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Working school setup issues


I have a small jewelry/metal school teaching beginning and
intermediate classes, as well as offering studio memberships. Now,
this is a unique situation because I am not an experienced jeweler. I
am a student, a student who owns a jewelry school (life is funny
somoetimes). Our founder and core instructor is a wonderful,
nurturing, talented jeweler and metal worker who now works for the
school as an employee, since she decided the path to her happiness
was not running a business. Since I am starting my education at being
an educator. I am looking for help. My first concern is for safety,
safety for our students and our staff.

Here is question 1)

We currenly use acetylene/air for our torches. We are moving into a
new space shortly. This space was a former cafe/restaurant. Our
future soldering area needs to be situated where there is currently a
commercial restaurant stainless steel hood with a chemical fire
suppressant system. This sounds cool at first, but the hood system is
designed to move A LOT of air (think wind tunnel). It is also abit
small for a 4 or 5 station soldering wall. If I was to use this hood,
I could maybe get 2-3 soldering stations safely under it. And then I
would still have to use some other exhaust system for the other 3
stations, although it moves so much air,I think it would exhaust the
entire room. Does anyone have experience using such an exhaust system
in a workshop environment? Any suggestions?

Question 2)

Is acetylene the safest fuel for a student operated torch? Are there
safer effective torch fuels? We have natural gas in the building,
would that be safer? What is a water torch I have seen postings on?
Would someone share with me their safety orientation materials on
torch safety so that I can be sure we are hitting all the points. I
do have as a resource, the wonderful safety book by Charles

Any help or suggestions are truly appreciated.

Kathleen Yorston
Pouncing Rain Jewelry and MetalWorkingCenter



As for foot the commercial fire suppression system I would suspect
that it is overkill by quite a bit as the types of fire which you
might have will be very small compared to a large vat of grease
which these systems are designed to stop, But discuss your needs
with your local fire department, they should be able to inform you
as to what is needed. The hood and if recommended the fire
suppression system should be expandable to cover your need for a
larger area, look for any maintenance tags left and call the company
who last worked on it, or look for a local company who deals in this
type of equipment for professional help.

As for the safest fuel I would suggest switching to natural gas
since it is available, this way there aren’t any tanks of flammable
gas to deal with, it should also prove to be cheaper in the long
run, You might need to add a compressor to raise the gas pressure,
but the gas company might be able to install a higher pressure meter
for you, just be sure to tell them that you will be using a very low
flow rate, or the wrong meter might be installed, not a safety
problem, but rather a potential billing problem. I think I would be
inclined to look at the compressor first.