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Studio Safety


#1

Hi all. I will be moving into my first home and need to set up my studio. I
plan on setting up in my garage. Is this safe for propane/oxygen tanks? How
will my tools hold up, rolling mill? I would love some advice.
Thank you,
Cathy


#2

There are many posts about this subject in the archives. You probably should bounce the Propane/O2 question off your home owners insurance agent and possibly the local fire chief. The answer depends a lot on where you live, the type of structure and the size of your tanks. I went to small 1 lb. propane tanks and an O2 generator several year ago and it has worked fine for me. Good luck…Rob


#3

Hi Cathy,

That’s a tough question. Garages are like basements. They can be dry or damp, largely because of the concrete floor and air circulation. It would be best if you can create an enclosed space and control the climate in the garage. Keep the humidity down and temperature consistent in that space and you should be ok. Keep watch on you polished surfaces. Any rust at all on your hammer faces, anvils, stakes, rolling Mill… will tell you how successful you are. Daily preventative surface maintenance and inspection will likely be required.

My Dad had basement shop but always had dampness issues until the kids moved out and he moved upstairs. My brother has a basement shop and He does great work in that space. I believe he has a dehumidifier running. I am doing a small addition on my house just for a dedicated shop space. I kinda wish I had a garage to move into. Good luck.

Don Meixner.

Sent from my Verizon 4G LTE Droid


#4

Thank you. I will check the forums also. Don’t want to block the feed with old news.


#5

My jewelry studio is in my garage. I did check with my homeowner’s insurance, and since my propane tank is a bit smaller than what is on a gas grill, they had no problem with it. There wasn’t an increase in my insurance rate or anything. But I did make sure that they made note of the fact that I have oxygen and propane tanks in my garage, so if anything ever did happen, there would be no question that they knew.

As far as my other tools, because I live in a (much too!) humid climate, I make sure that all of my expensive tools have a thin coat of oil on them and are as protected as possible from the moisture. They are covered with plastic and I put dessicant - from medicine bottles, shoes, wherever I find them - to cut down on moisture, too. I also check my tools to make sure that they aren’t rusting.

Good luck!


#6

We have a basement studio in rainy Portland Or. We just keep a dehumidifier
running.
Have fun and make lots of jewelry.
Jo Haemer
www.timothywgreen.com


#7

Thank you.


#8

Yes for a dehumidifier. I run it year round…Rob


#9

Thanks Jo!


#10

Thank you


#11

Thank you Patricia. I will check with my insurance company.


#12

HI Cathy, I converted my garage to a studio in December. I live in Saint Petersburg, where the humidity is terrible 3/4 of the year! The space is well-insulated, the floor is painted with a Rustoleum product, a mini-split 2 ton A/C was installed, garage doors were replaced with insulated French doors. During the summer, even with the A/C on “dry”, I empty the dehumidifier two to three times a day. My plants love it, but I really have to fight rusty tools. You could always put your propane outside the studio and pipe it in with a shut off valve inside the studio. This might alleviate concerns of the insurance company and/or fire chief. Propane is heavier than air and doesn’t dissipate but settles near the ground in the case of a leak, making it a more potentially dangerous fuel for placement of an interior tank. However, mini propane tanks, half the size of the ones used for a gas grill, are available. I had trouble finding one locally but was able to get one from Amazon. Fire inspectors in our area seem to find those to be more acceptable.


#13

Hi Cathy,
You can look for a water torch, which no insurance company or fire marshall will veto. These units are quite expensive when made in the US or Europe. If you’re willing to look at a Chinese made unit, they are quite reasonable. Look at the Joyfay website, for examples. They are also great for platinum, if you think you’ll go that way, but probably they are too small for casting any large amount of metal…but then if you get serious about that, an electromelt is the way to go anyway. So if you’re very concerned about safety, it’s either the water torch or the 1lb propane cylinder plus an oxygen concentrator, as one of the Meixner boys said. I was able to find a used unit for cheap locally…they aren’t really supposed to be resold for medical use without reconditioning, so you may find them for sale cheap if you keep looking. I only paid $140, but it was a great deal…plan to pay $200 to $300, more if you want the big one (10 lpm).
Good Luck,
royjohn


#14

I am the Meixner boy (Rob) who uses the O2 concentrator along with refillable 1 lb. propane tanks and a Meco Midget torch. You can see this setup on the Shop Shots page on my website (www.robmeixner.com). This arrangement has allowed me to keep large gas tanks out of my shop without any impact on my work. I regularly hard solder large pieces of 4 - 8 gauge wire and cast 2 - 3 ounces of silver with the setup. I am going into my forth year with this torch and don’t regret it at all. I was able to put a large O2 and 20 lb. propane tank, two regulators and flash back arrestors, lots of hose and other pieces of equipment into storage replacing them with the concentrator, non-adjustable propane regulator and 1 lb. tanks and a very light hose from the Tin Man. Works for me. When I leave my shop, I know that all there is a small 1 lb. tank of propane in my shop. I do use an EZ torch too for fast in and out jobs and annealing. It too will run on a 1 lb. propane tank. Refilling is fairly easy with the right fittings and refilling technique. They are technically not supposed to be refilled, but I do so at my own risk. I replace them with new cylinders after a couple refills. Even working every day, I get 1 - 2 months out of my propane tanks. I have been at this for 44 years and have used a single stage Presto-Lite plumbers torch on acetylene, an acetylene and O2 torch, a water torch for a while that was our father’s, I have tried NG and O2 and now the Meco. I like my current arrangement the best so far. I would like to try an NG concentrator and O2, but have yet to justify the expense. NG concentrators are the only way that you can run a torch in NYC as far as I know. Lots about this topic in the archives and others have their own solution to this very personal decision…Rob


