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Studio -- Show us your studio setup

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  #1  
Old 2010-02-06, 9:47pm
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Default Is working on patio safe?

I live in South Florida and have been working on my patio. I work on a bobcat with an oxycon and propane. The oxycon runs in the house with the hose coming through a special wood piece that my husband made for me so that I can shut the sliding door with the oxycon inside and the propane outside. I use quick release valves on the oxycon and the propane and remove them every time I finish torching. I store the small BBQ type propane bottles on the patio (I have two...one in case I run out). The torch, propane and kiln are within six feet of each other when I'm working. Second propane bottle is about 12feet away on the other side of the patio. Since I live on the east coast we have a lot of wind here and I've felt this was good ventilation....I'm outside right? The patio is screened in and there is a small two foot metal wall around it.
After reading some of the threads here tonight, I'm wondering if this is an o.k. set up. I sure don't want to blow up my house or get sick from fumes. I've never felt sick after torching and I check the the connections regularly for leaks.
As I said, I've always felt I was safe because I'm outside but I want to check. No nasty surprises needed after all.
Thanks for any input you may give.
Mary
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  #2  
Old 2010-02-07, 6:45am
NMLinda NMLinda is offline
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Hi Mary,

The short answer is yes, working on a patio is safe. You've done the right thing by ensuring that your propane tank is outside. While it's not likely that a hot bit of flying glass would be a significant concern, if you have your working propane tank to the side of your work table (opposite side from your kiln), ie, not behind or within the working range of your torch, you should be fine. It's also a good idea to keep your hoses tucked up under your work bench so that they're protected from hot bits of glass and from tripping on them. Same thing for electrical cords.

Do you have flashback arrestors? If not - you should. There's a myth that gets propagated that surface mix torches, like you have, don't flash back. It's unlikely that it will, but not true that it won't. I had an incident where my minor torch did just that. No fault of the torch, but I believe was caused by something stupid I did - let the propane tank run out while I was working. I was very, very glad I had them in place. Best place for them is as close to the torch as you can install them.

The screening on the patio will cut down the air flow more than you might think, although you still have the great advantage of air volume in your favor on your covered patio. What several folks who also work on patios have posted doing is mounting a fan behind their torch, pointed away from them, that will extract the fumes from them as they work. Some folks also place a fan behind them so that they have fresh air coming from behind as well as the bad air being pulled away. The fan in front to extract and the fan in back to push fresh air seems like a good arrangement for out door lampworking. I'm sure it helps keep fumes away in the event that you have a wind or breeze blowing towards you as you work.

Hope that helps.

Linda
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  #3  
Old 2010-02-07, 6:51am
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Hello Mary Di:
I work on my sunroom, which is seperated from the house by a wall, and a sliding glass door. The sun room has full length windows, which I open when I torch, and the slider, that leads to the outside. I also run the two ceiling fans, and when there is no wind, I have a box fan, located directly behind my torch, to pull the air outside. Sometimes I even run another box fan in another window blowing air in. I feel that I probably have better more ventilation than most. In fact, when it is windy, be careful, as I had a large gust, blow the flame, over close to my index finger holding the mandrel. Lucky me, it did not burn me that bad. So now I am careful, to make sure I do not have too much ventilation. I feel, that I have plenty of fresh air, but I would like to hear some opinions from others also, as I do not have a hood mount fan directly above my torch.I also have flash back arrrestors installed, but they are on the tank ends, not the torch ends. Wondering if this is wrong? And wondering if I need a flash back arrestor on a oxygen concentrator? Wondering sometimes, if this cuts back on my flow of oxy. Running a cricket.
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Last edited by firedancer; 2010-02-07 at 6:55am. Reason: added more info
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Old 2010-02-07, 8:05am
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Hi Nell and Linda,
I felt kind of stupid posting the question but it's been bothering me for a while now so I decided to go. I'm glad others also have this concern. I think I'll make some changes to my configuration. I have a flashback arrestor on the propane at the tank end. Flame Tree Glass in Atlanta kindly set up the hoses and sent the whole set up to me. She did a great job!! I knew of no one else in my small town doing lampwork and had no clue where to start. The changes I need to make are two: Put the kiln further away from the propane and put the torch in a position where I can place a fan at my back and have it blow out toward the screening. Since I work at a small (20"x29") black marble table, this will be easy to do.
Yesterday the wind was so high I finally gave up. Yes Nell the wind does blow the flame over toward my hand but I've learned to be pretty quick in moving those fingers away from the flame.
I was told I did not need a flashback arrestor on an oxycon but, like you am interested in other opinions.
Okeechobee?? We're practically neighbors!
Mary
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Old 2010-02-07, 6:16pm
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The reason for having flashback arrestors at the torch rather than the tank is that you have a better chance of suppressing a flashback at its source and of protecting your hoses (as well as regulators and tanks). That said, it's good you have them in place, even if they are at the tank.

