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BLO finish and flames... what's safe?

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Forum topic by ben posted 01-05-2008 09:35 PM 1952 views 0 times favorited 8 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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ben

158 posts in 2525 days


01-05-2008 09:35 PM

Topic tags/keywords: boiled linseed oil flammable

I’m about to coat my workbench with BLO, and having read ye olde tyme instructions, I’m left with a quandry.

My garage is my workshop. It is about 22’x22’, and has a small gas heater at one edge. The heater is a cheap box with a large flame surface. I usually run a small fan above it to push the warm air around. The BLO warns twice about its flammability and spontaneous combustion problems, so I’m a bit concerned. I would like to apply a coat of it right now, with my heater running, and then continue to do other work in the shop (leaving the heat running), and have no worries. Is this practical? Alternatively, I could apply the coat as my last thing of the day, then shutdown the heat letting it cure overnight (lows in mid 30s).

Basically, I have to choose between some level of flame/heat to keep more reasonable curing temps, or instead letting it cure overnight in colder temps. Is it really so dangerously flammable, or is it the surface area of the rags that is the real issue? Also, the container says only to let soak and wipe free 10 mins later. Any suggestions on how long to let it set and how many layers to apply?

Thanks as always :-)

-b


8 replies so far

View CharlesNeil's profile

CharlesNeil

1127 posts in 2525 days


#1 posted 01-05-2008 09:54 PM

first im not a fan of blo, it dries to slow and soft,a poly oil would be much better, but in any case any oil can be a fire hazard,spread out on your bench top is not much of an issue its the balled up,or contained rags that can cause the spontanious combustion, spread the rags you use out to dry after soaking them in water , when they are hard and dry you can toss them, i usually drape them over a trash can or spread them outside to dry.

View Dorje's profile

Dorje

1763 posts in 2651 days


#2 posted 01-06-2008 08:04 AM

Better do it with the heat on – BLO will not want to set up and cure in the cold like you described…Depending on conditions, it could take a while for it to cure if it can only have heat for a half a day (up to 12hrs…)

Can you wait til spring/summer? Can you move the bench and do it somewhere warm and ventilated?

What Charles said about the rags was right on…that’s what you want to be concerned about – not the application of the oil on the bench…

-- Dorje (pronounced "door-jay"), Seattle, WA

View rikkor's profile

rikkor

11295 posts in 2529 days


#3 posted 01-06-2008 11:36 AM

I don’t think the BLO will cure overnight unheated. I’ve usually allowed 48 hours between coats, sometimes it’s still tacky after two days—heated.

View CaptnA's profile

CaptnA

116 posts in 2468 days


#4 posted 01-06-2008 02:21 PM

It is good to see you being so cautious. I’m not at all familiar with BLO. Never heard of it til I found this site.
I AM somewhat familiar with fire.
There is a given amount of airspace in every workspace. If and when enough flammable vapor is present to form an ignitable mixture there is a fire hazard. This varies – by product, with temperature, with size of space etc. You can have an igniteable mixture in one area of a shop and not in others. That said having potentially ignitable mixture does not mean there is fire. The ignition source has to be present. Under the right (wrong) conditions, a spark from turning on or off a light switch can be enough. Doesn’t need open flame. Some combustibles – natural (organic) oils – can spontaniously ignite. the infamous oily rags… Even this needs a few circumstances to actually occur – but it can and does. The insulating quality of being in a pile free from air movement CAN be all it takes. They create their own heat. Add heat such as from an operating heater and the possiblity just increased. Flammability hazard is real.
We as humans need oxygen. Couple this with the fact that vapors displace oxygen and we can have another issue to our health. Couple this further with the potential toxicity of some finishes and the fact that – what we can’t see CAN hurt us – and we’re back to a few basic steps.
-Work with flammables/ vapor produsing finishes ONLY in well ventilated areas away from potential ignition sources.
-Never work with known hazards alone. SOMEBODY has to call 911.
-Store flammable finishes in tightly sealed containers – NOT glass.
-Store/ dispose of oily rags etc in non-flammable containers away from flammables (paper rags etc).
-Apply finishes in a well ventilated area for your safety.
One of the first signs of low oxygen or toxic exposure is confusion and mental deficit. How could you tell you’re in trouble?
So what do we do in cold weather?
Use wax! oh you don’t want a wax finish?
My shop has no working continuous heat. (maybe one day) My wife hates toting the ‘finish box’ back and forth. Cold plays havoc not only on the quality of the finish but the finish itself as well as glue and other ‘stuff’.
If I HAVE to apply some finishes my only option is to do that in the basement. Its a pain carrying stuff back and forth but its my option.
Wish there was a definate easy fix but I don’t know it.
Whatever you do – do it safely!