#15

I use the same Presto lite acetylene torch I learned on. I have investigated using other set ups and tried a few but I stick with the prestolite torch because I know it and it works. I have an O2 concentrator which I will add to my system when I build the new shop. And I admit to a fascination with NG.

I am, otherwise, a bug about fire safety. The shop will have a layer of cement board sandwiched by 5/8" fire rated drywall on the interior walls and ceiling. I am looking into a sprinkler possibility as well.

Regards shop safety I have a greater fear of high speed machines wrapping up my fingers. I have had worse burns from hot polish than I ever had from a torch.

I also am concerned about some of the jewelry I see out and about. Some of it is plain dangerous to wear. And I have to believe it is then dangerous to make as well.

Cathy use your common sense about your shop. Ventilate it well. Illuminate it well. Be aware of fire safety, have several correctly rated fire extinguishers. Have an easy way to exit. Have a first aid kit with in reach. Know your chemicals and what neutralizes them.

All of this is no doubt stuff you already know. But sooner or later someone will read what Rob and Ted and the others have to say and an injury will be avoided.

Have fun, make jewelry and post pictures.

Don Meixner

Sent from my Verizon 4G LTE Droid


#16

Hi Rob and Don,
Interesting that you both mention your use of a Prestolite torch with o2 and propane. Those are my favorite gases for all workshop use except steel welding where I switch to acetylene of course. As also mentioned in the past, my main heating and forging hearth is propane fired tho its not a hearth, just a 9in square with the torch underneath. size 2in dia. Has a 2.5 ft flame when turned up fully.
However its interesting your torch choice, as you will know I
have used a no of different ones for different jobs and currently resurrected a prestolite torch ( american made!)
found some 40 yrs ago,which is in all brass with removeable tips in copper with the thread being 1/4 by 32tpi in.
Now i have only one tip for this, a no 5 and would dearly love to make up a set that fit it. To that end, i searched high and low without success, here in the UK, so if I post a picture early next week of it can you please try and identify it and see if your tips are the same.
My guess is it dates from the 1920’s, or earlier.
Currently used it for a very tricky repair on my spectacles.
Other news from here, have just finished the production run of 40 off Rennasence style cuff bracelets in nickel brass Made from antique spoon and fork handles,( cut up total of 80!) off to the platers on Tues for 24 microns of silver. then there complete for my 50th year expo next June. Move on the the next design on Monday.
What with a total of 7 different historical periods to make thats 280 off in total just for that product range!.
Then theres the forging of bowls and holloware, then the minted products.
Busy 9 months ahead! Cant wait to get up in the morning.
Ted.


#17

Hi Ted,

Rob and I both learned in my Dad’s Presto lite torch. I continue to use that to of torch for every thing burning just acetylene. I use a propane torch for some work when appropriate but generally speaking I am an acetylene shop.

Rob runs the o2 mixes and a few different torches. Rob has the benefit of much more space than I coupled with his early retirement. That equals time to experiment with equipment and the room to do it in.

In just a short time I am retiring and building a much larger shop space. I wonder if I will discover the same equipment when I have the same benefit of time and space.

I have several tips, from #0 on up to #3. Those are on my basic, non-oxygenated torch. A #5 would empty a B bottle in seconds. Send a photo of the torch you have and we will compare.

Don

Sent from my Verizon 4G LTE Droid


#18

Hi Don,
Heres 2 pics, the small label gives the model no as W109 Sno 625987.
the nozzel no is not 5 its 2.
Approx dia of hole in thecend .75mm.
Small as tips fo.
Await your comments.
Thanks Ted


#19

Hello Cathy and all,

besides building casting machines, producing tools and investment powder I run a dental lab where torch work is on the agenda on a daily basis.

As an employer I am aware about all the potential risks, responsibility towards my employees and liability towards my neighborhood.

We all have to obey laws, standards and regulations - each entry in safety regulations is based on an incident. I don’t believe that any of us want to contribute to a new entry.

This time I’d like to find the ultimate answer to propane, life, the universe and everything.

G-TEC Natural Gas Systems is a corporation based in Buffalo, NY, with industry standard, safe and professional solutions for the use of natural gas in urban environments. G-TEC and their products appeared before in similar threads. Ti-Research joined forces with G-TEC and offers a helping hand to make the decision for such a safe solution easier. This is the motivation for our Occupational Safety Initiative on torch work.

I hope this initiative will help to make daily work a bit more safe.

Sandor Cser


#20

Thank you Sandor.

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