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Safety -- Make sure you are safe!

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  #1  
Old 2015-11-10, 12:19am
Mulberry Marquessa Mulberry Marquessa is offline
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Default Basement Ventilation Setup questions

Sorry to be repetitive, I've read so many Q&A's that my eyes are now glazing over. I will try to make my question brief.

I'd like to set up in my basement. I ONLY plan to use a HH with MAPP gas for the present, as I am just learning, total newbie....so no other fuels will be used.

I have one basement window I can "cut" ( like the dryer exhaust type of thing in the other basement window), I have another window on the opposite wall (behind me) that I can "crack open" .....or/in addition to, I can open the basement back door, which is up a long staircase to the outdoors...and which is far on the other side of the basement area where I'd like to set up.

There is gas heat and the water tank in the area where I would "open the window" in the corner (behind me).

Is this a feasible area to set up a small lampworking work place?? I would get an exhaust fan with at least 500 power......the distance from the torch working table to the window would be rather short (just a couple of yards), sort of upward in direction, and only a small "elbow" curve right at the window where it would go outside. I would set up a carbon monoxide detector as well.....but a concern I have is the pilot light in the natural gas burner/water heater section across the room behind me. I worry about toxicity and combustion.

Any input would be greatly appreciated, as I'm sure you all know how crappy it is to be a total newbie......this one area is what bedevils me.....I've read as many books as I can find, and tutorials, videos etc. It is just this ONE area that I need some serious assistance with. Many many thanks, I am so grateful for the time and patience here. ~peace & love
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  #2  
Old 2015-11-10, 1:24am
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Welcome to the addiction.

It is really good that you are zeroing in on one of the really important things about basement glass work.

The word is back draft and that is when any ventilation you set up for your torch bench changes the way the ventilation for you furnace and water heater works.

The ventilation system for your furnace and water heater has a balance between what they send up the chimney and what comes into the house (usually through cracks and leaks around doors and windows and stuff).

So the idea is to make sure that the air you suck out at the torch bench ventilation has "make up air" brought into the basement so it won't change that balance at the furnace and water heater.

You need to create a second balanced system with as much air coming in as you torch ventilation is pulling out. The size of the "in coming opening" will need to be the same as the "out going opening" usually.

You could just open any window that is more than ten feet away from where your torch bench ventilation dumps outside. (This distance is so that you don't suck in the exhaust gases you just dumped out side.)

But that would pull cold air in and send heated air out which is not only a waste of heat but kind of uncomfortable too.

To keep from wasting heat you should bring 'make up air' right to your torch bench using ducting.
At the worst your hands might get cold but the cold 'make up air' would go right out with the burnt gas fumes so it wont cool off the basement.

That is the theory anyway.

It is possible to use the same window to bring in make up air and exhaust the gas fumes if you use two ducts and have the outside ends separated by 10 feet or more.
One duct will bring make up air in to the back of the torch bench and the other (with the fan in it) will draw fumes off the bench and dump it out side.
But both ducks could go through the same window.


You will want to mount the ends of the ducts up off the ground at least a foot or two because gases can kind of hug the ground and get pulled back into the fresh air intake.

Also you live in the land of snow and you don't want either duct blocked by snow.

You will also want to put some kind of screen over the ends to keep the critters and the bugs out but remember that screen material will reduce the effective size of the duct work.

If you use window screen it can reduce the size in half. What they call hardware cloth has 1/4 inch openings and that will reduce the size only around 10% I am guessing and chicken wire probably wont have much change at all.


I got something called a "blast gate" for my 8 inch ductwork and it is a metal blade that shuts the duct off altogether. I open it when I start the fan and shut when I am done.



Another thing does come to mind about working in a basement with flammable gases.

Some gases sink and some gases float in air.

I know that propane sinks and that makes it dangerous to have in basements and that is why the fire department allows no more than on pound of propane in a house.
They would not allow any if they thought that people would follow the rule but they don't want folks hiding it so they say OK to the one pound.

