Hmmm I guess I might as well throw in my 2 cents. Personally I think that this forum has a very strong back bone for good knowledge on the ceramic side as it should. I am a dabbler that loves to toy with many forms, yet I do enjoy living and keeping all my fingers. That said I do google and google and google. Sure I could waste my time with the card catalog but that would lead me to books that date 1970 when its 2014. So as much as I might be a "armchair" type of person I will spend days lacking in productivity while I research research RESEARCH! Reading every informational report and every idiots experience. Especially when it came to metal things Ive seen the country bumpkin cast bronze and the african tribesman make a bronze bell from a form made of dung etc. I feel I have a good sense of the farce material and the material that I can learn from. I do agree with shop experience but to tote all of that as the only way to legitimize real skill and knowledge is kind of wrong. Everything came from a book "technically." You couldnt have had your shop experience unless you learned from something from the start. I was two steps from melting down some old bike pegs of mine before I found out about magnesium's burn. My pegs were magnesium coated and aluminum sleeved. The only reason I doubted myself before my melt was that I remembered when we used to grind on concrete these pegs would spark. So I took initiative and did the research. Everyone should be able to post what ever they might feel they should say because we all want to speak from our experience no matter how little it might be. It is up to those that are viewing it to be the judge. Sadly if they are to hurt themselves in the process then its not the advisers fault, no, its the fault of the person attempting something that they havent understood fully because of their lack in research.
Everything in this world is not fully understood. I cant remember correctly but someone on this forum stated that it is still unknown when it comes to the chemical reaction and molecular reaction differences in the ceramic world. I could be wrong with my term choices but the statement was that just because it has the chemical make up to do one thing it doesnt necessarily mean it will during the firing process. WIth that said, even those with 30+ years of experience, still dont TOTALLY understand the craft. There are things to be learned and dangers to be avoided. SO no matter who you are in this world of experience there are responses to questions that will always be incorrect and might "endanger" someone. Which is why I return to the comment that all should be able to provide advice and it should be left to the viewer to determine between them all.
Really no matter what you do you should be smart from the start. You melting metal? Im sure good gloves are in order especially proper ventilation. Maybe even a respiratory mask. Same goes for clay/glaze mixing. Hmmm those are some small floating particles. Better consider what you can do to not inhale them. Wow that kiln smells funny during firing....maybe I should avoid those fumes. Common sense.