Back to Ganoksin | FAQ | Contact

Workshop floor


#1

Coming from a blacksmithing tradition, my “hot studio” for forging
and welding iron has a packed dirt floor. When I’m working in there
daily, I usually wet it down with water as I leave, to minimize the
dust kicked up when I work the next day. I’ve researched options for
making it less dusty, but most such additives should only be used
outdoors. Once years ago I made a “hallway” part of it very smooth
and sweepable by sprinkling it with boiler linseed oil mixed half and
half with water. But this just formed a thin crust, easily damaged by
furniture legs or other sharp objects.

The dirt floor is very nice for the feet, compared with tile, brick,
or concrete.

For ventilation, the coal forge has a hood and chimney. One window
has an exhaust fan - really just a large 3-speed window fan labeled
safe to use in a window. I keep it set to exhaust air. The building
itself is “blessed” with very loosely formed siding with lots and
lots of openings. So there’s plenty of air flow for normal torch
operations - though I’m not doing anything with alumninum or
galvanized steel. And I go outside if I need to spray any finishes.

Catherine Jo Morgan http://www.cjmorgan.com online artist journal,
Hand Forged Vessels: http://radio.weblogs.com/0120691/
energyart@cjmorgan.com


#2
    my "hot studio" for forging and welding iron has a packed dirt
floor. 

Catherine Jo, Was the studio originally built without a floor, or did
you spread a load of dirt over a regular floor, expecting to clean
it out someday?

Except for narrow flower beds along the perimeter, our lot is
concrete and tile, and we wouldn’t be allowed to have a dirt area,
anyway. My current setup isn’t allowed, either, and once somebody
sees past the foliage screen and reports me, I’ll have to remove it.
(Welcome to Orange County.)

Janet

P.S. (Somewhere I heard of floors made of dung, of all things, packed
and allowed to dry out. It is supposed to make a glossy floor that
is inexpensive and very durable–although constructing it is not the
pleasantest job. And dung can be burned as fuel, so perhaps it is
not the best flooring where there will be a flame.)


#3

My shop is in the process of being set up for making jewelry. I
should say one side of it is. This shop has seen several
incarnations but is also frequently used for small woodworking and
basic metalwork. It is a work in progress with a dirt floor. I’ve
tried packing the dirt by wetting it but there is simply too much
sand to make that last. I live near the Rio Grande but this is still
a high desert area and water doesn’t last long in any form. I’ve
just had to learn to live with the dust, it’s part of life in New
Mexico. The dirt floor is much easier on my body than any other
floors I’ve worked on although I’ve always wanted to work on rubber
matting about 2" thick. That stuff wouldn’t hold up well around
welding and torch work in general. I have arthritis messing with my
feet, knees, and back and, overall, the plain dirt floor seems to
agitate things the least. Now if I could just train that shop to
grow bigger on the inside than it is on the outside, and get it to
do it on command, I’d get cramps from all the grinning I’d be doing.
By the way, those ceramic tipped tweezers are used for the same
things as the zircon encrusted variety.

Mike


#4

Janet, this question has been answered before, so check the archives
beyond last year. You first might look into shops that sell items
for fireplaces and metal heating stoves, and inquire about the
special inflammable mats (quite large ones are available) made for
protecting surfaces around them. If none of those places are near
you, ask GOOGLE. Good luck. I’m sure you’ll find just what you
need and stop breaking fallen objects.

Pat


#5

catherine - there used to be a product called ‘soil-crete’. i would
have the public works crews use it around areas that had foot
traffic but couldn’t be paved. it was simple to apply, lasted longer
than oil coats (under a roof it should last a long time), could be
reapplied when needed, and as i remember, wasn’t expensive. call
around to some of the ‘old hands’ in your city’s public works
department or construction supply houses. good luck - ive ‘life is
short, you will never get back a minute you waste.’


#6
Somewhere I heard of floors made of dung, of all things, packed and
allowed to dry out. It is supposed to make a glossy floor that is
inexpensive and very durable--although constructing it is not the
pleasantest job. And dung can be burned as fuel, so perhaps it is
not the best flooring where there will be a flame.

You may be thinking of the way the old Afrikaaners supposedly
treated their dirt floors. They would take cow dung, stir it up in a
bucket of water, let the solids settle out, and mop the dirt down
with the dung-water. After several such treatments, the dirt would
get hard as wood. Or so I read, somewhere.

It was probably dissolved cellulose in the dung-water that permeated
the dirt, a kind of primitive plastic sealant.

