One of the most common topics and questions in the Orchid Forum relate to setting up a home jewelry studio, whether it’s in a house or condo that you own, or a rental house, apartment, or condominium. It’s a very complicated issue as it’s a technical/equipment question, a safety question, and a liability question.
Because there are so many absolute beginners who read these posts, I think it’s a good idea to bring this up as a topic of conversation. I’ll be honest. I don’t have all the answers. There are many variables depending on folk’s individual situations.
For instance, whenever I get asked the question of what torch should I get? In addition to whatever torch advice is appropriate for their situation, I always say that no matter what torch that you choose, you also need to follow the procedures of your city/town, county, and state codes. You also need to get approval by your home or rental insurance company.
Getting that approval can be complicated though and maybe not even possible. For instance, I have a friend who for years had a bench in a shared jewelry studio situation in commercial building. Her circumstances changed and she decided to build a home jewelry studio. Because she owns the house, she wanted to make sure that she has all the necessary permits from her town and that her home studio is covered by her home insurance. In her town, the fire department must approve jewelry torches. Her local fire department doesn’t have much knowledge about jewelry making and no matter what she’s tried, she and the local fire department haven’t come to an agreement to approve a torch. This has been going on for months, which has stopped her from being able to make jewelry.
On the other side that is another story that changed my whole perspective about jewelry torches in a home. About 10-15 years ago another friend of mine’s mother accidently blew up her house in a jewelry torch incident. My friend’s mother had a barbeque style propane tank connected to a torch in her home jewelry studio located the home’s attached garage. There was a leak, that eventually seeped into the laundry room. Once the propane hit the pilot light in the gas water heater, the house exploded. It blew the roof off. The roof hit the house next door causing extensive damage. My friend’s mother suffered 3rd degree burns over 75% of her body causing permanent painful injuries. In many ways my friend’s mother was extremely lucky. She was the only person home at the time, so she was the only person that was injured. I’ve often thought what if this situation happened in an apartment building or condominium? It could have been catastrophic.
Like I said, I don’t have all the answers, but one of the things that I love about this forum is how many wise, supportive, and collaborative members that there are. My question to you all, especially the folks in the forum who are seasoned professionals, what constructive advice would you give to someone who is setting up a home jewelry studio, concerning safety and liability?
Thanks in advance!