There are two schools of thought on whether you need an FBA for an oxycon (if you are working on tanked 02, I'd say absolutely have one). Both of you are using surface-mix torches, which aren't particularly prone to flashbacks, but if they do, they more often travel up the 02 side (credit Metalbone, who once posted a very nice rationale on why). Unliked tanked 02, which stores oxygen under very high pressure, the variety of oxycons popular for lampworking don't store the 02 they produce and don't produce it at particularly high pressures. Therefore, the risk of serious injury if a flashback made it all the way up the 02 line is generally considered low. For that reason, there are a number of folks who would rather not take the hit in psi/flow caused by having an 02 flashback arrestor on their oxycons. The second school of thought is that a flashback arrestor provides a degree of protection to what is often an expensive piece of equipment. Some folks would therefore prefer to take the hit on a slight reduction in psi/flow in order to protect their oxycons against potential damage in the event they did experience a flashback.

No wrong answer that I know of.

Linda
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Old 2010-02-07, 8:34pm
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Linda,
Thank you for that explanation. I like understanding why I'm doing something. I appreciate you taking the time to follow up with me. I'm thinking about getting longer hoses to put the propane further away from my work area. Does this seem like a good idea to you? The patio is large and I could probably have it at least 15 feet away. Is that extra distance a good idea? Thank you for the help you've already given me.
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Old 2010-02-08, 1:56am
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Mary Di. Consider that when some folks, start with a HH, that the small camping tank, is located directly below your torch, and sitting right in your lamp. I do not think that a bulk tank could be more dangerous. After all, it has a shut off. I think most of all this talk, is concerned about the legalities, of if something did happen, would you insurance pay, for loss? Anybody else, if you have comments please post?
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Old 2010-02-08, 6:49am
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A bulk tank may not be any more susceptible to blowing up, but think of it this way:

With a bulk tank there are a lot more connections for possible leaks.

AND, if you are on a small 1 pound cylinder and it blows up--you will kill yourself. If you are on a 20# tank and it blows up- you are taking your neighbors with you.

I prefer not to blow up whether my insurance is going to pay for damages or not. LOL Safety is for your protection and the protection of those around you- not just legalities, though those are certainly important.

As far as safe working on a patio- as long as you don't have any tripping hazards (which is also relevant INDOORS...not special to your situation), your propane is outside, your oxycon is inside (for it's own longevity), you are wearing proper eyewear and the wind isn't strong enough to blow your flame sideways you should be just as safe as any of the rest of us.

Flashback arrestors are a good idea even on surface mix torches. They aren't supposed to flashback- but that doesn't mean they don't. I don't have one on my oxycon, but there is nothing wrong with putting one there. I do have one on my propane and consider it a necessity.

