42..going back to school for a new career...welding...

Fifty

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Im 42... almost 4 years ago, I had a bullet taken out of me. That wasnt the bad part. The surgery to fix things was worse than the injury. Anyways, I was medically retired, had to learn to walk again, have too much metal in me.

Im bored out of my mind and the pension is a joke. Tons of med bills every month. So instead of going down the drain I thought I'd polish up a skill, and get a job that has a lot of openings and pays a good wage. Not to mention it can lend a hand to the hobby that I can then better pay for. (I had been paying for the toys through cashed out Vaca time and "F#@& it, woes me" not so smart financial decisions)

I was given a list of gear that I need to invest in for the school, and am out shopping. Quality gear is everything, safe gear is key. I am looking for opinions on a welding coat and hood.

I was recommended a caiman boarhide coat and a speedglas 9100 hood. Neither are cheap, but the next two years in school, arc, mig tig and then hopefully into a job. Ive already been offered two jobs for to start in 6 months and I havent even started the classes.

Thank you to any of you guys that are welding day in and day out that can offer up opinions. Ill take any gucci gear advice you can give.

(Im in for a set of boots too, but thats personal fitment. So far after trying keen, danner and wolverine the winners are timberland titans, but Im going to try some thorgoods and redwings monday.)
 

partybarge_pilot

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I've had my speedglass for 15 years, still going strong.

Welding coat? Long sleeve T's for me LOL

If your going to be doing any stick welding, get boots with a cover over the laces or slip-on's. Or leather laces if you can find them.
 

Fifty

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Leather laces... that’s a quality bit of info right there. Thank you!!
 

Offspring

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I took a few semester classes for fun at a very successful JC program. I saw lots of guys get jobs after a few months only to return to class to get their certs when the project they were hired for ended, or the boss held back on more pay because there were no certs. Stay and get all the certs you can the first time. Plenty of folks lined up very high paying jobs through this program and its reputation, but they had to move from here to do so. The ones on a serious mission were in the labs all day long. Good luck!
 

Fifty

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Oh my plan is for sure to complete the whole program. If someone wants me to do a side job AND I am capable, I;; do some side work. But, my plan is to complete the whole course, get certified in each field, and then go from there. Yea, Uts too expensive to leave mid term with out the knowledge and the cert.
 

partybarge_pilot

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There are so many different certs out there, maintaining one on your own isn't worth it. All the certs I have gotten have been paid for by the employer and used on a specific job. Certs stay with the employer but oh well.
 

Fifty

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I guess I may have not been clear. I also dont 100% know. The class gives you a certain certification. I dont know if its worth more than the paper its printed on. But its probably no different than a wyotech type mechanics graduate program. It will at least show prospective employers that I have a base knowledge and ability. I have no idea if it gives me any type of certification for specialized welding say for a pipeline or structural etc. I would doubt it.

But anyways, back to gear...any recommendations for a hood and jacket?
 

partybarge_pilot

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JDDurfey

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For boots, I love Redwings. I have a high arch and they are about the only ones I like. I always buy slip on steel toe. I don't believe the toe is actually steel these days. There is plenty of room for the piggies in there thought. They break in pretty quickly and I am just as comfortable in them as my tennis shoes.

I have heard great things about Speedglass. I don't use one, but I am not a full time welder. I have had good success with my Miller brand and Lincoln brand hoods which are made by Viking.
 

Fifty

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Im going to check out a Viking 3350 next week as well. It was recommended as having a big window, best real color and more comfortable straps than the speedglas
Im going to play with a speedglass 9100 Something or other on wed.

Both are the gucci of their gear, but It should be the last one I buy.
 

Kyle D

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I get Kevlar laces from Boot Barn that are also very tough. Welding BB’s literally bounce off of them. I’ve also had my Miller Digital Elite hood for about 12 years and it’s still going strong. As for leathers? You’re gonna have to try some on. Brand didn’t matter to me so much as fit because they’re never comfortable. The Radnor ones fit the best and they seem to live just fine. I work for a Caterpillar dealer in field service and spend a lot of time air arcing heavy weld repairs.
 

