Why Do Pipe Liners Wear Pancake Hoods?

You probably may hear about pancake hoods. As a newbie, you may wonder what it is!

Also it is said that pancake welding hood is best for pipe welding. The question is why and how? 

Basically the main reason is pancake hood fits the eye shape and protects eyes from external particles more efficiently than the other types of face shields.

In this article I will briefly describe why pipeline welders prefer pancake type to traditional welding helmet and sugar scoop.

So lets start-

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What Exactly Is Pancake Hood?

Pancake hoods, or you can also say pancake welding helmet, is a safety equipment that protect face and eyes of welders against the spark of the welding metals. This unique type of face shield is hand made, simply designed tool which is light weight and comfortable to wear.

This innovative welding mask is basically made of phenolic, balsa, and pine woods. There are also fiber pancake welding hoods available in the market.

The balsa wood lens box of the hood is the crucial part of this type of helmet. It is made in consistence with the shape of forehead and eye area. So when worn, it fits the face and prevents any weld particles, fumes, sprinkles and harmful welding sparks enter the eyes.

One side of the hood has a shield, which is mostly an extended and bent part of the hood. It provides the necessary protection to ear and face of one side (either right or left) of the face from outside pollutions. Right sided shield is called right hand hood and left is called left hand hood.

The overall shape of a pancake hood is mostly flat and round. It contains lens at the front to safeguard the welder’s eyes from harmful UV rays and bright lights too.


It was invented by George Gilchrist of Wyoming. It was the time after world war 2. When there was a short supply of standard welding helmets, George Gilchrist came up with an innovative yet simple idea of pancake helmet.

At that time the hood didn’t contain any lens but slowly after the invention of true color lens, manufacturers began to add that to pancakes. 

Why Do Pipe Liners Need A Pancake Hood For Welding

There are few obvious reasons for welders to use pancake hoods for welding pipes. They are-

  • These hoods are very light weighted. So whenever you wear that hoods, you get extra comfort compared to regular welding helmets and sugar scoops.
  • These hood comes up with a eye shield (Balsa Box) specially designed to protect eyes from external particles. As a result no welding fumes, sparks, welded metal pieces can enter your eyes. It is the most important reason for a pipeline welder, as they need to weld for an extended time continuously. 
  • Another reason for using these hoods is its cost efficiency. A pancake hood costs only few bucks compared to traditional welding hoods. 
  • The usage of the hood is easier. You just need to set the hood eye frame on your eyes. No fitting hassles.

How Pancake Hoods Help Pipe welders 

Of course, the hoods help a pipe-liner by providing better vision, comfortability, and ease of use while welding. For beginners, it is suitable due to its lightweight feature and low costing. So it doesn’t feel like a burden on top of an already heavy welding instrument box. In short, the pancake hood is super portable.

Next, you have the option to customize the fit just as you like. The balsa box usually decides the fit around your face. You can easily customize that fit by sanding the balsa box. Lastly you have extra protection to eyes from backlights and harmful welding fumes.


  • The first benefit of a pancake hood is that it’s simple to work with. Whenever you want, you can just lift the hood quickly and then get back to welding again by putting it down.
  • They are cheaper than regular welding helmets with fancy features. You can even make one for yourself if you want at home.
  • These are super lightweight too. So, when you are working on day-long pipeline welding projects, the pancake hood won’t feel like a burden on your head which is necessary for pipe line welding.
  • When you doing indoor or outdoor welding, the backlights around you can make a problem to your vision. The balsa box of the pancake hood prevents the light flashes from getting into your eyes.
  • Pancake hoods don’t surround your head completely, so the ventilation is fantastic. On a scorching summer day, you don’t have to feel exhausted anymore

Alongside the benefits of pancake hoods, there are some disadvantages too. Though those disadvantages aren’t anything major, you should look out for those.


  • So, the first disadvantage of the pancake hood is that it lacks high-end features that conventional welding helmets comes up with.
  • Though your neck isn’t the most vulnerable part in welding, it’s good to have protection in that area. Unfortunately, pancake hoods don’t provide that.

Different Models Of Pancake Hoods

Typically, there are two models. They are-

1. Right Hand Model

Though the name says right-hand model, it has nothing to do with holding the hood with your right hand. Right hand hoods just have the extended shield on the left side of the hood, protecting the left ear and the whole left profile.

2. Left Hand Model

The left hand model is the exact opposite of the right hand model. Left hand hood has a shield on the right side of the hood. If you are a left-handed welder, you’ll need the shield on the opposite side, that is on the right side of your face. In this case you may consider the hood.

Last Words

Now that you know the purpose of pancake hoods, I hope you have understood its significant role in pipeline welding in terms of safety and a better vision.

Additionally, if you are planning to get a pancake hood in the future, this knowledge will help you get the best pancake welding hood for your upcoming pipeline welding projects.

Frequently Asked Question

1. Why do welders chop their hoods

Welders may choose to chop or modify their welding hoods for several reasons. For example to enhance comfort and visibility, to improve airflow can be some reasons to do so. 

2. What happens when you weld without a hood?

In the absence of a welding hood, the welder’s eyes exposes to intense ultraviolet and infrared rays, akin to staring directly into the sun. This optical assault can lead to an ocular maladies.
Moreover, the unshielded face may be injured by sparks and molten debris from welding, transforming the welding experience into a hazardous nightmare.

3. Are welding masks bulletproof?

No, welding masks are not designed or certified to be bulletproof. The primary purpose of a welding mask is to protect the welder’s eyes and face from the intense light, heat, and radiation generated during welding processes.
There is no need for a helmet to be bulletproof. 

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