Your ventilation is fine. You have a better air supply than indoor ventilated. Your cfm of fresh air transfer is higher than mine. LOL

~~Mary
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Old 2010-02-08, 7:51am
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Thanks all. I feel a whole lot better having explored the situation than I did quietly pushing it to the back of my mind. Saturday the wind was so high I finally gave up and I'm glad I did as I'm now trying to keep a cold from developing.
Now I'm also trying to figure out how to get a perfectly balanced bead every time......do the questions never end?
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Old 2010-02-08, 8:56am
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mdimatteo View Post
......do the questions never end?
Well, I'm only at 6 1/2 years, but I can say that by this point- no. They don't. LOL We'll never have this all figured out.
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Old 2010-02-08, 9:09am
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mdimatteo View Post
Thanks all. I feel a whole lot better having explored the situation than I did quietly pushing it to the back of my mind. Saturday the wind was so high I finally gave up and I'm glad I did as I'm now trying to keep a cold from developing.
Now I'm also trying to figure out how to get a perfectly balanced bead every time......do the questions never end?
IF you want to make a perfectly balanced bead, ...Stop making beads....

Well not really... Sit down at torch and wind on a gather, heat the stuffing out of it what does it do..... Rotate mandrel with over hot gather what does it do .... Rotate fast, rotate slow - Observe..... Tilt mandrel to left and right what does gather do .. Let glass get cool what does it do.....

Glass when hot is effected by gravity and centrifugal force... Glass is similar to a raindrop falling through space the physics involved make a raindrop want to form a round perfect sphere when falling through space (liquid dynamics) ... IF a hot glop of glass is allowed fall through space it too would try to form a perfect sphere...

But your glass is captive on mandrel so you have to supply the physical dynamics the control the shape of the glass.... You have to expose all sides of the glass to the same forces, be it centrifugal or gravitational... Once you understand whats going on and how glass moves and how you can move it you will make better shaped beads...... So you waste a couple if inches of glass from a rod, you can play for hours with same mass of glass and learn a lot and just spend pennies on glass and fuel but your ability to maintain shape of glass and how it moves is worth a small fortune....

Dale
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Old 2010-02-08, 9:47am
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I actually hadn't considered not making beads. And I love to watch the glass flow when it's white hot. Yes it can be magic when the glass starts to roll and you turn the mandrel just right and presto....the perfect bead. On Saturday I was working in a high wind and I think that had an effect on my beads. I was concentrating on getting them perfect but it's hard while doing the "wind samba". I have beads that appear perfectly round but when put to the balance test ( I put them on a hat pin and make sure they rotate evenly) they failed. I would like...in a perfect world....to have every bead pass the test. Is this a dream or do some people actually make perfect beads everytime?
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Old 2010-02-08, 11:41am
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mdimatteo View Post
Linda,
Thank you for that explanation. I like understanding why I'm doing something. I appreciate you taking the time to follow up with me. I'm thinking about getting longer hoses to put the propane further away from my work area. Does this seem like a good idea to you? The patio is large and I could probably have it at least 15 feet away. Is that extra distance a good idea? Thank you for the help you've already given me.
Hi Mary - Grade T hoses typically come in two lengths: 12.5 feet and 25 feet. You could add a 12.5 foot long length to your existing 6' hose (I'm guessing from your first post) and be fine. It's never a bad idea to keep the tank as far away from you as is reasonable.

Do the windows or screen openings go all the way to the ground? If not, you will want to put the propane tank outside of your screened in patio - you may need extra hose length in that case. Even though your screened porch is open to air flow, propane sinks and can pool at ground level unless there is some way for it to escape (like a ground-level air vent or something that acts like one).

As for perfect beads..... I think the best part of Bead Nirvanah is just trying to get there! I'll probably never make a perfect bead, but it sure is entertaining to keep trying.

Linda
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Old 2010-02-08, 12:08pm
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I have my studio set up in the carport with the torch pointed toward the through-passage. Sometimes the breezes are tricky & I can feel & smell the fumes coming back toward my face. I want to have hippopotamus nostrils that I can close so none of that stuff gets into my respiratory system! Lacking that nifty innovation, I've recently added a fan behind my shoulder to try to insure as much as possible that the fumes go into the back yard & not up my nose. Seems to work pretty well. If it gets too breezy I give up. It's too frustrating trying to follow the flame around.

