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Safety -- Make sure you are safe!

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Old 2015-10-09, 1:55pm
ravnsdaughter ravnsdaughter is offline
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Join Date: Feb 16, 2010
Location: Northern British Columbia
Posts: 5
Default ventilation and temperature questions

Hi all,

I'm just starting to set up my new studio in the house my husband and I just bought, after having taken a break for almost 2 years because I was in a rental unit that wasn't conducive to lampworking at all. At the same time, I'm upgrading from my HotHead to probably a Nortel MegaMinor.

I'm going to be setting things up in my basement, in one corner of a really big open rec room, directly under a window that is about 2 1/2' by 2'. I've already pried off the painted-on outer window, and then the inside window lifts up and can be propped open (or removed, for that matter). It's got a sill that's probably at least 4-6" wide in between the two.

I'm actually going to be building myself a workstation out of plywood and sheet metal, and can set up the ventilation just about however I want. But I'm having a really difficult time finding out how many CFM I need the fan to move. I went into a local plumbing and heating shop yesterday, and the guy that helped me seemed to think that a regular bathroom exhaust fan would be sufficient. I think the one he suggested was 50 CFM, but for some reason I'm thinking that's not enough.

What I'd like to do is cut a piece of plywood (or maybe 2, with some insulation between the two) with a hole in it to the outside, then run a duct down to the workstation and have it open closer to my torch to vent the fumes away. I do have to work with the fact that I live somewhere that gets 6-7 months of winter a year, with temperatures reaching -40 Celsius occasionally during the middle of winter. So I need to try and avoid having very much cold air getting in the house from my ventilation system. I'm also wondering if the cold is going to cause problems with the propane working properly. I know the tank will freeze up at -44F but as long as it's above that, will it run ok? I'm going to be having the propane tank outside the window as well, with a second opening to run a hose through to my workstation.

Thanks in advance for the help!
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Old 2015-10-09, 7:54pm
yellowbird's Avatar
yellowbird yellowbird is offline
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Join Date: Jan 23, 2006
Posts: 1,229

check out Andrea Guarino Slemmons .com for information on ventilation.
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Old 2015-10-10, 6:44pm
snoopdog6502 snoopdog6502 is offline
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Join Date: Sep 27, 2014
Location: Walla Walla, Washington
Posts: 289

I put in a 15 inch attic ventilation fan. 1540 CFM in my window. I can feel the wind at my back with it. Its doing great as long as other doors and windows are bringing in fresh air.

I did a smoke test video, I still need a fume hood.
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Old 2015-10-11, 9:46am
Lorraine Chandler's Avatar
Lorraine Chandler Lorraine Chandler is offline
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Join Date: Oct 23, 2005
Location: Heading to Paradise
Posts: 4,140

Setting up in a basement has its own unique safety problems and has to be done very carefully. Just type in the word basement in the studio and the safety forums and read as much as you can before setting up.

Learn how to use the formula for CFM. Lots of examples in these forums. Building a Barley Box style hood captures a lot more fumes so they can be safely exhausted. The most important thing is that after your torching session you should feel the same as when you started. No dizziness, light head, headache, tightness in chest, eyes watering, sore neck and or shoulders, burning arms or hands, face burning, metallic taste, sore throat, coughing etc. If you have any symptoms you need to change something to correct those.

When I torch my fan is usually at 1100 CFM, it goes up much higher because it is a three speed. My Barley box face opening is 32" tall X 4' wide. The actual work bench is 2X4 feet in work surface. The metal hood opening above my work bench is only about 8X16 inches.

I wear a respirator, Long kevlar sleeves and use a face shield instead of glasses. I use arm rests that I built myself that support my whole forearm and allows my wrists to work freely and keeps my head neck and shoulders in a good posture.

This did not happen overnight. It took about three years to get it all tweeked in including the chair to standing part. I like to stand most of the time and dance to the music while torching so we had to adjust the height of the bench, chair and arm rests. But some days I prefer to sit so it had to be easy to switch from one way to the other.

All of this protects me from symptoms that are detrimental. This is how I do it to come away from a torching session feeling as good as I went in. I also only torch for three hours max. Go out and take a long break and come back if I want to do more.

Best wishes for your studio build and remember long hours of research on this forum will help you to build a safe and highly functional studio. Research is your best friend

Last edited by Lorraine Chandler; 2015-10-12 at 2:12pm.
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Old 2015-10-11, 6:17pm
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Speedslug Speedslug is offline
Join Date: Mar 21, 2009
Location: Winnebago, MN
Posts: 2,114

Also look in the threads for the words "make up air" and "back draft".

Having as much make up air coming in right to your torch bench can keep form sending a lot of expensive heated or air conditioned air out of your ventilation system.

Make sure the source of your "make up air" is at least ten feet from the exhaust of your ventilation system.

If you don't have enough "make up air" coming in you could wind up pulling fumes from your furnace and water heater down the chimney (back drafting) and into your house and that could poison you before you knew what hit you.

There is a lot that you need to know but you only have to figure it out once for your situation.
Perpetually Pessimistic So I am Always Pleasantly Surprised.
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Old 2015-10-13, 2:54pm
ravnsdaughter ravnsdaughter is offline
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Join Date: Feb 16, 2010
Location: Northern British Columbia
Posts: 5

Thanks everyone... this has all been really helpful, especially that tutorial posted above. I have no idea why the guy at the plumbing and heating store thought a 50cfm fan would be sufficient, but he was also pretty condescending so I probably should've known he wouldn't have any idea what he was doing. I will put something more appropriate together than that one.
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Old 2015-10-16, 9:29am
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GabiLoraine GabiLoraine is offline
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Join Date: May 18, 2010
Location: Panama city, Panama
Posts: 387

That video was great hahaha
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