Few tools, gadgets, or tricks are as necessary and useful as items that keep you safe while you're working on a project. Being safety conscious is great, but arming yourself with the right safety gear for the job is as important to preventing an accident or injury as simply being aware.
I will be the first to admit that safety isn't always my number one concern. Be it wearing sandals while on a ladder, opting not to don hearing protection while using a loud tool, or removing safety guards from my table saw. These are all measured risks that I'm willing to take given my comfort of a situation, but ones I will regret if I'm ever hurt because of my own negligence.
With all of the risks inherent in the hobby of DIY, one thing you should never leave to chance is the protection of your eyesight. If you've got two working peepers (or even one), you might as well keep it that way and always wear your safety glasses when using power or hand tools that can cause eye injuries.
Early in our renovation I bought a three pack of generic clear construction glasses. I didn't give much thought to which glasses to buy. I just knew that Wendy was adamant about the fact that I needed to wear eye protection. She was 100% right, I just didn't realize it in my youthful disregard for safety.
The glasses I purchased were all plastic and a one size fits all. It was difficult to keep them securely on my face, they would slide down my nose, collect sweat in the lenses, scratch easily, cause discomfort on my nose, and ultimately end up on the workbench when I should have been wearing them. This photo shows the clunky glasses I had become accustomed to wearing.
At one point Wendy got sick of my complaining about my horrible safety glasses. She also wanted to make sure I had no excuses as to why I needed to wear them, so a few Christmases ago Wendy got me an extremely unexpected but very welcome gift -- new and awesome safety glasses.
Now, you know you're a DIY couple when you get excited by a gift of safety glasses, but that's the kind of nerd I am. Not only did she buy me glasses, she also got a pair of glasses for "her" that would fit her face better than the one size fits all junk we had. Oliver was always safety conscious as well and was happy to try on Wendy's new glasses.
The glasses Wendy picked up were meant to overcome all of the deficiencies of the el cheapo glasses we had previously. She chose two pair of Dewalt brand glasses, both clear, and both quite ergonomic.
For me, Wendy bought the Dewalt clear, anti-fog lens with rubber frame and temples. These glasses are essentially perfect for me. They fit very nicely and comfortably, don't pinch my head or nose, don't slide down my face, and have not scratched much in spite of my very rough use and typical storage in my tool bucket.
The glasses are a clear and clean wrap around style to protect from foreign objects from the side as well as the front. The nose opening has soft rubber pads to prevent that inevitable headache that hard plastic glasses tend to give me. The "temples" (things that go over your ear) are fully adjustable and can be lengthened or curved to fit whatever odd sized noggin you might have. And the brow piece is padded to prevent injury caused by impact of the glasses against your forehead (don't laugh, that actually happened to me, I got smacked in the face by a heating grate and the glasses I was wearing actually cut my forehead. I'm awesome).
Wendy's glasses of choice are the Dewalt clear and "high performance" wraparound style lightweight glasses. They aren't as soft or adjustable as my glasses, but they are a little smaller and fit her her well. Since the lens, from each edge and over the bridge of the nose, is clear, it provides an unobstructed view of what you are working on. The "temples" are somewhat tension loaded so they stay snug on your head while you are wearing them. I've used them a few times myself (apparently my head isn't horribly larger than Wendy's), but have noticed a bit or of a fog issue because they sit tight against the top of my cheeks. Still, the're quite a nice pair of glasses and should work well for many women shopping for safety glasses.
As I said, safety glasses are an often overlooked item in your toolbox that you should never be without. Just about every project we work on requires us to wear safety glasses at some point. It doesn't matter if I'm cutting wood, using the nail gun, removing debris during demolition, or working on the bench grinder. I can't count the number of times I've felt a wood chip or piece of metal bounce off of my glasses while I'm working. Each time it happens, a thought runs through my head that makes me appreciate the glasses and a potential catastrophe they may have just saved me from. Both of my eyes are in good working order, and I fully plan to keep them that way. The best way to accomplish this goal is with a good and comfortable set of safety glasses that are not inconvenient to wear.
Oh, and not only are the glasses comfortable and effective, the style makes me look a little like bit more awesome. (In the same way I looked while playing baseball in high school and wearing these really sweet Oakley M-Frames. I can't believe Wendy actually started dating me during the time I was rockin' these bad boys.)
Do you have a preferred style of safety glasses you wear? Perhaps some regrets for not buying a better pair sooner? Let us know, we always like to hear what is in other people's toolboxes.