Because it sinks a leak can form a pool or puddle in a basement until the pool gets as high as the pilot light or spark starter for the furnace or the water heater. Then the whole pool ignites and the house goes boom. Insurance companies will not pay for damages from stuff the fire department says you can not have in the house.

Natural gas floats in air and will rise up and try to find a way out of the house so it "normally" does not pose as much as a hazard.

If you use propane tanks bigger than the (pain in the butt) one pound tanks park it out side with a regulator on it and run a hose into the basement. I know it is annoying to have to go out to turn it on and off but it is just too hazardous to have in the house.


I connected my torch to the same natural gas line the runs to my kitchen stove. It is not quite as hot as propane but I really cant tell the difference because I only work soft glass and stay pretty small.

Keep asking questions and good luck.


Edited to add: I don't think 500 is going to be enough in my opinion. Most fans in that range are bathroom fans and they often fudge the numbers and don't move a third of the amount of air that they are marked. It doesn't really matter if all you are exhausting are shower mist and flatulence.

Go for a thousand if you can because more is better than not enough. If you get light headed, feel dizzy or feel like you or anyone in the house is always coming down with a cold with the body aches and just kind of 'out of it' feeling then check that ventilation.

We had some folks actually die because the normal furnace vent duct on the roof froze over last year. Stay safe.
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Last edited by Speedslug; 2015-11-10 at 1:39am.
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  #3  
Old 2015-11-10, 4:41pm
Mulberry Marquessa Mulberry Marquessa is offline
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Default RE: Basement studio set up

Oh wow, thank you SO much.......you really helped me understand how the ventilation systems work......I am also (now) nervous about the "pooling" of gasses and the gas furnace/water tank issue......yikes!

I never gave the snow much thought, just a wee bit......but after last winter which was beyond anyone's wildest dreams here, that window area did get a huge pile up of drifted snow along the foundation, and it was unreachable to clear anything away, due to the snow being waist-high.

What's a girl to do ? lol ......I have a garage with 2 wide-set windows on the same wall, but it's such a small small corner, I don't know if it is feasible as a work area.....I have an unfinished attic with only one window and a ridge vent, so I think that's out.....it seems I will have to keep pondering this issue of work space location, in order to keep the safety factor proper.

But, that said, many many thanks for taking so much time explaining this stuff to me, I so appreciate it......it helped me immensely, at least I know what I'm looking at now......~peace & love
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  #4  
Old 2015-11-10, 6:18pm
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The two ducts through the one window will work just fine if you ensure the ends of the ducts are mounted above waist high.

If you point them downward they won't look as interesting to birds looking for a nesting place.


As for the gasses pooling it is alot like having a gallon of gasoline.
Sure it could be disastrous if you don't pay attention to what you are doing ( and what others are doing).
But it is very easy to take the precautions needed and to get in the habit of double checking that you are doing what you need to stay safe.

Some folks get hard copper piping to run propane from the tank parked conveniently near the back door around the side of the house and into the basement where they have another shut off valve at the bench.
They have to wait a few seconds sometimes for the pressure at the bench to come up but it is worth the effort and the one pound bottles are only annoying if you torch for more than an hour at a time.
( The bottles can get pretty cold and some just swap one bottle for a warm one between beads when that happens).
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  #5  
Old 2015-11-10, 11:30pm
Mulberry Marquessa Mulberry Marquessa is offline
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So, to help me understand this correctly.....if my basement windows are roughly 6.5 feet from floor to ceiling.....and roughly 4ft above where the work bench is (bench to window), but, the vent duct itself would be only about a foot+ off the outside ground level, is that a correct configuration? (keeping in mind that I'd have the thousand power fan, and some kind of screening to prevent beasties from getting into the tube)....I was wondering if it would be ok to have the "make up air" come in from the window on the opposite wall behind me, hanging that tube from the ceiling and directing it in the working table vicinity, but not directly onto me (that would also need a fan/blower?)......might that be a decent, low cost approach ??