And a perfectly balanced bead ...... what's that??? Heh. Ah, the never ending quest for the unachievable. Keeps us all busy & out of trouble, eh?
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Old 2010-02-08, 1:49pm
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Ah yes the quest....but about that keeping out of trouble thing....not so much.

Oh no! The cats forgot to vacuum AGAIN! Love this....my lazy cats do no housework at all...well o.k. Shelby will hunt wayward floor rolling beads for me. The small ones (seed beads) how she finds them I don't know. Then she stands there nose down backside high in the air til I com to get them. Best I can get out of them.
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Old 2010-02-17, 11:20pm
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I'm looking at having to work out on my back porch, since my friend kicked me out of her garage. I am going to need something to shield the torch from the wind. I thought of building something out of plywood. I'd keep it far enough from the flame so it wouldn't catch. I'm on a Hot Head so no worries about oxygen or flashback arrestors. I seem to remember someone mentioning a windbreak made from fiberglas or something. Anyone ever heard of that?
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Old 2010-02-18, 5:21am
NMLinda NMLinda is offline
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I haven't heard about fiberglass, but I've seen folks make wind shields out of plexiglas if they do a lot of outdoor demos. You could also make something relatively easily out of sheet metal, too, or tile backer board.

Linda
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Old 2010-02-18, 9:20am
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Wish I could help but my wind comes from all directions so I just do the wind dance....it makes life exciting.
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Old 2010-02-18, 11:17am
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Mary, I live in Tehachapi, which is the area you drive through between Los Angeles and Bakersfield where you see all the windmills all over the hills. It's way too strong to work without some sort of protection. Especially fun when the wind blows the heat from the flame right into your face! But where there's a will, there's a way!
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Old 2010-02-18, 1:33pm
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What a treat! Flame in the face....I guess you would definitely need a viable alternative. I wish you luck and happy torching.
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Old 2010-02-24, 4:31pm
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I haven't posted in so long, but I've been lurking.
I have a HH and I'm waiting for my Bobcat upgrade. (WOOHOO!!!) It pretty much comes with everything I need except for the FBA and the propane and Oxygen tanks which I will be getting in a day or so.
When working with my HH I would just work in the dining room near the window, but with the bobcat, I know I'm going to have to take a VAST number of precautions.
I'm glad I found this post because I was thinking of working outside on my back porch as well. I live in a 3 bedroom apt, but I really don't see any potential work areas inside that would be safe at all.
I live in Houston and it can get HOT out here, but this winter we've had a few bouts of snow... and it's cold right now. I've only been here a year, but my mom says in the 7 years she's been here, she hasn't seen the temp drop last this long, let alone get this cold at all.
I have a million questions (don't we all? lol) but my main question right now is...
Does the extreme cold tempurature affect how the glass reacts when I'm torching? I'm not sure how much longer or how many more drastic temp drops we're going to have here, but I would like to know what to expect, if anything, working in chilled conditions.

Anyone have any input?
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Old 2010-02-24, 6:07pm
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Ha, "extreme" cold to someone in TX, what's that, 50? Just teasin'. I'm sitting at 28 tonite, I've torched colder, and the way my ventilation is set up I might as well be outside. I'd rather be cold than fume sick.
I don't think you have anything to worry about. Glass doesn't seem to care. I don't even preheat rods in the kiln, just wave them in front of the flame a bit. I've never noticed any kind of reaction different than when it's high noon in July either. Just stick your work in your kiln as usual.
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Old 2010-02-24, 7:09pm
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Ha, "extreme" cold to someone in TX, what's that, 50? Just teasin'.
LOL! I was thinking the same thing when I first heard the weatherman say we were having a freeze. I'm not originally from here, so I didn't really believe it either
But I'm totally excited and can't wait til Jim gets here (Yea, I already named my Bobcat... Jim Morrison.. Get it? Light My Fire? yea my mom says that was corny, too.)

Thank you so much for the response. I'm so excited! I'm still a newbie to this, but I've never been so dedicated to a craft the way I am with this and jewelry making.. It's truly amazing.
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