The question of safety is one that
merits a little discussion here. Obviously, undertaking a project like the
Glissando renovation creates exposure to certain health and safety
hazards. The main concerns are centered around working with the resins
and, especially, the dust created when sanding or grinding.
Epoxy resins can cause skin
sensitivity issues with some people, and you should supposedly wear gloves and
prevent direct contact with your skin. Yeah, right. The resin
doesn't bother me, and I have had my hands immersed in a pot of resin or epoxy
putty many times, with no ill effects. However, others may be different,
and care should be taken until you find out your own reactions--or lack
thereof--to the epoxy resin. Epoxy does not create strong vapors while
curing, so there are not air quality issues while laminating with the product.
Polyester resins release styrene when curing, which is unpleasant and
unhealthful to breathe.
Grinding fiberglass, whether polyester
or epoxy, creates very fine dust that is harmful to breathe and will probably
cause you some skin-based discomfort or rashing. I am not too bothered by
the dust, although it tends to be a little itchy afterwards for a little
while. I always wear a high quality respirator when grinding fiberglass;
it's nuts not to. A good respirator is not all that uncomfortable to wear,
and eventually you forget it's even there. I also wear good safety
goggles--you only get two eyes--and hearing protection when using power tools,
too, or as otherwise necessary. The noise of a sander is at the very least
annoying, and at worst causes long-term hearing damage. (Huh? What'd
Working with Awlgrip or similar linear
polyurethane topside paints brings up other concerns. These products are
extremely harmful if breathed or ingested, and forced fresh air supply is
necessary if they are atomized in a spray gun. For brushing or rolling
like I did, a quality respirator is required any time the cans are opened or the
product is worked with. The respirator is also crucial when sanding any of
these products. I do not use gloves or other protective gear when painting
with Awlgrip, as the paint on my skin or the solvents to clean it does not seem
to bother me in any way. I find working with gloves or other
skin-protective gear very awkward and avoid it whenever possible.
Below are the safety products I used
for many, many days during various parts of the project. I highly
recommend all of them. Your small investment in safety gear will come in
handy time and again, and you will never regret the minor expense.