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Bench top finishing

Thank you for your comments and praise of my new shop. We hadn’t planned on it being so fancy but it just continued to morph. I am considering an exhaust system like you mentioned and was concerned about winter and cold air. This is Minnesota and we have a good 5 months of cold. I’ll look at the better quality dryer vent and see if it appears to be sealed better.

As far as the organizing system goes, I am still doing minor rearranging. I would like more storage for sterling findings, clasps, and of course cabs.

Anybody who could show a picture of your venting system?


Hello again Jean…the vent cover I mentioned is called the Dundas Jafine ProShield Exhaust Hood and I see now that there are even some Youtube videos on how to install it. I also noticed in my search that there are some other premium dryer vents whose lids open upward and seal by gravity and others with critter guards, which might be a consideration in your area. As far as air seal, there are lift gates and in line valves that can be installed if the outside seal does not seem adequate, but I think this might be overkill. I guess you can judge by what other folks do in your area.
As far as organizing, I’m fighting that battle daily! I’ll be building some shelves for the back of my main bench soon to house all the stone setting burs I recently acquired. I’ve looked at some cabinets from Hobby Lobby with multiple small drawers, but they are a little long on cute decoration (the chalk paint look) and short on actual number or drawers and not all that cheap, so I continue to ponder. I may go with a corner dedicated to stackable plastic tubs. Good luck with settling into the new space! -royjohn

I sent this to Jean in a private message but perhaps it is worth sharing generally. Someone might know more about it.

Years ago I saw something on TV about houses that were super tight re:air infiltration in cold climates, so tight that the air could get bad. They used forced-air venting to exhaust stale air, and had some kind of heat exchanger at the input side. Think something like a car radiator except for air, not fluid. I’m beginning to think the vent and intake were the same unit. The idea is the heat from the outgoing air is passed to the incoming air.

I have no idea where you could get such a thing or what it might be called, but they did have this kind of thing sometime back, and the need hasn’t gone away. For what it is worth…

Neil A

The Wikipedia article on Heat recovery ventilation is a good introduction. I know I’ve seen ducted plate heat exchangers explained in a couple of episodes of “This Old House.”

Neila and Jean,

This is the type of unit that Neil is reffering to. Quite popular in the frozen north (LOL as in up here in Canada, and I assume the northern states has well)

Fantech AEV 1000 Air Exchanger, 120 CFM


In my studio that I just finished renovating I installed an 6" inline fan with dryer ducting and a small hood made from some scrap aluminum sheets over my soldering bench. Im not happy with my hood, (too much movement of fumes, I suspect it’s too big and too far from the fumes when I’m working). I will probably end up removing the hood and simply having the duct hang directly over the soldering station. The ducting is semi -rigid so will stay put wherever I bend it to. It vents outside, with a basic vent cover with Louvre style flap and pest guard (probably not adequate for a seriously cold climate)

You also definitely don’t want to overlook where your make up air is coming from. In that case, considering you are in a cold climate you may not want to rely on a cracked window. Maybe best to talk to a pro regarding this.

Anyway, you’re space looks amazing! Solid build with lots of practical benches.

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As far as where your replacement air should come from, I would think this is very like to vents for fireplaces. It is more efficient to have a cold air inlet from outside very near the fireplace (or soldering bench) so that the cold air from outside is not drawn in through windows and air leaks by negative pressure inside…instead the cold air comes in and is drawn across the soldering area and goes out with the fumes. Air drawn in from windows and leaks will have to be heated by the HVAC system, but air that comes in near the exhaust merely captures the fumes and leaves. You could even place your vent in such a way that the air came in from under the tabletop to a small vent in front of the soldering area, from where it would be drawn by a fishmouth behind the soldering area across the work and out…-royjohn


Did the same with garage bench 32 years ago. Poured on Spar urethane, spread it. Repeated week later and once more. Bit beaten up but still holding well. Did same on piece if 1/2” plywood to protect my desk while using for smithing.

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I really like what you have done here. I have been cooped up in a little office for over 4 years and it got so bad that I had machines just sitting in boxes that I could not even use because I had no room to set them up. I was given a 7 week vacation by the state of Colorado to shut my Salon down so I took this opportunity to build a new Design studio in the only place I had room in my little 800 sf house which was a crawl space under my house which I dug out and made it into a what I feel is a magical space to do what I love and what is even better is I am completely hidden and away from distractions. LOL
I do loose time under there. Like days go by and I am wondering what week of the month were in but I other than no sunshine or windows it rocks. Here are some pictures.


It’s a wonderful space.
Thank you for sharing!

Thanks Pam, I am just getting started and this is something I want to do through my retirement years. I needed some space to do it and could not figure out where in this little tiny house so I am so happy to have found something that worked. I just got a full size electric rolling machine and had to move it down there and it was 400 pounds. lol All I can say is what goes down there is never coming back out. I can not wait to start my very first piece in the new space and wouldn’t you know it, it’s going to be my wife’s Bday present.

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Good for you ! To find light in darkness is a very big gift , love to see what creations come from the creation that already is you’re new space .

Love your storage drawers​:+1:t3::sunglasses::heart:

What a great example of desire and determination. Keep it up!
Judy H

Hi Jean,
Your new workspace is pretty awesome and I have admit, I’m a little bit jealous! For what it’s worth, my bench top is made from stock, unfinished Douglas Fir 2x4’s. It isn’t pretty, but it is rock solid and after twelve years of hard use it’s in very good shape. Oak is much harder than fir and will take a whole lot of abuse without showing it. I did want to mention that I make excellent homemade fire starters using wood shavings packed into egg carton cups with just a little bit of wax poured on top!

All I can say is WOW! Adversity tried to push you down but vision and determination gave you wings. You also gifted me some encouragement to keep pushing myself. Now, we want to see you FLY!

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Thank you very much for sharing your studio with us. As the others have said thats the true results of determination. I also can see how you would have had all your stuff boxed up! You have stuff galore.
It’s a perfect place to “hole” up and stay safe from the world right now. Best to you and your creations.