I'm only planning on using those "small" types of MAPP gas canisters (like they use for the Enamel jewelry/ artwork-like Barb Lewis' torch fired enamel stuff), that just hang in front of you, off the work table......The propane tanks from the BBQ grill on the patio can "wait" until I get more comfortable with what I'm doing.....(don't want to "jangle my nerves" with too much at first lol ).....I also thought that I can pour some hot water out the upstairs window to melt the snow before I plan to use the fume fan in the basement, to make sure it's not totally covered up....lol.....I also realize I will have to get an electrician in to perhaps put in a dedicated line for the fan power (& kiln), so I don't blow the house circuits out when I turn them on .....yikes.....being a newbie is so daunting sometimes.....I want to get it right, but I want to take it slow until I know I'm any good at it, I don't want a $5k setup, only to find that I totally suck at it lmaoo.....I'm sure you've heard that one before

Ok, I am off to bed, hoping I don't have exhaust pipes haunting me in my dreams lol Many thanks again for your invaluable input and guidance.....I appreciate all the time and thought you've lent to my issues here. ~peace & love
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  #6  
Old 2015-11-11, 1:00am
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Ok, First off you will only need one fan on the exhaust duct work.

The 'make up air' will come in to replace the exhaust air because the one fan will suck it in as it pushes the burnt gases out. You only have to make sure that there is a large enough opening for the make up air to come in through.

If you use the window on the other side of the room you will need to route the make up air to the torch bench through ducting.

Now for the details;
Fans push and pull air through ducting.
How much energy it takes to move the 1000 cubic feet of air per minute through the ducting depends on the size of the duct .
Think of the difference between a garden water hose and a 55 gallon drum. The hose would take an enormous amount of energy to move that much air that fast and the 55 gallon drum would hardly slow the air down at all.

So bigger duct work is preferred, to a point.
You do want the duct small enough that the air keeps moving at a pretty good speed so that particles don't settle out of the air and just collect on the inside of the duct work.

The other thing about duct work is length. Since there is resistance to moving air through a section (say three feet ) of ducting it makes sense that the longer the ductwork the more resistance the fan is going to 'feel' so keeping ducts short in length is more effective at moving the air with the least amount of energy.


One of the other things about duct work is the smoothness of the inside walls.
Just like water over a rapids slows the water in a river, a rough surface on the inside of the duct will slow down the air movement and, in effect, will reduce the size of the free flowing area in the duct.
So those handy looking crinkle foil 10 inch ducts at the home center will actually act like they are only 5 inches inside because the jagged inside surface interferes with the smooth flow of the air.

This is my round about way of saying you really want to use hard flat surfaced ducting material.

Another thing about flowing air is that it gets slowed down if it has to make lots of changes in direction.
I think the rule of thumb is to limit the number of 90 degree bends to 3 at the most and if you can help it two 45 degree bends with a little distance between them is better than one 90 degree bend.

Some times it works out that you just have to have more bends and or longer duct work and increasing the power of your fan can make up for these but you have to work through the details in those cases and you might be best off having one of the local heating and air conditioning companies come and give you an opinion.

Just be sure you hold your ground at the volume of air you want to move. Most of those folks are used to kitchen and bath room fans and all their furnace gases go up larger chimneys.

The gases from melting glass can have trace amounts of metals and some of them are not healthy for humans like copper and cadmium and we want the air to move fast enough to get out of the ductwork before the particles can settle out of the air stream. Once outside weathering and rain will dilute them enough so that you won't have a toxic lawn but if they settle on the inside of the duct work this 'dust' can collect enough to vibrate back down the ducting and settle on the bench. Then you wind up with it on our hands and everything that gets on our hands winds up in our food.


My advice to you for starting out in our crazy addiction of melting glass is to use the one window above your troch bench for both exhaust and make up air.

