leather
Welding aprons are especially useful in working conditions where the front of the body must be protected. Not only welding, but also grinding, woodworking, but even grilling and cleaning. Since the arms are usually not protected, leather sleeves are a useful in addition for better protection against heat and sparks. An apron makes sure not to burn holes in your clothes.

Welding aprons: what to use for

Welding and metalworking

When welding or grinding there’s a lot of heat and hot material that can burn through clothes and burn skin. It’s obvious that in order to work safe, decent protection clothing is needed. Welding aprons usually protect torso and upper legs. It depends on the used material how much and how long it can protect. Keep in mind that with most aprons, arms and neck are usually not protected. For certain metalworking, it’s strongly advised to use additional clothing, like a fire resistant welding shirt or leather welding sleeves.

Other uses for welding aprons

Besides metalworking, aprons are very useful for all kinds of home improvement like painting, woodworking, gardening, grilling etc. Aprons will protect clothes from being dirty, especially stains that are impossible to wash off. Based on what your needs are, you can choose the right apron. We continue to discuss the different models in welding aprons. leather apron

Different models of welding aprons

Long welding apron

A long welding apron usually ranges from 40″ (about 101 cm) to 36″ (91,5 cm) in length. For an average adult, this goes from the upper torso until the knees. Longer is also possible, but less convenient to walk with. A shorter apron will usually cover torso and upper legs. A long welding apron is the most convenient for most metalworking and other activities that need full frontal protection. welding apron

Waist welding apron

A waist apron starts from the waist and protects the upper legs. It’s especially useful for works on a table or a platform. Most waist welding aprons come in different sizes, but are usually not longer than the knees for an adult. welding waist apron

Split leg welding apron

When you need to walk and kneel a lot, a long welding apron can be less convenient: the part under the knees can be in the way. Therefore split leg welding aprons are more useful. This is basically an apron that straps around each leg, in order to give more freedom to move. The length of split leg aprons can vary: usually they cover the upper legs, but longer ones go even until the feet.

Different uses of material for a welding apron

Leather welding apron

Leather, and more specifically cow skin leather, is the best material for welding aprons. It’s strong and very heat and flame resistant. This all comes with a price: it can also be more costly and heavier to wear all day long. Leather is also a natural product and therefore not suitable to wash or come in contact with water. Still this doesn’t stop most people from choosing leather for a welding apron. Pros:
  • Heat and flame resistant
  • Strong and durable
Cons:
  • More expensive
  • Can’t be washed with water
welding apron leather

Waxed canvas apron

Waxed canvas is a strong and nice material that can serve as a good material for an apron. It’s waterproof, lighter and more flexible than leather. On the other hand, it doesn’t serve as fire resistant material, so for many discussed jobs it falls out of category. It still can be used for woodworking, gardening, grilling or other tasks that don’t involve high heat or sparks. Pros:
  • Strong and light
  • Waterproof
Cons:
  • Not fire resistant

Fire resistant cotton welding apron

The cheapest welding aprons are usually made of fire resistant cotton. They still offer a decent protection against heat and flames, but they’re not as durable as leather. Fire resistant cotton is light and can be easily washed. For lighter metalworking, it’s definitely a good solution. Pros:
  • Cheaper than other materials
  • Fire resistant
  • Can be washed
Cons:
  • Less durable, less useful for metalworking

Good to know when buying a welding apron:

Most classic cheaper aprons hang around the neck and have to be tied on the back. This is fine for light aprons, but when wearing heavier longer, it can be less comfortable. Therefore most premium welding aprons have some kind of harness that straps at the back. The straps are easy to modify and the apron feels tightly strapped on the body. welding apron harness A lot of aprons also have a pocket on the front, which is convenient to put your phone, pencil, protection glasses. welding apron front pocket