Fifty

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I need to pull my laces out of one of these boots and measure the length so I can buy the appropriate length.
About 4 inches shorter than what came with the boots would be perfect.
 

slim01

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Ive got an early 9100 series Speedglass helmet Ive had since around 2003ish and its still perfectly good. Changed to headband out a couple of times and give the clear lenses a birthday when Ive been doing a bit MIG work but other than that its great.

I would like to try an Optrel or ESAB but cant really justify spending money when there is nothing wrong with the Speedglass, it just doesnt look as cool as the others.

OPTREL VEGA VIEW 2.5 Expert Series Welding Helmet 1006.600 SWISS MADE 733353352389 | eBay

ESAB 0700000800 Sentinel A-50 Welding Helmet with FREE accessories! 688940432473 | eBay

As for boots, I prefer high cut slip ons that tuck in my pants legs so slag or spatter doesnt fall into the boot and burns the top of my foot.
 

Fifty

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Started classes. I was fortunate enough to swap the arc welding lab for a tig welding lab.

Bad news was I had already bought the required arc “dang near shoulder deep” gloves.

So now I have a few days to go size out and purchase a set of tig gloves. I have read a lot of people recommend the Tillman gloves but I am also reading that i would be going through a set of those gloves every 8-16 hours of class...

So at that point I’d rather get something a little more durable. Or better constructed....

Of to do the rounds trying on gloves again on Monday and Tuesday.
 

partybarge_pilot

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Tillmans. Buy them a size big that way when you shrink them into a claw they still fit.

The new HF gloves are not bad.
 

Fifty

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No worries! I’m happy for it to become a weld equipment thread!

I have seen the mask in person, never wore it.

The two things I noticed are of you need cheater lenses, then this is a great way.
Also, because they are “goggles” it’s like have a large lense! So lots of visibility. Not sure what the lense clarity is rated at though.
Like the digital infinity is a 1.1.1 or what ever.

If I had the spare money and I was doing a lot of yoga type welding, meaning upside down and in tight spots, it would be an awesome set up!
 

Fifty

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So here is something I never experienced with my cheapo welding hoods... or maybe they were so bad I didnt notice it... or maybe Im in the perfect storm now. I got transfered from the stick class to the Tig class (awesome). But now Im in a tiny closet and the lights on the ceiling reflect right on the inside lense. So there is a ton of glare.

I am thinking of buying 3 tillman neck naps and velcro'ing them with the center overlapped the two sides, on the back of the hood. I also thought of buying a used welding coat on craigslist and cutting a single patch out of it, but the neck naps are cheaper. Something like this:
Hood glare

I also found 3M Speedglas Welding Helmet Crown Extended Coverage 06-0500-51 which is also cheaper than the used welding coats Ive found online. Has anyone used this? Do you think it will fit on a lincoln/viking 3350 hood?

Black Stallion GlareBlocker Welding Helmet Glare Guard AH3035-NS this is too big and will catch too much stuff.

Promax Welding Helmet Hood Style WC-05456

There is a cover out of australia and I cant find it in the US anywhere

Any other options? recommendations?
 

Bert is my name

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Love my speedglass. Much nicer than my Miller hood. As far as boots go. I wear a pair of Carolina's Wellington steel toe. Put a pair of superset in them. Most comfortable shoes I own hands down. They've held up better than red wings.
 

Fifty

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As an update, I found a leather welding waist apron for $14.
I just ordered it with some industrial Velcro. If that doesn’t hold I’ll hit glue it. That will make it stick.

As for boots, I have a pair of keen steel toe. They are very stable but even after about a month, have not “broken in”.
Every time I take them off and put on my Ecco boots I wish I had bought a pair of timberland steel toe boots instead. They were super plush. If the timberlands come down in price... I may make the switch ... but so much money
 
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