It is my opinion that you can go as low as 850 cfm for the fan on the exhaust duct and start it about 18 inches from your torch bench.
Run it up and out through the window and then run it another six or ten feet from the window, mount it pointing upward and put one of those pointed rain caps on the top of it.

Some of the hardware stores have round disks that fit inside the duct work with a handle outside that you turn to change how much air moves through the duct.
One of those would be good to block off the duct work when you are not using it.
( Well it will slow 98 % of the air flow anyway.)
Those should be much cheaper than the $40 I spent on the blast gate I use.

As for the make up air I suggest you bring that in through the same window above the torch bench.
You can use the same mounting outside as you did for the exhaust side with the pointed hat and mounting both duct work ends some 18 to 30 inches off the ground. Just make sure these ends are some 10 feet apart.

Bring the make up air duct down to the bench.

Due to the air flow you might find it best to mount the make air dump on the side of the bench. There is a real possibility of turbulence causing the troch flame to dance so you may have to play with how you introduce the make up air to the torch bench area.

Another one of those round disk duct blocking things in the make up air line will allow you to block it off when you are not using it.



Good luck and happy hunting.



ETA: You might want to skip the hot water out the window idea. You would find that it wont melt as much as you might think before it gets cool and then it will freeze to the cold metal. Better to mount it up a little higher. Of course if you get snow drifts on that side of the building then you will need to go higher still or find another spot to mount it.
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Last edited by Speedslug; 2015-11-11 at 1:48am.
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  #7  
Old 2015-11-11, 4:57pm
Mulberry Marquessa Mulberry Marquessa is offline
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Default Basement ventilation

OMG!! Thank you a thousand times!!! Did anyone ever tell you that YOU are THE best ??? That helped me SO much, truly......it would also ease my fears, and make the set up far easier by just using the one window.......I totally can see how the smooth interior of the duct tube makes sense as well.....now, you just have to move to MA nearby and come give instructions first-hand !! lmao

Really, seriously though, I have learned SO much from you here, and can not express my gratitude enough......everyone here has been SO overwhelmingly lovely and helpful......it is really a gift to have found this forum.....

When I get set up, I will upload a wee pic of my humble torch station.....and the results if they aren't "too ugly" lol

Thank you again, you are a guardian angel indeed......
~peace & love
the newbie..... (p.s. - yes, wonderful point about the hot water concept of mine lol.....nothing like making matters worse for myself, out of sheer stupidity rotfl )
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Old 2015-11-11, 6:59pm
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We learn as we go and there are too many that I owe to not at least try to help others understand how some of it works.


Let me know when you learn how to get Raku to pop on cue because that is one I still have trouble with and you can then return the favor.
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  #9  
Old 2015-11-11, 9:57pm
Mulberry Marquessa Mulberry Marquessa is offline
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Default Basement ventilation

Raku ?? I LOVE Raku !!! The only thing I've found so far is this link and something on Pinterest :

http://harrachglass.blogspot.com/201...-tutorial.html

you've probably already seen it.....then there was something about encasing the beads to further bring up the colors. it looks so pretty and interesting to work with that glass.....I guess (they keep telling me) practice practice practice is the thing lol......loads of patience too, I think I'll need it, there's so much to learn.

~peace & love
the newbie
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  #10  
Old 2015-11-11, 10:03pm
Mulberry Marquessa Mulberry Marquessa is offline
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did you see this one here?
http://lampworketc.com/forums/showthread.php?t=20601

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  #11  
Old 2015-11-11, 10:27pm
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Aye, that one from Dawn is one I have studied a lot.



She also has a video on youtube (I think) on getting Dali Lama to strike that is well worth your time as well.
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  #12  
Old 2015-11-12, 2:53pm
Mulberry Marquessa Mulberry Marquessa is offline
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Thanks hon.....I will check it out......if I find anything else on raku, I'll pass it over to ye

peace & love
the wee newbie lol
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