Lee Einer
Dos Manos Jewelry
http://www.dosmanosjewelry.com


#7

Hey, guys, I’m not just saying this to nitpick-- “inflammable” means
the same as “flammable”. You’ll probably get better results
searching or asking for “non-flammable” flooring. Ah, English… how
you say in dis language? (as my father in law says) --Noel


#8

Hi all, I seem to remember reading in an old book on forge work how
to “prepare” your floor. The blacksmiths would take the (spent) fuel
out of their forges and spread on the floor. This dusty layer was
then sprinkled with water and allowed to dry. The resulting dried
floor was fireproof and “hard”. However, it only comes in one
color: charcoal!

Steve in Oklahoma
The redbuds and pear trees are abloom!


#9

Has anyone tried the new gold mat for the floors on the outside of
the doors at shops. It’s like flypaper step on it and the metal
sticks… 30 peel-off disposable sheets when one is dirty , simple
toss it with other items to be reclaimed. Inexpensive, maintenance
free Smooth effective surface is not damaged by shoes. Dim… 24 in
wide and 3inches long

Andy “The Tool Guy” Kroungold
Sales/ Tools and Technical
Stuller Inc.
337-262-7700 ext. 4194
337-262-7791 fax
Andy_Kroungold@Stuller.Com


#10

I used to live in New Mexico and helped someone pour a dirt floor.
They then sealed it with a mixture of Elmer’s Glue and water.
Probably would take several applications to keep the dust down.

I heard that the tradition was to use cow’s blood.

Ken Gastineau
Berea, Kentucky


#11

The discussion on dirt floors reminded me of when I was on an
archaeological excavation in central Syria. The mudbrick houses
(think: adobe) of the village all had dirt floors. They were
comfortable, cool, and smooth. They could be swept. The villagers
rolled out mats and slept on the floors. Once or twice a day,
someone tended them by hand-sprinkling water around, from a plastic
sprinkler can with a large head. I don’t recall a problem with dust
at all. Judy Bjorkman


#12
 Was the studio originally built without a floor, or did you spread
a load of dirt over a regular floor, expecting to clean it out
someday? 

The building is on a slight slope. It’s built pole style. So to make
the floor level, the builder made what amounts to retaining walls on
the downside and on both sides, reinforced with angled 4x4s holding
it up on the outside. Then fill dirt was brought in to make the floor
level. It was built this way, rather than excavating a level site, in
order to preserve some big trees next to the building.

Catherine Jo Morgan
http://www.cjmorgan.com
http://radio.weblogs.com/0120691
energyart@cjmorgan.com


#13

Hi all , You might also try a search for uninflammable flooring, if
you want a British company ;-))

Steve Holden
http://www.platayflores.com


#14

Hi All,

Floors “A”. My shop is a multi use shop. Having a hot piece of metal
rarely happens, but does happen. Hot ring out of the tweezers, ingot
off the charcoal, raising missing the pickle bucket. A dirt floor
would be nice but its out of the question. Most of the way I make a
living is by Diamond setting and Engraving.

Diamond hit the floor and grow legs. Engraving chips are always on
the floor and have to be swept up and sent to the refiner. This means
I work cement. The cement is painted one colour (light grey) that
shows up fallen stones the best. It also means that was are fully
finished with base boards and quarter round trim that is fully
cocked. If there is a crack or hole a diamond will find it. Living in
Canada, in winter the floors get cold. Working on carpet is really
nice but a full carpet is also out the question. Stone disappear in
them and the same with engraving chips. So I use carpet remnants.
Tight pack carpet samples. There cheap and can be turned

over and whacked. Anything in them falls out. The biggest plus is my
feet stay warm in January. There not bad to stand on either since
there portable.

Ventilation “A”. I do my own casting in my attached garage. On
casting day my wife use to mown about the smell. She had me remodel
the kitchen so I inherited a nice stove hood. This I hooked up over
the kiln and vented it through a window with a removable dryer hose.
It works great in the winter. It’s easier and faster to just open
the garage door in the summer.

For you real die hards that insist on a dirt floor. Living out in
country we have a lot of farm by products. Hard packed dirt floor
can be made by to farmer for a bail of hay and to abattoir (butcher)
for some cows blood. You mix this with fine dirt (not soil, no
organics) water, hay for binder, and some cow blood in a cement mixer
and pore a 6 inch thick slab.

From what the old timer tell me it stand up pretty well. I think
I’ll keep using concrete.

Good luck,
Jim Zimmerman
@Jim_Zimmerman2
http://www.handengravingcanada.com