A Good Pair of Goggles to Protect the Eyes

By , March 12, 2019

In a previous post, I listed some of the essential tools of our homestead (see A Homesteader’s Tool Box). The idea came from my response to Sam Sciapaldi’s question for an article she planned for her website, Hello Homestead. When I read the final article, I saw that I’d forgotten one of the most essential homestead tools of all: safety goggles!

Perhaps I consider goggles more a safety item than a tool, (which wouldn’t explain why I thought of dust masks for the article, but not goggles).

However, I rely heavily on safety goggles for protection; I feel naked without them.

Safety goggles

My four most commonly-used pairs of safety goggles (Photo: Mark A. Zeiger).

I didn’t worry about my eyes for a long time; luckily, I never got injured. I grew up wearing glasses, which required specialized safety goggles to fit over them. Any goggles I used would commonly fog up, get scratched, or otherwise become hard to see through.

Then, I read a great book. Sidney Huntington told the story of his exceptional life in Alaska’s interior in Shadows on the Koyukuk. In it, he tells of taking a spruce splinter through an eye while chopping wood, blinding it.

Now, at the time, Mr. Huntington was in his 60s. He’d definitely chopped more firewood by that point than I ever will in my entire life, although I started back in middle school. I realized that if such an experienced wood chopper could experience such a horrible accident, then I certainly could, too. I’ve faithfully worn goggles for chopping ever since—mostly (see “I Can Touch My Nose!”)!

Extrapolating from that, I quickly started “goggling up” for every other job that requires hitting something with a hard object: using a maul and wedge, hammering nails, breaking rocks (see Stone Breaker) and everything else.

Sure, sometimes I have to clean them off, or wipe off steam. Yes, they get dirty, and need washing. But, that’s a small inconvenience for healthy, happy eyes!

The goggles in the top photo are my current main pairs. Here’s a run down of their features:

Top: this is an old, trusted pair that has become too scratched to be useful. I keep them around because I’m too frugal to actually throw them away. They still work in a pinch.

Next: my most commonly used pair. These are shooting glasses, so they are the most impact resistant. I don’t really care for the yellow tinting, but, as I often run out and chop wood just before dark, they add a bit of “light” to my view. And, they’re easier to find on the forest floor when I inevitably drop them in the wood lot! That happens far too often.

Third from top: I like these because I can snap either the plain lens or the sunglasses lens onto the frames. I also appreciate the lanyard! I found these at one of our local second hand stores. Apparently, never used!

Bottom: this pair has reading glasses set in the bottom of the lens. I don’t use them so much since getting new glasses and contacts (see Reflecting on Physical Changes) but I find them very useful for electrical work, like checking battery fluids in dark spaces where it’s often harder to see.

goggles on the ground

A tinted pair of goggles, dropped on the forest floor, can be much easier to find (Photo: Mark A. Zeiger).

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