-- CaptnA - "When someone hurts you, write it in the sand so the winds of forgiveness will scatter the memory... "

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patrick m

197 posts in 2468 days


#5 posted 01-06-2008 02:51 PM

Yea keep your curing temps stable and consistant.. Some how try to get a good room temp. maybe like 72. So many Oil based chem’s , Have curing temp recomendations on the back.. Not farmilur with Blo as much as tung oil… An alternate to BLO is Tung Oil, though not an original finish for Enfields, it is another excellent choice for gun stock finishing. Tung oil when applied to wood forms a highly water-resistant finish similar to BLO but doesn’t darken with age like Linseed.

The coating components were blended by mixing and contained 52 parts Quatrex 1010, 2 parts 10% Curative H in Quatrex 1010, 12.8 parts BLO, 10 parts FX512, ...
www.patentstorm.us/patents/4738899-description.html – 38k – Cached – Similar pages
Oil Finishing Recipes?
I don’t think of BLO as a varnish, because it doesn’t form a coating (film) on the wood. Oil based poly can be mixed with MS and BLO is any proportions. ...
www.groupsrv.com/hobby/post-3544766.html – 33k – Cached – Similar pages

Good lick bro , Let me know how it turns out in a few months I’ll be making a new workbench myself and curious to see the outcome… Patrick

-- PJM.`·.¸¸.·´¯`·.¸¸.·´¯`·.¸ ><((((º> ""BY HAMMER AND HAND ALL ARTS DO STAND""1785-1974 nyc Semper Fi, Patrick M

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patrick m

197 posts in 2468 days


#6 posted 01-06-2008 03:02 PM

Get a cot a respirator Two big fans and a fire extinguisher.. and coat away. Test strips test strips …. Have you tried a few test strips in the cold tempuratures ? I very curious now … CAuse i hate it myself when I used to coat things and find myself waiting forever with a tacky or gummy surface that every spec of dust lands on like a magnet… This also makes me wonder about the fans? What about a home made paint shed? out of tarps? Man now i have no idea either. Maybe I’ll find a good answer this morning and let ya know.. I’m going to ask a friend. Can’t wait to see the work bench.

-- PJM.`·.¸¸.·´¯`·.¸¸.·´¯`·.¸ ><((((º> ""BY HAMMER AND HAND ALL ARTS DO STAND""1785-1974 nyc Semper Fi, Patrick M

View ben's profile

ben

158 posts in 2525 days


#7 posted 01-08-2008 05:05 AM

Thanks for all the info. I ended up doing a thin layer on 1 side (the side that will be partially covered and hard to stain later—the bottom), and it was mostly dry by morning. Perhaps the sudden warm temps helped. In any case, I’ll take the other advice and hold off finishing the rest of it until spring. Thanks!

-b

View Dorje's profile

Dorje

1763 posts in 2651 days


#8 posted 01-08-2008 07:18 AM

A good way to check if it’s really dry is to rub the surface with steel wool…if it’s gummy, well, it’s not dry. Dry oil finish will will come off chalky and produces fines white dust.

-- Dorje (pronounced "door-jay"), Seattle, WA

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